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You can buy up to 50,000 miles for yourself or a friend, and you’ll get a 50% to 100% bonus, depending on how many you buy.
How This Promotion Works
This is the 1st time US Airways has run a buy miles promotion since it joined the oneworld alliance on March 31, 2014, as part of its merger with American Airlines. Oneworld is an alliance of 15 airlines including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and British Airways.
You can buy up to 50,000 miles for yourself or for others and get a bonus. If you buy miles as a gift, the recipient will receive the bonus miles. The bonus depends on how many miles you buy:
- 10,000 to 19,000 miles – get 50% bonus miles
- 20,000 to 29,000 miles – get 75% bonus miles
- 30,000 to 50,000 miles – get 100% bonus miles
Each mile costs 3.5 cents, plus 7.5% tax. If you buy the maximum amount, you’ll pay ~$1,881 ($1,750 to buy miles + ~$131 tax).
And you’ll get 100,000 miles total, so you’re paying ~1.88 cents per mile (~$1,881 to buy miles / 100,000 miles).
This is NOT as good a deal as the US Airways share miles promo from April, where you could earn up to 50,000 miles at a cost of 1.1 cents per mile. But it is still cheaper than buying miles at the regular price of 3.5 cents per mile.
Because US Airways miles purchases are processed through Points.com, this does NOT count as a travel purchase. So you won’t get extra points if you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred, US Airways Mastercard, or American Express Premier Rewards Gold card. And it will NOT count as a travel expense if you want to redeem Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® points (but you will get 2X points per $1 you spend as with any purchase).
Also, your US Airways account must have been open for at least 12 days to buy miles through this promotion.
Is This a Good Deal?
Link: US Airways Award Chart
100,000 US Airways miles could get you a lot of Big Travel with Small Money! But is it worth buying the miles?
You could get:
- 2 round-trip low level coach award tickets to Hawaii (with 20,000 miles left over)
- 2 round-trip off-peak coach award tickets to Europe or South America (with 30,000 miles left over)
- 1 round-trip low level Business Class award ticket to Europe or South America
There are 15 airlines in the oneworld alliance, including Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. Sri Lankan Airlines joined oneworld on May 1, 2014.
Buying miles is not such a good deal for domestic coach travel. You’d pay ~$470 for 25,000 miles (the cost of a low level coach ticket) but you can often get paid tickets for much less than that price. And remember, when you use miles, there’s no guarantee award seats will be available on the dates you want.
And if you buy between 10,000 and 29,000 miles, you’ll only earn a 50% to 75% bonus, which is not a very good deal at all.
1. Example: Using Miles to Hawaii
I searched for low level coach tickets from Austin to Honolulu later in the fall. The tickets I found cost 40,000 miles plus $60.
Note: I had to look at least 5 months ahead to see any award tickets available at low level (40,000 miles round-trip). You’ll pay much more for standard award tickets! And remember, if you need to change your flight later, you’ll pay change fees too.
If you bought the 40,000 miles as part of the 100% bonus deal, they’d cost ~$752 (40,000 miles x ~1.88 cents per mile). So this ticket would cost ~$812 total ($752 for the miles + $60 booking fee).
I searched for the same dates on US Airways as paid tickets and the total cost was $812 including taxes and fees. Which is exactly what buying the miles would cost! Plus you’d earn miles from the paid tickets and not have to worry about award availability!
Then I checked Kayak for the same route and dates. There was an even cheaper fare on Delta for the the same dates ($788).
So in this case, it’s definitely NOT worth it to buy the miles. Even if you really wanted to fly US Airways, you’d spend the same on a paid ticket as you would for the miles. But with the paid ticket you’d have more flexibility to choose the flights and times you want, AND you’d EARN miles!
2. Example: Using Miles to Germany
I searched for low level Business Class tickets from Austin to Frankfurt, Germany next February. The tickets I found cost 100,000 miles plus $188.
If you bought the 100,000 miles as part of the 100% bonus deal, they’d cost ~$1,880 (100,000 miles x ~1.88 cents per mile). So this ticket would cost ~$2,068 total ($1,880 for the miles + $188 booking fee).
I searched for the same flights as paid tickets through US Airways and the total cost was $6,847 including taxes and fees.
Then I checked Kayak for Business Class tickets to Frankfurt and found a much cheaper deal: $3,480 using British Airways.
In this case, it is cheaper to buy the miles and book an award ticket than it is to pay for a ticket with cash. But you’re still paying over $2,000 out of pocket for a ticket, which isn’t really Big Travel with Small Money! And you won’t earn miles when you fly on an award ticket.
Note: You’ll have to look far ahead to see award tickets available at low level (100,000 miles round-trip). You’ll pay much more for standard award tickets!
I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy miles with this promotion because you’re still spending quite a bit of money for award tickets. Even though they’re cheaper than paid tickets, I’d still rather use points I got from credit card bonuses or spending and pay very little cash.
But if you have to pay for a ticket anyway, this could be a good way to save money. But only if you can find award seats on the dates you want!
You can earn up to 100% bonus when you buy US Airways miles, until May 25, 2014.
You can buy up to 50,000 miles (+50,000 bonus miles) for ~$1,880, which works out to 1.88 cents per mile.
This deal could be good if you have to buy a ticket anyway and can find low-level award seats. But you’ll still spend some money on your tickets.
I don’t plan on buying miles this time. Will you participate in the promotion? What will you use the miles for?
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