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With the announcement of yet another US Airways 100% Buy Miles Bonus this week, TPG Reader Vincenzo tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy Is it ever a good idea to buy US Airways bonus offers in order to redeem them for economy seats? The difference between economy and business class is a lot – 30,000 miles +!”

Unsurprisingly, US Airways has launched yet another 100% bonus for purchased miles. This brings the purchase price (at the maximum benefit) down to 1.9 cents per mile. Of course the price is higher if you buy fewer miles. TPG reader Vincenzo is wondering whether it makes sense to purchase miles to use for economy award redemptions.

US Airways 100% bonus
US Airways 100% bonus.

The answer to Vincenzo’s question is maybe. A little math reveals the answer. If you purchase miles for about 2 cents per mile, a 25,000 mile domestic round trip saver award would cost $500. So, if your flight is under $500 and you redeem 25,000 miles that you bought at 2 cents each, then you probably aren’t coming out ahead. You may as well just buy the ticket, because then you’ll earn elite status miles (as well as points for buying the ticket), and you don’t have to go through the hassle of redeeming. Additionally, US Airways won’t let you change an award after you take the first leg, meaning there is always some additional risk involved when booking an award ticket.

That being said, it might make sense to use purchased miles for some economy tickets where. For example, economy tickets to Europe can be pricey ($1800 or more at the last minute), so using purchased miles for an award ticket (for example, $1200 to purchase enough for a 60,000 mile award ticket) is a good deal. You also can get good value by buying miles to book business or first class award tickets, since the difference between first/business class and economy is disproportionately higher for purchased fares than for award redemptions. These awards are generally not even double the amount of economy awards, but purchased business or first class tickets can be up to six times as expensive.

In conclusion, do the math before you shell money to purchase miles, and consider whether it’s worth it or not to you to purchase depending on your future travel plans.

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting me or emailing me at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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.