Buying Airline Miles: an Introduction

A lot of people use Asia Miles or other frequent flyer miles to make journeys which would otherwise be costly. We’ve previously shared articles comparing Asia Miles to other One World loyalty programmes, setting out some good value short distance redemptions using Asia Miles and more.

One thing a lot of people don’t know is that many frequent flyer programmes allow you not only to earn miles but also to purchase miles. For schemes such as Asia Miles, the cost tends to make this unattractive. However, for some schemes you can buy a large volume of miles and redeem them for a flight cheaper than buying the flight outright. This becomes even more attractive when there are promotions increasing the value of purchased miles. We have an old post showing such a promotion, if you want to know a bit more about that type of activity.

When buying miles, it can pay to be in a frequent flyer programme which offers lucrative purchase rates, whether or not you want to fly with that airline. For example, Avianca is a Star Alliance member, so its LifeMiles currency can be used to redeem flights with airlines including Singapore Airlines, Thai, EVA Air and Shenzhen Airlines. Similarly, Alaska Air has a generous programme which can be used to redeem flights on Cathay Pacific.

When we met some of our HK Travel Blog readers at our readers’ meetup, we heard  that some Hong Kong based readers are already making smart use of buying miles. In coming months, we’ll feature posts on the pros and cons of buying miles in specific programmes.

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