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Per the email I received last night, US Airways is running a five day flash sale on purchased miles. Through December 20,  purchases between 30,000-50,000 Dividend miles will receive a 100% bonus.

Buy Miles Promo

This deal has been run numerous times in the past, and is now downright ordinary. US Airways promoted the same 100% bonus to targeted customers back in November. Scott wrote up that deal in this post, 100% Buy or Gift Miles Promotion on US Airways=1.88 Cents Dividend Miles.

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.

Why should you avoid this promotion? Is this a good deal? What do you need to know before partaking?

I wrote up the US Airways 100% Buy Miles promotion extensively in this post. The deal is essentially the same as it has been over the last year, though there are a few differences.

Can anyone buy/gift miles and receive the bonus?

This deal doesn’t appear targeted. Note that your account must be open at least twelve days to be eligible to receive the bonus. If you haven’t already created a Dividend miles account, you are out of luck. This promotion ends in five days. If this promotions sounds good to you, open an account now for the next offer.

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 Card cards.

If you happen to have a US Airways Premier World MasterCard, you will not earn double miles on buying or gifting Dividend miles. I shared some miles last year through this promotion and only earned 1 mile per dollar spent.

However, the impending US Airways merger with American complicates matters slightly.

Why does the merger effect the parameters of the deal?

Several reasons, actually. One oddity is that lately US Airways agents can’t see all Star Alliance award space. Seats on Lufthansa, especially intra-Europe are problematic.

I am experiencing this first hand on an impending US Airways award ticket to Rome. I want to make a change that includes a segment on Lufthansa, but the agents can’t verify the intra-European space even though it shows available on United.com and ANA.com.

FLR-FRA
US Airways agents are having trouble seeing some intra-European award space

If you have an immediate need for an award ticket and lack the requisite miles, this could be an excellent promotion. Just make sure to call US Airways and make sure they can see the desired award space before purchasing the miles!

If I book a US Airways award on Star Alliance partners and need to make a change after the merger, what happens?

You will only be accommodated on oneworld partners. After March 31, 2014, US Airways agents will not have access to Star Alliance award space anymore.

Any other concerns with this promotion?

The impending devaluation is a serious concern. United and Delta have recently announced award chart “enhancements” (bad devaluations), while American and US Airways charts have been untouched for years.

I suspect that once US Airways and American Airlines announce their joint mileage award chart, it will include increased costs for international premium cabin travel. Purchasing miles through this promotion speculatively is a bad idea: the “buy and hold” strategy means your miles will likely be worth a lot less in a few months time.

What’s the best play in this situation?

Sit tight and hope that US Airways announces another share miles promotion like they did in early December. We’ve promoted those deals in the past and taken part in them ourselves. Purchasing Dividend miles (through the share promo) at 1.13 cents is far more appetizing than buying them for 1.88 cents.

What are the best uses for Dividend miles today?

Premium cabin redemptions to North Asia are one of the best uses. I recently took two of those, an all-business class itinerary to Tokyo for 90k Dividend miles and a first class itinerary to Beijing for 120k Dividend miles.

Those aren’t the only great uses, though. Through our Award Booking Service, we’ve helped clients secure fantastic trips to Africa in business class for a mere 110k miles/person. The Star Alliance has the best coverage to Africa compared to oneworld’s paltry network and frustrating routing rules.

We’ve also showed our clients how to save massive amounts of miles when traveling to South Asia, which is usually more expensive than North Asian trips.

Recap

US Airways is on a marketing blitz as they transition in their merger with American. They are frequently running short bonus promotions on buying, gifting, and sharing miles. This deal grants up to a 100% bonus on purchased or gifted miles.

Buying miles through this promotion is much more expensive than shared miles deals run in the past. Unless you have an immediate need for an award ticket, this deal doesn’t make sense for most. Wait for another share miles promotion.

Remember that US Airways is leaving the Star Alliance on March 30th and losing a litany of great partners to Africa, Asia, and Europe. If you book an award and need to make a change after the merger with American is consummated, you will only have access to oneworld partners.

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