Middle Age Miles

New Alaska Mileage Plan eShopping Portal Bonus – Our Analysis and How We’re Playing It

alaska mileage plan eshopping portal bonus analysis strategy january 2020

The Alaska Portal Bonus Offer

This morning, Alaska Mileage Plan eShopping came out with a new bonus offer for spending through its portal. The bonus offer consists of 2 tiers:

  • Spend $150+ and earn 500 bonus AS miles
  • Spend $300+ and earn 1,000 bonus AS miles

The offer is good on spend from now through January 14, 2020 (next Tuesday).

At our baseline value of 1.5 cents per Alaska mile, this promotion gives you an opportunity to earn up to an extra 5% in points rebates by going through the Alaska portal and spending exactly $150 or $300.

Analysis and How We’re Using This Offer with a Gift Card Purchase

For starters, if you have organic purchases that you can make to collect this bonus, that’s probably the way to go. As always, be sure to check Cashback Monitor to compare rates.

For us, we don’t have any immediate organic purchases to make online in the next 8 days, so we’re focused on buying and liquidating a virtual Visa Gift Card (VGC) purchased through GiftCards.com (GC.com).

As you can see here, the payout rate for GC.com purchases through the Alaska Mileage Plan portal is 0.5 miles/$:

When we purchase a virtual VGC from GC.com, using a Citi Double Cash card, the math will look like this:

  • Fee for a virtual VGC (any amount from $10-500) = $5.95
  • Liquidation fee using a 2% online method = $9.81
  • Portal earnings on AS for GC.com = $506 * 0.5 mi/$ = 253 AS miles
  • Bonus earnings on AS = 1,000 AS miles
  • Credit card for payment = Citi Double Cash, earning 2x TYPs / $
  • Credit card point earnings = 2 * $506 = 1,012 TYPs

Using these numbers, we’ll incur a total of $15.76 in fees and earn a total of 1,253 AS miles plus 1,012 ThankYou Points (TYPs). That means we will have “purchased” a total of 2,265 AS miles/TYPs, at a cost of 0.70 cents per point/mile. That’s well below our baseline values for AS miles and TYPs, which are 1.5 cents each and 1.25 cents each, respectively.

Looking at it another way:

  • AS miles baseline value = 1,253 * 0.015 = $18.79
  • TYPs baseline value = 1,012 * 0.0125 = $12.65
  • Total points/miles value = $31.44
  • Total fees = $15.76
  • “Profit” (in terms of baseline points/miles value) = $15.68

That works for us. We didn’t do the AS final holiday shopping portal bonus where the maximum bonus was 500 AS miles, because we didn’t think it was worth quite enough to spend time on. But the 1,000-mile bonus tips the scales enough to get us to bite.

Also, for those who are wondering – We have confirmed data points from previous promotions during 2019 that VGC purchases from GC.com *do* trigger the portal bonuses on the Alaska portal and other shopping portals administered by Cartera.


If you’d like to “purchase” some Alaska miles and credit card points at below market value, this new bonus is a good opportunity. Be sure to do your own calculations to see if the deal makes sense for you!

What do you think about this portal bonus deal from Alaska? Any tips on how to use it better than what we’ve suggested here? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!

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4 thoughts on “New Alaska Mileage Plan eShopping Portal Bonus – Our Analysis and How We’re Playing It

  1. KS

    thanks again for all the info you provide…very valuable….what is the the online liquidation method…is it something that can be spoken abt? if not it is fine…thanks

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi KS – You’re most welcome – glad you’re enjoying the content. We’ve written about this online liquidation method in the past, so anyone who wants to search the site can find it. At this point, we’re concerned that it may be a bit fragile, so we’ve decided to not mention it by name any longer in hopes of preserving it. In addition, the recent loss of Plastiq as an online liquidation method for GCs really hurt us and has limited our options. I’m sorry to be so coy. We generally try to stay as transparent as we possibly can. Thanks again for reading! ~Craig

  2. philco

    This probably comes under the category of “organic spend” but I am going to be making some AirBnB reservations in near future so I’ll probably get an AirBnB GC to load to my account from GC.com or Raise. I

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