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US Airways isn’t the industry leader when it comes to much, but they sure do know how to liquidate Star Alliance miles for dirt cheap prices. As I’ve written about before, US Airways often runs lucrative promotions on Dividend Miles purchases. Once you purchase Dividend Miles, you can redeem them for Star Alliance travel on esteemed carriers such as Singapore, Thai, Lufthansa, ANA, Continental, and Swiss – just to name a few.
In fact, US Airways is running a new promo for members, with up to a 100% bonus on purchased miles. You immediately get a 75% bonus and when US members complete three searches using the US Airways tool bar, you’ll receive an additional 25% bonus on your transfer.
“When you buy miles between February 16 and March 31, 2011, you’ll automatically get a 75% bonus on your miles. Just like that.
Still want more? Use the new Dividend Miles Toolbar before March 31, 2011, and we’ll give you an additional 25% bonus. Wow. Double miles are even better.”
So in essence, you can buy business and first class international flights for a fraction of their actual cost. Some sample prices (full US Airways Star Alliance Award Chart)
North America to Europe: Business Class 100,000 miles ($1,478) or First class 125,000 miles ($1,848)
North America to North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Mongolia, S. Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.) Business Class 90,000 miles ($1,330) or First class 120,000 miles ($1,773)
$1,773 (plus fees) for a first class ANA suite from New York City to Tokyo? Yes, please!
Even coach seats can be a deal for peak travel. I just helped a family of 3 get from NYC to San Francisco in July. The retail cost of their flights was over $680 EACH, but I got them three seats for 25,000 miles a pop using a combination of US Airways and Continental miles. If they had no miles at all, they could have purchased the miles for those three seats using this promotion for $1,108 instead of paying the airline $2,040.
However- remember that you don’t earn miles on award tickets, so if you are looking to build up your Star Alliance carrier elite status, buying miles for flights is not the way to go. However if you are looking to fly in the premium cabin for the price (or less) of a coach ticket, then this promotion may be for you.
Another caveat is that the 25% additional bonus for using the toolbar doesn’t post right away. It may take 5-10 days after doing your three exhaustive searches.
Additionally, US Airways has flexible routing rules, so you can stopover in a Star Alliance hub like Bangkok or Singapore in addition to your destination. Fees aren’t cheap, but they aren’t outrageous either – plan for an extra couple hundred dollars to cover the costs.
Star Alliance is the largest airline alliance, so you generally have scores of options when flying. If you want to check out award availability, you can use continental.com, which pulls in a multitude of partner award availability (like United, US Airways, Lufthansa, TAP, and ANA). However, Continental only shows coach and business (not First) and they have a somewhat sneaky way of pricing some awards.
If you want me to figure it all out and plan your award, simply submit a request here. Let me know you want to take advantage of the US Airways buy miles promotion to pay for your award and I’ll walk you through the process.
Simply put – this is a great way to buy premium class Star Alliance travel for a fraction of the price. Thanks, US Airways!
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With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.