According to Loyalty Lobby, US Airways will be back with a purchase miles bonus of up to 100% between May 3 and May 25.
Over the past few years they’ve run buy miles bonuses — sometimes targeted — about 75% of the year. Which means that the 100% bonus is more or less ‘regular price’.
Nonetheless, that means they sell miles less expensively than most airlines including less expensively than American Airlines — and these miles will become American miles when the two programs merge. As a long-term play it’s cheaper to buy miles from US Airways and have them become American miles than to buy those miles from American. (One imagines that when the programs do merge, that the higher price of American miles will prevail.)
At a 100% bonus, priced at around 1.9 cents per mile, I would consider it to top off an account towards a given award.
Buying miles at a 100% bonus from US Airways used to be an amazing deal. Four years ago their award chart was less expensive (e.g. 80,000 miles for business class to Europe). And prior to September 2010 miles normally cost 2.5 cents apiece. In October 2011 they raised the standard price of miles to 3.5 cents apiece.
Challenges and Opportunities With US Airways Miles
US Airways has difficulty ‘seeing’ some partner award inventory — even now that they’ve left Star Alliance — although it mostly seems to be agent error when they’re unable to find flights, the agents aren’t used to the systems they’re using to find oneworld space, or the booking codes for that space.
On the other hand they’re pricing awards less expensively in both miles and taxes than most other oneworld members so there’s real value here.
How to Play This
My advice is to use this offer only to top off an account towards a specific award — and you can generally place awards on hold and then buy the miles, calling back to ticket the held reservation.
I wouldn’t buy miles speculatively at nearly 2 cents apiece. There’s uncertainty about the US Airways award chart over the course of the next year. They’ve just increased the price of the famous 90,000 business class award to Hong Kong.
No Credit Card Bonuses for the Purchase Cost
US Airways mileage purchases are processed by points.com which means they don’t show up as airfare, and thus don’t earn bonuses from credit cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred (double points) or American Express Premier Rewards Gold (triple points) that bonus airfare spend.
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