Using the US Airways Holiday Shopping Promo to Get Business Class Tickets to Europe for $570

Frugal Travel Guy outlines how to take advantage of the US Airways 250% Shopping Bonus to effectively purchase miles at 7/10ths of a penny apiece.

If you make 5 purchases or more (up to 10) then all of those purchases earn a 250% bonus. Fewer than 5 purchases and the bonus is lower.

But one merchant in particular is crazy-valuable: TrackItBack which gives you stickers with codes on them to attach to things. In theory if you lose those things, people report the item to TrackItBack and they handle getting the item from the person and then to you.

Purchases through them earn 40 miles per dollar normally, so you know it’s a high margin business they’re in.

With this 250% bonus, purchases will earn 140 miles per dollar. Put another way, you’re buying miles at 0.7 cents apiece. That’s not 7 cents each. That’s 7/10ths of a penny. Crazy.

But in order to qualify for the 250% bonus promotion on US Airways miles, we need to have (5) qualifying transactions, and those 5 need to be with different merchants. (You can have multiple transactions with the same merchant, but you need at least 5 separate merchants.)

So we need 4 that aren’t TrackItBack.

In my previous post on this offer I outlined several examples of partner activities that could be had at just a couple dollars apiece.

An example of the value proposition, once you’ve followed a few inexpensive steps to qualify for the promotion:

$570 spent with TrackItBack will earn 79,800 miles. 80,000 is the cost of a business class ticket from the US to Europe, e.g. Los Angeles to London orNew York to Istanbul.

I’m likely to “purchase” about 320,000 miles this way.  First I’m going to make sure I have qualifying activities that will post, I want as many to post as possible before I make the large purchase from TrackItBack.

Now, I don’t expect the other 4 qualifying activities that I need in order to be eligible for the bonus to post before the December 30 end of the promo period.  But if I have say 6 or 7 qualifying activities, I know I’m safe.  And they allow the bonus to apply to 10 activities.  TrackItBack will be my 7th or 8th and I’ll also be sure not to use up #9 and #10 — I would hate to inadvertanly hit 11 transactions, and have the TrackItBack transaction hit as #11 (thus not earning the bonus).

A couple of ‘complicated’ steps perhaps, though not as complicated once you read through these posts a couple of times, but while $570 for business class to Europe seems nice, the real holy grail it seems to me is first class to North Asia (Hong Kong included).  Since the US Airways award chart currently requires 120,000 miles per ticket, $1680 would be enough for two first class tickets to Hong Kong.

Of course, one must be a little bit wary of US Airways.  One doesn’t want too many miles in one’s US AIrways account.  They’re not entirely to be trusted in my opinion.  The bonus miles from this offer are scheduled to post March 1.  It’s possible that some changes to their partner award chart could happen before then, such that business class to Europe becomes 100,000 miles instead of 80,000 for instance.  But it’s still a phenomenal deal.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Do you intepret the offer to mean that one receives a 250% bonus on ALL transactions (including transactions 1 through 5) or do you interpret it to mean that the 250% bonus applies only to transactions 5 through 10?

    I’ve already made my initial 6 transactions and was curious if you’re going to make the TrackItBack transaction soon or closer to December 30th?

  2. Another question / thought —

    Frugal Travel Guy makes 3 of his purchases from SkyMall (Gaiam, Sears, Bose) — I don’t think these will all count as 3 different places?

    Thoughts?

  3. Blake, I see both Sears and Bose listed separately under the “participating merchants” section. I think he’s okay.

    Mike

  4. 1. The T&C of the promo clearly say “We’ll add your final big bonus to every purchase you make throughout the entire promotion period, up to 10 individual purchases.”

    So the 250% bonus should be applied to transactions 1-10, not just 5-10.

    2. Bose is problematic apparently, latest blog post is that they seem to have changed the terms and conditions on which purchases at Bose count (though some have reported receiving miles already on small purchases).

    Personally I am waiting until later in the promo period to make my big purchase.

    And I’m going to make a backup purchase to replace my Bose purchase.

    I just need to make darn certain not to have 11 transactions, for fear of TrackItBack being #11 and not counting!

    And the other risk in waiting is that US AIrways changes the offer before I get around to buying TrackItBack. That would hurt, but I’m still being cautious….

  5. I’ve already placed 7 transactions and will wait until the 2nd or 3rd week of December before placing a large TrackItBack transaction. I might lose out, but at least I stand to lose less as a result of the T&C changing.

  6. @George – what are you talking about? I just went both to the bonus site and to the TrackItBack site (via the bonus) and it still shows up @ 40 miles per $.

  7. I just did 6 transactions from the promotion page links today Dec 8. The 6th was trackitback. Got the $500.00 corporate pack.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed to see if they really honor this too good to be true deal

    I’m little hesitant to pay $500.00 for some labels I could make for free with a p-touch but I figure I’m really buying a free first class ticket..

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