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Back in January I wrote about Alaska Airlines’ Fly & Buy Miles option which I took advantage of to rack up 90,000 miles for my first class flight from Mumbai to New York via Dubai on Emirates.

Alaska-Fly-and-Buy-Miles

This weekend I’ll be traveling to Los Angeles for a conference and decided to tie in a quick one day trip to Seattle to attend a friend’s birthday. I once again opted to buy 10,000 miles upon check out. However, I noticed Alaska Airlines increased the price of Fly & Buy Miles by $10, while still charging the $15 tax, so the new amounts are:

– 2,500 Miles for $50.00
– 5,000 Miles for $100.00
– 10,000 Miles for $200.00

So buying 10,000 miles ends up costing $215 now including tax. Not only that, but Alaska changed the terms of Fly & Buy so that “Fly & Buy Miles purchased with a ticket that is later refunded will be subject to additional fees at the standard rate of 2.75 cents per mile plus applicable taxes.” That means no more maximizing refundable ticket purchases because you’ll just end up buying the miles at the standard rate if you cancel your ticket.

For me, it was still worth buying because I’m not canceling this trip and I wanted the miles, even at the slightly higher 2.15 cent price.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 5.34.11 PM
I bought 10,000 miles for $200 plus $15 in taxes.

In total I ended up paying $215 for 10,000 miles. Even with the slight increase in price, you’re still getting a good deal buying miles at 2.15 cents apiece. Normally I would charge airfare to my Premier Rewards Gold since it earns 3X points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines, but I wanted to bank a few more Alaska miles, so I used my Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card to earn an additional 3 miles per dollar on my purchase.

Alaska has amazing airline partners including Emirates.
Alaska has amazing airline partners.

Even though I don’t have a specific redemption in mind right now, I am trying to rack up Alaska miles in case I want to use them for an award on one of their unique partners like Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qantas or Korean Air. One redemption that I’ve been thinking about lately is using 110,000 Alaska miles to fly roundtrip to New Zealand in business class on Fiji Airways’ new plane. Ideally I would work in a stopover in Fiji so I could cross off another destination on my scuba diving bucket list and get a little tropical vacation in the bargain before continuing on to New Zealand. That’s on par with US Airways’ current award chart sweet spot to the South Pacific for 110,000 miles roundtrip in business class as well – only using US Airways miles I’d likely have to route through Asia instead since it is not partners with Fiji Airways and Qantas award space via Australia is very limited- especially in premium cabins.

That’s just one thought – another Emirates first class 90,000-mile redemption isn’t out of the question either!

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
  • There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $195.
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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