For the entire month of October (through 11:59PT on October 31 — today) US Airways is offering a 100% bonus on shared miles, which is a spectacular (or spook-tacular?) deal. As I explained in the previous post on the deal:
US Airways charges one cent per mile to share miles, plus a $30 transaction fee and 7.5% tax. The only “catch” with the promotion is that members can receive a maximum of 50,000 miles during the promotion period (not including the 100% bonus). That’s to say you can transfer as many miles out of an account as you’d like, but can only transfer 50,000 miles into a single account and earn the bonus. Furthermore accounts have to be at least 12 days old to be eligible to participate in this promotion.
So to put this into numbers, transferring 50,000 miles would cost $567.50, and you’d essentially be generating 50,000 bonus miles. That’s a mere 1.14 cents per mile, which is amazing. At that rate this should be a no brainer for anyone eying Star Alliance award tickets to take advantage of this.
So it’s your last chance to take advantage of this. Also keep in mind that US Airways has a promotion for a 100% bonus on purchased miles, though it’s targeted. If you can take advantage of this promotion it brings down the cost of purchased miles to ~1.88 cents per mile. When you go to the “buy miles” page on usairways.com you’ll be prompted to enter your account information, and if you’re eligible it’ll show the 100% bonus in red.
Obviously in order to share miles it helps to have miles to begin with, so assume you have two mileage accounts with no miles, yet they’re both eligible for the 100% bonus on purchased miles. Say you’re eying business class tickets from the US to North Asia (which you can route via Europe with a stopover), which cost just 90,000 miles per ticket.
You could purchase 45,000 miles for each account at a cost of $846.56 per account. Then you could transfer 45,000 miles between accounts, at a cost of $516. That’s a total of $1,362.56 for 90,000 Dividend Miles, compared to the usual cost of $1,693.12 under the 100% buy miles promotion. And this is all assuming the “worst case scenario” of not having any miles to begin with. ~$1,360 for a business class ticket to Asia via Europe is pretty tough to beat!
I haven’t yet taken advantage of the promotion, though I think I’ve decided on my strategy. I have one US Airways account with a sizable balance, and have two family members with US Airways accounts as well, though they have no miles. I think I’ll transfer 45,000 miles from my account to one of their accounts, at a cost of $516. Then there will be 90,000 miles in that account. From there I’ll transfer 45,000 miles back to my account at a cost of $516 (which will deposit 90,000 miles in my account — a net gain of 45,000 miles) and 45,000 miles to the other account without miles in it (which will deposit 90,000 miles in that third account — a net gain of 90,000 miles compared to when I started). That will essentially “generate” 135,000 “new” US Airways miles for me at a cost of $1,548. At ~1.15 cents per mile, I’d say that’s pretty darn good.
In the process of researching this it appears I’ve also stumbled upon US Airways’ November promotion, which is their standard 100% bonus on purchased miles: