Finding Value in US Airways 100% Buy Miles Bonus Until September 30
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
US Airways has launched another 100% bonus on purchased miles now through September 30, 2012. This promo isn’t targeted and there is no need to register. You will receive the 100% bonus automatically when you go to the airline’s Buy Miles page. However, one rule they have when buying miles, is that you must be a Dividend Miles member for at least 12 days, so sign up now if you are not and want to take advantage (sign-up here for a free account). This promotion limits mileage purchases to 50,000 miles (100,000 miles with the bonus).
Normally miles cost 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% tax, but with this promo that cost drops to just about 1.8 cents per mile, which can be a great deal if you redeem for expensive awards.
Note: These purchases are processed through points.com so they generally do not count as “Airfare” (for the Amex Premier Rewards Gold 3x category or the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 2x travel category bonus) or for reimbursements through the Amex Platinum $200 rebate.
Purchasing miles from a frequent flyer program is rarely a high-value way to add some miles to your account, and is generally only a last resort if you need to top up your account for a particular award. But every so often there are some purchased-mile bonuses that might be worth it to some travelers who have a specific award in mind.
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 the site also includes Star Alliance airlines like ANA, Thai, United, US Airways, Lufthansa, TAP, bmi and Air Canada. 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.
Example of a Good Value
Let’s say you wanted to take advantage of the pricing I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago where you can get United domestic first class for just 50,000 US Airways miles by taking advantage of the Star Alliance award travel chart.
To get those 50,000 miles, you’d just need to purchase 25,000 with this promo for a total cost of $940.63.
On a sample itinerary I looked up with low-level first class award availability between LAX and JFK roundtrip on United aboard one of the airline’s 757-200 ps planes, the roundtrip fare was going for a jaw-dropping $6,277! I don’t know why the seat was so expensive, but using miles would have saved you about $5,200 on this route and gotten you a redemption value of roughly 12.6 cents per mile. Usually tickets on this itinerary in first class are around the $3,500 mark, so you’d usually save around $2,500 – still not a bad value at all!
As always, it depends on your travel needs and the award you intend to redeem your miles for. If you are hoping for low-level domestic coach redemptions or even awards on competitive international routes, you’re probably better off just buying tickets. However, US Airways is a Star Alliance member and has a pretty generous award chart, so if you are hoping to redeem premium class awards on expensive routes with low taxes, then you could definitely reap some value from this promotion.
Feel free to post any questions about the promo or US Airways in general in the comments section below.
Terms & Conditions
The 100% bonus offer is non-transferable and is applicable on purchases made between September 1 - 30, 2012, 11:59 MT. All purchases are non-refundable. The maximum number of Buy or Gift miles that can be purchased through this offer is 50,000 miles. Share transactions are not eligible. Offer is subject to change. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer. Only purchases made online are eligible. Miles purchased through Buy, Share or Gift Miles do not count towards Dividend Miles Preferred status. All other Dividend Miles Terms and Conditions apply. Please note that Dividend Miles accounts less than 12 days old are not permitted to Buy, Share or Gift miles. Award seats are capacity controlled and may not be available for the requested dates or mileage amounts.
Miles are sold for $0.035 per mile plus a tax recovery charge of 7.5%. GST/HST will be charged to Canadian residents. Miles purchased through Buy, Share or Gift Miles do not count towards Dividend Miles Preferred status. All other Dividend Miles Terms and Conditions apply. Miles may be used based on award availability at the time of booking. Please note that Dividend Miles accounts less than 12 days old are not permitted to Buy, Share or Gift Miles. All purchases are non-refundable.
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