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US Airways sent out a targeted communication yesterday announcing an 80-110% bonus on purchased miles from May 1- May 15, 2012. I received the communication and was only offered 80%, which I think is the standard offer, so I decided to check it out and crunch the numbers to see how this promo stacks up compared to recent sales. It asks for your name and Dividend Miles number to access this promotion, but you can try using this link to see if you were targeted and what bonus you get- I believe the bonus gets better if you have the US Airways Mastercard and elite status.
Email text: “We’ve specially selected you to receive a 80% bonus. All you have to do is buy miles May 1 – 15, 2012, and you’ll automatically receive your bonus. This offer is exclusively for you and is non-transferrable. “
The maximum bonus you can get is 40,000 miles with a 50,000 mile base purchase – so including taxes and fees, you can purchase 90,000 Dividend Miles for $1,881.25, or 2.1 cents per mile. So is this a good deal? As always, it depends on the types of awards you redeem for. In general, buying miles to be used for coach awards won’t make as much sense as business and first class. At 2.1 cents a mile, a 25,000 mile coach saver award costs $525 – and you don’t get upgraded or earn miles on awards and they are capacity controlled. I’d probably rather have $525 to book any flight I want, though it might make sense if you are trying to book last minute awards on super expensive routes.
I see this promotion making sense for people who value business class Star Alliance awards to North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Mongolia, S. Korea, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan)
since they only cost 90,000 miles roundtrip, or $1,890 via this promotion.
Same goes for business class awards to Australia/Oceania which only cost 110,000 miles roundtrip, $2,310 via this promotion, and you can route via Asia.
US also has 60,000 mile roundtrip Off-peak awards to Europe, so that would be like paying $1,260 – not bad, especially if you can snag their new lie-flat envoy product, which is the same as Cathay’s new business class seat, which is awesome. For more info on off-peak awards, check out this post.
As always, it depends on your travel needs. If you are hoping for low-level domestic coach redemptions or even awards on competitive international routes, you’re probably better off just buying tickets. However, US Airways is a Star Alliance member and has a pretty generous award chart, so if you are hoping to redeem premium class awards on expensive routes with low taxes, then you could definitely reap some value from this promotion. While US Airways used to sell miles as low as 1.5 cents a piece, they recently raised the base sales rate, so I don’t see a return to those prices. Even at a 100% bonus, they’d still cost 1.9 cents a mile.
For more information on maximizing US Airways awards, check out this post.