This One Mistake on the US Airways Award Chart Can Save You 15k Miles

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US Airways charges the same price for three-cabin First Class within the United States and Canada as it does for two-cabin First Class or Business Class.

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I consider this a mistake rooted in the fact that US Airways only operates two-cabin planes within the United States as did its former partner United (with a few exceptions.)

But US Airways’ new partners American Airlines and Cathay Pacific both operate three-cabin planes within the United States on a few routes:

  • New York-JFK to Los Angeles (American Airlines)
  • New York-JFK to San Francisco (American Airlines)
  • New York-JFK to Vancouver (Cathay Pacific)

I expect that at some point soon, US Airways will charge 65k miles for roundtrip awards on these three routes, so book them now for big savings.

If you’re short on US Airways miles, The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® offers 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase.

  • How is award space on these three routes?
  • How can you book the award space with US Airways miles?
  • How is Cathay Pacific First Class?

Award space is excellent on all three routes in First Class.

Los Angeles <-> New York

The best First Class award space is found between Los Angeles and New York on American Airlines’ brand new A321s, which feature 10 fully flat bed First Class seats in a 1-1 configuration.

Award space is excellent on the route in the height of summer 2014.
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Award space is excellent during Spring 2015.

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The only real gaps in award space are the week around Thanksgiving and the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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On many days, you have your pick of several flights with award space.

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I put together a three-day trip to New York, which would cost 65,000 American Airlines miles and $5.

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US Airways has access to the exact same award space for 50k miles and $30. The extra $25 is the unavoidable “Award Processing Fee” US Airways charges on all awards. For most international awards, the fee is $50 per ticket.

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New York <-> San Francisco

American’s New York to San Francisco is operated by the same A321s and has a similar award space picture, though award space opens up a little later in 2014 than on the Los Angeles route.

Starting from mid-August through the end of March 2015, award space is wide open in First Class.

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Again these flights would cost 50k US Airways miles and $30 roundtrip. Or you could mix and match and fly one way from Los Angeles to New York and return to San Francisco for the same price.

New York <-> Vancouver

Cathay Pacific operates one daily flight between Hong Kong and New York with a stop each way in Vancouver. You can book just the New York to Vancouver leg in either direction with cash or miles.

The flight in First Class would cost 32,500 American Airlines miles each way, 37,500 British Airways Avios each way, or 50k US Airways miles roundtrip.

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Roundtrip Price Options with Avios

Cathay Pacific is one of the world’s nicest First Class beds, and the airline boasts world class service. Check out my trip report of flying Cathay Pacific First Class from New York to Hong Kong.

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Award space on this route is excellent at the last minute and at off peak times like winter 2014.

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Recap

You can book top notch First Class products within the United States and Canada for only 50k US Airways miles roundtrip and as little as $30 out of pocket.

This is 15k to 25k miles cheaper than the exact same American Airlines and Cathay Pacific flights would cost with American Airlines or British Airways miles. The discount is a mistake carried over from a time when US Airways and its old partners basically didn’t have any three-cabin first class flights.

In addition, The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® offers 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase.

I expect US Airways to start charging more miles for three cabin First Class within the next 10 months. We know The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will disappear within the next 10-11 months.

If this deal interests you, act now.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Actually, if you have the US Airways MC card from Barclays, you get the 5,000 off the 50,000 miles. In other words, 45K r/t in F.

    • As Ryan notes, that 5k discount applies only to awards entirely flown on US Airways planes. None of the three routes mentioned here qualify.

  2. I’m finding saver first class availability for the route I want on AA metal via JFK on AA.com but those same flights won’t show on USAirways.com?

  3. I think the 5k discount is only on US Airways flights, so it wouldn’t work on the Cathay or AA flights discussed in this article. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Search off peak times. AA you can search the whole year for a single route in minutes. The Cathay flight is slower to search.

  4. Are you sure the Cathay Pacific flight from New York to Vancouver is “within the United States”? Perhaps you are confusing Vancouver, BC with Vancouver, WA?

    • Within the US and Canada is one region. Sorry for the slip, but I am sure the flight costs 50k r/t in First.

      • So if AA shows a flight at 95K one way in First, I should be able to book with USair Miles on a 50k RT even if the USAir website doesn’t show availability?

        • 95k one way in First is not MileSAAver. Any MileSAAver space on aa.com, US Airways miles can book at the price on the US Airways award chart. Any “AAnytime” space on aa.com cannot be booked with any amount of US Airways miles.

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