US Airways 100% buy miles promotion returning in December!

US Airways has announced that they’ll be running a 100% bonus on purchased miles for the entire month of December. This is interesting on a couple of levels.

First of all, this is the first time I can recall that they’ve announced a buy miles promotion in advance.

Second of all, this is the first time they’re running a bonus on purchased miles since they raised the cost from 2.75 cents per mile to 3.5 cents per mile back in October.

So with the 100% bonus you’re paying 1.75 cents per mile, plus the 7.5% excise tax on purchased miles, for a grand total of 1.87 cents per mile.

This is still a great deal if the alternative is to book a paid business or first class ticket.

In the past the cost of purchased miles came out to just under 1.5 cents per mile all-in, and at the time I suggested people buy miles even without a specific purpose in mind. While 1.87 cents per mile is still a good deal, I’d say it’s no longer worth buying miles “just because,” but instead worth buying them with a particular redemption in mind.

Business class from the US to North Asia still costs only 90,000 miles, so even at 1.87 cents per mile that’s only ~$1,680 for a business class ticket to Asia, and they even let you route via Europe.

As always they have the restriction in place saying accounts have to be at least 12 days old to participate in the promotion. Furthermore, the summary this time suggests that the maximum bonus will be 40,000 miles, compared to 50,000 miles in the past (for a total of 100,000 miles). This would be an interesting development and certainly wouldn’t surprise me — they want you to buy miles, but not enough for an international longhaul premium cabin award.

So I’m definitely excited to see the promotion return, though it’s not as exciting as in the past.

Comments

  1. Did you notice it only says “up to 40,000 miles” – so is that a typo, or is the transaction limit going to be reset to 40K?

  2. @ArizonaGuy, I was somewhat excited until I saw exactly that. That means if I purchase more than 40K miles, I only get a maximum 40K bonus miles. I was thinking of using this, plus taking advantage of Aeroplan’s Points Conversion offer, which should be able to earn me a max of 25K miles, but I guess I really have to do a cost/benefit analysis now…

  3. @ ArizonaGuy — Missed that the first time around. Would like to think it’s a typo, though suspect it’s quite intentional. US Airways wants to keep making money on selling miles, though doesn’t want to sell so many miles that people will actually redeem them for international premium cabin awards. By keeping the the limit below 90,000, they’re really restricting those without miles otherwise in their account from redeeming miles for longhaul first/business class. Interesting.

  4. Eh. I think they solved their dilemma by jacking the price up so I’m hoping the limit is 50K, not 40K.

    Even so, won’t be buying any this time around. Scored plenty of Grand Slam miles coupled with all the previous purchases I’ve made. If they’d just give me one way awards I’d burn through them a lot faster.

  5. lucky said,

    @ ArizonaGuy — Missed that the first time around. Would like to think it’s a typo, though suspect it’s quite intentional. US Airways wants to keep making money on selling miles, though doesn’t want to sell so many miles that people will actually redeem them for international premium cabin awards. By keeping the the limit below 90,000, they’re really restricting those without miles otherwise in their account from redeeming miles for longhaul first/business class. Interesting.

    =====================

    So if you are interested in a J or F reward to North Asia, this forces you to buy remaining miles (10,000 for a J or 35,000 for F) at the new increased rate of 3.5 cents/mile.

    The 100% bonus was great when the rate was 2.5 cents / mile and even 2.75 but now certainly not as much.

  6. This was just posted a few hours ago on Aeroplan. Convert to a certain number of Aeroplan miles from their selected partners (points.com, SPG, Marriott, HH, etc.) and get bonus Aeroplan miles. Not a whole lot, but I’ll take free miles any day! Plus, despite the huge Aeroplan devaluation within the past few months, there are still some good ways to redeem your miles, and they aren’t charging fuel surcharges for every *A Carrier (yet…).

    Have Fun!

    http://www.aeroplan.com/convert

  7. @ David — It’s inevitable, unfortunately, and they wouldn’t be unreasonable of them to do so. They haven’t had a serious devaluation in a long time now, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

  8. I forgot you can’t trade US Airway Miles on points.com, only exchange with horrid exchange rates. Oh well… the Aeroplan offer can still help some of you with a lot of other reward points sitting around!

  9. @ @lucky — I said “serious devaluation.” They had a very mild devaluation in 2010 which was more of an “annual adjustment,” but they haven’t had a serious, “industry leading” devaluation in a long time.

  10. Hey Lucky,

    I am not interested in flying first or business class, is buying US Airways miles a good deal for coach seats?

    Thanks, Matt

  11. @ Spicy B — It seems they deleted the reference. I suspect that they’re still running the promotion, but rather that they realize they’re hurting their current mileage sale business by promoting a future offer.

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