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US Airways 100% Bonus on Purchased Miles Through June 30, 2012 – A Good Deal?

by on June 1, 2012 · 56 comments

in Buy Miles Promotions, US Airways

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US Airways is known as the official liquidator of cheap Star Alliance miles and they are back at it again this June with a 100% bonus on purchased miles now through June 30, 2012. Unlike some past promotions, this one isn’t targeted and there is no need to register as you will receive the 100% Bonus Miles automatically when you go to the Buy Miles page. However, one rule they have when buying miles, is that you must be a Dividend Miles member for at least 12 days, so sign up now if you are not and want to take advantage (sign-up here for a free account). This promotion limits mileage purchases to 50,000 miles (100,000 miles with the bonus).

The cost to buy 50,000 + 50,000 Bonus miles is $1,881.25, thus making it 1.8 cents per mile, which can be a great deal if you redeem for expensive awards.

100% Bonus.. so is it worth it?

Purchasing miles from a frequent flyer program is usually a high-price/ low-value way to add some miles to your account, and is generally only a last resort if you need to top up your account for a particular award. But every so often there are some purchased-mile bonuses that might be worth it to some travelers and depending if you have an upcoming award in mind.

Some people think that US Airways has awful award availability, but the main problem is that their website does not show any availability for the other 26 Star Alliance carriers. They have the same Star Alliance availability as United or Aeroplan, it’s just that they don’t show it on their website – you have to call 1-800-428-4322 to book an award and they will waive the phone booking fee since partner awards are not bookable online.

Note: These purchases are processed through points.com so they generally do not count as “Airfare” (for the Amex Premier Rewards Gold 3x category) or for reimbursements through the Amex Platinum $200 rebate.

Example
Let’s take an example where this might be worth it. $1,693.113 ($1575+ taxes) will get you 45,000 base miles plus 45,000 bonus miles, for a total of 90,000 miles.

90,000 US Airways miles will earn you a trip to Asia in business class (Star Alliance award travel chart) from North America on any Star Alliance carrier. Those tickets easily go for around $5,000, so you’ve basically just gotten yourself a $3,700 discount.

Remember, don’t use usairways.com as a judge of what flights you can get – I recommend using united.com for award searches because the site also includes Star Alliance airlines like ANA, Thai, United, US Airways, Lufthansa, TAP, bmi and Air Canada. Generally, any Saver Award on united.com will be bookable with US Airways miles so you just write down the dates and flight numbers that show availability and then call in to book through US Airways. US Airways will let you put an award on hold, so I recommend holding the award you want before buying the miles.

The easiest way to check Star Alliance availability, in my opinion, is to use United.com. Let’s say we want to go from Los Angeles to Sydney – just go to united.com, enter the origination, destination dates and select the “Award Travel” dial. It will pull in options on both United via Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as partners like Air Canada via Vancouver. Any Saver level award (see the three columns below), should be bookable with US Airways miles and remember, when you use US Airways miles, you price the award at the US Airways level, which is only 110,000 miles roundtrip in business class for North America to South Pacific vs. 135,000 using United miles.  It will automatically display United results first, so always scroll down to see partner availability. It’s not 100% perfect, but you can double check the availability using the ANA tool, which is a bit more burdensome, but more a more accurate judge of Star Alliance availability.

Sample united.com Award Travel search for LAX-SYD

Worth It?
As always, it depends on your travel needs and the award you intend to redeem your miles for. 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.

Feel free to post any questions about the promo or US Airways in general in the comments section below.

T&C
Offer available for purchases made between June 1 and 30, 2012, 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 50,000 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.

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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  • Dabao

    is it worth it to buy and use for first class to Hawaii?

  • thepointsguy

    US to Hawaii is 70k in first class, or roughly $1,330 via this promotion. If you’d normally pay a lot more than that for first class, then this could be a great deal.

  • wxm32167013

    Excellent post! I am wondering how long it will take to post the purchased points. I am thinking of holding an award ticket, but not sure how long it can be. Thank you!

  • Allune

    I just used all my miles on a trip for me and my wife to Croatia, do you think it would be beneficial for me to purchase the 50k +50k bonus for use to go from NY to Phuket/Koh Samui – I’m thinking about booking a vacation there soon.

  • Michael

    Interesting that it is cheaper to fly from US to North Asia than to Europe (based on their awards chart

  • MCB

    TPG, Can you redeem your UsAir miles on United flights? I was hoping to find a way to add a stop over to Hawaii from the continental 48 states. Does CLT being a UsAir hub help with this?

  • Michael

    Is the Us Airways awards chart based on one-way or round-trip

  • Ram Kashyap

    Round Trip. The problem is whether you book one way or round trip, you will be charged the same number of miles. If you are booking one way it would be of very less value.

  • Michael

    Does the same go for the US Aiways Partner chart (Star Alliance)?

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    Yes, the partner chart listed above is for Round-trip awards.

  • TPG Intern Ryan

    Absolutely you can redeem US Airways miles on United! Check out this other post on Maximizing Stopovers on US Airways Awards http://thepointsguy.com/2011/06/maximizing-stopovers-transfers-and-open-jaw-ticketing-on-us-airways-awards/

  • Mrbobsamit

    Great blog – wondering if there is a way to buy US Air miles and transfer them to United. United provides for 1 way mileage awards on star alliance partners and US Air does not. Thoughts??? transfer to hotel and then to United or this is a closed door? thanks

  • MCB

    So a stopover is only allowed in a Star Alliance hub? CLT is my originating city, guess I’m out of luck…

  • Mrbobsamit

    100%…I have done this route from LAX to ICN to HKT on Asiana, a star alliance partner (i typically use aeroplan). I dont know if you can add a destination, but you should return via HKG if you can and check out another amazing destination.

  • Supervike68

    I wonder if this would be worth it in conjunction with applying for US Airway’s credit card? We have our hotels taken care of in Paris in September and I’m just trying to find the best way to get their from Denver.

  • Michael

    Yes that’s the kicker. I got approved for one recently. I think it’s a pretty good deal. You get 40K miles on first purchase and then 10k after first year. There is no spend requirement. If you bought 30,000 miles for $1050 you’d have 100K miles with the card. Just be aware that if you plan on traveling in September there might not be enough time to get the miles posted in time and to book your flights.

  • Jon

    There’s no way to transfer directly from US Airways to United. Transferring using a hotel or other award program as an intermediary would likely not be worth it due to conversion ratios. If there’s any chance you’ll visit your destination again in the next year or so, you could book an extended roundtrip via USAirways, and book a one-way via United.

  • Allune

    I booked my Croatia trip via aeroplan and have some miles left over. I can transfer points from my US air account to aeroplan? If so, what’s the transfer ratio?
    How was Asiana?

  • Supervike68

    The timing is definitely an issue with regard to the points posting and award availability. This will be my first trip overseas, so we may have to just buy economy seats this trip. I need to plan out how to get the miles for our next trip.

  • thepointsguy

    Agree with Jon. US Airways doesn’t allow one-ways, but is better than United in other ways (like lower redemptions on certain routes).

  • thepointsguy

    Your originating city doesn’t matter- just where you want to stop along the way does. If its a “hub” city, they will let you. Even if its not, you can always ask :-)

  • thepointsguy

    Don’t ask questions.. just book! ;-)

  • thepointsguy

    You can’t transfer US to Aeroplan and you wouldn’t want to because US charges less for most awards. You can build in a stopover in Tokyo/Seoul/Singapore/Bangkok if you wanted.
    Check out this post on US miles http://thepointsguy.com/2011/06/maximizing-stopovers-transfers-and-open-jaw-ticketing-on-us-airways-awards/

  • thepointsguy

    Points and bonus usually post within minutes

  • thepointsguy

    Always smart to think ahead..these bonus miles post instantly usually. The credit carfd you should get after your first statement closes.

  • TAA_Knife

    I need 120,000 miles to Mumbai, but with this office can only get upto 100,000. Any idea how to get rest 20K quickly??

  • daninstl

    Your cost per mile could be less if you use a US Air credit or debit card for the purchase. This should earn a few miles on it’s own and might bring the cost down to 1.84 or so mile. Seems like a good deal to me either way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RobertDWray Robert Wray

    Great post. There is a typo on your expiration date.

  • Rfento05

    TPG,

    What’s a legal creative routing from JFK to syd without flying UA via lax or sfo? Will US allow routing thru Europe (JFK-fra-bkk/sin-syd) or thru Asia (lax-sin-syd/mel)? UA has a ton of space for their new global first service to syd from lax or sfo but it seems too easy and boring.

  • Mrbobsamit

    Asiana FIRST from LAX to ICN on the 747 is awesome. I just returned from HKG to LAX on Cathay FIRST. Asiana and Cathay are tied. Both experiences smoked United’s FIRST from LAX to Shanghai 777.

  • Mrbobsamit

    I live in California so flying to Hawaii for 5 hours never worth first. Economy plus and first to me is the same. International first with pods is worthy. I recently returned from Costa Rica on United – Reese Witherspoon was in first – I was in economy plus. So the seat is a little wider and a little more space. But seats recline 10 degrees more – who cares…just my thoughts!

  • Caveman

    @TPG- Your post regarding how to maximize stopovers on US airways is dated June 16, 2011, almost a year old. Do you think nothing has changed since then or you would like to update it now?

  • thepointsguy

    There have been no major changes since that post was written

  • Wxm32167013

    Thanks. One more question: can I use points to book a round trip with one way on business and one way on economy? I am thinking of this because I don’t have enough points to burn even I purchase 100,000 points.

  • Dan

    As TPG says in this article, the points come from points.com and don’t count as airfare (or count as coming from US Airways), so that trick won’t work unfortunately.

  • thepointsguy

    What about Air Canada from YVR? Thats only business, but still a decent and different product.

    I don’t think US will let you route via Europe to Sydney, but definitely via Asia.

  • silverm

    for an open jaw, is it possible to do: Chicago to Frankfurt and then travel another airline to Hong Kong and then do Hong Kong to Chicago? not really sure how it works

  • PJ

    get a Barclays US airways maser card i believe it has been offering 40K with first purchase since before 1st grandchild was born ; any my miles are still NOT touched. it is so hard to use US airways miles sigh…

  • PJ

    “Some people think that US Airways has awful award availability, but the main problem is that their website does not show any availability for the other 26 Star Alliance carriers. They have the same Star Alliance availability as United or Aeroplan, it’s just that they don’t show it on their website – you have to call 1-800-428-4322 to book an award and they will waive the phone booking fee since partner awards are not bookable online.”

    Does this mean when I see on http://www.united.com NON STOP SFO-EWR R/T flights available for 25K I can then call in US AIrways and ask to book on my US Airways miles ?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes

  • Stephan

    Yes, but you’ll be charged the higher business rate so it won’t work for you

  • Stephan

    You might be able to get an agent to ticket a “mini round the world” ticket if they don’t know their geography well. You can go ORD – FRA – HKG on LH as FRA is their hub. You can only stop over in an airline hub. You better go here: http://thepointsguy.com/2011/06/maximizing-stopovers-transfers-and-open-jaw-ticketing-on-us-airways-awards/

  • Carl

    Better to do first class to Hawaii with the BofA Alaska companion ticket. Both travelers earn redeemable miles, eqm, and class of service bonus, plus 1,000 online booking miles.

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  • Naren

    I have tried on several {infact most} occassions to book USAir award ticket on Star alliance partners and failed even though United.Com amd Aeroplan indicated definite availability, even naming the specific filght numbers. The last time the USAir representative wondered why in her experience so many customers go this route. She said that the there is a quota from Star which varies with the airlines and availabilty on one airline from Star members do not necessarily translate to others.

  • Naren

    Adding to my (Naren)comment, the attempt was limited to NYC to India airports.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/yuan.yao.739 Yuan Yao

    I want to know how I can use miles to redeem a award ticket? Just call the service and tell them my US Airways account?

  • Emrubio

    I know you say it will not apply for Amex gold triple points since it is points.com but will you get double points if you buy with sapphire preferred?

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  • Stephan

    All nonsense. US Air blocks some awards like LH F andothers. Also a lot of the CSRs are clueless and will tell you anything. Search the Flyer talk threads on using US Air Dividend miles for award tickets to get some helpful hints.

  • Stephan

    No, since your open jaw can’t be farther away than your flight segments. Now having said that, US Air CSRs are totally clueless most of the the time and seriously geographically challenged pretty well all the time so you might be able to if you are lucky.

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  • Mitch

    Hi PJ,

    I need 220K miles for a trip for me and my wife from Melbourne AU to NYC. Would be happy to take them off you hands for a good price?

    Cheers,

    Mitch

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