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Sunday Reader Question: How To Get 20,000 US Airways Miles Quickly?

by on June 3, 2012 · 14 comments

in American Express, Starwood, Sunday Reader Questions, US Airways

TPG reader Vishal has a question about the current US Airways 100% bonus on purchased miles:

“I am trying to get my father a ticket to Mumbai (India) from Atlanta. I have 0 miles in my US Airways account. The miles required for a roundtrip ticket is 120,000 for business class. With this 100% bonus, I can only purchase up to 100,000 miles (50,000 miles purchased plus the 50,000 miles bonus). How do I get the remaining 20,000 miles? Any suggestions? I have already put an itinerary on hold but only for a week. What is the best way to get the extra 20,000 miles quickly?”

A very interesting query. As Vishal points out, he can only get up to 100,000 miles with the 100% bonus. That’s by purchasing 50,000 miles for the normal price of 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% tax for a total of $1,881.25, and getting a bonus 50,000 miles.

However, just because you have maxed out the bonus doesn’t mean you can’t simply purchase another 20,000 US Airways miles. The cost of doing so would be $752.50, bringing your total to $2,633.75. That’s certainly not the cheapest way to go about getting miles, but if you’re looking to top up your account in a hurry, it could be the best option for you.

That’s especially true considering the best price I could find on an itinerary via US Airways from Atlanta to Mumbai this summer (via Charlotte and Frankfurt) was $5,971, so you’d be getting this ticket at a discount of over 55%.

Though buying all the miles necessary would be expensive, it’s still less than half the price of a normal ticket.

Another option would be if you had Starwood points, you could transfer 20,000 Starpoints to US Airways and score the 5,000-mile bonus, meaning you’d only have to purchase 95,000 US Airways miles through this promo. So in this case, you’d be purchasing 48,000 miles and getting a 48,000-mile bonus for a total of 96,000 US Airways miles (for a total of $1,806) and then adding your 25,000 miles from the Starwood transfer. Alternatively, you would only have to transfer 100,000 of them and you’d have 125,000 US Airways miles thanks to the usual 5,000-mile bonus on each transfer of 20,000 Starpoints.

Personally, I think the Starpoints are more valuable when you use them for hotels, but since you have a specific award in mind, this could be worth it to you. The only downside is that Starwood transfers can take up to a few weeks to go through, so you might lose the itinerary you have on hold while waiting for the miles to be credited to your account.

You can also transfer other hotel program points to US Airways, but don’t expect them to post quickly or to be good deals.

Points.com’s exchange feature is another option, but the transfer ratios are extremely inflated.

Finally, you could also consider using Points.com’s exchange feature, which allows you to transfer points in one program to points in another. I plugged in US Airways exchanges on this page, and found that for every 1,000 US Airways miles you needed, you would have to transfer 3,036 American or United miles (so 60,720 total for 20,000 US Airways Miles), 3,162 Alaska Mileage Plan or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, a whopping 6,324 Hawaiian miles, 9,486 Priority Club points, or 1,265 Virgin America Elevate miles among other choices. Generally, these seem to be prohibitively expensive beyond the odd 1,000-mile top off. One interesting exchange rate was just 1,191 Aeroplan miles you’d need for 1,000 US Airways miles, meaning that to get your 20,000 leftover miles, you’d need just 23,820 Aeroplan miles. That doesn’t seem so bad, especially if you’ve got some American Express Membership Rewards points sitting around that you’re not using.

Still, when it comes to buying miles, your choices tend to be limited and expensive. That said, with the 100% bonus US Airways is featuring for the next month, you could still score premium tickets for significant discounts, so you should explore all your options.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • dhammer53

    You can also apply for a USAirways credit card to get the signup bonus (time permitting).

  • Asipring Points Man

    TPG,

    If you are spending the 2,500 or so on miles that ticket won’t be mileage earning. Isn’t it worth it to earn the miles especially since their could be a lot of EQMS?

  • Allen Elkins

    If you have another family member with a US Air account they could buy/transfer the 20k miles
    to your account.

  • CanadianMillionMiler

    Great advice. And to add to that, another trick to get miles posted quickly is to call in and ask for a quicker closing date. So say you apply for US Airways credit card today with 40K bonus miles upon first you, once you have charged at least $ 1 to your card, wait for a day or so for the transaction to post, then call Barclays to prepone the credit card closing date (possibly a few days after closing date).

    Once the statement prints, you will get your 40K miles instantly. And if you have some time, repeat the process 3 times since US Airways card can be churned and you will have totally free 120K miles for your dad to Mumbai.

  • CanadianMillionMiler

    typo above, what I meant was wait a day or 2 after the transaction posts to your account, then call to prepone your closing date to close withn the next few days. :)

  • Michael

    What do you mean by “repeat the process three times” ? How many times can you apply for this card in a short period of time ?

  • CanadianMillionMiler

    I would personally wait a few months for each churn (slow and steady with lesser chance of being flagged as a churner). There are others who do it quicker than that, but I personally wouldn`t like to risk being blacklisted.

  • arcticbull

    Huh! You can actually transfer miles from Amex to US Airways via Aeroplan and Points.com at a great ratio!

    If you transfer 150,000 Membership Rewards to Aeroplan, you’ll get 40,000 bonus (190K total). Then, transfer that to US Airways via Points.com and you’ll have 159,000 for a ratio of 1:1.06! And you won’t pay YQ. This could be a really good deal for flights to Australia or North Asia in particular.

  • arcticbull

    Edit: On looking at the Aeroplan promo it excludes Membership Rewards USA :( But if you have Canadian membership rewards, you’re golden! This is probably the only opportunity they have to fly without YQ :P

  • mark

    the 100% bonus is also available on the mile gifting page. So you can purchase 50,000 miles plus 50,000 bonus and have 100,000 miles, then you can gift from a different account 50,poo miles plus the 50,000 bonus and get a total of 200,00 miles at the 100% bonus rate.

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    It really depends on how bad you need Elite Qualifying Miles for the remainder of the year- but yes award tickets do not earn EQM’s.

  • Gabe

    Yeah this worked well during the last Aeroplan transfer promo. It ended up as 1MR -> 1.05 DM

  • cbkcc1

    if this holds true you can apply for the business card for 25k miles then at a cost of the annual fee.

  • AceTracer

    I’m not sure how appropriate this message is, and TPG can moderate it as necessary, but I’m willing to help Vishal out if he wants to get in touch with me.

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