US Airways and American Airlines have merged since the publication of this post so it is no longer valid.

From 10/1/12 to 10/31/12, US Airways is offering a bonus of 100% on shared miles. This is a non-targeted offer that only requires membership in US Airways’ Dividend Miles program for at least 12 days and a minimum of 1,000 miles in your account to begin.

What do I need to take advantage of this offer?

You need at least two Dividend Miles accounts that have been open for a minimum of 12 days. One account is yours, from which the miles with be shared. The second account can belong to a spouse, friend, or family member, and will receive the miles–and the bonus–from your account.

If you do not have a US Airways Dividend Miles account, open one now! Not only would your account be eligible for this promotion before it’s over, but you’ll be eligible for future promotions.

How do I actually share the miles?

Log in to your account at www.usairways.com and navigate to “Buy, share, & gift miles”:

Once you are on the Buy, share, or gift miles page, click on “share miles”:

You will see confirmation of the 100% bonus, and you will be prompted to enter your membership information, the number of miles you want to share, and the membership information of the person receiving the shared miles:

In my example above, I have maxed out the offer by choosing to share 50,000 of my miles. This means that the lucky recipient will get a total of 100,000 miles deposited into his account!

After you have entered the account details for the sharing and receiving accounts and the number of miles you want to share, you will be quoted the final price, which includes a fee of $30 and tax of 7.5%.

In my example, sharing 50,000 miles with a 50,000 miles bonus costs $567.50 ($500 + $30 + $37.50). The net result is buying 50k US Airways miles for $567.50 or 1.1 cent each. This is an absolutely fantastic deal that I will take advantage of speculatively–ie without even having a use for my newly minted miles in mind.

How can I take advantage of this offer if I don’t have any miles?

In September, US Airways ran a promotion with a 100% bonus on purchased miles. The promotion officially ended 9/30/12. However, some FlyerTalk members, myself included, have been targeted for continuation of the 100% bonus on purchased miles.

To check if you can still purchase miles with a 100% bonus, return to the “Buy, Share, or Gift Miles” page. Select “buy miles”:

When you click on the “Buy Miles” and “Gift Miles” links, you may be rewarded with this:

If you have no US Airways Dividend Miles but want to take advantage of the share miles bonus promotion and you are targeted for the 100% bonus on purchased or gifted miles, buying or gifting miles might be your “buy in”.

For example:

I will buy 25,000 miles with a 100% bonus:

I have now bought a total of 50,000 miles, which costs $940.63 after adding taxes. I then transfer 50,000 miles, along with a 100% bonus to a friend’s account, which costs $567.70. My friend’s account now has 100,000 miles and the total cost to me is $1508.33.

What is this deal worth?

I’ve presented two scenarios: one in which I already have 50,000 miles in my account to share, and the other in which I have to buy miles to participate in the promotion. Let’s see how they compare:

I value US Airways Dividend miles at 1.95 cpm—see the Mile Value Leaderboard.  That means 50,000 miles is worth $975. In scenario A , I have paid only $567.70 for 50,000 miles—a discount of $407.30 or 42%! This is a fantastic value for the money spent. If you have miles in your account, you should get in on this deal.

In scenario B, I first bought 50,000 miles–25,000 miles with a 100% bonus–in order to participate in the share miles bonus promotion and ended up paying $1,508.33 for 100,000 miles. Using my valuation, 100,000 Dividend Miles are worth $1,950–so I got these miles at a discount of $441.67 or 23%!

As you can see, even if you have to first buy miles to participate in this promotion, you still get the miles at a discount. This only works if you get a 100% bonus on the purchased miles.

What else should I know?

Because the buying, sharing, and gifting of US Airways Dividend Miles is processed through points.com, you will not get any category bonus points for travel purchases if you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred or American Express Premier Rewards Gold cards.

But how will I use my Dividend Miles to book my flight when they are in someone else’s account?

Don’t worry–the miles can be redeemed for an award ticket in your name, even if they are in a friend’s account.

Can I share and receive miles more than once?

Yes. You can receive up to 50,000 bonus miles during the offer period. The terms and conditions state that you can only share 50,000 per transaction, but do not explicitly limit how many times you can share miles or the total number of miles that can be transferred out of your account.

 Let’s say you are planning a family trip? Sign everyone up for an account. For example:

  • A = you, 50,000 miles in account
  • B = partner, no US Airways miles

 

Then:

  • A shares 50,000 miles with B
  • B gets 100,000 miles
  • B shares 50,000 miles with A
  • A gets 100,000 miles

 

At the end of the day, you have converted 50,000 to 150,000 miles:

  • A has 100,000 miles
  • B has 50,000 miles

 

What can I do with 100,000 US Airways Dividend Miles?

Here are some possible roundtrip redemptions–US Airways does not allow oneway award ticket bookings at half the roundtrip price unfortunately:

  • 2 first class or 4 coach class trips in the continental US
  • 1 round trip business class trip to South America
  • 1 round trip business class trip to Europe
  • 1 round trip business class trip to North Asia–for example Hong Kong, Japan, or South Korea–with 10,000 miles left over

In two previous posts, I discussed the South American sweet spots in US Airways’ award chart and how US residents can use open-jaw itineraries to take advantage of some of these sweet spot awards originating in South America. With some creative routing, you can squeeze even more value from your Dividend Miles.

Recap

The US Airways 100% bonus on shared miles promotion runs from October 1-31 and offers an outstanding value at a cost of 1.1 cpm for Dividend Miles. Even if you buy miles–with a 100% bonus–the value is still good at 1.5 cpm.

To participate, you and the recipient of the shared miles must have Dividend Miles accounts at least 12 days old.  The maximum bonus that a recipient can earn is 50,000 miles, but there is no limit on the number of miles that you can transfer out of your account.

Bonus

If you don’t have US Airways miles, and you don’t want to buy miles to get started with this promo, open a Barclay’s US Airways Mastercard. I recommend that card highly even in the absence of this promo.

And miles promos have a way of repeating themselves, so you might be able to leverage the 40k miles you earn on first purchase on an identical future promotion.

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