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Buying points directly from airlines rarely makes sense, but US Airways frequently runs lucrative bonuses that can make it worth your while. In fact twice this year I’ve purchased blocks of 100,000 miles for $1,478. Since it only costs 90,000 miles to go from North America to North Asia (Japan, China, Hong Kong) in business class, I think paying less than $1,500 roundtrip for that is a steal- especially since coach fares to Asia can often get that high from certain cities.
Well, from December 1-31, 2011 you can get a 100% bonus on purchased miles- however, there are two changes that make this less lucrative than past promotions:
1) Miles now cost 3.5 cents a piece (up from 2.7), so even with the 100% bonus you are paying 1.75 cents a piece per mile, which isn’t great. However, that 90,000 mile roundtrip to Asia in business class will cost you $1,750, which still might make a lot of sense for some people.
2) The max bonus you can receive from this promotion is 40,000 miles, whereas most others have been 50,000. So buying 40,000 miles at $1,750 will yield you 80,000 miles.
Your Dividend Miles account needs to be open for more than 12 days, so if you don’t have one yet you can sign up here for free.
Note: these transactions are processed through points.com, so they generally don’t count towards the Sapphire Preferred 2x travel or Amex Premier Rewards 3x airfare bonus categories- nor will they count towards the Amex Platinum $200 annual airfare rebate.
US Airways has a decent Star Alliance award chart and relatively low taxes and fees, so I’d run the numbers on any upcoming trips you want to take. I don’t see how this would make sense for coach, but it very well may if you routinely pay for business or first class.
US Airways also has off-peak awards to Europe for only 35,000 miles in coach ($630) or 60,000 miles (or $1,050).
The dates are limited, but all “low” level awards during those periods will be at the off-peak level. So if you use the ANA tool to find availability, say from Phildadelphia to Madrid from Jan 15-Feb 28 (off peak window) it should price to only 60,000 miles roundtrip when you pull it up on usairways.com. I’ve been having some difficulty using their site lately (it sometimes only shows coach offpeak when I really want to search for business), but these awards can be booked online. FYI I searched for a while this morning and it seems like there is almost no business class award availability- which is odd. Please report your experience below- I’ll keep searching as well and update you when it appears back in the system.
Remember also, that US Airways has pretty flexible award rules, which includes Atlantic routing on Asia awards, including a stopover in a Star Alliance hub or an open jaw.
Offer available for purchases made between December 1 and 31, 2011, 11:59 MT. All purchases are non-refundable. Bonus miles will be awarded upon completion of the transaction. The maximum number of Buy Bonus miles that can be received by one member for this offer is 40,000 bonus miles. All miles purchased beyond this limit will not be eligible for a bonus. Offer is subject to change. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Share transactions are not eligible for bonus. Only purchases made online are eligible for the bonus.
Miles are sold for $0.035 per mile plus a tax recovery charge of 7.5%. GST/HST will be charged to Canadian residents. Miles purchased through Buy, Share or Gift Miles do not count towards Dividend Miles Preferred status. All other Dividend Miles Terms and Conditions apply. Miles may be used based on award availability at the time of booking. Please note that Dividend Miles accounts less than 12 days old are not permitted to Buy, Share or Gift Miles. All purchases are non-refundable.