100% Bonus Buying US Airways Miles: Cheapest Way to Buy American Airlines Miles, But Only If You Bought Miles Last Year

US Airways is running a 100% bonus for mileage purchases through January 31st for people who purchased miles in 2013.

Thank you for buying miles in 2013! For a limited time, as a special “thank you”, enjoy 100% bonus miles when you buy Dividend Miles -up to 50,000 miles 

Hurry, this exclusive 100% bonus offer ends January 31, 2014.

They first verify your account information before showing you the offer (or not, if you aren’t eligible).

US Airways ran — both targeted and non-targeted — versions of the 100% purchase miles or share miles bonus for most of 2013. This airline has been the single most aggressive in selling miles, and at a price point lower than most other carriers offer their miles. That’s why frequent flyer forum member and View from the Wing commenter eponymous coward called US Airways ‘the official consolidator of Star Alliance premium cabin seats’… they’re the discounter who ‘sells’ (via mileage awards) extra seats the other carriers in the alliance won’t sell.

Of course, Star Alliance carrier Avianca’s LifeMiles program sells miles even cheaper a few times a year.

US Airways IT Challenges Making Bookings Limit Value Somewhat

Here’s my guide to using US Airways miles to book awards.

US Airways has difficulty ‘seeing’ some partner award inventory, especially Lufthansa’s and especially intra-Europe though also transatlantic and also ANA space as well. That makes the miles a bit less valuable for redeeming Star Alliance awards.

The American Merger and US Airways Exit from Star Alliance

US Airways has merged with American. US Airways should depart Star Alliance March 30 and enter oneworld on March 31.

That means you can book an award now, redeeming for travel on Star Alliance. You can even wait until March 30th to do so (although I wouldn’t), for travel as far out as 330 days into the future. The only hiccup is if schedule changes force rebooking, the airline will only be able to re-accommodate you on oneworld airlines after March 30th.

Of course if American and oneworld is your thing, this purchase bonus offer is cheaper than American sells miles.

No Airfare Spending Bonuses for the Mileage Purchase

US Airways mileage purchases are processed by points.com which means they don’t show up as airfare, and thus don’t earn bonuses from credit cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred (double points) or American Express Premier Rewards Gold (triple points) that bonus airfare spend.

Should You Buy Miles With This Offer?

Buying miles at a 100% bonus from US Airways used to be an amazing deal. Four years ago their award chart was less expensive (e.g. 80,000 miles for business class to Europe).

Prior to September 2010 miles normally cost 2.5 cents apiece. In October 2011 they raised the standard price of miles to 3.5 cents apiece.

Since US Airways runs mileage purchase bonuses nearly every month, though sometimes targeted and other times in varying amounts, they’ve more or less jacked up the price only to be able to discount it, making the discounts look better than they actually are. (See also ‘Groupon’.)

Make no mistake, they can still be a good deal, but not good enough in my view to stock up miles speculatively. Instead, I’d use this deal to top off an account towards a specific award or to buy outright a ticket that you can immediately book (getting airfare at a discount).

The way to do this ‘non-speculatively’ is to put the award you want on a three day hold, then buy the miles, and ring back to ticket the award.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I acquired a bunch of miles from US Airways through 100% bonus on shared miles at the end of 2013 but do not qualify for this offer. It appears that when they say it’s for people who bought or “gifted” miles in 2013, they mean it — people who _shared_ miles are not eligible.

  2. @Gary, you say:

    “That means you can book an award now, redeeming for travel on Star Alliance. You can even wait until March 30th to do so (although I wouldn’t), for travel as far out as 330 days into the future. The only hiccup is if schedule changes force rebooking, the airline will only be able to re-accommodate you on oneworld airlines after March 30th.”

    Does this mean that, with some risk involved, on can, for example, book USA-HGK for 90K miles in C on UA using US miles thru 3/30 and then rebook it on CX later (pending award availability)?

  3. @jfhscott – If there is a schedule change you’ll be able to make changes to the itinerary without re-pricing. You SHOULD be able to make voluntary changes for the cost of a change fee. Of course we do not know that the US Airways award chart will change at all March 31, you may still be able to book North Asia business class for 90k roundtrip once they’ve joined oneworld.

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