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US Airways 50% Transfer Bonus – Worth It?

by on March 8, 2012 · 19 comments

in US Airways

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I’ve written about a few recent buy and transfer promos from the airline, including Delta’s 75% miles purchase promo, as well as purchase promos from American (up to 37%) and US Airways (50%). Now US Airways is offering a 50% bonus on  mileage transfers between members from March 1-14.

The Cost Per Mile
US Airways charges you 1 cent per mile transferred, plus a processing fee of $30 (and a “tax recovery charge” of 7.5% for Canadians). So if you transfer 50,000 miles, it’ll cost $500 + $30 processing fee. With this 50% bonus, your recipient will also get a bonus of 25,000 miles (remember the original 50,000 were yours to begin with that were being transferred to someone else). So essentially you are buying 25,000 miles for $530 or 2.1 cents a mile. Certainly cheaper than buying them at the regular rate of 3.5 cents each, but more expensive than the good old days of 1.5 cents. 

Worth It?
As always, it depends. US Airways has some great redemptions, mostly in business and first class. For example 90,000 miles to North Asia, so at 2.1 cents a piece that would amount to $1,890 for a roundtrip business class trip to Japan/China. You can now also book the roundtrip premium routes on Singapore Airlines, like Newark to Singapore roundtrip for 120,000 miles ($2,520) and ~$90 in fees. I think this would make a lot less sense for coach and domestic awards, though do the math and it might make sense. There’s a maximum of 50,000 bonus miles received and the person who receives the transfer gets the bonus miles as well.

If I didn’t have tons of miles, I’d think about this, because I can generally get more than 2.1 cents per value back when I use Star Alliance miles.

T&C

Offer valid for Share miles transactions made between March 1, 2012 00:00:01 PT and March 14, 2012 23:59:59 PT. Members may receive a maximum of 50,000 bonus miles during the offer period. This bonus is only applicable for Share Miles and the offer does not apply to Buy or Gift Miles transactions. Bonus amounts will be awarded upon completion of the transaction. Bonus miles will be awarded to the recipient of the Share. Offer is subject to change. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Only purchases made online are eligible.

Miles are shared for $0.01 per mile plus a processing fee of $30 and 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.

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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  • Chrisrhopkins

    I’ve never tried one of these promotions before, so I’m curious – can you share miles back and forth to build up miles? So say I have 20k miles, I share them with a friend. If I’m reading this right, I get 10k bonus miles and they now have 20k. Can they turn those miles around and “share” back to me, and then I share my miles (now 30k) back to them, and so on and so forth? Is this a horrible way to build up miles towards an award I’m trying to book? Thanks!

  • Chrisrhopkins

    I think I read that wrong (the recipient gets the 10k bonus miles, not the person who shares) but the question/concept remains the same.

  • thepointsguy

    Yes you can keep going back and forth until you receive the max bonus miles (50k in this case). Just remember you pay a $30 transaction fee per transaction so you want to limit them as much as possible.

  • DrDavidSkoletta

    Great info, thanks for the article!

  • http://twitter.com/EdySulistyo Edy Sulistyo

    how do you book roundtrip premium routes on singapore airline with my us airways miles?

  • thepointsguy

    You have to call US Air- I booked a Ewr-sin-Ewr yesterday in biz for 120k miles and $140

  • Henrik

    Just be VERY careful with US Airways awards on partner airlines. I got burned as contrary to what a telephone agent told me, NO changes are permitted once your travel has begun. This is highly punitive and can be disatrous, if for some reason you need to make a change.

  • http://twitter.com/EdySulistyo Edy Sulistyo

    i now i have to call them, but i thought you need to tell them the available award date right? how do i find which date is available for the saver award?

  • thepointsguy

    I use united.com to find most star alliance saver availability . Aeroplan.com also works

  • http://twitter.com/EdySulistyo Edy Sulistyo

    so basically go to united.com, select award travel, put ewr to sin, select my dates are flexible then hit search. Then click on each date on the calendar until you found SQ22 that has saver award select button under business column?

  • thepointsguy

    Bingo

  • http://twitter.com/EdySulistyo Edy Sulistyo

    actually, I scanned from august 2012 to feb 2013 and couldn’t find any direct flight sq from ewr to sin available :(

  • econjon

    “I think this would make a lot less sense for coach and domestic awards, though do the math and it might make sense. ” I almost always find that the lack of one way awards ruins the redemption value for domestic.

  • Anonymous

    my spouse and I both took out the Barclays card 40K mile cards. Tough to use exactly 40K miles. With this promotion we can consolidate miles into a single account with 100K miles which then will give us ability to use exactly 2 50K mile tickets, for ~$400. I.E., 100K usuable miles for ~400 cost or 0.004/mile. Vs. today would need to spend $10K on each card to get up to 50K miles for each card.

  • Richardfrankhurtig

    Booked Frist Class Star Alliance (United & Swiss) to Mumbai via Zurich in July for 160,000 miles. The miles were acquired via credit card promos, buy miles promos, hotel transfer promos, etc. On average the miles were acquried for 1.5 cents per miles or less as a result of the promos. So First Class for the cost of Economy Class. But one and only one ticket, monsoon season, five calls to book flight…

  • Michael

    Brian,

    Haven’t seen this question before: is there a way to upfare an award ticket? Say you book a business award and then notice a lot of first available. Can you call the airline and see if you can pay a fee to upgrade to first or is there another way to do it?

  • goamit

    Thanks Brian, this is good timing for me as I plan a DFW-TLV trip.
    How long does it take the updated miles to appear in the receiving account? Or in other words, can one do 4-5 transfers in less than 24 hours?

  • Andrew W.

    Hi Brian,
    Is this transfer bonus different than the convert hotel points to miles email i received this evening with 50% bonus. Most rates are extremely awful, but starwood might be okay. If its 20K=>25K, thus 60K->75K with 50% bonus that 60K starpoints becomes 112,500 USAirMiles with no fees? I’m based in NY, fly economy with the wife and kids, is the US Airways program any good for me? I maxed the grand slam for my account this year, and will try next year, so no idea if i even need more though i have lots of starwood and like their hotels.

    “Exclusive bonus: Get 50% more miles*
    Convert your hotel points to miles today.
    Don’t let your unused or unwanted hotel points go to waste. Convert them into Dividend Miles that you can use for award travel or First Class upgrades. And right now, you’ll earn a 50% bonus. Hurry, you can only get your bonus from now through March 31, 2012. “

  • Charlie

    Great deal. Allowed me to combine wife’s 45k with mine to do *A Business class DEN/LAX/NRT/ICN/PVG/LAX/DEN. Well worth the $513 and I still have 22,500 bonus left. Searched UA for availability then called US and gave the agent the exact flights. Thanks for the heads up!

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