US Airways is running bonuses for mileage purchases through July 31.
They make you identify yourself with name and account number before displaying the purchase miles page, which tells me they are verifying eligibility. But I was offered a 100% bonus which seems to be quite common.
With a 100% bonus, purchases of 50,000 miles you get 50,000 bonus miles, and your 100,000 miles cost you 1.88 cents per mile.
US Airways has been dubbed the ‘consolidator of Star Alliance premium class seats’ since seats that aren’t expected to be sold (distressed inventory) tend to be offered as awards, and US Airways has been the most aggressive about letting members straight up buy those seats cheaply via purchased miles — even putting awards on hold before buying the miles (which post instantly).
Although they’re no longer the only one in the game. When AviancaTaca sells miles with a 100% bonus the cost is 1.5 cents per mile, and they allow one-way awards without Starnet blocking though if you can’t book the flights you want online (and you can’t book awards in a mixed class of service at all) their call centers can be difficult to worth with.
US Airways of course is expected to exit Star Alliance in a matter of months. Their merger with American should close by the end of the third quarter, and they’re expected to exit Star shortly thereafter. These miles will then be useful for oneworld and other American Airlines partner awards (at least once the programs are combined, or more likely once they implement the ability to move miles back and forth between programs).
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.
Buying miles at a 100% bonus from US Airways used to be an amazing deal. Three years ago their award chart was less expensive (e.g. 80,000 miles for business class to Europe). And 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.
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).