US Airways Dividend Miles Program Introduction and Overview

Welcome to a longer overdue continuation of a series where I feature some of the basic, introductory material about different award programs.  That way if you’re new to the ‘game’, you can just read this cheat sheet rather than trying to compile all the information by yourself.

In this post we’ll be focusing on the US Airways Dividend Miles program.

Here’s a list of the other US based airlines that I’ve posted about:

Delta SkyMiles

American AAdvantage

United MileagePlus

Southwest Rapid Rewards

US Airways Dividend Miles Program Details and Introduction

Published October 2012.  Changes after this date may not be reflected in this summary.

US Airways Partnerships:

Star Alliance Partners

US Airways is part of the Star Alliance Partnership. Star Alliance Airlines include:

  • Adria
  • Aegean
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian
  • Blue1
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airlines
  • SpanAir
  • Swiss
  • TAM
  • TAPPortugal
  • Thai
  • Turkish Airlines
  • US Airways
This means that you can use your Dividend miles to book flights on any of the above airlines.  I’ve personally found that one of the best ways to find availability is to use the United website and then to call US Airways to book flights.

Award Booking Chart:

You can access the US Airways Dividend miles award booking chart here.

US Airways Award Chart and Program Highlights:

US Airways, like American, does have off-peak rates.  If you’re able to fly during these off-peak seasons, you’ll be able to find some great mileage bargains.

Sample off-peak rates:

  • Continental US/Canada to Caribbean – 25,000 economy or 50,000 business class [Sept 1-30]
  • Continental US/Canada/Hawaii to South America – 35,000 economy or 60,000 business class [March 1 - 15 and May 1 - 31]
  • Continental US/Canada/Hawaii to Europe – 35,000 economy or 60,000 business class [Jan. 15 - Feb. 28]
With the exception of flights from Boston to Dublin on British Airways (which is 25,000 BA Avois roundtrip), this is probably one of the cheapest mileage options for getting to Europe.
Since most airlines require 60,000 miles for an economy flight to Europe, the ability to fly in business class for 60,000 miles is fantastic.  The biggest issue is that the off-peak season is really short.
Also, if you are a US Airways Dividend Miles credit card holder, you’ll receive a 5,000 mile refund when you use your credit card to book flights on US Airways flights (valid only on US Airways flights, not partner airlines).

Award Booking Policies, Facts, and Possible Fees:

The biggest drawback of the US Airways Dividend miles program is the proliferation of fees.

The US Airways website is pretty much junk for booking international flights (on anything but US Airways).  As a result, you’ll need to be prepared to pay the the call center award booking fee of $30 for domestic flights and $40 for international flights.

The cost to change or cancel an award ticket is $150.  Most airlines charge a fee for a city change or cancellation, but allow date changes.  $150 is steep, so you’ll want to have solid plans before booking flights with US Airways.

When booking US Airways flights, you may find terribly under-experienced agents.  Their geography knowledge is weak.  They contradict each other as to what is and is not allowed.  A good rule of thumb is that you should just call back if you get an agent who says something is not possible.

One Way and Open-Jaw Policy:

You cannot book one way flights with US Airways (at least not for half the miles).  They do allow open-jaw tickets.

Stop Over Policy:

You can book either an open jaw or a stop over, but they won’t allow both an open jaw and a stop over on the same itinerary.

US Airways is well known for the ‘vagueness’ of their booking rules.  As an example, some folks have been able to book trips to Australia via Europe and Asia.  When booking my flights to Australia, I had to call a second time before the agent would allow me to book via Asia.

For other pertentant information, I recommend that you check out this MilePoint post.

Hold Award Ticket Policy:

You can put an award ticket on hold for 3 days.

Fuel Surcharge Policy:  

US Airways doesn’t charge fuel surcharges.

US Airways Dividend Miles Earning Opportunities

US Airways has both a business and a personal branded credit card.  The personal card comes with a 30,000 miles sign up bonus, and the business card with a 25,000 mile bonus.

Where US Airways really shines is their frequent bonus mileage purchase opportunities.  Several times this year they have had a 100% bonus purchase opportunity.  It allows you to buy miles at about 1.88 cents per mile with taxes and fees.  In fact, from now until the end of October 2012, US Airways is offering a 100% bonus on miles you transfer to a friend or family.  The result is that you’re buying miles at .01135 with all the taxes and fees.

Like most other programs, there is an award shopping mall portal.

Overall Rating: Poor – below average – average – above average – strong

I’d say that the US Airways Dividend is around average or above average.  Much like the British Airways Avois program, there are some really attractive features (like business class to Asia and Australia) and some big drawbacks (like the $150) change fee.

What are your thoughts about the US Airways Dividend miles program?

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