Reader Howard in Washington emailed me last night:
I was booking an Alaska flight recently, and as part of the online process, I was given the opportunity to purchase 10,000 Mileage Plan points for $190. I didn’t take advantage of it, but it got me thinking about the relative value. I figured I’d send you this email to ask whether buying these points made sense at 1.9 cents per mile, next time I make a booking.
I probably wouldn’t normally consider buying miles at 1.9 cents, but on Alaskan I most likely would. Alaskan has some amazing award redemption deals including 140k on Cathay between North America and Africa / India / Middle East in first class (via HK), as well as soon to be Emirates for a rumored 140k for business on the A380 from North America to the Middle East and TBD for first (announcement coming by the end of the year). In my opinion, those are both pretty decent deals at 1.9 cents a mile. So, for most other airlines, I’d probably say no, but for Alaska, I’d go for it. What do you think? Obviously, if you only redeem domestically, the value is not the same.
Speaking of Alaska, they are currently offering 15,000 Mileage Plan miles for new T-Mobile service. Unfortunately, a two year service agreement is required. Full details here.