Category Archives: US Airways

Amazing Off Peak Awards to the Caribbean with AA/US Miles

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You can get from anywhere in the United States to tons of destinations in the Caribbean for 20,000 US Airways miles roundtrip or 25,000 American Airlines miles.

The Caribbean from Google Maps

The Caribbean from Google Maps

Both deals rely on the airlines’ off peak award charts. US Airways’ off peak dates are September 1 – 30. American Airlines’ off peak dates are September 7 – November 14.

Both airlines, as well as Delta and United, normally charge 35,000 miles roundtrip in economy to the Caribbean. During off peak dates, both US Airways and American Airlines charge 25,000 miles. In addition, US Airways offers folks who have a US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® a 5,000 mile discount on all US Airways awards flown exclusively on US Airways planes. US Airways off peak awards have the same requirement, so cardholders get a 5,000 mile discount on all US Airways off peak awards, bringing the all in price to 20,000 miles roundtrip to the Carribean.

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. That’s enough miles for two roundtrips to the Caribbean during September. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

  • What is an even better deal than off peak awards if you live in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Miami, New York, or Dallas?
  • How do American Airlines and US Airways off peak awards work?

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Australia over Christmas and New Years on Miles

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I get a ton of requests at my Award Booking Service for people who want to fly from the United States to Australia or New Zealand over Christmas and New Year’s with their frequent flyer miles. Usually the request is to fly in Business or First Class.

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I want to dissuade you from this goal because it is one of the toughest awards to book.

Last month I wrote “The Easiest Places to Get with Miles.” Miles are awesome and can get you almost anywhere in the world cheaper and more luxuriously than most people realize. But some awards are easier to book than others. Focusing on easier awards, especially at first, can get you some award-ticket “wins” that will hook you and lead to more successful bookings in the future.

Trying to book two people from the United States to Australia in Business Class from December 21 to January 3 is very hard to turn into one of those wins. It will mainly lead to frustration.

  • What is the award space picture to Australia this holiday season with American, US Airways, United, and Delta miles?
  • What is the most likely strategy to find award space?
  • What other times of year does Australia have better award space?

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Where is the Space? American Airlines New Flat Bed Business Class

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For a long time, a major weakness of American Airlines miles has been that American Airlines Business Class featured exclusively angled lie flat seats. That is changing rapidly.

  • American’s newest plane, the 777-300ER, arrived with fully flat beds in Business Class. The plane serves some flights to Sao Paulo, London, and Hong Kong.
  • American Airlines’ 767 is being retrofitted with fully flat beds in Business Class. The retrofitted plane already flies several routes to Europe, and more retrofitted planes will serve more of Europe in the coming months.
  • American Airlines’ 777-200 is being retrofitted with fully flat beds in Business Class and will arrive “later this year” to serve undisclosed routes.

All three of these Business Class products look nice. The question is: what is the award space picture on these flat beds?

  • Where is the award space on AA’s new flat beds?
  • How can you book AA flat beds?
  • What is the best flat bed space with AA miles on non-AA planes?

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4 Business Class Award Seats Every Day Between USA and Asia

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There are four Business Class award seats available every day in June 2015 on Japan Airlines’ flight from Los Angeles to Osaka, Japan. Hat tip to reader Oren for passing along the tip.

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The award space is bookable with American Airlines and US Airways miles much for as low as 50,000 miles each way. There are excellent connection options to and from Los Angeles and Osaka, so this space effectively connects all of the United States with all of Asia.

Unfortunately the seat servicing the route is angled lie flat. I’d wryly note that there’s a reason it won a 2009 design award and not a 2014 award.

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  • How can you search for the award space?
  • How can you book the award space?
  • How good is the seat?
  • What are your connection options in Los Angeles and Osaka?

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50,000 Mile Offer on US Airways Card

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Reader Trevor was snail mailed a 50,000 mile bonus offer on The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®. He sent along the following scan of the offer.

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The offer is identical to the publicly available 40,000 bonus mile offer on The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® except for the extra 10,000 miles.

  • Can you get the 50,000 mile offer?
  • How can you get these targeted offers?
  • Will the public offer go to 50,000 miles before the card disappears?

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American Airlines/El Al Partnership Ends, Cheapest Options to Israel

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American Airlines’ and El Al’s partnership ends October 31, 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 9.34.18 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 9.34.25 PMTo use American Airlines miles to fly to Israel on El Al, you must book by October 31, 2014. You can book American Airlines awards up to 11 months in advance, so you can travel on tickets booked October 31, 2014 until about the end of September 2015.

Once the partnership ends, you will still be able to use American Airlines miles to book US Airways flights from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv. I took a look at that award space to see how big of a loss the El Al partnership is.

  • How good is US Airways space to Israel?
  • How many American Airlines miles does it cost to book? How can you save tens of thousands of miles?

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Five Underpriced Countries for Your Next Award

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Sometimes you can go really far for not very miles by finding underpriced countries on your favorite award chart.

Award charts, by their nature, group several countries together for a single price. The countries at the extremes of each group are often underpriced relative to the rest of the group, leaving you the chance to get a great deal with your miles.

Here are five examples of underpriced countries on the American Airlines, United, Delta, US Airways, and British Airways award charts.

1. Peru, by American, United, and Delta

Peru is the farthest south country in Northern South America on the American Airlines, United, and Delta charts. I’ve previously called Peru the Best Destination for Lie Flat Seats because it is the only country in its region with lie flat seats offered by United, Delta, and American’s partner LAN.

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The most distant country in Northern South America is Peru

You can book a one way award from the United States to Peru for as little as 15,000 American Airlines miles each way in economy on these dates: between January 16 – June 14 and September 7 – November 14. That’s only 2,500 miles more than a one way award within the continental United States and cheaper than an award to Hawaii despite Peru being farther award from the continental United States than Hawaii.

You can fly flat beds to Peru for:

  • 30,000 American Airlines miles each way (LAN)
  • 35,000 United miles each way (United)
  • 90,000 Delta miles roundtrip (Delta) [45,000 miles each way starting 1/1/15]

That’s cheaper than flat beds to Hawaii, despite Peru being farther away from the continental United States. Those prices are also a huge discount on the prices to Chile, Brazil, and Argentina which are just a few hours more of flying.

Peru also happens to be my favorite country to visit. Here’s my Top Ten Things to Do, Eat, and See in Peru.

  • What are the other four underpriced countries?

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How to Book a Roundtrip to Europe for 30,000 US Airways Miles

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Anyone can book themselves a roundtrip to Europe this winter for 30,000 US Airways miles. Award space is excellent, and you can get the miles you need from opening one credit card and making one purchase on it.

Yesterday, I wrote about the unannounced demise of US Airways off peak awards to South America. On a happier note, US Airways off peak awards are still alive to Europe for only 30,000 to 35,000 miles roundtrip to all of these destinations:

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If you fly between January 15 and February 28, 2015 on US Airways flights, you can book a roundtrip in economy from anywhere in the United States to any of those European destinations for 35,000 miles, award space permitting.

If you have The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard®, you get a 5,000 mile discount on all US Airways awards flown completely on US Airways flights, like off peak awards. That means cardholders can book these off peak awards to Europe for 30,000 miles roundtrip.

The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® comes with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase and paying an $89 annual fee. Opening the card gives you more than enough miles for an off peak award to Europe.

  • How can you search for off peak award space?
  • What is the award space picture?
  • What if you want to fly different dates?

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No More US Airways Off Peak Awards to South America

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US Airways offers some of the best off peak awards in the world. During select dates each year, you can fly:

  • Between the United States and Europe for 35,000 miles roundtrip in economy
  • Between the United States and the Caribbean for 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 50,000 in business

Plus, US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® cardholders get an extra 5,000 mile discount on off peak awards, so they can fly to Europe for 30,000 miles roundtrip or the Caribbean for 20,000 miles roundtrip. Since the card comes with 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase, the sign up bonus is big enough for two roundtrip tickets to anywhere in the Caribbean that US Airways flies.

Until recently, you could also book:

  • Between the United States and Brazil for 35,000 miles roundtrip in economy and 60,000 miles in business

That deal has come to a sudden and unannounced end. US Airways and American Airlines merged in December, and it doesn’t make much sense for US Airways to fly two flights to Brazil from Charlotte when American Airlines serves 10 destinations in Brazil from Miami.

  • How do US Airways off peak awards work?
  • What’s the evidence that off peak awards to Brazil are finished?
  • What off peak awards remain with US Airways miles?

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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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