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Alaska Mileage Plan buy miles 60% bonus offer

Last chance before Alaska Airlines joins oneworld? For better or worse, buy miles at up to 60% bonus between now and mid-February.

Our regular readers will know that Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan miles are a great way to tap into good value First and Business Class redemptions with a variety of airlines, in ‘normal times’. They’ll also know they aren’t something you’d ever fork out for without a promotion running, because there almost always is one.

As usual, the airline is back with one of its regular ‘buy miles’ promotions this month, offering a 60% bonus deal for selected members, which allows you to purchase at 1.85 US cents per mile.

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While travel remains uncertain, this does have the potential to unlock some good value redemptions later in 2021 and beyond, though it’s certainly time to tread carefully given the ongoing COVID-19 situation and Alaska’s entry into the oneworld alliance in two months’ time, which could be a double-edged sword.

The new offer runs from now until 15th February 2021 in Singapore.

The January 2021 offer

This is the eighth Alaska miles bonus offer since the COVID-19 situation took hold, with anywhere from 40% up to 60% bonus promotions already in the lineup over the last 12 months.

Some bad news though – since the CARES act for aviation ticket taxes expired in the US, federal excise taxes of 7.5% are back – meaning even at the 60% bonus level you’re actually paying slightly more per mile compared to a 50% bonus late last year!

The exact deal is targeted specifically for your account, so log on to check. Not everyone receives the same offer.

Pro Tip: Never buy Alaska miles at full price, unless you need a small top-up quickly to achieve a specific redemption, or to urgently keep your existing balance alive if it is about to expire. These miles are almost always available on offer (there were 14 purchase bonus offers in 2019 and 2020).
AStrans

Here’s a typical 60% deal, as structured for my account:

Miles purchased Bonus Cost per mile
1,000 – 2,000 None 2.96 US ¢
3,000 – 39,000 40% 2.11 US ¢
40,000 – 100,000 60% 1.85 US ¢

If you are not an elite member, your account may only be credited up to a maximum total of 150,000 miles (acquired through buying miles) in a calendar year, whether purchased by you or gifted to you.

MVP, MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K Mileage Plan member accounts have no annual limit on the number of miles which may be purchased or gifted.

  Click here to buy Alaska Miles

Deadline: 15th February 2021

The offer closes at 11.59pm PST on Sunday 14th February 2021, which is 3.59pm on Monday 15th February 2021 Singapore time.

Alaska is strict about the offer deadline, so it will completely disappear at the end time – we’ve tested it to the minute in the past. We would therefore recommend making your purchase before approximately 2pm on 15th February in Singapore if you’re interested, just in case you have any issues or the payment doesn’t go through first time.

Why buy Alaska miles?

In normal circumstances we’d recommend buying Alaska miles at anything from 50% bonus rates or more, for excellent value First and Business Class award tickets with airlines like Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines.

That’s because even if you don’t earn Alaska miles through other means (e.g. Kaligo hotel bookings, or crediting miles from paid Emirates / SIA bookings to the programme), the effective ‘fares’ you are paying for these redemptions are highly competitive, even having only acquired your miles in one of these sales.

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In many cases, taxes are low with no fuel surcharges levied and Alaska allows free stopovers for no additional miles on most itineraries.

Here are some examples, with the effective cost shown based on buying all the miles you need for the booking.

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AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 60%
Singapore to New York
First Class*
75,000
miles
$1,584 $1,386
Singapore to New York
Business Class
65,000
miles
$1,373 $1,201
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
25,000
miles
$528 $462

* Business Class Singapore to Tokyo, First Class Tokyo to New York

Singapore to the USA in JAL First Class for 75,000 Alaska miles is one of the standout redemptions in the programme, and just in case you thought it wasn’t possible:

JAL F SINJFK

This itinerary would cost you just US$1,386 if you bought Alaska miles at a 60% bonus rate, though to be fair no one will be complaining much about spending US$1,584 for the experience at the lower 40% bonus level.

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JAL Boeing 777 Business Class from Singapore to Tokyo. (Photo: Melv_L – MACASR via Flickr)

While the first flight up to Tokyo is in JAL’s Business Class seat, you’ll be in First Class for the longer overnight flight to New York.

JL First Class (JAL)
JAL Boeing 777 First Class from Tokyo to New York. (Photo: JAL)

Better still, you can search and book JAL award tickets using Alaska miles wholly online, including availability view by month, no fuel surcharges are added so the taxes are low, and you can have a free stopover in Tokyo on this itinerary for no additional miles (just US$22 in additional taxes).

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AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 60%
Tokyo to Los Angeles
Business Class
80,000
miles
$1,689 $1,478

There aren’t really any great value ways to use Alaska miles on Singapore Airlines, since the intra-Asia stopover ‘tricks’ were shut down in October 2019.

Perhaps the only decent value option is a Business Class ticket on one of the airline’s fifth freedom routes between Tokyo and Los Angeles, usually 92,000 KrisFlyer miles but available for 80,000 Alaska miles or the equivalent of US$1,478 with a 60% purchase bonus.

It’s not an incredible deal but personally we would probably rather buy the Alaska miles for this one and save the 92,000 KrisFlyer miles for a better value redemption, assuming we needed to fly this city pair in isolation.

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AStrans Effective cost buying at bonus levels (US$):
40% 60%
Singapore to Los Angeles
First Class*
70,000
miles
$1,478 $1,293
Singapore to Los Angeles
Business Class
50,000
miles
$1,056 $924
Sydney to New York
First Class*
80,000
miles
$1,689 $1,478
Sydney to New York
Business Class
60,000
miles
$1,267 $1,109
Hong Kong to London
Business Class
42,500
miles
$897 $785
Singapore to Tokyo
Business Class
22,500
miles
$475 $416

* Business Class to Hong Kong, then First Class to the USA

There are some great value ways to use Alaska miles on Cathay Pacific, including Singapore to the USA in Business Class for US$924 (if you buy at the 60% bonus rate).

Even Singapore to Tokyo or Seoul for example drops to US$416 in Business Class at a 60% bonus.

1A Boarding
Singapore to Los Angeles, including the Hong Kong to Los Angeles sector in Cathay Pacific’s excellent First Class, is only 70,000 Alaska miles. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Bear in mind though that Cathay Pacific awards using Alaska miles are not searchable or bookable online, so you’ll have to call to secure them. Using the British Airways Avios or American Airlines AAdvantage search engines to check award availability beforehand is usually accurate.

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