Per the email I received last week, US Airways is again offering up to a 100% bonus on purchased or gifted miles. This “Mystery Bonus” promotion is a slight variant from previous iterations, as the bonus you receive varies by individual frequent flyer account. You might receive a 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% bonus on purchased and gifted miles.
US Airways frequently runs promotions offering bonuses to buy its miles, including one in December of last year. The deal is hardly a new proposition, especially if you receive an inferior 25%-75% offer like I did. However, there is a small subset that will want to jump on this promotion before US Airways leaves the Star Alliance.
Who should buy miles through this promotion? What do you need to be very aware of before booking a Star Alliance award with Dividend Miles? Are the lesser offers worth your time?
Come to Happy Hour with me today (2/17/14) in New York City!
US Airways has legally combined with American Airlines, but the airlines are still being run as two brands with two frequent flyer programs until some time in 2015.
Next month there are two key dates in the integration of the two airlines and specifically their AAdvantage and Dividend Miles programs.
- On March 30, 2014, US Airways will leave the Star Alliance. This is the last day to use US Airways miles to book award space on Star Alliance partners.
- On March 31, 2014, US Airways will join the oneworld alliance. This is the first day to use US Airways miles to book award space on oneworld partners. (US Airways miles can already book American Airlines award space.)
This change only affects US Airways miles and does not affect American Airlines miles. It doesn’t mean that US Airways and American Airlines miles will be combined or freely combineable. All it means is that the award space you can book with your US Airways miles (or we can book for you) will change.
Which awards should you book by March 30, 2014 with your US Airways miles? Which awards should you book March 31, 2014 and later with your US Airways miles?
For flights between the US and Europe, Austrian Airlines releases its economy class award seats to partners 298 days before the flight and its business class award seats to partners 88 days before the flight.
Austrian routes between the US and Europe have economy award space up to 298 days out
Austrian is a Star Alliance member that operates five routes to North America from its hub in Vienna:
Austrian operates two cabin Boeing 777s and 767s with fully flat business class seats. I flew Austrian Business Class from Vienna to Chicago in October. My full trip report is here.
What predictable pattern of award space have I discovered on Austrian flights between the US and Europe? Which miles do you want to use to book flat beds to Europe this summer on Austrian?
All Nippon Airways (ANA)–a Japanese Star Alliance carrier–launches a new route between Tokyo-Haneda and Vancouver from March 30, 2014.
Saver award space is excellent on the route in economy and business class. You can book the space this week–by January 31, 2014–with United miles at pre-devaluation rates. You can also book the award space with US Airways miles until March 30, 2014 when US Airways leaves the Star Alliance, which will end its partnership with ANA.
How good is the award space? Where does ANA connect to/from Haneda? What Star Alliance flights fly into Vancouver?
I naturally categorize miles and points into two groups:
- Broadly useful
- Niche programs
The first type of miles are the miles you want to stockpile if you’re hoping to follow a simple mile-accumulation strategy to meet all your future travel goals. Ideally these miles benefit from cheap award charts across all classes of service and to all regions without incurring fuel surcharges on awards.
By contrast, niche programs have some great values on their award charts, but lots of flaws. Maybe the program collects fuel surcharges on most awards, or charges too much for redemptions in premium cabins, or simply doesn’t release much Saver award space on flights.
Niche programs can be ignored my those who merely dabble in miles collection, but serious miles collectors should know the strengths of and collect miles in niche programs too.
Which miles do I consider broadly useful? Which programs do I consider niche programs? What are the niche programs’ strengths?
Posted in AAdvantage, Aeroplan, Avios, Delta, Membership Rewards, SPG, Ultimate Rewards, United, US Airways
Tagged American, Delta, Membership Rewards, Starpoints, Ultimate Rewards, United, US Airways
According to themiddlemarket.com, the US Airways MasterCard from Barclaycard will accept applications through early 2015.
Then, for existing cardholders, the card will become an American Airlines co-branded card.
At that point, there will be two banks servicing American Airlines co-branded cards, Barclaycard and Citi, but only Citi will be able to issue new American Airlines co-branded cards once the Dividend Miles and AAdvantage programs have merged.
What did I get right about the demise of the US Airways MasterCard? (Not much.) What did I get wrong? (A lot.) How can you earn maximum new American Airlines miles from credit cards in the next year and a half?
With US Airways’ official oneworld join date still over two months away (March 30), speculation is rampant over the design of their combined frequent flyer program. What will the new award chart look like, especially in light of United’s massive devaluation and Delta’s unprecedented double devaluation? Which routing rules will the program establish?
Because everyone loves to wonder, this post is meant to highlight the strengths of each program. Though its wishful thinking, hopefully the new frequent flyer program combines the best aspects of each program and establishes itself as the premier US frequent flyer program.
Below is a head to head comparison of the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles program, including a (subjective) opinion on which pieces should be used from each to make the final product that is hopefully an award booker’s dream.
Which award chart has the most sweet spots? Are the stopover rules more fair with American or US Airways? What’s the perfect world scenario for the new program?
There is currently gold mine business class award availability on US Airways flights from the US to southern Europe for this summer.
Award space on US Airways flights is especially advantageous because it means that you can book the space at favorable mileage rates (and no fuel surcharges) with:
- US Airways miles
- American Airlines miles
- United miles (until March 30, 2014)
- Ultimate Rewards (until March 30, 2014)
- Membership Rewards (until March 30, 2014)
What are the routes? How good is the space? How good is US Airways Business Class? What is the cheapest way to book it?
Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada, now offers one way awards to Europe for only 45k miles each way in flat bed business class with no fuel surcharges!
This is an incredible deal that will last for bookings made through the end of 2014 for flights into late 2015!
It is extremely easy to earn Aeroplan miles, since the program is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and SPG Starpoints. In fact, 20k Starpoints always transfer to at least 25k Aeroplan miles (and sometimes as much as 31,250 Aeroplan miles.)
How can you book a one way award to Europe for only 45k miles in a flat bed? How can you pay no fuel surcharges on the award? How can you get Aeroplan miles?
I got something wrong in today’s earlier post titled American Airlines Space Bookable with US Airways Miles and US Airways Space Bookable with American Airlines Miles. I corrected the information in that post. I’ll correct it here too and try to clarify the differences between booking AA flights with US miles and US flights with AA miles.
As always when booking with miles: the rules that matter are the rules of the airline whose miles you are using (not the rules of carriers you’re flying.) And in this case, the airlines have asymmetrical rules for booking awards on each other’s flights.
When Booking with US Airways Miles
- You can NOT book American Airlines flights and other partner flights on a single award.
- You can NOT book American Airlines flights at the off peak prices on the US Airways chart.
Per the chart on usairways.com for travel on American Airlines:
“Award travel must be wholly on American Airlines or a combination of American Airlines and US Airways. American Airlines awards cannot be combined with any of our current partners.”
I tested this out because I thought that maybe usairways.com says it, but it isn’t true. I called US Airways at 800-622-1015 and tried to book an award with American Airlines and ANA (a Japanese Star Alliance partner) flights. The agent said I could not and read me the same two sentences that are online.
Of course, since US Airways agents enforce the rules and not computers, if you keep calling, you might find an agent that lets you combine AA and Star Alliance flights on one award.
When Booking with American Airlines Miles
- You CAN book US Airways flights and other partner flights on a single award. Yesterday I showed an award from Charlotte to Berlin with a US Airways and an airberlin flight that was bookable for 20k miles.
- You CAN book US Airways flights at the off peak prices on the American Airlines chart. In fact, for off peak awards to Hawaii, Southern South America, Europe, or Asia, you can book any partner’s flights at the off peak prices as long as your flights are during the off peak dates.
I hope this clears up the confusing, asymmetrical rules being enforced when using American Airlines miles and US Airways miles. As always when booking with miles: the rules that matter are the rules of the airline whose miles you are using (not the rules of carriers you’re flying.)
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Today marks a huge step forward for the integration of American Airlines and US Airways, which have already legally merged. (See integration time line here.)
Today you can use your American Airlines miles to book awards that include flights on US Airways.
You can also use your US Airways miles to book awards that include flights on American Airlines planes.
Even better: space on both airlines is now showing on both aa.com and usairways.com.
The American Airlines AAdvantage program and US Airways Dividend Miles programs are very different. Each has strengths and weaknesses, so some awards will be better booked (or can only possibly be booked) with one type of miles or the other.
Keep reading for five times to use American Airlines miles, three times to use US Airways miles, my favorite new booking possibilities, and FAQ about today’s news!
US Airways and American Airlines have merged. Citi will be the issuer of the credit card for the combined New American Airlines. Barclaycard, which currently issues the US Airways Premier World MasterCard will at some point in the very near future have to discontinue the card.
For that reason, I’ve recommended that people who want to get a new card get the US Airways Premier World MasterCard with 30,000 US Airways miles after first purchase before it disappears and the chance to earn the miles disappears with it. You can either use the miles on US Airways’ current incredible award chart or have the miles converted to American Airlines miles during the integration of the airlines.
Since so many MileValue readers have gotten the US Airways Premier World MasterCard in anticipation of its disappearance, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what will happen to cardholders’ accounts when the card disappears.
Barclaycard hasn’t told us yet, but I have a strong guess based on the recent history of the demise of another co-branded Barclaycard: the Virgin America card.
What happened to the accounts of Virgin America cardholders when Barclaycard discontinued the card? What should you do if you have a US Airways Premier World MasterCard? What are your options?
2013 was a year of several major devaluation announcements including:
- United (kicks in February 1, 2014)
- Southwest (kicks in March 31, 2014)
- Delta (already kicked in on current award bookings for travel that starts February 1, 2014 or later)
- Hyatt (kicks in January 7, 2014)
- Ultimate Rewards (with three major transfer partners devaluing–United, Southwest, and Hyatt–the program took a major hit through no fault of its own)
But the more things change, the more they stay the same. We’re still getting outsized value from our miles and points and traveling the world in style for next to nothing.
What’s my outlook for 2014 and what’s my strategy for earning and burning the major points’ currencies?
Posted in AAdvantage, Avios, Club Carlson, Delta, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club, MileValue, SPG, Ultimate Rewards, United, US Airways
Tagged American Airlines, Club Carlson, Delta, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG Rewards, SPG, United, US Airways
I just booked myself a roundtrip First Class award from Honolulu to Sao Paulo, Brazil during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I also booked myself five nights at a hotel in Sao Paulo.
Rooting for the Home Team (Poland) at the 2012 UEFA Euro Cup!
- 125,000 US Airways miles
- 100,000 IHG Rewards points
If you want to go see the biggest sporting event in the world in the world’s best footballing (soccer) country, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t let the cost of the flights and hotels hold you back, when you can book them with miles and points.
This two-part series will cover:
- The flight award possibilities including my three best recommendations for the exact routes to book
- The hotel award possibility (singular) that I’ve found
- Intra-Brazil flight options with miles and with cash
- How to get tickets to the games
Update: My transfer took two days. I made the transfer on December 18 and received the miles on December 20. Yours may take more or less time.
Starpoints (or SPG points) are the points earned from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express.
Starpoints are the most valuable mile or point in my opinion–worth about 2.5 cents each.
They can be used for free hotel nights, complete vacations, discounted hotel nights, or transferred to airline miles with over 30 airlines. It’s not uncommon for hotel points to be usable for hotel stays and airline tickets. What’s unusual is to get a good value for your points doing both things. That’s true versatility.
Some of the airline transfer partners are some of my favorite mileage programs like:
- American Airlines
- US Airways
- British Airways
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Japan Airlines
- Lufthansa (Miles & More)
- Virgin Atlantic
All the airlines listed have miles that are ideal for certain awards, so to be able to transfer Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio to all those airlines is a huge boon! Even better, for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you receive 25,000 miles in your airline account, a tidy 5k mile bonus.
I recently opened both the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express on the same day, so I am sitting on 70k Starpoints, mulling my redemption options.
Yesterday, I decided to transfer 20k Starpoints to my US Airways Dividend Miles account to receive 25k US Airways miles. My US Airways account had 100k miles in it (from a recent Share Miles promotion), and the award I want–roundtrip first class to South America–costs 125k US Airways miles.
How did I transfer the Starpoints (with screenshots)? What tips do I have for miles transfers?