Now through November 30, 2013, US Airways is offering targeted Dividend Miles members the opportunity to purchase miles either for themselves or for others at a 100% bonus. That means you can get miles for as little as 1.88 cents apiece, which can be a pretty great value.
US Airways is known as the cheap liquidator of Star Alliance miles, and the last time they offered a buy miles bonus was in August – that one actually started as a targeted promotion as well before being opened up to the general public.
This one seems to be targeted at US Airways elites and those who have purchased or shared miles recently, such as with the 100% Share Miles bonus the airline was offering in September/October.
As usual with these promotions, the maximum bonus an account can receive is 50,000 miles (so 100,000 miles altogether if you purchase 50,000 miles and get the 50,000-mile bonus). An account must also be over 12 days old in order to participate, so if you’re thinking about buying these for someone else who needs a new account, make sure they open their account up in plenty of time before the promo ends on the 30th.
So it is worth it? Short answer- absolutely if a) you value business/first class travel and b) know to how leverage Dividend Miles for their maximum value or c) want to take a bet that the US/AA merger will be approved and these miles will eventually merge into your American Airlines AAdvantage account since AA almost never sells miles for less than 2 cents apiece.
Normally US Airways sells miles for 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% tax recovery charge, but with this bonus, that price drops down to about 1.88 cents. The maximum miles you can get out of this promo is to purchase the full 50,000 miles and receive a total of 100,000 miles for $1,881.25. That might seem like a lot of money, but remember that for 90,000 miles, you can get to North Asia and back in business class, and for 110,000 miles you can get a roundtrip business class ticket to South Africa, which is what I recently did. Spending under $2,000 for an $8,000+ flight is a pretty great deal. Economy redemptions are generally not as good an idea, but US Airways does have some flexible routing options which might make it worth it for you. Also note that you get 5,000 miles off US Airways awards if you have the US Airways MasterCard.
Those options are looking even better now since the other US-based Star Alliance carrier, United, just announced a major devaluation of its award chart mileage redemption requirements.
This could also be a workaround to top up your American AAdvantage account, because if the merger goes through, you should be able to switch miles in between programs until they are finally merged in 2014 or even later. I wouldn’t bank on that, but even as US Airways miles, they can be extremely valuable depending on how you use them. Keep in mind that you can also buy US Airways miles for cheap using the Mileage Multiplier.
A Note of Caution
I just wanted to share one caveat based on my recent experience with October’s US Airways 100% Share Miles promotion. I actually had two Dividend Miles accounts because one was really old and I had opened another one up as an adult. I’ve just sort of let them be, using one of them as my primary account and just keeping the other one active with an online purchase every now and then. Both were under my own name.
When the Share Miles promotion came around, I decided to leverage my two accounts and transfer 25,000 miles from my main account into the secondary one for $299 including taxes. Then once the 500,000 miles total (including the 100% bonus) hit that account, I transferred the 50,000 miles back into the primary account to end up with 100,000 miles for $567. So for a total of about $870, I had turned 25,000 miles into 100,000 miles.
Or so I thought…until I got the following email from US Airways:
Our Dividend Miles policy states that members are allowed one account.
Your duplicate frequent flyer accounts have been merged into the
Dividend Miles account number shown above. Please discard any
materials not related to this account and advise your travel agent
of the correct account number.
You may now view your active account online at www.usairways.com.
All “shared” miles between Dividend Miles account XXXX and XXXX
have been deleted and a refund is being processed by Points.com.”
Sure enough, the refund was processed yesterday and I got all my money back and all those miles disappeared. I don’t really blame US Airways – after all a single account per person is their policy and they did return all my money and merged the balances of my accounts automatically – but I am disappointed to lose out on the share bonus, so I’d just caution anyone else who has done or is planning to do this that you could end up with nothing, so if you are sharing between your accounts, or that’s something you’re thinking of doing, be sure that only one of them is in your name so that your miles don’t get taken away.
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