Just When Cheap Mileage Purchase Gravy Train Seemed to End, One Last Reprieve

Last month I broke that news that perennial mileage sales deep discounter US Airways would change their ways…

[A]t a latest case come November the bonus and pricing structure for US Airways miles will look more like the old American approach.

That the last 100% purchase bonus for US Airways miles would be the last time US Airways miles were on sale at 1.88 cents apiece.

And that come November US Airways would be selling miles in a way that aligns with how American AAdvantage does it, as part of their merger and in advance of combining the two frequent flyer programs.

It turns out this prediction and news was correct. As One Mile at a Time notes, a new US Airways buy miles promotion is up.

And it’s exactly the sort of tiered bonus, at a higher cost, that American AAdvantage regularly runs. The lowest price is now 2.25 cents a mile for buying 50,000 miles.

Maxing out the promotion — buying 80,000 miles gets you 130,000 miles at a cost of $3010 or 2.32 cents perm mile.

That’s a far cry from 2009 pricing when 100,000 miles cost ~ $1350 and you could still book business class to Hong Kong for just 90,000 miles.

Except There May Be One Last Shot!

Some US Airways MasterCard holders are being told they get a one-time opportunity to buy miles with up to 100% bonus.

The offer appears marketed to new MasterCard cardholders. But…

Going through the standard buy miles offer, I’m given only the lesser ‘new world order’ ~ 2.3 cent opportunity.

But going through the US Airways MasterCard offer I’m still forward to a standard buy miles page — and am given an offer that will allow the purchase of miles with the 100% bonus, one time through the end of the year.

Reach award travel even faster with this exclusive offer just for you.
As a new US Airways Dividend Miles® MasterCard® holder, you can get up to a 100% bonus when you use your card to buy miles – up to 50,000 bonus miles. This one-time-only deal is quick, easy and the perfect way to get miles for an award trip! Offer Valid from now through December 31, 2014.

So not quite the end of an era. But almost.

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 InsideFlyer.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. I’m a bit confused – I’m a new US MC holder & when I go into it, it offers me a max of 80,000 + 80,000 bonus miles for $2800. Yet, in the T/C, it states “he maximum number of bonus miles that can be received by one member for this offer is 50,000 bonus miles. All miles purchased beyond this limit will not be eligible for a bonus. Offer is subject to change.”

    So, does this mean 130k for $2800 or 160k for $2800?

  2. After taxes, the offer comes up as:

    The cost to buy 80,000 + 80,000 Bonus miles is $3,010.00 (including taxes/fees)*

  3. And, when I go to the actual buy page right before the card gets charged, it says:

    Number of miles 80,000 + 50,000 Bonus
    Mileage purchase cost $2,800.00
    Tax recovery fee $210.00
    Total charge $3,010.00

    So, it’s 130k for $3010 – despite the previous pages reflecting 160k for $3010

  4. @Samir

    for the best deal, just purchase 50k miles and get 50k bonus… that way it comes to about 1.9 cents a mile.

  5. Thanks – that’s what I ended up doing…100k for $1881, not a GREAT deal, but with the way the future of mileage earning seems to be going, I figured it was worth the risk in the long run. And I plan on getting a better value than 1.88 cpm for it! 🙂

  6. No bonus for me. I don’t have the US MC card.

    • 10,000-14,000 miles = 4,000 more bonus miles
    • 15,000-29,000 miles = 8,000 more bonus miles
    • 30,000-49,000 miles = 19,000 more bonus miles
    • 50,000-79,000 miles = 33,500 more bonus miles
    • 80,000 miles = 50,000 more bonus miles

  7. Have tried three years-old US MasterCard numbers to complete a purchase of 50+50 and the same error message with all three:

    “Either the credit card number and type do not match or the number is invalid. Please change the credit card type you selected or re-enter your credit card number.”

    I know for a fact all three cards are valid and working, so that’s not the issue.

    So it seems they know who the new card holders are and who they aren’t. 🙁

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