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It looks like we might have one last 100% buy miles bonus from US Airways before the end of the year, though this one is more of a tiered bonus – the more miles you buy the bigger your bonus. Here’s how it works:
Buy 10,000 – 19,000 Dividend Miles, get a 50% Bonus
Buy 20,000 – 29,000 Dividend Miles, get a 75% Bonus
Buy 30,000 – 50,000 Dividend Miles, get a 100% Bonus
So in order to get the whole bonus, you need to buy at least 30,000 miles. 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 you can’t set up a new account to take advantage of this since there’s not enough time.
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 did last January.
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.
With news that US Airways would definitely be leaving Star Alliance by the end of March, you might be worried about actually being able to use those miles on Star Alliance redemptions, but as I found earlier this week, the airline is still pulling in partner availability (with the exception of United flights) and you should still be able to book most Star Alliance awards though those award chart sweet spots are likely going to go away once the airline joins Oneworld and its frequent flyer program becomes more closely aligned with American’s.
Those options are looking even better now since the other US-based Star Alliance carrier, United, announced a major devaluation of its award chart mileage redemption requirements that will take effect in January.
This could also be a workaround to top up your American AAdvantage account, because now that the merger is official, I expect you’ll start to be able to transfer miles between frequent flyer accounts in both airline mileage programs and to earn and redeem reciprocally as early as January 7, 2014. Keep in mind that you can also buy US Airways miles for cheap using the Mileage Multiplier.
Searching For Star Alliance Availability
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 those sites pulls in almost all Star Alliance availability including airlines like Lufthansa, Thai, United and more. 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.
Here are the rest of the terms and conditions:
Offer available for purchases made between December 15th 00:00:01 PT and December 20th 2013, 23:59:59 PT. All purchases are non-refundable. Bonus miles will be awarded upon completion of the transaction. The maximum number of Buy and Gift Bonus miles that can be received by one member for this offer is 50,000 bonus miles. For Gift purchases, bonus will be awarded to the recipient. All miles purchased beyond this limit will not be eligible for a bonus. All transaction inquiries must be submitted to US Airways Dividend Miles within 90 days from end of promotion. 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. Please note that Dividend Miles accounts less than 12 days old are not permitted to Buy, Share or Gift miles. For Gift and Share transactions, the recipient account must also be 12 days old. All US Airways Dividend Miles terms and conditions apply.
Also, just keep in mind that these transactions are processed by points.com, so you don’t get airfare/ or travel purchase bonuses like you would with the Amex Premier Rewards Gold or Chase Sapphire Preferred.