Every couple of months, US Airways has a promotion where you can buy US Airways miles with a 100% bonus. Those are decent deals for topping off your account. However, they occasionally have a 100% bonus on shared miles, and this is a real opportunity to get some deeply discounted tickets.
The offer: From September 30th – October 15th, you can share your miles with a friend or family and get 100% more bonus miles – up to 50,000 miles. You can view all terms and conditions here.
The math: If you were to share 50,000 miles with your spouse, your total cost would be $567.50. Since you’re getting 50,000 miles more than you started with, you’ll end up paying 1.135 cents per mile. That’s one of the best deals you’ll see for buying (technically sharing) miles.
Factors to Consider:
- Award programs typically move in the direction of becoming less valuable. If you buy these, speculatively there is always the possibility that the miles will devalue.
- US Airways is currently part of the Star Alliance Network. If the merger with American goes through, they will become part of One World. What that means is if/when that happens, you won’t be able to make changes to an itinerary if it’s booked with a Star Alliance partner.
- If/when US Airways and American merge, your US Airways miles will likely become American Airlines Aadvantage miles.
Examples of How This Could be a Good Deal
1. Domestic US travel to/from expensive markets, especially flying on US Airways metal.
Domestic round trip flights require 25,000 miles, but if you’re a US Airways credit card holder and fly on US Airways, you can get your tickets for 20,000 miles. Based on this promotion, that’s like paying $227 for a domestic round trip (or $287.75 if it’s not on US Airways metal or if you don’t have the US Airways credit card). Depending on your market, that may or may not be a good deal.
2. Fly in business class to Australia.
A solid price for an economy class ticket to Australia is around $1,200. Using this promotion, you can get 100,000 miles for $1,135.00. US Airways charges 110,000 miles for business class flights to Australia. That’s basically a business class ticket for the cost of an economy ticket. From LAX, the best price I could find for a business class ticket in November is about $3,700. As such, this is probably at least a 60% savings.
Even better, if you want to route through Europe or Asia, you can. You can even get a free stop over in either of those regions.
3. Fly off-peak to Europe.
US Airways off-peak flights to Europe cost 35,000 miles or 30,000 miles if you fly US Airways metal and have the US Airways credit card. That’s either $397.25 plus taxes and fees or $340.50 plus taxes and fees with the US Airways credit card discount.
This represents somewhere around a 40%-60% savings, depending on your market.
4. Fly business class to North Asia with a stop in Europe.
North Asia in business class prices out at 90,000 miles. What’s amazing about this routing is that most airlines charge 100,000 miles for a business class flight just to Europe. With US Airways, you get to Europe and Asia in business for the equivalency of $1021.50 worth of miles (plus taxes and fees).
5. Fly to South America during off-peak Season.
Coach class tickets (off-peak) are 35,000, and business class tickets are 60,000 miles. If you’re a US Airways credit card holder and fly on US Airways metal, you can get these flights for 30,000 and 55,000.
US Airways currently only flies to Rio De Janeiro.
For a business class ticket, this still only represents about $681 total cost for non-US Airways destinations.
Moral of the story: Under the right conditions, this can be a very valuable purchase.