Category Archives: US Airways

The Cheapest Awards within One Region

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If you THINK BIG, and take an amazing multi-destination trip, you’ll need to book several tickets to hop between destinations.

In the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia, flights are fairly cheap because of the many competing airlines, including low cost carriers. In other regions, like Africa and South America, short flights can be exorbitantly expensive as a lack of competition drives up prices.

When ticket prices are expensive, that’s the time to use miles. I’ve already laid out the cheapest intra-region bargain awards with American Airlines and United miles. There are also some excellent deals within a single region on the American Airlines, United, Singapore Airlines, and US Airways award charts.

Hop Around My Favorite Continent for 12,500 of Which Miles? (from google.com)

Hop Around My Favorite Continent for 12,500 of Which Miles? (from google.com)

The key to finding great miles uses within a single region is finding award charts with big regions.

For instance, Singapore Airlines categorizes all of South America as one region and charges only 12,500 miles each way in economy within the region. One route I’m looking at for a big trip in December is from Medellin, Colombia to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The ticket would cost $755 or 12,500 Singapore miles + $75. That’s over 5 cents of value per mile on an economy ticket!

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With the demise of American Airlines Explorer Awards, big trips will require many awards. Choosing the right miles for each of the small awards will really add up, so make sure you know the top intra-region awards.

  • What are the top intra-region awards with American Airlines, United, Singapore Airlines, and US Airways miles?
  • What about British Airways Avios?

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American Airlines Best Business and First Class on New Route

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American Airlines’ best Business and First Class are both found on the 777-300ER, its newest international plane.

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The 777-300ER features fully flat beds in Business Class and First Class, plus a walk up bar on board for the folks up front. So far the plane is flying 1-2 frequencies a day on some of American Airlines’ routes to London and Sao Paulo.

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The plane will also fly Miami to Sao Paulo from November 6 to December 1 of this year.

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American Airlines and US Airways’ award charts are the cheapest around at the moment, so it’s a great deal to get a new and world-class product like American Airlines has put on its 777-300ERs for 50k miles each way in Business Class to Europe or Brazil or 62,500 miles in First Class.

  • How is award space in Business Class and First Class from Miami to Sao Paulo while the 777-300ER takes over one frequency?
  • How is award space in Business Class and First Class on the other 777-300ER routes?

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US Airways 100% Bonus Buy Miles Promotion

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From September 2 – 30, 2014 US Airways is offering all Dividend Miles members the chance to purchase miles with up to a 100% bonus. Many past offers have been targeted, but not this one.

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During the promotion, you can buy up to 50,000 US Airways miles and get a 100% bonus in miles. That means you can get 100,000 US Airways miles for $1,881 total or 1.88 cents each.

This deal is very common. Seemingly every other month, US Airways is selling miles to everyone or a targeted group with a 100% bonus that gets you the miles for 1.88 cents each. The two quickest ways to get US Airways miles are these Buy Miles promotions and opening the US Airways MasterCard.

We know that the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time in early 2015. That means that the chance to earn 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

  • How does this Buy Miles deal work?
  • Is it a good deal?
  • Will you get bonus miles from your credit card for purchasing miles?

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Can You Get the Bonus on the US Airways MasterCard Twice?

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I get frequent reader emails asking whether you can open a second US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and paying the $89 annual fee.

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will disappear in 2015 when American Airlines and US Airways integrate their frequent flyer programs, so people understandably are rushing to get the card or get it again and get the bonus one more time. (When the card disappears, the US Airways miles will become American Airlines miles.)

I got the card in twice in 2012 and 2013 without cancelling the first one, and I got the bonus twice, but I want to share a more recent success story of getting the bonus more than once.

My friend Jake, who has come to MileValue dinners in Los Angeles, tweeted me to let me know that he just got the card and its bonus a third time!

  • When did he open each card?
  • Did he close each card before opening the next?
  • When and why did he get denied for a US Airways card along the way?

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US Airways Now Pricing Awards as Sum of One Ways

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US Airways is now pricing roundtrip awards as the sum of two one ways. This can save you up to 50,000 miles per roundtrip awards.

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This award will now cost the one way price of Chicago to Hong Kong plus the one way price of Shanghai to Chicago

You still can’t book a one way award with US Airways miles for half the price of a roundtrip, but this is a baby step in the right direction!

Even as the US Airways program and the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with a 40,000 mile sign up bonus on first purchase are set to disappear in early 2015, the program is improving!

  • What does it mean to price an award as the sum of its one ways?
  • How can this change save you 50,000 miles on a single award?

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US Airways, American Airlines, and British Airways Not Sharing All Award Availability

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US Airways, American Airlines, and British Airways are all members of the oneworld alliance who should be equally sharing award space on their own flights with their partners.

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For the first time, I’ve found a case where US Airways “Low” (their name for “Saver”) price award space is not bookable with American Airlines or British Airways miles.

Either the US Airways space is phantom, or it isn’t being shared with American Airlines and British Airways, which would be a huge problem because American Airlines and British Airways awards are often cheaper than US Airways awards.

Refresher on Partners Sharing Space

As a refresher, airlines usually share all their capacity-controlled Saver award space–whatever that’s called like “MileSAAver” or “Low”–equally with their own members and their partners. There are a few exceptions, but US Airways economy Low space has never been an exception, so I would expect US Airways miles, American Airlines miles, and British Airways Avios to be able to book it equally.

Airlines never share their less capacity controlled seats with partners–award space with names like Medium, High, AAnytime, and Standard.

That means that any Low award space at usairways.com, any MileSAAver award space at aa.com, and any British Airways award space at ba.com should be available equally to all three types of miles. (British Airways doesn’t have tiers of seat availability.)

Why This Matters

US Airways flies from Sarasota, FL to Charlotte, NC, which is a distance of 547 miles.

  • US Airways would charge 25,000 miles and $36 for the one way flight at the Low level.
  • American would charge 12,500 miles and $6.
  • British Airways would charge 4,500 Avios and $6.

I’d much rather book the flight with Avios than with US Airways miles. Or if I needed the segment as part of an international award to Asia, I’d want to book it with American Airlines miles.

If US Airways isn’t sharing the space, that makes American Airlines and British Airways miles less valuable.

  • On what routes is US Airways space not bookable with AA and BA miles?
  • What is the root cause of the problem? Glitch or purposeful blocking?

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Can You Get the Annual Fee Waived on Your US Airways Card?

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Reader Joanna emailed me to let me know the results of calling Barclaycard:

“My US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® annual fee was due August 29. I called and got 5,000 miles for $1,000 spend over 90 days and annual fee waived for a year.”

Barclaycard is really going all out to get people to get this card, keep this card, and use this card, and Joanna’s email is another example. (Your mileage may vary.)

We know that the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time in early 2015. That means that the chance to earn 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

We know that Barclaycard offers many cardholders big bonuses for ongoing spending like Drew who was offered 15,000 bonus US Airways miles for spending $500 per month for three consecutive months.

And now we know that Barclaycard will waive the annual fee for some folks who call and ask like Joanne did.

By the way, Joanne asked me about her other carrot, whether she should spend $1,000 in the next 90 days for 5,000 bonus miles. I gave her a resounding “YES!” That means she’ll get six miles per dollar on those purchases, 1,000 for the normal purchases and 5,000 bonus miles for $1,000 in spending.

Six miles per dollar is a fantastic deal, especially when we’re talking about US Airways miles, which are the highest value miles in the world in my opinion.

Have you had success getting the annual fee waived on the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®? Share your story in the comments or by sending me an email.

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Half Off Purchase of US Airways Miles through 8/22

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US Airways is offering a targeted 50% discount on purchasing 60,000 to 100,000 US Airways miles.

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With the discount, US Airways miles cost 1.88 cents each.

  • Who is targeted?
  • Is this a good deal?
  • What can you do with US Airways miles?

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Free First Class 2014: US Airways Dividend Miles Basics

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This is the sixteenth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

I’ve covered how to earn miles and the redemption options for miles. Now I’m giving the basics on several major airline programs where you can quickly collect miles for amazing trips. Today: the US Airways Dividend Miles program.

Why Collect US Airways Miles?

US Airways has the best award chart. Seriously, check out how much cheaper it is than its competitors.

The award chart probably won’t see any major changes until Dividend Miles integrates with AAdvantage in 2015.

US Airways has the laxest routing rules. Route basically however you want from point A to point B to point C to have the most exciting and cheapest combination of stopover and destination.

Collecting US Airways miles now is easy. Right now you can get The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase. Check out all the places you can go with just that sign up bonus.

US Airways miles have access to amazing luxury products like Cathay Pacific First Class. Check out my trip report!

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US Airways miles will become American Airlines miles in 2015. If you’re collecting American Airlines miles, and you want more, get US Airways miles now and enjoy their conversion to American Airlines miles next year.

  • What airlines can you fly with US Airways miles?
  • What are the routing rules for US Airways awards (stopovers, open jaws, free one ways)?
  • What are the special features of the Dividend Miles program?
  • How can you book a US Airways award?

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There Is No Transitive Property of Miles

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Let me clear up one of the most common types of questions I get from beginners.

There is no transitive property of miles.

Just because Airline A partners with Airline B and Airline B partners with Airline C does NOT mean Airlines A and C are partners.

Screen Shot 2014-08-03 at 11.51.54 AMFor instance, in yesterday’s post Fully Flat Business Class to Europe for 25,000 Miles, I wrote:

I searched award space on Aer Lingus’ routes from Chicago, Boston, and New York to Dublin for one passenger next April through July.

I searched on united.com. Any space seen here is bookable with United or British Airways miles.

Often when I write such things I’ll get a comment or an email like, “I have American Airlines miles, which is a partner of British Airways. Can I use those miles to book Aer Lingus flights as a British Airways award?”

  • Well, can you?
  • What about using a partner’s more favorable fuel surcharge rules?
  • Can you use American Airlines and US Airways miles to book all the partners of either airline?

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15,000 Bonus US Airways Miles for Spending $1,500

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Loyal reader Drew sent along an amazing targeted offer he received to continue spending on his US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®.

If he spends $500 per month on his card in August, September, and October, he’ll get 15,000 bonus miles!

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That means for a total of $1,500 in spending, he will earn 16,500 miles, which is 11 US Airways miles per dollar!

The email came to Drew with the subject “Earn 15,000 miles with your card!” Check your email for a similar offer if you have a US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®.

Most of us got the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® for its 40,000 bonus miles with no minimum spending requirement. Check out all the places you can go with just that sign up bonus.

Barclaycard seems to recognize that fact and offers frequent promotions to encourage us to get in the habit of regular spending on the card. These offers are targeted, but it seems like everyone eventually gets targeted for one or more:

  • Earn 20% bonus miles (1.2 miles per dollar) on all purchases between July 1 and August 31, 2014.
  • Earn 2x-10x US Airways miles in select categories from January 1 – March 31, 2014. I was offered 5x in grocery stores, movie theaters, and utility bills.
  • Frequent offers to spend $750 per month for three consecutive months and earn 15,000 bonus miles. (The same offer Drew got, but Drew’s spending requirement is smaller.)

It looks like Barclaycard is pulling out all the stops to keep people engaged with the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®, which will only be open to new customers until the US Airways and American Airlines loyalty programs combine early next year. Don’t miss out on getting the card and its 40,000 bonus miles.

  • Should Drew take advantage of his bonus offer?
  • How can you get targeted for the same offer?

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Gold Mine First Class Award Space from United States to Asia

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There is excellent award space in Japan Airlines First Class between San Francisco and Tokyo for most of the next 11 months. This is space you can cheaply book with American Airlines or US Airways miles, and you can use the space wherever you live in the United States to access anywhere in Asia.

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Starting December 1, 2014, Japan Airlines (JAL) is changing the aircraft on its San Francisco to Tokyo-Haneda route to a 777-300ER, which features a fully flat Business Class bed and eight enclosed suites in First Class.

Award space is wide open on the route in First Class, with many days from December 1, 2014 through late June 2015 showing two available award seats in First Class.

  • What is the award space picture?
  • What are the connection options in San Francisco and at Haneda?
  • How many miles will awards cost with US Airways, American Airlines, and British Airways miles?
  • How does the JAL Suite look?

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US Airways Losing Two Key Partners This Week (BOOK NOW)

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Three months ago I wrote that US Airways would be losing five of its Star Alliance partners over the course of 2014. The final two of those five bite the dust this Thursday!

July 31, 2014 is the last day to use US Airways miles to book Turkish Airlines and Singapore Airlines flights.

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Turkish has seven routes from the United States to Istanbul

Note that the flights need only be booked by July 31. You can book US Airways awards up to about 335 days in advance. That means you can fly US Airways awards containing Turkish or Singapore flights until about July 1, 2015.

Many of us are loaded up with US Airways miles because The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase. Check out all the places you can go with just the card’s sign up bonus.

Now is a great time to use US Airways miles on Turkish’s six routes from the United States to Europe or Singapore’s flights to and within Asia.

  • What are the current restrictions on booking Turkish and Singapore flights with US Airways miles?
  • What if you want to change your US Airways award that has Turkish or Singapore flights later?
  • How is Turkish and Singapore award space?

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All the Places You Can Go with Just the US Airways Card Sign-Up Bonus

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Not all miles are equal. My favorite miles are US Airways miles because it has a cheap award chart and lax routing rules. You can pick up 40,000 US Airways miles after your first purchase when you open The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®.

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Maybe 40,000 US Airways miles doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to book two roundtrip tickets:

  • within the continental United States
  • to Canada
  • to Alaska
  • to the Caribbean

Or with 40,000 US Airways miles, a cardholder can book one roundtrip ticket:

  • to Hawaii
  • to Central America
  • to Mexico
  • to Brazil
  • to Europe

Forty thousand US Airways miles are enough to book a roundtrip award flight to hundreds of destinations.

  • What destinations are available using just the sign up bonus from the US Airways MasterCard?
  • How can you book a roundtrip ticket to South America or Europe using only sign up bonus miles?
  • How can you book two roundtrip tickets to the Caribbean with the sign up bonus from one card?

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The US Airways Sweet Spot to North Asia in Economy

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US Airways charges only 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy to North Asia. This is one of the cheapest economy awards on any American airline’s award chart.

Sixty thousand miles is the same price US Airways charges to Europe and South America even though it is quite a bit farther to China than it is to Europe or South America.

US Airways defines North Asia as:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Macau
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia

Delta and United charge 70,000 miles roundtrip to North Asia. American charges 70,000 miles to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and 50,000 to 65,000 miles to Japan and South Korea depending on the season.

Like Delta and United awards, roundtrip US Airways awards allow one free stopover. American Airlines awards do not allow free stopovers.

US Airways awards have extremely lax routing rules, enforced only by human agents. This means you can get away with any routing you can imagine and have the patience to attempt to ticket as long as it has at most 10 segments.

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Even though it has no flights of its own, US Airways has partners in both the Star Alliance and oneworld alliance that service North Asia. You can use either set of partners, though you can’t combine both sets on a single award.

Currently, The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is offering 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase, and you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 30,000 US Airways miles during July 2014.

  • With whom does US Airways partner to North Asia?
  • What are the routing rules for US Airways?
  • How can you get US Airways miles?

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