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Alaska Airlines is having a summer "mystery sale" on miles, making this a great time to top up your account. If you were already close to the miles required for your dream vacation, you can get there faster with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan’s latest promotion.

The mystery sale includes up to a 50% bonus on miles purchased. Discounts vary, hence the mystery element to the sale. We received the following bonus offers:

  • 10,000-19,000 miles purchased: 20% bonus.

  • 20,000-39,000 miles purchased: 35% bonus.

  • 40,000-60,000 miles purchased: 50% bonus.

There is no bonus for purchasing fewer than 10,000 miles.

Is the sale worth it?

You can typically purchase Alaska miles in increments of 1,000 miles for $27.50, giving you a pre-tax, per-mile cost of 2.75 cents. With this bonus, we were able to purchase 60,000 miles for $1,650, netting us 90,000 miles for 1.83 cents each (before tax) after the 50% bonus.

Here is a breakdown of the cost per mile when you're purchasing through Alaska's mystery sale:

  • 1,000-10,000 miles with no bonus: 2.75 cents per mile.

  • 10,000-19,000 miles with 20% bonus: 2.29 cents per mile.

  • 20,000-39,000 miles with 35% bonus: 2.03 cents per mile.

  • 40,000-60,000 miles with 50% bonus: 1.83 cents per mile.

Keep in mind that NerdWallet currently values Alaska miles at 1.2 cents each. While purchasing miles doesn’t tend to give you the best bang for your buck, it can be a great solution when you’re only a few thousand miles away from a reward — or if you’ve been eyeing that business or first class international flight on one of Alaska’s partners, such as Cathay Pacific or Qantas. This is especially true when an airline is having a bonus sale that lets your miles purchase go farther.

How do I take advantage Alaska’s sale?

First, check your email. If your Alaska Airlines offer isn’t in your inbox, sign in to your Mileage Plan account and make sure you have your communication preferences set to receive email. Then follow this link and sign in to see your personal offer.

Details you need to know

The sale ends Aug. 30, 2019, so make sure to confirm your purchase before 11:59 p.m. Pacific time that evening to get your bonus.

Non-elite Alaska Mileage Plan members can purchase up to 150,000 miles each calendar year. Elite members (MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K) have no annual limit. However, there is a 60,000-mile cap on each transaction, so you’ll have to complete more than one purchase if you want more miles than that. Also note that purchased miles won’t count toward elite status.

Other options for earning Alaska miles

If you’re a fan of Alaska Airlines and its partners, you might be interested in a co-branded credit card to rake in even more miles and benefits. With an annual fee of $75, the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card offers 3 miles per dollar spent on Alaska and 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases. Right now, the card is offering this bonus: Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days of opening your account.

If you do have an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card already, keep in mind that using your card during this sale will not net you 3 miles per dollar, since points purchases run through points.com, not the airline itself. You’ll still be eligible to earn 1 mile per dollar for regular purchases on top of the miles you buy.