US Airways Targeted 100% Buy Miles Promo

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According to this thread on FlyerTalk, US Airways is offering a 100% bonus on purchased or gifted miles to Dividend Miles members who bought or gifted miles in 2012. This promotion runs through January 31.

Who is eligible?

It appears if you purchased, gifted or shared miles in 2012, you should receive this promotional email from US Airways. A sample email is posted below.

I didn’t get the email, how can I tell if I qualify?

The only way is to log into your Dividend Miles account and attempt to buy miles. On the US Airways main page, click on “Dividend Miles” and then “Buy, share, & gift miles.”

After clicking “Buy, share, & gift miles” you should then be taken to a page where you can select  “Buy miles” and enter your Dividend Miles account information. You will then be taken immediately to the Buy miles page.

As you can see in the red square above, I am eligible for the 100% bonus promotion. If you don’t see this square when you log in and attempt to purchase miles, you won’t be able to participate. If the promo banner appears, you should see the 100% miles bonus reflected in the “Number of miles” drop down menu and on the final payment screen.

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 for buying, gifting, or sharing US Airways miles. I verified this when sharing some Dividend Miles last year and paying with my US Airways MasterCard.

Why are you eligible for the bonus?

As mentioned above, US Airways sent the 100% bonus email to all Dividend miles members who bought or shared miles in 2012. I didn’t buy a single mile last year, but I did fully leverage their incredible share miles promotion in October. For full details on that, make sure to check out my post, Buy US Airways Miles for 1.1 Cents through 100% Share Miles Bonus.

 Is this a good deal?

It’s not nearly as lucrative as the share miles bonus that was offered in October. With this current 100% promotion, you are buying Dividend Miles for 1.88 cents regardless of the quantity you select. Purchasing the maximum will net you 100,000 miles (50,000 + the 50,000 bonus) at a cost of $1,881.25.

The Mile Value Leaderboard values US Airways miles at 1.95 cents. Their routing rules are generous, they have plenty of sweet spots in their award chart, offer off peak awards to South America and Europe, and miles can be used on great airline partners in the Star Alliance.

For specific examples of recent award redemptions using US Airways miles, check out our posts below:

Even though US Airways is selling miles at 1.88 cents (less than our 1.95 cent valuation), I wouldn’t advise purchasing a huge block of miles unless you have a specific redemption or vacation in mind.

The chances of an upcoming devaluation is too high to purchase large amounts of Dividend Miles speculatively. Also, US Airways offered the same 100% bonus in September and November and ran a targeted 100% bonus promotion in October. They are very aggressively marketing their miles, so I suspect that we see more offers like this in the coming months.

Also, with no specific redemption in mind, I value the flexibility of cash and already maximized the share miles deal back 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 surface in the near future. Buying the maximum 50,000 miles could make you miles-rich and cash-poor, which is not always an ideal situation.

What about off peak awards to Europe and South America?

The timing of this promotion is very interesting, especially in terms of booking awards to Europe and South America. The official off peak award calendar is listed below to show you why.

Coincidentally, yesterday was the first official day of off peak awards between North America and Europe. The dates listed above are the eligible travel dates. You could book these discounted awards well in advance if you wanted. Note that if you have  a flexible schedule, there is still availability on many popular routes. Some quick searches yielded encouraging results.

All of my searches were for two award tickets. Any dates highlighted in blue still have off peak award availability. Philadelphia <-> Madrid was still wide open!

The same ample award space was available on the Charlotte <-> Frankfurt route.

Philadelphia to Dublin wasn’t too shabby, either.

Our friends on the West Coast got some love, too. Los Angeles <-> London-Heathrow had some useable offpeak award space.

It’s important to note that business space on all of the routes mentioned above was scarce. Economy awards were much more plentiful.

What about South American off peak award dates?

The off peak dates for travel to South America are slightly different than the European schedule, but you can still buy miles and take advantage of the chart. I found some off peak space on the coveted Charlotte <-> Rio de Janeiro nonstop in March.

Unfortunately off peak space in May was almost picked over.

US Airways announced last month that they would begin nonstop service between Charlotte <-> Sao Paulo, Brazil beginning May 5th. That date also happens to be in the middle of the South American offpeak calendar. Scott actually wrote up this new route in his post, Roundtrip to Sao Paulo or Rio for 30k Miles. At the time of posting, off peak economy space was fantastic.

Now it appears they have blocked off the entire month of May. There is no award space, business or economy, available.

I was definitely thinking about taking a vacation to Europe soon and there is offpeak award space on the dates I want. Should I just buy the miles and book the trip?

Not necessarily! Be very careful before booking with newly-purchased Dividend Miles. You need to factor in several things. How much did it cost to purchase the miles? You need to add this amount to the taxes and fees you have to pay on award tickets. Unless you are a US Airways Gold elite or above, you also can’t escape US Airways $50 per ticket award processing fee nor their $75 “quick ticketing fee” if you book an award within 21 days of departure.

Let’s take Philadelphia <-> Madrid as an example. Buying the 20,000 miles (+20,000 mile bonus) needed for an off peak award will cost $752.50.  You will also pay $181 for this ticket in fees ($56 in taxes, $75 for booking within 21 days, and a $50 for the award processing fee). Don’t forget the approximately 7,300 miles foregone by booking an award ticket.

A quick check on Kayak shows the very same flights on US Airways going for $745! That’s less than the cost of buying the miles outright. As always, do your homework and consult the Mile Value Calculator if you are unsure whether to use miles or cash to book a ticket.

Recap

US Airways is running a targeted promotion for purchasing, gifting, or sharing miles. If you bought or shared miles in 2012, you are eligible to receive a 100% bonus on purchased or gifted miles through January 31st.

This isn’t a promotion I would jump on speculatively. US Airways has a habit of running these 100% bonuses frequently, and the risk of an award chart devaluation makes stocking up on miles a poor investment.

If you have a specific award redemption in mind, crunch the numbers to see if you are coming out ahead. US Airways allows some favorable routings and their off peak awards to Europe and South America are showing solid availability in economy.


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