How to buy Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles

Want to get to your dream destination but don't quite have the frequent flyer points to make it happen? Here's how to go about purchasing the extra Mileage Plan miles you need to get there faster.

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Alaskan Airlines Mileage Plan Feature Image

Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan is one of the most valuable frequent flyer programs you can join. The airline has a number of partnerships with international airlines, including Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Singapore Airlines, making it fairly easy to rack up miles in the Mileage Plan program if you fly on these airlines often.

In short, eligible flights will earn you one base mile per actual mile flown. However, you can also purchase extra miles, with periodic Mileage Plan sales even giving you a way to buy them at a cheaper rate.

What do I need to know to buy Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles?

You'll need an account to buy Mileage Plan miles. If you don't have one, setting one up is free.

Once you have an account, the basics of buying miles are below:

  • Miles are sold in blocks of 1,000, starting at a minimum of 1,000 miles up to a maximum of 60,000 miles.
  • You can buy as many miles as you like, but only 4 transactions can be made within a 30-day period.
  • Alaska Airlines may change the dollar amount required for top-up miles at any time, without notice.
  • Mileage Plan members are responsible for all taxes, fees and surcharges relating to award travel.

How do I purchase Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles?

  • Go to the Alaska Airlines website and sign in to your Mileage Plan account.
  • Click the "Buy/share mile"' tab and then select "Buy miles".
  • Select the amount of miles you wish to purchase and enter your credit or debit card details. You can pay with a number of cards including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
  • Accept the terms and conditions and select "Pay now".

How much does it cost to buy Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles?

Alaska Airlines reserves the right to change how much miles cost at any given time. As pricing for miles is only available on the Alaska Airlines website to Mileage Plan members, we have listed the current prices at the time of writing below for your convenience:

When would buying miles make sense for a frequent flyer?

With Alaska Airlines' extensive list of airline partners, you can redeem Mileage Plan miles for flights all over the world. Cash prices of international tickets can be much higher than award prices, making mile redemption a valuable move for those who travel often. Because Alaska Airlines is partnered with carriers such as Qantas and Cathay Pacific, both business class and first class travel to the US and domestically can become more affordable for Australian travellers. It is therefore a worthwhile consideration for those who make frequent business trips or want slightly cheaper holidays, especially those who frequent the west coast of the US.

What are the best-value ways of using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles?

As well as being able to purchase flights at a slightly cheaper rate, Alaska Airlines also offers complimentary stopovers on one-way trips booked with award miles. This allows you to visit two cities for the price of one. Note that most competing airlines require round-trip travel to book stopovers or simply don't allow them at all.

Savvy travellers should keep an eye on Mileage Plan promotions, as bonus points really stack up. For instance, the airline has run promotions offering 40% bonus points, which means you can fly first class to Dallas from Sydney for approximately US$1,600 (80,000 mileage points). For comparison, the same flight, first class with Qantas costs just under AUD$13,000 one way as of November 2018.

Things to bear in mind when buying Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles

  • While you are able to buy as many lots of miles as you like, there is a limit of 4 transactions within a 30-day period on the same credit card. This is fairly easy to get around, though, by using a different card linked to your same Mileage Plan account to make purchases.
  • As Mileage Plan continues to grow and add earning and redemption partners, Alaska Airlines will also occasionally devalue existing partners. It is important to be aware of any changes to get the maximum value out of your miles.
  • Miles are able to be transferred between accounts, but you must have a minimum of 1000 miles to perform a transfer.
  • Redemption partners may, at their discretion and without notice, change the amount of mileage required to earn rewards, the amount of miles credited for an activity or place other restrictions on the use of awards on their flights.

Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan program can be extremely valuable for the right person. If you are someone who travels often on a range of carriers in the US, redeeming Alaska Airlines miles can offer some great deals. For Australian travellers who do not frequent the US, one of the best ways to utilise miles is to use them for travel on Qantas, Fiji Airways or Cathay Pacific.

Bear in mind that, as Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan program is most beneficial to US-based customers, it may be better to consider Australian alternatives such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Virgin Velocity. If you are a frequent domestic flyer, these programs allow you to redeem points for flights across Australia.

The bottom line is, depending on how you fly, Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan can offer some great international deals, especially during promotional periods.

Image source: Alaska Airlines

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