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Update: This offer expired on June 30, 2011
US Airways frequently sells their Dividend Miles at fairly low rates. In the current version of the offer – which ends on June 30, 2011 – you can buy up to 50,000 miles and get another 50,000 miles as a bonus for a total cost of $1,480 or 1.48 cents per mile.
You can get a good value from this deal if you use your purchased miles carefully.
Remember, you can always put a reservation on hold with US Air, and buy the miles afterwards since the bought miles show up in your account almost immediately!
How to best use US Air Dividend Miles?
- Don’t redeem them on US Air itself, but through their Star Alliance partners like Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, United, etc. Here’s a link to the Star Alliance partner award chart. That’s because the partner airlines cost less miles for an award and are generally more comfortable than US Air.
- Redeem the miles on US Air, but don’t use their regular award chart which prices Business Class tickets to Europe at 350,000 miles! Instead, use their off-peak awards for a much better value.
What to do with 100,000 Dividend Miles?
Business Class Travel:
Business class tickets usually cost $3,000 to $5,000 for the destinations below.
- 90,000 miles for a business class award to North Asia (South Korea, Japan, China etc.) through Star Alliance partners
- 100,000 miles for a business class award to either South America or Europe through Star Alliance partners
- 110,000 miles for a business class award to either South Pacific or Africa through Star Alliance partners
- 60,000 miles for off-peak (i.e travel during low season) business class award to South America or Europe on US Airways. This is one of the few times when using US Air miles ON US Air itself makes sense
Economy Class Travel:
In general, buying miles at 1.48 cents per mile and redeeming, say 60,000 miles, for a economy class ticket to Europe is NOT a good value.
That’s because you’d be paying:
- $880 (1.48 X 60,000) for the Dividend Air miles
- ~$120 in taxes, fees, and ticketing charges
- $80 (conservatively valuing the miles at 1 cent per mile) for the ~8,000 miles which you wouldn’t accrue because you booked a ticket using miles
- The value of your time in making the award booking through US Air. This means spending time to look for award availability and calling US air to make the booking.
So you’d pay $1,080 (not including the value of your time) for an economy class ticket that you most likely could purchase for less than $1,080!
Of course there are occasions (flying to remote airports, having a stop-over/open jaw) when buying miles and redeeming for an economy ticket would make sense – just be sure to the math before you decide to buy miles for an economy ticket.
And for $500 more, you could buy enough miles to fly that route in business class!
Keep in mind that:
- You have to have a US Air Dividend mile account which is open for at least 12 days to take advantage of this offer
- If you open an US Air Dividend Mile account today, you will NOT be able to participate in the offer because your account will not be open for 12 days by June 30 when the offer ends
- The maximum amount of miles which you can buy is limited to 50,000 miles
- Purchases are non-refundable
- You have to pay taxes & fees on your award tickets
- US Airways has been
having problemsblocking certain carriers and routes. This has been limited to First Class awards though, but is still worth considering before you buy US Air miles
This is a good deal - particularly if you use the miles to top off your account balance for a first or business class award or for travel where there is award space available.
I would have taken part in this offer, but I already have a lot of US Air Dividend Miles which I have to use. There is no point buying miles which I may not end up using!
Have you ever bought US Air miles? Tell us about it in the comments!
Only 2 more days!
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