Two Star Alliance carriers are selling miles at a discount this month.

  • US Airways will sell you up to 100k Dividend Miles for $1,881.25 (1.88 cents each.)
  • TACA/Avianca will see you up to 150k LifeMiles for $2,250 (1.5 cents each.)

Is either your ticket to a deeply discounted vacation?

US Airways

US Airways constantly runs its 100% purchase miles bonus. Sometimes the bonus is targeted that month, and sometimes it is open to everyone like the current August bonus.

During the promotions, you can purchase up to 100k US Airways miles for 1.88 cents each. For some people, the deal is too good to pass up. (All prices listed below assumes Low/partner award availability and include the $50 award processing fee.)

  • Business Class to North Asia (with or without a stopover in Europe) for $1,742 + tax roundtrip.
  • Business class to Europe for $1,931 + tax roundtrip.
  • Business class to Australia (with or without a stopover in Asia) for $2,118 + tax roundtrip.

Plus US Airways agents tend to be very generous in the routings they’ll allow, so although you only get one stopover or one open jaw, you can take some very interesting trips.

And importantly, you can put a US Airways award on hold for 72 hours before buying the miles, so there’s no risk of buying miles then having award space disappear.

But I’ve never purchased US Airways miles for these prices. I’ve been content to earn my US Airways miles from the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. Beyond that, miles aren’t so easy to come by, but United miles are very easy to come by these days (via Ultimate Rewards) and can be used on the same flights.

TACA/Avianca

TACA/Avianca LifeMiles are being sold for 1.5 cents this month. The only requirement is that your TACA/Avianca account have been open on August 1. Since these sales happen every few months, sign up now to be eligible for the next sale if you aren’t eligible for this one.

TACA/Avianca has a competitive chart, though not quite as good as US Airways’. You can see the LifeMiles Star Alliance Chart by clicking the link here. There are some irregularities in the amounts that LifeMiles charges, so you may be better off seeing the price of your trip by doing a dummy award search after signing in.

  • Business class to Europe for $1,575 + tax roundtrip.
  • Business class to Australia for $2,025 + tax roundtrip.

I strongly advise searching for the award space you want at lifemiles.com before buying miles.

LifeMiles has a very strange rule that you cannot mix cabins on an award ticket. That means no domestic economy to connect to an international business flight. And LifeMiles’ phone agents probably can’t help you much (how’s your Spanish?), so if you can’t bring up the booking online, you will have a very hard time booking what you want.

That means you should look up award space at lifemiles.com, then buy the miles, the book the award.

Which Deal is Better?

It depends on what trip you want. The US Airways chart is usually cheaper, but during these promotions you can buy LifeMiles for less money. And if you want anything complex, the US Airways deal will almost certainly be cheaper.

I don’t recommend either of these deals speculatively. If you aren’t using them to book an award ticket immediately after purchasing the miles, save your money.

And I don’t think either deal is as good as earning miles through credit cards and other means.

Further Reading

Here is a post and FAQ about the US Airways 100% buy miles bonus promotion.

Here is a post and FAQ about the TACA 100% buy miles promotion.

Links

US Airways promo

LifeMiles promo

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