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US Airways is known as the official liquidator of cheap Star Alliance miles and they are back at it again with a 100% bonus on shared miles now through October 31, 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 Share Miles page.
Normally miles cost 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% tax, but with this promo that cost drops to just about 1.1 cents per mile, which can be an amazing deal depending on how you redeem those miles.
Key Rules and limitations
1) 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 sharing to 50,000 miles (100,000 miles with the bonus).
2) The 100% bonus goes to the person who receives the miles- not the one transferring them.
3) The maximum you can transfer out of an account is 50,000 and receive is 100,000 (which includes the bonus miles).
4) For each Share there is a processing fee of $30 and a 7.5% tax recovery charge and GST/HST will be charged to Canadian residents.
5) This transaction is processed by points.com so it won’t count towards airfare multiplier categories like the 3x on the Premier Rewards Gold or 2x on Sapphire Preferred.
This promotion came at a really good time because a family member’s account has 49,000 miles in it so through this promotion I paid $556.75 and consolidated those miles into my account and received a 49,000 mile bonus, essentially paying 1.1 cents for the 49,000 new miles I generated. Not bad!
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.
For example a business class roundtrip from the US to North Asia is only 90,000 miles, which would cost $990 at 1.1 cents a piece. If you think $990 for a business class roundtrip flight on Star Alliance carriers like ANA or United is a good deal, then you should seriously consider getting in on this promotion.
US Airways also has off-peak awards to Europe in January and February- only 60,000 miles, or $660 for Envoy (business) class roundtrips. Not too shabby!
How to Maximize US Airways Dividend Miles
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, though they will waive the phone booking fee since partner awards are not bookable online.
I like to use either United.com (or ANA’s search tool) to find the most accurate and up-to-date Star Alliance award availability 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.
As always, do the math for yourself before deciding to jump on this promotion, but this is one of the best US Airways offers I’ve seen in a long time and much less complicated than their Mileage Maximizer promotion I wrote about in August.