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US Airways 50% Miles Transfer Bonus Until July 31, 2012 – Worth It?

by on July 3, 2012 · 5 comments

in Buy Miles Promotions, US Airways

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Fast on the heels of the recently ended 100% bonus on purchased US Airways miles comes another promotion, this time for a bonus of up to 50% on shared or transferred miles. This offer is good until July 31, 2012 and accumulates in the following increments:

Miles : Bonus
1,000-9,000 miles : 10%
10,000-19,000 miles: 20%
20,000-29,000 miles: 30%
30,000-39,000 miles: 40%
40,000-50,000 miles: 50%

Not Impressed
Before you even ask if this is worth it, I’m going to say that I’m pretty unimpressed with both the fact that you can only take advantage of this on a single share either as donor or recipient, and the figures look a bit dismal as it costs 1 cent a mile to share plus a $30 processing fee per transaction (and a 7.5% tax for Canadian residents).

To put it in real terms, if you were going to transfer 50,000 miles to someone you know, it will 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. If you’d just bought 13,000 miles during the recent 100% purchase bonus, that would have cost you $489.12 for a total of 26,000 miles, or 1.88 cents a mile.

Two Scenarios
As always, whether a promotion is worth it depends on what exactly it means for you. For instance, as I pointed out in this Sunday Reader Question, you can get to Australia with a stopover in Asia (pretty much doubling the potential of your trip) in business class on great Star Alliance partners like ANA or Singapore Airlines, for just 110,000 US Airways miles. At 2.1 cents each, that would cost $2,310. (Not that you can get that many miles with this promotion since you’re capped at transferring 50,000, but to keep it in context of price.) A business-class ticket from North America to Australia via Asia would cost you well over $8,000 (probably closer to $10,000-$12,000), so you’d be coming out way ahead- especially if you are transferring miles from someone who doesn’t plan on using them anytime soon.

If, say, you were able to find an off-peak business class award ticket from North America to Europe aboard US Airways in their newly refurbished Envoy Class, it would cost you just 60,000 miles which would require a transfer of just 40,000 miles for the cost of $430 (essentially you’d be paying 2.15 cents each for those bonus 20,000 miles), and getting a ticket worth between $2,000-$3,000. Not a bad exchange, but Offpeak Awards have limited windows of availability.

Because of the limited terms of this promotion – the mileage cap, the fact that you can only get a bonus on a single transfer – all mean that it’s going to be much harder to squeeze real value out of any transfers. But if you were thinking of transferring some miles anyway so a friend or family member could reach an award-ticket threshold, then you might as well take advantage of this bonus to help them score a few extra miles into the bargain at the same price.

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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  • Stephen

    I’m typically not a complainer here, but it seems like every time you analyze one of these purchase/transfer bonuses (at least every week or two), the answer is always along the lines of “definitely not worth it unless you have a specific award in mind.” Maybe save the space unless there is something truly exceptional in the market?

  • thepointsguy

    I get your point, but I get tons of emails every time these promos come out so it seems like people still want to know. Whenever they are amazing deals I clearly note it so don’t worry- you won’t miss out when there is a good one

  • PJ

    I never complain; I can not thank TPG enough for alerting us the Fidelity 50 K bonus miles offer not to mention the Sapphire Preferred bumped up 100 K offer.. etc etc..

    People read here and use up the $1500 Grocery 5 % rebate on Chase Freedom.. to get 100K Avios sign on bonus . I contributed my input on Chase Freedom cards again and again and finally drew the pleasure for seeing TPG praise the Card as his #1 work horse card. Sharing is always a joy.

  • Jeffrey

    Brian, you wrote: “…you can get to Australia with a stopover in Asia (pretty much doubling the potential of your trip) in business class on great Star Alliance partners like ANA or Singapore Airlines, for just 110,000 US Airways miles…”

    Now a business class ticket in itself to an ANA hub like Tokyo only requires 90K miles, but going to Singapore would require 120K, thus more than going to Australia. Does the combo of Australia w/ a stopover in Singapore require 110 or 120K miles?

  • Stephan

    I disagree with Stephen…I think the analysis of the practical value of these promos is key in evaluating their merit. As Brian points out, most of these “deals” ain’t so great once you crunch the numbers…and I’d rather he do it and let us all see his assessment before we consider jumping on board.

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