Cathay Pacific First Class for Less Than $1,500 With This Alaska Mileage Sale

Dec 16, 2016

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – View the current offers here.

Earning airline miles using the traditional method (actually flying) is just one option for growing your account balance. While it’s increasingly harder to earn miles from flying, airlines make it relatively easy to accrue miles without flying — whether through top credit card offers or by utilizing shopping portals and dining rewards programs. If these methods leave you short of your travel goals, you can also purchase miles directly from an airline.

Alaska Airlines is currently offering up to a 40% bonus when you buy miles now through December 31. The promotion has a tiered bonus structure with the following rates:

  • Buy 10,000-19,000 miles, get a 20% bonus. Get 12,000 miles for $296 (2.47 cents per mile)
  • Buy 20,000-29,000 miles, get a 30% bonus. Get 26,000 miles for $591 (2.27 cents per mile)
  • Buy 30,000-60,000 miles, get a 40% bonus. Get 42,000 miles for $887 (2.11 cents per mile)
Get up to a 40% bonus - and a entry for a chance to win even more.
Get up to a 40% bonus — and an entry for a chance to win even more.

At its best, this promotion drops the price of buying Alaska miles to 2.11 cents per mile. TPG’s most recent valuation of Alaska miles is 1.8 cents per mile, so it seems it wouldn’t make sense to buy at this rate. But, if you’re looking to splurge on an incredible first or business-class flight, utilizing this promotion could actually make a ton of sense.

Even if you’re starting out with zero Alaska miles — but have a MileagePlan account that’s at least 10 days old — you’ll be able to purchase up to 84,000 miles (60,000 purchased + 24,000 bonus) at a cost of $1,774. Let’s see how far you can go just by purchasing miles.

AAdvantage miles are no longer a good option for Cathay Pacific first-class awards to Asia.
Experience Cathay Pacific first class for under $1,500 in purchased miles. Image courtesy of Cathay Pacific.

70,000-mile redemptions — Purchase 70,000 miles for $1,478 for the following redemptions:

80,000-mile redemptions — While you can’t purchase exactly 80,000 miles, you can purchase 81,200 miles for $1,715 for the following redemptions:

If you want to go even further, you can also get the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card. The card is currently offering a 30,000-mile sign-up bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. The $75 annual fee isn’t waived the first year, but the card offers plenty of benefits — such as a $99 companion fare and a free checked bag.

The leftside window business class seats on the 787-9 Dreamliner
Fly American Airlines’ newest (and arguably best) business-class product round-trip to Asia for just $1,553 before taxes/fees.

100,000-mile redemptions — For $1,553 (70,000 purchased miles for $1,478 plus the $75 annual fee on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card), you’ll have the 100,000 Alaska miles needed for the following awesome redemptions:

Japan Airlines first class is a great way to fly to Tokyo- especially on miles!
Japan Airlines’ hard and soft products are impressive in every cabin, but especially in JAL First.

110,000-mile redemptions — Since you’ll have at least 31,000 Alaska miles from meeting the minimum spend on the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature, you’ll need to spend $1,685 to buy enough miles (79,800 after bonus) to redeem for these 110,000-mile redemptions:

  • Round-trip to China in American Airlines’ business class (likely on the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner)
  • One-way to Asia in Japan Airlines’ stunning first class + one-way back in Japan’s spacious premium economy
  • Round-trip to Australia or New Zealand in Fiji Airways or Qantas business class
  • Round-trip to India in Cathay Pacific’s premium economy

No matter where you decide to go, remember that Alaska Airlines allows you one free stopover on all award tickets. Why not stop in Fiji for a week on the way to Australia? Or, explore Tokyo on the way to other destinations in Asia.

You can go even further by transferring Starwood Preferred Guest points to Alaska Mileage Plan, which you can collect via the 25,000 Starpoint sign-up bonus from the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express or the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express. You’ll earn 25,000 Alaska miles for each 20,000 Starpoints you transfer.

Not all redemptions are going to have the same amount of taxes and fees — and the exact taxes and fees are going to depend where in the region you end up booking to. So, make sure to factor this additional cost into the total cost before deciding whether or not to buy miles as part of this promotion.

Finally, no post about premium cabin award redemptions would be complete without the caveat that award availability can sometimes be very hard to find. Unfortunately, Alaska Airlines doesn’t allow holds on award tickets, so you won’t be able to hold award seats while a mileage purchase goes through. Make sure you have enough flexibility with your travels — or a backup plan for the miles — before making a large purchase of miles.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a quick way of accumulating enough miles for an incredible first or business class redemption, buying miles as part of this promotion is a great option. For these premium cabin redemptions, Alaska miles provide some of the best value per mile, making a 2.11-cent purchase price a great deal.

Are you planning on buying Alaska miles through this promotion?

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.