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US Airways constantly runs bonuses on buying and transferring miles and they just announced another 50% bonus on transfers. My rule of thumb is generally that 100% bonuses can be worthwhile, 75% maybe and anything less than 75% usually isn’t worth my time or money.
As I wrote about previously, I did recently purchase 100,000 US Airways miles for $1,478. I can use 90,000 of those miles for a business class ticket on ANA to go back to Tokyo (a place I love). So for me, $1,478 for roundtrip to Tokyo (with a strategic stopover built-in) in business class with 10,000 miles leftover is a pretty good deal, so I went for it.
This transfer bonus is more hassle and much less lucrative. First, you need to transfer to someone else and then they transfer back to you (or else you book the award from their account). Secondly, the max bonus is only 25,000 miles and remember – it may seem like you are getting 75,000 miles for only $567.50 – but you actually started out with 50,000 of your own miles, so you are buying 25,000 “new” miles for $567.50. Thus, the cost per mile comes to 2.27 cents a piece – versus the much simpler 100% buy miles promo which priced miles at 1.48 cents a piece.
If you were going to buy miles at full price, 25,000 miles would cost you $739.06 (2.9 cents per mile), so I suppose this could save you some money, but in general I don’t think this is a very good deal, especially because they run 100% buy/transfer promos often.
Though if you feel otherwise, please feel free to comment below!