Just Over a Week Left to Take Advantage of the US Airways 250% Holiday Shopping Bonus

I’ve written plenty about this offer already, but there are likely several people still on the fence so I thought I’d write it up as simply as possible in one place.

The bonus offers the opportunity to buy US Airways miles at about 7/10ths of a penny apiece. That’s buying business class from the US to Europe for ~ $700 (plus taxes and award redemption fee). First class to Hong Kong on Star Alliance partner awards becomes ~ $850 per ticket (again, plus taxes and fees). So it’s a pretty amazing offer.

The basics of the deal:

* You need to have (5) transactions with different merchants in order to reach the 250% bonus level. The 5th needs to be Track It Back which normally offers 40 miles per dollar but becomes 140 under this deal (hence the approximate 7 cent per point price).

* Now, since you don’t actually want/need the Track It Back items you can even consider donating them to a qualified charity for a tax deduction… (others have noted that you may want to keep the amount donated in a year under $5000 to not be burdened with an IRS requirement for an appraisal, even though the valuation is clear — it’s the market price for the brand new item). But if you did successfully donate the items that would push your cost basis down in the range of half a cent per mile. Hardly necessary to make this a worthwhile offer, just a way to maximize it.

* You just need to figure out how many miles you want (where do you want to go? how many people? what class of service?). My suggestion is not to buy more miles than you have a vision for how to use within the next year and a half or so. That’s because I tend towards overcautious, and don’t really want to be bundling a bet into all of this on the future of the airline!

Each purchase should be made by clicking a link on the holiday promo page.

You can accomplish your four non-TrackItBack purchases quite inexpensivel, such as:
1. Purchase a $2 tree from Gaiam (Dividend Miles Shopping Mall merchant)
2. Purchase a $5 Sears/KMart gift card with free shipping
3. Purchase a $5 Omaha Steaks gift card with free shipping.
4. Purchase a $5 gift card from Barnes & Noble, costs ~ $7

Then make a purchase from TrackItBack, whatever number of miles you want divided by 140 will tell you how much to spend.

Personally, again because I am uber-cautious, once TrackItBack points post (the regular 40 miles per dollar — the bonus miles won’t post until March 1), and those post within a week or so, I then make another couple of minor purchases just in cases one of the earlier four don’t post on their own. A couple of examples:

– 99 cent wallpaper sample from Home Depot plus the cost of a postage stamp
– If you send flowers to anyone via FTD, those’ll earn 70 miles per dollar
– Open a Sharebuilder account with $5 and buy $1 worth of stock (earns 10,500 miles with bonus)

Finally, just be sure that your TrackItBack purchase is done earlier rather than later in the sequence of purchases, my preference is to make it purchase #5. That’s because only the first 10 transactions count for a bonus.

All transactions need to be made by (and post with a date no later than) December 30. I wouldn’t push it that late, though. Sometimes a purchase will post with a shipping date rather than a purchase date, so no guarantee a December 30 purchase posts with a December 30 date.

In other words, get on the ball now .. before Christmas .. don’t wait.

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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  1. “1. Purchase a $2 tree from Gaiam (Dividend Miles Shopping Mall merchant)” — the page says now
    “This item is not eligible for promotional discounts.”

  2. I’ve had my first 4 purchases in for a week now, and no miles posting. I’ve read TIB has a return policy, and if they haven’t posted this week, I might still pull the trigger.

  3. A couple of concerns. First, when I clicked on the offer page, and linked to Sears, Omaha Steaks and Barnes & Noble, in each case, I had to click on the “additional offer” called “earn miles for gift cards”. I suspect that if I didn’t click on that, I wouldn’t get any miles, and these wouldn’t be a “qualified transaction.” Second, the t/c say “bonus amounts will be assigned in order of posting dates.” That suggests to me that TrackItBack will get the 250% bonus only if it posts as the 5th through 10th transactions. If it posts first, then it gets only 50%.

  4. @Alan

    (1) you would still get miles for gift cards, clicking that offer just takes you straight to the gift card page

    (2) the concern about posting order is just for figuring out which transactions get the bonus and which do not if you have more than 10 transactions. See the sentence that precedes the one you’ve quoted.

    And remember the offer is actually very clear on this point, “We’ll add your final big bonus to every purchase you make throughout the entire promotion period, up to 10 individual purchases.”

  5. Dear Gary:

    Thanks for the prompt and perceptive response. I made the mistake of going through the dividend miles mall rather than the offer page for the three gift card purchases, so I re-did them by clicking through the offer page. That may leave me with seven out of ten transactions instead of four, so I don’t plan to make more than three TrackItBack purchases from my account. (If I want more, I’ll do it through a family member account.) Make sense?

    Sincerely,

    Alan

  6. I made my first four purchases about 10 days ago, but still nothing has posted on US Airways yet. My worry is that if I make a big TIB purchase, and it posts before 12/30, but others don’t post until after 12/31, then i’m screwed, so to speak.

  7. @David, no your note, you just need your purchases to post by Feb 28 with transaction dates by Dec 30 and it does not matter the order in which they post as long as you have 5 unique merchants and not more than 10 total – all of your transactions will then earn the 250% bonus.

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