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This past week saw the sudden announcement of some big changes from American Airlines’ frequent flyer program and a few smaller ones from US Airways. With this news in mind, TPG reader Paul tweeted me to ask:
“@thepointsguy Given the recent unannounced changes from US Airways, would you still recommend taking advantage of its 100% bonus on shared miles?”
Basically, the US Airways 100% Share Miles bonus promotion enables you to buy US Airways miles at about 1.1 cents apiece – which is an amazing value. You’ll have to move fast, though, because this promotion will end today – Sunday, April 13, 2014! The only downside is that you can only get 50,000 bonus miles per account.
To be clear, while American Airlines made a bunch of nasty changes this past week like doing away with international gateway stopovers and raising the cost of AAnytime awards, US Airways really only made one major change: raising their North Asia round-trip business class awards from 90,000 miles to 110,000 miles – which at approximately $1,200-1,300 based on the per-mile purchase price of this promo is still a phenomenal deal. North Asia destinations include China, Hong Kong and Japan, and you can choose to route your itinerary via Europe, effectively giving you the opportunity to book a round-the-world itinerary at that level.
US Airways awards give you a lot of flexibility, to be sure, but keep in mind that it can also be a pain to book them. They don’t offer one-way awards, and you’re not allowed to make changes to your travel once your trip begins. However, if you can manage to find sweet spots in the award chart (like off-peak awards or awards to South Africa, New Zealand and Australia), it’ll be a great value to have these miles at only 1.1. cents apiece. Personally, I maximized this promotion and transferred a bunch of miles between accounts I manage for my family and friends.
I’d definitely advise you to take advantage of this promotion, too, but just make sure you get a redemption idea set up and redeem your miles as soon as possible so that you’re not affected by future devaluations – and there will certainly be more of them as American and US Airways merge their frequent flyer programs. I don’t expect the final merger to happen until 2015, but you never know, as the two airlines still haven’t made a formal announcement of their intentions.