Yesterday I posted offering some ways to earn Alaska Miles, and I have to hand it to our readers – we got amazing feedback. So I thought I’d do a bit of a recap, and flesh out some of the suggestions offered with some additional research.
This is the simplest approach, which was offered by Pedro and James was to Churn Credit Cards. In my defense (especially as my wife would say), I seldom take the easiest path. Even if I would prefer to take the path of least resistance, I would argue generating 400,000 miles solely from Credit Card Sign-ups at 30,000 and 25,000 a pop is pretty challenging.
Buy AMEX Gift Cards, then Buy Miles or Products
TraderProfit and Scott each offered to buy AMEX cards, and then buy products with that. This is normally an excellent option; especially if a deal like what Frequent Miler posted in June were to come back.
If we take that option, factor in 4% cash back, initially bought with an Alaska card, we generate 1,182 miles, and pay $1,135.20. If we then buy Alaska Miles with that AMEX Gift Card (GC) at a cost of $1,182.50.
Then we get those Alaska miles at $0.028 per mile. Its certainly unfavorable. If we factor in resell, then it at a minimum defrays some cost or could turn into profit, but, really, if my math is correct, I’d have to generate a minimum profit of 2.8% after shipping and resell. If we go with something from Finish Line, then it might be the difference between loss or gain.
Transfer from Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)
Crazy 4 Rewards offered SPG points. The challenge there is, (1) I don’t have so many, and (2) if I were to MS, would cost me the same $0.0034 that it would cost me if I were to MS the Alaska Airlines credit card in optimal conditions.
Book via Korean Air
Miles first commented, although Ozaer kind’ve refuted this because of the fuel surcharges, but if I were to generate 5x on my Ultimate rewards cards (up to $1,500 on each Freedom per quarter, and up to $50,000 on each Ink), I’d be able to generate the necessary 400,000 miles with $80,000 spend before fees. The problem is, I can’t seem to definitively find how many miles Korean air would take. So if I go with the BA equivalent of 160,000 per person and $960 per person, needing 320,000 (lets say UR points, so $64,000 spend), plus $1,920 (conservatively, lets say at 5% cash back, I need to spend just shy of another $40,000). So we’ll leave it at me needing to generate roughly $104,000 in spend, unless Korean Air is worse or better.
Clearly there were a lot of options I didn’t consider. I’m still going to keep at it, honestly, I am hoping that the Mileage Plan mall starts getting more competitive, but if it doesn’t, I may just have to split spend between my Ultimate Rewards cards and maybe my American Express Blue or Barclay Arrival Plus.
What I want to highlight the most though, is the amazing feedback that I got on yesterday’s post. We’re a new blog, but we’ve got some very astute readers, and I personally am very appreciative for every comment we receive.