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Top 10 Reasons To Buy US Airways Miles with the 100% Share Bonus

by on April 8, 2014 · 33 comments

in Buy Miles Promotions, Top 10, US Airways

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Now through Sunday, April 13, US Airways is offering a 100% bonus on shared miles. It’s a tiered bonus, so to score the full 100% you must transfer 30,000 miles or more, but this is an amazing deal because it basically amounts to “buying” new bonus miles at the rate of 1.1 cents each, which is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to buy miles promotions. For example, sharing 50,000 miles would cost you $567.50, and you’d be generating a bonus 50,000 miles for that price (and 100,000 miles would be in the new account which is enough for a lot of different awards), which can be an amazing deal depending on how you redeem those miles.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 8.17.45 AM

To refresh your memory of the promo terms, in order to receive bonus miles, an account must be 12 days old or more, and each account can receive up to 50,000 bonus miles (so you end up with 100,000 total), though you can transfer as many miles out of each account as you like. There is a $30 transaction processing fee and 7.5% tax (the 1.1 cents per point factors those in).

Remember, these transactions are processed by points.com so they won’t count towards airfare bonus categories like the 3x on flights booked directly with airlines on the Premier Rewards Gold or 2x for travel on Sapphire Preferred, or 2x on the no-fee Barclaycard Arrival.

However, there are still lots of great reasons to participate in this, not least of which is because this might be the last time you’ll be able to buy US Airways miles at such a low rate. Here are some other reasons you might want to consider it.

1. These are the cheapest miles you’ll get. Though this is a “share miles” bonus, you are actually purchasing bonus miles at a super low rate of 1.1 cents apiece. To put that in perspective, US Airways miles themselves normally cost 3.5 cents apiece plus the $30 transaction fee plus 7.5%. So while generating 50,000 bonus miles through this promo will cost you $567.50, those miles would normally cost you $1,881.25 to buy. That’s a pretty significant discount!

Even with taxes and fees, you're getting miles at the super low rate of 1.1 cents each.

Even with taxes and fees, you’re getting miles at the super low rate of 1.1 cents each.

2. These will eventually become American Airlines AAdvantage miles. US Airways is currently in the process of merging with American Airlines, flyers on both airlines can already earn and redeem miles reciprocally, and that means that the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage programs will eventually merge as well. That’s great news for US Airways flyers who don’t have much of an AAdvantage mileage bank stored up because if past mergers are anything to judge by, we should be able to swap miles between accounts before they actually do merge, and book the most advantageous awards from either program. For now, US Airways is maintaining its current award chart (more on that below), so there are great values to be had, but once the programs do merge, it’ll be nice to have a lot of cheaply acquired miles in your American account – especially considering AA’s buy/share miles promos are much less generous than US Airways’.

3. US Airways hasn’t devalued yet Well, US Airways did just adjust the chart to increase North Asia awards, but most other values are still there. Probably because of the ongoing merger, neither American or US Airways has made major changes to their award chart – including the devaluations we’ve seen recently from United and Delta. However, that doesn’t mean that won’t happen in the future as the two airlines and their mileage programs become more closely aligned, so if you do want to buy miles, I would suggest having a specific, imminent award in mind that you are fairly certain you can book, and to do so as quickly as possible once you get your bonus miles while the redemption values remain the same.

The American US Airways news is only the latest in a string of high-profile airline mergers.

US and American are merging – which means there are some great mileage opportunities.

4. Flexible routing options. One of the strengths of US Airways’ mileage program is its flexible routing and stopover rules. Though your awards have to be roundtrip, they can be either open-jaw (meaning you travel from one city and back to another) or have a stopover (where you travel to one city, spend a while, then travel onto your “final destination” and return to your origin from there) that are fairly easy to take advantage of. Not only that, but US Airways routing rules are extremely lax compared to other airlines so that you can fly to Asia via Europe, for instance, and have a stopover on the outbound or return and basically get two award trips for the price of one. Likewise, you can travel to/from the South Pacific including Australia and New Zealand via Southeast Asia for fewer miles (110,000 in business class) than just going to Southeast Asia alone (120,000 miles).

5. Book American trancontinental first class for 50,000 miles. One of the sweetest spots in US Airways’ award chart is the fact that its partner chart does not differentiate between business and first class awards on domestic flights because US Airways does not really offer domestic business class itself. That means you need 50,000 miles for either a business or first class domestic redemption, whereas American Airlines would charge you 50,000 for business class or 65,000 for first class. Where this gets interesting is with American’s new A321 Transcontinental service. You can book a first class award (a very nice product in my experience, with the airline’s new flagship international business class seat in the first class cabin) for just 50,000 miles roundtrip, like in the example below:

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.46.58 PMThat’s a great deal considering these tickets normally go for about $4,000-$5,000 roundtrip – but if you’re generating those 50,000 miles with this promo, you’re getting that first class ticket for the equivalent of $567.50! That’s not much more than your typical economy ticket from LAX or SFO to JFK these days.

6. Cathay Pacific First or Business Class Awards. (Partner award chart link) One of the other awesome spots in US Airways’ current award chart is that flying roundtrip to North Asia, which includes Hong Kong, in business class costs 110,000 miles, and first class costs 120,000 miles. American would charge you 110,000 miles in business class and 135,000 miles in first class, so you’re saving 15,000 miles on a first class redemption using US Airways miles – and that’s while flying some of the nicest premium products in the sky with good availability from Cathay’s US destinations including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, JFK and Newark. In monetary terms – by buying miles at 1.1 cents apiece, that business class ticket equates to $990 on what would be a $5,000-$6,000 ticket normally, and that first class redemption is $1,320 instead of north of $10,000.

Say hello to Cathay Pacific business class with your US Airways miles now.

Cathay Pacific business class is a great redemption value for US Airways miles.

7. Off-peak awards. Like American Airlines, US Airways has off-peak awards where you can redeem surprisingly low-level awards to various regions across the globe. American’s off-peak awards are more widely available and for longer periods of time, but US Airways’ do have some redeeming qualities – including the fact that you can get to Europe for 35,000 miles roundtrip from North America and Hawaii – a value of $385 at the price you can buy miles at with this promo. You can find the whole award chart here, but here are the mileage numbers and dates for roundtrip off peak awards:

  • Between the continental US or Canada and the Caribbean: 25,000 Coach, 50,000 First (ranges from 35,000-80,000 for coach and 60,000-140,000 for first at other times). Off-peak dates are September 1-30 (just one month!).
  • Between North America or Hawaii and South America: 35,000 coach, 60,000 business (ranges from 60,000-125,000 coach, and 100,000-350,000 business otherwise). Off-peak dates so far for 2014 were February 3-13 and March 17-April 3.
  • Between North America or Hawaii and Europe: 35,000 Coach (ranges from 60,000-125,000 Coach). Off-peak dates are January 15-February 28.

While it remains to be seen whether these will stick around after the merger (or maybe come in at American’s levels), this is something to keep in mind.

8. Both Oneworld and Star Alliance partners. We’re in a magical little window right now where US Airways has exited Star Alliance to join Oneworld, but still retains 11 Star Alliance partners: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAP and Turkish Airlines (TAM as well, but that’s a part of Oneworld now too). That means for the time being, the airline has an extensive network of 25 airline partners that cover every corner of the globe, and there are some amazing redemption opportunities while US Airways current award chart is still in effect. However, keep in mind that certain types of awards and partner combinations are not allowed. You can book awards on US and its Oneworld partners, or US and its Star Alliance partners, but you cannot combine Oneworld and Star Alliance carriers on the same award. Another thing to note is that certain Star Alliance partners will end their relationships with US in the coming months including Air New Zealand (book by June 29th), Avianca (book by May 31st), EVA (book by May 14th) and Singapore (book by July 31st, and not that you can’t book premium cabins on A380, A350, 777-300ER). So if you’re thinking of buying miles through this promo to use on some of US’s Star Alliance partners – better do so while those relationships are still around.

9. Low award fees (except on British Airways and Iberia). One of the great things about US Airways awards is that the airline does not levy fuel surcharges on awards, including partner awards. Unfortunately, that does not extend to the airlines’ new Oneworld partners of British Airways and Iberia, both of which (especially British Airways) levy some jaw-dropping fees on travel to Europe and London in particular. However, there are still plenty of other options to get around this including flying to Europe either on US Airways or American (just not through London), or Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. While getting to Asia on EVA or Cathay Pacific can be a steal.

Using US miles to get to South Africa can be a great value.

Using US miles to get to South Africa can be a great value.

10. Australia and South Africa awards. Another shining spot on US Airway’s award chart is its incredibly low business class redemption level of just 110,000 miles roundtrip to either the South Pacific (including Australia and New Zealand) and South Africa. American Airlines would charge you 125,000 miles, and United would charge you 140,000 on its own planes and 160,000 on partners. In terms of the price of miles generated through this promo, 110,000 miles equates to $1,210 – an incredible value considering roundtrip business class tickets to Australia go for north of $6,000, and those to South Africa are often in the $7,000-$8,000 range! Availability can be tight on these routes, but it’s definitely worth searching considering the savings.

Those are just a few ideas for you, but if you have your own US Airways award plans, feel free to share them below!

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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  • Ven

    Oops….this was
    Obviously written before you woke up this morning but you might want to change the bit about devaluation.

  • John Pherrin

    Yesterday there was a stipulation that you must be a member member for 12 days. Is that for both people taking part in the transfer? I just signed my GF up for dividend rewards because she did not have a membership. Is she eligible to have points transferred to her?

  • Travelista

    Nope.

  • trey

    the North Asia 90k miles have gone up but I don’t see many other changes.. still don’t regret buying 50k miles yesterday.

  • Ben Biles

    Question: if you fly US Airways via its One World partners, is the stopover rule the same as when US Air was in the Star Alliance (i.e. can you have a multiple stopover in an international hub such as Hong Kong if you were to fly from JFK-HK?)?
    Thanks!

  • wirobins

    Does anyone know if points.com purchases are coded as “Travel” by credit card issuers?

    Wondering if I could redeem some Barclay Arrival points for this. Thanks!

  • Agent Provocateur

    Just to clarify, this is moot if you don’t know anyone with 50k+ Dividend Miles already, right?

  • thepointsguy

    I updated.. but still some amazing sweet spot redemptions on the chart. If the only change is 90k-110k for biz N Asia, I’ll take it!

  • thepointsguy

    You need to have another account to share miles with, yes. You can share back and forth with accounts that you manage for… other people.

  • thepointsguy

    Not to my knowledge

  • thepointsguy

    Yes, but they are aligning policies and rules and I suspect they will adopt AA’s less generous stopover policy at some point

  • thepointsguy

    No

  • Dada

    i’m going to miss out since I don’t have an account already :(

  • John Pherrin

    no, she is not eligible? dang! do they have offers like this regularly?

  • Carolyn Guerinot Kumar

    Does it make sense to transfer my AMEX points on a card I want to close to Aeroplan and then to US airways. Once it is in my US airways account to transfer to my husband’s US airways account to buy the 50percent bonus miles?

  • Mariele

    Hi Brian! have been a loyal reader for a while now… I have yet to use my miles for any international travel. I have been hoarding my miles for an Explorer Award, which I was going to book this week. needless to say… I am pissed. Now I would just like your advise (anyone with experience, please chime in!):
    1. Getting to France or Spain in September (from NYC). Best OW partner to get there? (not BA – don’t want to pay the high Fuel Charges) IB?
    2. I have enough miles for Business but would maybe like to save em for another trip, is IB’s economy unbearable for 9hrs? is J really worth the extra 40K miles RT?

    Can anyone help?

  • Big Dawes…..

    So my mate has a us air acct. can I buy me 50000 and send 50000 to them. How do I get them back to me or is there no way

  • Bing Wu

    One thing to keep in mind – although 110,000 miles would cost $1,210 at the rate miles are selling in this promo, you’re actually limited to buying 50,000 miles at that rate since the most miles that can be “shared” with any one account is 50,000. So it’s not a traditional “buy miles” promo, it has to be planned carefully and you need 2 accounts, at least one of which needs miles in it to start with in order to take advantage of this

  • preston

    My wife’s miles are about to expire. If I “share” miles from my account to her account, will that count as activity and extend her expiration date?

  • thepointsguy

    Yes- it will extend the expiration

  • kim

    HUGE BUG! I ‘shared’ 50K points, when I went to pay it said credit card denied (VERY ODD), I tried another card said that one was denied too. Then I noticed there was a paypal option so I tried that (selecting one of the ‘denied’ cards for payment). Just check credit cards, those first two ‘denied’ tries actually went through PLUS the paypal. So I’ve been charged $567.50 three times!!! Anyone else have that problem?????

  • MM

    Never flown us air before. Just opened an account but my account was not eligible to buy miles. Any ideas?

  • blackgas

    you cant transfer aeroplan to us airways anymore. That was as of 03/30 when US Airways became part of OneWorld.

  • Hanh Hua

    So if my partner and I both have 50k+ in miles, we can share our miles with each other and rack up 100k miles in bonus. Is this correct? There’s no policy for only one transaction between two accounts right?

  • Pazpeaceman

    1. US airways redemptions have better stopover options – like you can go to any 2 cities in Europe or to Europe via carribean etc (airberlin and BA have some direct flights from carribean) -they are rather lax with routing restrictions (though that could likely change soon). If you have a lot of avios you want to use, I believe if you redeem for AA or US or airberlin flights that don’t go through London, you won’t be hit with surcharges (would be interesting to know if they have surcharges on the BA openskies jfk-ory flight or not). Otherwise alaska miles would be a great option.
    2. Anything’s better than AA’s 767s. Try to avoid them at all costs. Only real “unbearable” planes l I’ve flown on (AA’s default for transatlantic and Hawaii unfortunately :( – not even a freakin PTV.) I’ve heard airberlin’s new business class is really neat.

    Hope my 2 cents helped.

  • Pazpeaceman

    Also I forgot to mention finnair (AY).

  • henry

    anyone want to share their miles with me? vohenri at gmail dot com

  • Jim

    Would this be useful for consolidating the family accounts into mine? The US Air credit card is linked to my account and with US Air leaving Star Alliance, we will not travel with them that often as a family, except on companion fare. Mom has 22k and the kids have 38k and 22k respectively. Have one kid and mom roll into the kid with 38k and then go to me or just direct to me? thanks

  • Moe Klompus
  • Sam

    Account has to be open for 12 days.

  • Alexander Onishchenko

    of course you can. through points.com. though you loose a little. I recently transferred 16k aeroplan to 13.5k US air. took 3 days. no other fees.

  • Alexander Onishchenko

    2 times out of 3 that I did share/buy promo I got bonus points. amex pr.

  • Eddie

    How often does US Airways run this type of promotion?

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