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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Though US Airways has recently offered a few 100% bonus promotions on miles that you purchase, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a bonus that high on shared miles through the airline, which is also sometimes known as the official liquidator of cheap Star Alliance miles, but today the airline launched a new 100% share miles bonus that runs now through October 15, 2013. Through the promo, “Members may receive a maximum of 50,000 bonus miles during the offer period”, but you can send as many miles as you’d like to other accounts and each is eligible to earn up to 50,000 bonus miles. This isn’t a targeted promotion like some past promotions, and there is no need to register as you will receive the 100% bonus miles automatically when you go to the Share Miles page.
If you were to purchase miles, they normally cost 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% tax, and sharing miles costs 1 cent each plus a $30 processing fee and 7.5% tax. However, with this promo the cost drops to just about 1.1 cents per new mile created via the bonus, since you are paying the share miles costs and fees, but generating twice the miles. For example, sharing 50,000 miles would cost you $567.50, and you’d be generating a bonus 50,000 miles for that price (though 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.
Key Rules and limitations
1. 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).
2. The 100% bonus goes to the person who receives the miles- not the one transferring them.
3. The maximum bonus per account is 50,000 and receive is 100,000 (which includes the bonus miles).
4. For each Share there is a processing fee of $30 and a 7.5% tax recovery charge and GST/HST will be charged to Canadian residents.
5. This transaction is processed by points.com so it won’t count towards airfare multiplier categories like the 3X points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines on the Premier Rewards Gold or 2x on Sapphire Preferred, or 2x on the no-fee Barclaycard Arrival.
6. Bonus amounts will be awarded upon completion of the transaction.
As always, it depends on your travel needs and the award you intend to redeem your miles for. 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.
For example, I used 110,000 US Airways miles to book a roundtrip award ticket from New York to South Africa last year in business class on South African Airways, which would have cost $8,000+ if you paid for it outright or $1,210 if I were to buy miles at 1.1 cents a piece.
Another great example is US Airways’ business class roundtrip award requirement from the US to North Asia is only 90,000 miles, which would cost $990 at 1.1 cents apiece. If you think $990 for a business class roundtrip flight on Star Alliance carriers like ANA or United is a good deal, then you should seriously consider getting in on this promotion.
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.
How to Maximize US Airways Dividend Miles
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.
As always, do the math for yourself before deciding to jump on this promotion, but this is one of the best US Airways offers we’ve seen lately – on a par, if not more valuable than the recent 100% buy miles promos – and there’s not telling how many more of them we’ll see as the American-US Airways merger stop-and-start process continues.