US Airways and American Airlines have merged since the publication of this post so it is no longer valid.

According to this thread on FlyerTalk, US Airways is now offering a 100% bonus when you buy or gift miles. This promotion runs through November 30th and you can purchase up to 50,000 miles. Purchasing the maximum will net you 100,000 miles (50,000 + the 50,000 bonus) at a cost of $1,881.25. You will be buying miles for approximately 1.88 cents.

How do I purchase and receive the bonus miles?

Keep in mind that to partake, your Dividend Miles account must be open at least 12 days. If you are thinking about joining in, you should create an account now.

This offer isn’t targeted, so simply go to the US Airways buy miles page here. You will be asked to enter your information and Dividend Miles number. Fill out the required info and click Continue.

 

After clicking Continue, you will be taken to the payment page where you will need to enter your billing information and credit card number. When you complete the transaction, the miles should show up in your account almost instantly.

Why is this a noteworthy deal?

This is a very interesting promo because you can buy US Airways miles for almost the same amount that we value them. Scott values Dividend Miles at 1.95 cents and they are being sold at 1.88 cents. To see how Dividend Miles rank against other airlines, check out the Mile Value Leaderboard. To see how Scott arrived at his analysis of US Airways miles, make sure to read his post How Much are Dividend Miles Worth? The Value of US Airways Miles.

Is this deal comparable to the share miles promo from October?

Absolutely not! I wrote about that promotion here, Forum Buzz: Buy US Airways miles for 1.1 Cents Through 100% Share Miles Bonus. With the share miles deal, I advised readers to buy miles speculatively because you were buying miles for a little over a penny. Rarely do you see opportunities like that, so outright purchases–even without a specific redemption in mind–made sense.

I decided to sit out this deal because I value the flexibility of cash and already maximized the share miles deal in October. Purchasing more US Airways miles in bulk might limit my ability to acquire miles at an even cheaper rate should a good deal come in the near future.

Keep in mind, too, that US Airways has been running these purchase miles promotions pretty frequently. They offered the same 100% bonus in September and ran a targeted 100% bonus promotion in October. It’s clear that they are being aggressive in marketing their miles, so I suspect that we see more offers like this in the coming months.

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
Are there any really good redemptions that I need to be aware of?
Scott has written extensively on the sweet spots of the US Airways award chart.
In two previous posts, he 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.
You also definitely need to check out the US Airways Off Peak Award Chart to see if there are any solid deals. The chart can be found here at the bottom of the page.
As you can see, there are some real bargains, especially in business class to Europe at the beginning of the year. These seats normally go for 100,000 miles, so you are getting a whopping 40% discount by traveling during US Airways’ designated offpeak times.
I did some dummy bookings and found that availability was solid. My first experiment was Philadelphia <-> Dublin in business. The blue-green dates represent off peak award availability. As you can see, there are still plenty of dates available in February.
I also looked up the Charlotte <-> Frankfurt route. There were off peak awards nearly every day of the week!
Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to try a longer route. I did some investigating and found some availability for two passengers from Los Angeles <-> Paris in economy for only 35,000 miles.
Unfortunately, business class space at the off peak rate was nonexistent.
I don’t want to overstate US Airways off peak availability. It is generally excellent along the transatlantic routes–even now–but US Airways domestic availability is bad. If you don’t live in Philly or Charlotte–US Airways gateways to Europe–you will have to use US domestic flights to take advantage of the off peak awards, which can be a real stumbling block.
What about awards to South America? I noticed them on the off peak chart.
Scott has written before on the amazing value of US Airways off peak awards to South America. For further reading, check out his posts below:

Do I earn a travel category bonus points for buying miles?

No. Unfortunately buying, gifting, or sharing 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.

If you happen to have a Barclay’s US Airways MasterCard, you will not earn double miles on buying, gifting, or sharing US Airways miles. I shared some miles last month and only earned 1 mile per dollar spent. As proof, here is the transaction below taken from my credit card statement:

 

Can I buy miles and use them for an award ticket in someone else’s name?

Of course. Miles can be redeemed for an award in a friend or family member’s name, even if they are sitting in your account.

Recap

The US Airways 100% bonus on purchased miles is certainly an intriguing deal. You would essentially be buying them at a little under cost if you use our valuation from the Mile Value Leaderboard.

There are certainly some great uses for Dividend miles. Their off peak award chart features tremendous values to both Europe and South America. They also have some “sweet spots” in their standard chart to North Asia and South America.

You probably shouldn’t buy miles speculatively at this price. US Airways has run this 100% bonus promotion too often in the past. You also need to factor in loss of flexibility in converting cash to miles.

However, there are some good examples, especially if you have travel plans to Europe after the New Year, where this promotion could make sense.

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