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.