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Sometimes it is better to just buy the points outright

August 16, 2012

UPDATE: This redemption option is no longer available. It sure was fun while it lasted.

It is rare that buying miles is a good value. Maybe a thousand here or there to top off an account or something like that, but buying a whole award’s worth outright is not usually a smart idea. Then again, the Icelandic economy did collapse a couple years ago thanks to unfortunate arbitrage plays so maybe their airline is just trying to catch up on the fun. Reading OnlineTravelReview this afternoon it seems that a very interesting opportunity has arisen to play games with the exchange rate between the Icelandic Krona and dollars or Euros as well as the redemption rate of Saga Club points for travel on Alaska Airlines.

The gist of it is that 30,000 Saga Club points is enough for a first class return ticket on Alaska Airlines metal. Anywhere they fly. And from now until September 28th you can purchase points in the Saga Club program and get a 20% bonus. The cost to purchase 25,000 points – netting 30,000 with the 20% bonus – is only about USD $328. That’s a tremendous bargain. Assuming availability (I’m a bit less inclined to book from the East coast because of that) a trip to Hawaii in first class is going to run you roughly $370. That’s not bad at all.

More details and the original math can be found here.

4 comments on “Sometimes it is better to just buy the points outright

  1. Frank Aug 29, 2012

    Warning Do Not Buy. Deal Dead 🙁 Icelandair got crushed with calls and emails once the strategy was leaked. Talking with them it turns out Alaska is no longer honoring the difference in award travel redemption amounts. So unless you are going to Iceland for 150,000 miles you might as well save your money.

    • Bummer. 🙁 Hope the folks who got in early got their awards booked.

      I do always wonder what the difference is between “Alaska is no longer honoring it” and “We no longer want to pay AS for the awards at the rate we previously negotiated” in this sort of situation. As none of us are on the inside I doubt we’ll ever know.

  2. spiderman Sep 4, 2012

    I am still following posts regarding this offer on many blogs. I am wondering if anyone has any ideas of how to get a refund for purchase of saga points or what we can do with these points (besides fly on Iceland) now that Alaska Air flights are no longer being awarded. Thanks.

    • I don’t think you’ll have much luck getting the purchase refunded now that the redemption option is dead. There was never a guarantee that the award would be bookable so seems unlikely that they’d refund just for that. The program does have some other decent options though none quite as sexy as the Alaska one was.

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