Buying American and US Airways Miles Promotions- Worth It?
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Currently both US Airways and American Airlines are running similar buy miles promotions, where you can buy either US Airways Divdened Miles or American Airlines AAdvantage miles for as little as 1.88 cent per mile.
From November 13 through January 2, 2015, you’ll earn either up to 45,000 AAdvantage bonus miles, or up to 45,000 US Airways Dividend Miles when you buy miles for yourself, or when you gift miles to a friend or family member. Below is the chart, which is the same for both offers, on how many bonus miles you will receive:
If you were to max out this promotion and buy 80,000 miles, you would be receiving 45,000 bonus miles for a total for 125,000 miles for $2360 which comes down to only 1.88 cents per mile. Per my recent valuations of miles and points, I value US Airways miles at 1.9 cents, and American AAdvantage miles at 1.7 cents, so depending on your redemptions, this could be a great way to boost your balances in both programs.
Currently, you can not transfer miles between the two programs, so if you were to buy US Airways miles you wouldn’t be able to transfer to American, and if you were to buy AAdvantage miles, you wouldn’t be able to transfer to your US Airways account. Later on in 2015, you will be able to transfer your US Airways miles to American, but not the other way around.
However, before you automatically decide to buy American AAdvantage miles, here’s a look at some redemptions you can make with your US Airways miles:
Off-Peak Awards: Like American Airlines, US Airways has off-peak awards where you can score surprisingly good deals. American’s off-peak awards are much more widely available and for longer periods, but US Airways’ awards do have some redeeming qualities, like getting to Europe for 35,000 miles round-trip from North America and Hawaii between January 15-February 28. You can find the complete award chart here. For some sample flights, I chose Philadelphia-Rome in late January. To buy these same flights outright would cost $1,154, however you could redeem for 35,000 miles would get you 3.38 cents per mile in value, which is much more than the 1.88 cents per mile you would pay for them.
American Airlines Transcontinental First Class: Redeeming US Airways for American Airlines Transcontinental First Class between New York and Los Angeles is another good value, since American flies between JFK-LAX non-stop 13 times a day. I recently flew this service from JFK-LAX on the new A321 in First Class and was quite pleased with the new plane and seats. I looked at some sample flights in November; to buy these same flights outright would cost $3,634, meaning your 65,000 miles would give you 5.59 cents per mile in value, which again is much higher than the 1.88 cents mile you would pay for them.
First Class to Asia: You could redeem your Dividend Miles for First Class on American Airlines to Asia for 120,000 miles round-trip. Even though the limit of purchased miles maxes you out at 100,000 miles, US Airways has frequently run these buy miles promotions in the past, so if you were able to use 120,000 miles purchased through these offers, you’d save the $6,405 cash price for these same flights, which gets you 5.33 cents per mile in value.
These are just a few examples of how purchasing US Airways miles could be just as valuable as buying American AAdvantage miles. Check out my post on the Top 11 Awards To Book With US Airways Miles Now That It Is A Member of Oneworld to see some other great uses for Dividend 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 the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage programs will eventually merge as well. As a reminder, you can get 5,000 miles off US Airways awards if you have the US Airways Premier World MasterCard, though this benefit is set to expire in 2015.
Do you plan on taking advantage of either of these offers, and what redemptions do you have in mind?
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TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
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*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
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