US Airways is now pricing roundtrip awards as the sum of two one ways. This can save you up to 50,000 miles per roundtrip awards.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 1.30.17 PM
This award will now cost the one way price of Chicago to Hong Kong plus the one way price of Shanghai to Chicago

You still can’t book a one way award with US Airways miles for half the price of a roundtrip, but this is a baby step in the right direction!

Even as the US Airways program and the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® with a 40,000 mile sign up bonus on first purchase are set to disappear in early 2015, the program is improving!

  • What does it mean to price an award as the sum of its one ways?
  • How can this change save you 50,000 miles on a single award?

US Airways has historically charged the roundtrip price of the fanciest cabin you fly for a single segment on an award.

For instance, if you booked a roundtrip to Europe with one direction in First Class and one direction in Business Class, you’d pay the roundtrip First Class price of 125,000 US Airways miles.

Now you’ll pay half the roundtrip First Class price plus half the roundtrip Business Class price, or 112,500 miles on a trip to Europe.

As a test, I found First Class award space from Chicago to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific and economy award space for a return from Shanghai to Chicago on American Airlines flights.

US Airways charges:

  • 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy to North Asia
  • 110,000 miles roundtrip in business to North Asia
  • 120,000 miles roundtrip in first to North Asia

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 12.39.10 PM

Under the old rules, flying First Class one way and economy the other would have cost the roundtrip First Class price of 120,000 miles. Under the new rules, the award should cost 90,000 miles–half the roundtrip economy price plus half the roundtrip First Class price.

I called US Airways at 800-622-1015 and fed the agent the flights I had found. She priced the award–or rather the rates desk priced the award–at 90,000 miles + $168. (The $168 is $43 in taxes, the $50 award processing fee US Airways puts on international awards, and $75 because the flights departed within 21 days.)

Maximum This Rule Change Saves You

US Airways awards to the Middle East are 80k/120k/180k miles roundtrip in economy/business/first.

Booking one way in economy and one way in First Class would have cost 180,000 under the old rule and will now cost 130,000 miles–a 50,000 mile savings.

Ways to Use This Rule Change

When you only have enough miles for one way in Business Class and one way in economy, this rule change lets you book like that for a fair price instead of paying the roundtrip Business Class price.

When you can only find Business Class award space one way and economy the other, you can now book that for a fair price instead of having to pay the Business Class price and still being forced to fly economy one way.

US Airways miles have gotten a bit more valuable with this rule change. The program is my favorite in the world because of its cheap chart, lax routing rules, and great partners, especially for First Class travel.

Unfortunately the program will disappear in 2015, but at least US Airways miles will become American Airlines miles at that time, which are almost as valuable.

We know that the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time in early 2015. That means that the chance to earn 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.

Hat Tip to Lucky for first writing about this rule change.

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

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.