Is the US Airways 50% Share Miles Promotion a Good Deal?

by on July 9, 2011 · 7 comments

in US Airways

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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.

But that couple looks so happy, how could this not be a good deal!?

The total price to transfer 50,000 miles (and end up with a bonus of 25,000 new miles) is $567.50

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!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Dave

    Sorry to hi-jack the comments here, but what’s the deal with I submitted a survey in early May and have not received payment. Moreover, after repeatedly trying to contact LRA, I’ve heard nothing. I spent a decent bit of time filling out the survey and am surprised they would breach the agreement.

    Has anyone else had similar non-payment experiences?

  • David

    I think it is all contextual, but there seem to be very few scenarios where transferring miles here is worthwhile (ie: if your partner has a ton of miles but will never use them).

    If you just need to top up your account because you are close to the next redemption threshold, they are a terribly annoying deal without the bonus. If you just need to top up a little, you’re sometimes better off going on Dividend Miles shopping and finding something random to buy (ie: a $2 gift certificate) or finding the highest miles per dollar shopping offer.

    WITH the bonus, you are basically transferring your miles for free and making a forced purchase of the bonus miles at 2 cents/mile (ie: transfer 5000 miles + 2500 bonus miles = $50 fee). The fee increases with the size of your transfer, so you can’t do better than that. Because of that scaled pricing, it is just a miles sale, basically. I almost did a transfer just to avoid getting more USAir credit cards in my house, but I can’t square away paying for miles when there are free options out there :)

    I did BUY some miles to top up during the doubles miles promotion, but I needed to catch a specific redemption tier and I didn’t have time to accumulate the miles any other way (or so I thought at the time).

  • Jasonannan

    Awesome reply. I was going for it, but then decided to open a TD account with $50K deposit to get 25K miles. I’ll take the money out as soon as my *A trip is booked!

  • Erik Heinz

    Sharing miles in the past with a 100% bonus was always a cheaper way to generate miles than by buying them with a 100% bonus. 1.1cpm for sharing versus 1.47cpm makes a difference. Of course some figured out how to maximize this at one point and with a preferred bump also in effect at the time they got it under 1cpm. With a family of accounts (fake or real) they generated hundreds of thousands for under a penny pe rmile. Like all things that loophole was eventually plugged.

  • chemist661

    Last month, I did the 100% bonus on buying miles. (50K+50K) for $1478. I used 110K (55K pp w/US Airways CC) to secure 2 off peak (US Metal) biz class tickets for Jan 2012 travel LAX-MAD. For 2 biz tickets, it cost us $1478 + $190 ($94 taxes + $100 US airways fee) totaling approx $1672. Decent for 2 biz class seats. Jan can be a little cool but Spain is not too bad. We went 2 years ago on US metal and it will be even better with their lie flat biz (Envoy) seats. Couldn’t see burning 200K AA miles for the same trip. AA doesn’t have off peak biz seats to Europe. :(

    As for the 50% transfer deal between accounts, we will pass on that. It may be an OK deal if one needs to top off for an award. Othewise, I would just buy the miles at the next 100% bonus opportunity.

  • Marco Ajello

    “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.”

    I actually did this exact redemption last November. Flew in C JFK-NRT on ANA’s new lie-flat with 90,000 of the 100,000 US miles I bought during the 100% promos last January (actually a compounded 25K purchase + 25K bonus for a trusted friend and then that 50K gift from him to me + 50K bonus – but anyway…). Overall a great deal but I had to plan way in advance and was lucky to be traveling alone since as far as I could tell ANA only has one non-elite C reward on each of the ex-JFK flights, and may have become even stingier more recently. On the other hand I’ve done ex-ORD C rewards to NRT on the old seats twice with much greater ease – and both of those times with my girlfriend.

    And I agree that anything less than 100% is hardly worth it.

  • Adamu98

    im a little confused here-there is a lot of talk of mileage transfer with this offer..
    do you need to transfer miles to use for someone else?
    e.g. couldnt i just buy these miles in my name and book for someone else-or is that an additional fee?
    also what are int change fees on awards for us-??

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