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?
Which offer did you receive?
I logged into my account and the 75% bonus was displayed. Most people I have talked to have been targeted for the 50% or 75% offers.
As a data point, I partook in the incredible US Airways shared miles promotion late last year. I also bought miles with the 100% bonus so I could book my family to Italy for Christmas. Doing so allowed us to fly Lufthansa flat-bed business on the outbound and United flat-bed business on the inbound.
Why is this promotion significant?
This is the last chance to purchase US Airways miles in bulk and redeem them for Star Alliance awards. After March 30th, US Airways will enter the oneworld alliance. You won’t be able to book travel on great carriers like Swiss, Austrian, nor Thai after that date.
Here are the cents per mile of the four possible offers:
- 25% bonus: 62,500 miles for $1,881.25 or 3.01 cents per mile
- 50% bonus: 75,000 miles for $1,881.25 or 2.51 cents per mile
- 75% bonus: 87,500 miles for $1,881.25 or 2.15 cents per mile
- 100% bonus: 100,000 miles for $1,881.25 or 1.88 cents per mile
Should you take advantage of this offer?
My stance on the last promotion carries over to the current bonus:
“Unless you are just short of the threshold for an award ticket or are planning on booking an award immediately, participating in this promotion is a speculative play with some serious downside.”
I don’t foresee US Airways launching another incredibly lucrative share miles promotion before they depart the Star Alliance in three weeks, so this is likely the best we’ll see before month’s end.
A combined (and probably devalued) US Airways/American award chart will eventually be introduced. A buy and hold strategy here makes little sense given that looming “enhancement” to their reasonably priced award chart.
Are the lesser promotions even worth your time?
I would argue that the 75% bonus is still worthwhile if you looking to fly to several regions, North Asia included. Buying the maximum 50k miles nets you 87.5k Dividend Miles at a cost of $1,881.25.
90k Dividend Miles is enough for a roundtrip award to North Asia, and you can even include a stopover in Europe in either direction. I flew one of these itineraries back in October. I was able to fly Turkish Airlines to Istanbul, stopover for a few days, and then continue to Tokyo on ANA with their excellent business class product.
A sub $2k business class ticket is a deal relative to sticker price, but ensure the math makes sense for your travel budget before proceeding.
What happens if I book a Star Alliance award with US Airways and there is a schedule change after March 30th?
Unfortunately US Airways won’t be able to accommodate you on different Star Alliance flights. Agents will only be able to change you to oneworld partner award space, which could greatly limit your rebooking options depending on the region of travel.
Proceed with caution if booking an award far out with tight connections. If there is a schedule change after March 30th, you might not have the same convenient rebooking options as those provided in the Star Alliance
US Airways continues their all out blitz to sell miles, this time offering a bonus between 25-100%. If you need to top off your account to meet an award threshold, this is the promotion for you. If you want to take a business class trip to North Asia or Europe, outright buying the miles could make sense, especially given US Airways generously priced award chart. Contact our Award Booking Service to craft a creative and fun itinerary.
Remember that US Airways exits the Star Alliance on March 30, 2o14. After that date, you won’t be able to rebook on Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa or Asiana if there is a schedule change. Book carefully to avoid tight connections, as you will only be able to use oneworld partners after US Airways officially leaves the Star Alliance.