Buy Alaska miles for cheaper Qantas and oneworld travel: average price [targeted]

How to buy and redeem points for cheap Qantas & Cathay Business Class using Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska MileagePlan
GUIDE: Buying Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 2 minutes
POSTED: October 22, 2019
UPDATED: November 28, 2019
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Alaska Air Mileage Plan

Until 31 October, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is offering an up to 40% bonus when purchasing miles, so log in your account to see if you can access the offer.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is one of the few ways of purchasing miles cheaply to then redeem on partner airlines like Qantas and Cathay Pacific, and can be useful for cheaper Business Class travel on Qantas and Fiji Airways to the US.

Cathay-Pacific-Business-Alaska
Buying Alaska miles is a great way to fly Cathay Pacific Business Class

If you’re not familiar with the programme, check out this guide.

Note that, effective January 2019, Alaska has introduced a new calendar year purchase cap of 150,000 miles, which may begin to limit their use, especially for families looking to travel abroad when multiple award seats are available. Alaska elite members are not affected by this cap.

Remember that Alaska accounts need to be ten days old to be able to buy miles, so sign up for one in advance if you like the look of a deal.

Buy Alaska miles for cheaper Qantas and oneworld travel: average price [targeted] was last modified: November 28th, 2019 by Daniel Kinnoch

The current Alaska Airlines ‘buy miles’ promotion

With the current promo, you can purchase a total of 84,000 Mileage Plan miles (including the bonus) for US$1,773.75, equating to ~2.11 US cents per mile.

Buy miles offers can be targeted, so you may find your offer may be different from others’. Here are the tiers that I received (which may differ to yours):

  • Buy 10,000 – 19,000 miles = 20% discount
  • Buy 20,000 – 29,000 miles = 30% discount
  • Buy 30,000 – 60,000 miles = 40% discount

You can purchase a total of up to 150,000 miles per calendar year (unless you are an elite member, in which case there is no limit).

Note that these miles expire after 24 months of inactivity in your account although with an option to reinstate for a fee.

Example uses of Mileage Plan Miles for travellers from New Zealand

These are my favourite redemption opportunities for cheap Business Class travel from New Zealand with Mileage Plan redemptions:

Example itineraryCost of miles in USD when maximising current promotion
Cathay Pacific: 30,000 miles one way from New Zealand to Hong Kong in Cathay Pacific Business Class$633
Fiji Airways: 32,500 miles one way from New Zealand to Nadi in Fiji Airways Business Class$685.75
Fiji Airways: 45,000 miles one way from New Zealand to Hawaii in Fiji Airways Business Class$949.5
Fiji Airways: 55,000 miles one way from New Zealand to the USA Fiji Airways Business Class$1160.5
Qantas: 55,000 miles one way from New Zealand to the USA in Qantas Business Class$1160.5
Cathay Pacific: 60,000 miles one way from New Zealand to the USA in Cathay Pacific Business Class$1266
Korean Air: 125,000 miles RETURN (no one-ways) from New Zealand to the USA in Korean Air Business Class$2637.5

Notes:

  • These costs don’t include airline taxes, which are applied by Alaska at the time of redemption.
  • The costs above are in USD and based on the current promotion with a best case cost at the highest tier.
  • The costs assumes you maximise the promotion and buy chunks of the maximum amount of miles, redeeming strategically to get the most value.

For more prices, check out the Mileage Plan award chart.

As many have found (just read the comments), it’s an easy winner to take advantage of for long haul Business and First Class travel on Alaska Airlines partners such as Cathay Pacific, to Europe and the USA. You can also get great value out of longer domestic Australian redemptions in Business Class on Qantas.

Offer History

Keeping an eye on the rhythm of mileage purchase offers can help you be more informed about when to buy.

DateBonus offer (%)Notes
October 201940
October 201950highest and targeted
September 201950highest and targeted
July-August 201950highest and targeted
June 201930% discount, not bonus
April-May 201950highest
January-February 201940
November - December 201850highest
August-October 201850highest and targeted but widespread
May-June 201840
February-April 201840
January-February 201840
November-December 201740targeted
October 201730% discount, not bonusPoint Hacks exclusive offer, limited to first 2000 buyers
August-October 201750highest but targeted
May-July 201750highest but targeted
February-April 201740
January-February 201740
November 201640
August 201650highest but targeted
May 201650highest but targeted
February-March 201640
November-December 201550highest but targeted
August-September 201540
July-August 201535lowest
March 201540
November-December 201435lowest
September-October 201440
May 201435lowest
March 201440
December 201335lowest
September 201340
Average43.00%

Other ways to earn Alaska miles

If you have American Express Membership Rewards points, you can transfer them to Marriott Bonvoy. From there, you can convert your points into Alaska miles. More info on that here.

You can also credit your Qantas, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific flights (amongst others) to Mileage Plan.

Buy Alaska miles for cheaper Qantas and oneworld travel: average price [targeted] was last modified: November 28th, 2019 by Daniel Kinnoch