US Airways offering up to a 100% bonus on the purchase of Dividend Miles through May 31, 2013

Through May 31, 2013, US Airways is offering up to a 100% bonus on the purchase of Dividend Miles. Rather than offering a straight 100% bonus they’re offering tiered bonuses, with the 100% bonus only going to those that purchase at least 30,000 miles:

  • Buy/gift 5,000 – 9,999 miles, get a 25% bonus
  • Buy/gift 10,000 – 19,999 miles, get a 50% bonus
  • Buy/gift 20,000 – 29,999 miles, get a 75% bonus
  • Buy/gift 30,000 – 50,000 miles, get a 100% bonus

For a bit of context, in January they offered a 100% bonus on purchased miles targeted exclusively to those that purchased miles in 2012, in February they offered a targeted 100% promotion as well, in March they offered a “mystery” bonus of up to a 100%, and in April they offered a 50% bonus on shared miles. So this promotion is actually the first non-targeted buy miles 100% bonus promotion of the year.

Anyway, through this promotion miles can be purchased for ~1.88 cents each including tax. You can purchase a maximum of 100,000 miles through this promotion (50,000 base miles and then 50,000 bonus miles), and Dividend Miles accounts have to be at least 12 days old to be eligible for this promotion.

This can be a great deal if you have a specific mileage redemption in mind, and can be an even better deal if you’re just topping off a mileage account. Flying from the US to North Asia via Europe remains just 90,000 miles in business class, so if you outright buy those miles through this promotion you’ll pay $1,700, which is really good. See this post for basics on redeeming Dividend Miles and this post for how to plan a 90,000 mile business class award to Asia via Europe.

Comments

  1. Lucky what about the current availability of Star Alliance F class awards ? Are they still blocking LH and LX until 14 days out and it space still viewable by us air agents without having to do a manuel request ? Thinking about a specific redemption (NAmerica to Asia through Europe) but it was already a pain to book 2 years ago (most agents were being advised to decline manuel sell requests) …

  2. @ vincent — Well it’s not US Airways blocking Swiss space, but rather Swiss doesn’t release any first class award space to their partners. So there’s no way for them to even manually sell that.

    As far as Lufthansa goes, it’s not impossible to get a manual sell, even though they have a policy of not allowing it. But Lufthansa first class award space is even tougher to come by than before, with or without a manual sell.

  3. @ E — I have. It should price at the higher price, though not surprisingly with US Airways they don’t always price things right.

  4. Hi All

    I managed to get LH first class on April 10th and April 25 with 4 and 7 days in advance; the first JFK-FRA-DOh and the second IAD-FRA (United)-DOH.

    These 2 were booked one way using LifeMiles site and little bit of talk with an spanish agent in Panama (where the call centre is, I guess).

  5. Woo hoooo, I love this news.
    + Nice to meet you at FTU – I’m the guy from Sydney Australia. (& Tentatively excited to head home via asia on my 31hr + 15hr layovers, a long way to go home!!).
    Catch again next time – let me know if you ever visit down under.

  6. @Antonio C

    why did you need to speak to an agent? i thought they can’t do more than the website can do…

  7. lucky I need three one way tickets from Rome to the Washington DC is this a good way to do it.

  8. Do you know whether after the merger all of these Dividend miles will become AAdvantage miles?

  9. Just beware that there are multiple reports on FT that LH has completely blocked ALL US Airways redemptions for LH flights after October 31st (including tickets in Y and C). Additionally, it has also been reported that UA has blocked all flight redemptions after December 31st.

  10. leon : US Airways doesn’t allow one-way redemptions, so this one wont help unless you want to pay up for the full round trip.

  11. Does the 12 day existing account requirement apply to before the start of the promotion (ie. 12 days before May 1), or 12 days before attempting to purchase (eg. 12 days before May 28)? Seems to be the latter, since the 12 day restriction is for US DM accounts in general, instead of promo related, right?

  12. Why are bloggers are not commenting on the big reduction in star alliance international saver award availability (at least as viewed through United)? I am wondering if the sharp decline in award availability that occurred late March is a result of too may credit card miles in circulation. The award flights available are between countries that are less accessible to the typical US consumer. Fine perhaps for the high milage flyer who can make changes at last minute for free but for the average Joe this is a real problem.

  13. Lucky: I’m kind of new to this but I just got the US Airways Dividend Card. It has a 40,000 mile bonus. It seems to me that if I spend the money to buy say 50,000 miles, that I would wind up with a total of 140,000 miles for the price. 100% mileage bonus plus the 40,000 miles for spend of $1750. Is my math right?

  14. Lucky: I’m thinking of jumping on this, however I have a couple questions.

    1. Which card? I was planning on putting this toward unlocking the 50K bonus on Chase Ink Bold but I also have a previously unlocked US Airways card that I almost never use and a Sapphire I use all the time.

    2. Which airlines will this work with in a PRACTICAL sense? I know bloggers like yourself can still find LH space because you have crazy flexibility and don’t mind turning over every stone, but I’ll need to plan this more than two weeks out and I don’t have the status or the stomach to turn everything upside down at the last minute just to change to a slightly nicer carrier.

    3. What is US Airways’ history on devaluations and program changes? If I buy these points today and then spend some time deciding how to use them how high is the risk that the rules or the rates will suddenly change without notice? Does US Airways typically give warning or do they just change the rules and shrug?

    4. What, if any, affect would the pending merger with AA have on your decision to buy these miles. Good? Bad? Neutral?

  15. @lucky
    Wouldn’t the cost be closer to $810 if you get 100% bonus on the purchase? i.e. 45,000 x .018 = $810 and the 45,000 bonus miles would be free on top

  16. @ Antonio C. — I believe Vincent’s question was in the context of redeeming US Airways miles, because they specifically block all first class Lufthansa redemptions, which no other Star Alliance partner does.

  17. @ Steve — Nice to meet you as well!

    @ leon — Well US Airways doesn’t allow one-ways at half the cost of a roundtrip, so this really isn’t a good program through which to do that. You’d be much better booking something like that through AviancaTaca’s Lifemiles program the next time they’re running a 100% bonus promotion.

  18. @ Joey — Absolutely, the miles will be merged, though the timeframe is up in the air as of now.

    @ Tom — Interesting, I wasn’t aware. I’ll look into that.

    @ Jig — It’s the latter. You can purchase miles 12 days after signing up for an account.

  19. @ Unhappy Flyer — While award availability isn’t quite as good as it used to be, I can’t say I’m noticing a huge reduction.

    @ MiamiGuy — Yep, your math is exactly right.

  20. @ Dax —

    1) The transaction will be processed by points.com, so this doesn’t qualify for any bonus category. Therefore I’d pay with whichever card you need to meet minimum spend on.

    2) Most carriers. In business class there’s decent space on Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Brussels, Lufthansa, United, etc. First class on Star Alliance is generally tough nowadays, though Air China, Asiana, Thai, and United aren’t impossible.

    3) I think they’re due for a devaluation. They do offer this promo fairly frequently so I wouldn’t buy them if you don’t have a short term use in mind. They’ve made plenty of changes without any (or very little) notice, and their award chart is just too generous in many regards. That being said, the merger may be slowing down any award chart changes as they instead focus on other issues, so we may not see a devaluation till the merger is finalized.

    4) Generally I value American miles more than US Airways miles, so I’d say in general the value of US Airways miles will go up. But it’s anyone’s guess how much of a devaluation we’ll see at the time of the merger.

  21. @ AJ — It shouldn’t be possible, as the US to India price should instead be priced. But in practice not all US Airways agents price awards correctly, so there are no guarantees.

  22. Lucky – reading the basic overview post on US award is great, but could you go back and update any old info in the main post? I know a lot of updated info is in the comments, but an update with 2013 info would be nice. For example, is the segment limit still 8? Also, does United have a segment limit (ow and/or rt)?

  23. @ afterbang — Everything is more or less still accurate. Transfer limit is actually eight (meaning 10 segments, five in each direction), though many agents don’t like booking that many connections.

    United does have a segment limit, and it’s so high that I’ve never come close to it. At least 14, if not 16.

  24. @Lucky, say I jump on the offer now and buy miles, then in July when reservation open up for next summer, i use the miles for a trip to china or japan in June 2014 flying on UA or ANA or Asiana, will those airline honor the reservation next summer, considering the AA/US merger close at the end of this year (just assuming)??? That is really my biggest concern!

    Also, do u know which route to Asian usually offers 6 biz seats?? Thank you!

  25. @ h2oPolo — Absolutely, all reservations booked will be honored regardless of whether or not US Airways is still in the Star Alliance then.

    Six business class seats on a flight? I can’t think of any airline that regularly releases that much space.

  26. A general question, since these will become AA miles (more valuable hopefully ), do you think this could be a good buy even if you dont have any plans to use them in the next 12 months? ( I just purchased Avianca at a much better rate )

  27. @ jorge — It could be a good buy, but it’s not something I’d take advantage of personally. US Airways offers these promotions frequently, and while these will eventually become American miles, I suspect we’ll see a devalued award chart once the merger takes place. So it’s not a rate at which I’d speculatively buy miles just for giggles.

  28. Lucky, thanks for the quick reply. Much appreciated to have the benefit of your knowledge. One more thing I wanted to query. If I’m going with Ink Bold is there any way to fund a points purchase through a office store gift card? The largest cards I’ve seen recently were a paltry $200 and came with $5 in fees per card or more.

  29. @ Dax — Aside from what you mention unfortunately there’s not a better way to fund it through an office supply store purchase.

  30. Wondering how big is a chance that USair miles will count as Million Miler after merger (like with all miles that turned into lifetime UA after UA+CO)

  31. @ T516 — The actual lifetime miles will be combined, but redeemable miles don’t count towards lifetime status with US Airways (and haven’t with American for a while).

  32. Lucky: does US Air awards allow travel to Australia via Europe and BKK/SIN? The official rule, I believe, is “no” but do you know how likely their agents will permit this, without hanging up and calling again more than 20 times 🙂

  33. @ Carol — You’re correct, the official answer is no, though if you can limit the number of segments (for example, keep it down to three per direction, like IAD-FRA-BKK-SYD), I’d say you have a good shot of getting away with it.

  34. Lucky: I’m really tempted to do a trip very similar to the one you did earlier this year in June. I’ve got a pretty open schedule for the first three weeks of June and was hoping to do it in about 3 or 4 days. Do you think its possible with current availability or will availability for June be pretty low? Thanks!

  35. @ Mike — If you’re trying to plan now you’ll have a really hard time. That being said if you can wait till closer till departure I think it should be possible without too much trouble.

  36. Lucky, are you aware of which airlines are currently or will soon begin refusing US Dividend Miles awards and/or that US Airways is currently or will soon be refusing to book?

  37. @ Dax — As of now you can book all Star Alliance carriers using US Airways miles. Once US Airways leaves Star Alliance (a date that hasn’t been set yet) that won’t be possible anymore, though it should be something that happens all at once, vs. carriers pulling out one at a time.

  38. @Lucky,
    In the past, you calculated that US Air had a 100% bonus mile gift program that costs ~1.12cent per mile.

    Does it still cost the same if I gift 50,000 miles to my wife’s account?
    Thanks,
    Andy

  39. @ Andy — That 100% bonus was on shared miles and not gifted miles, unfortunately. So that promotion isn’t available right now.

  40. Got it. Thanks a lot for quick reply. I just accumulated 50,000 miles by April 2013 and I will wait for that “shared mile” offer to appear again.

  41. Lucky, so I was able to get a pretty good routing and had some pretty nice US Airways agents. However, one of them said that their supervisor won’t let me route from ZRH-WAW via FRA and says I can only take the direct flight even though it gets in at a bad time. Should I just try again later or do I not have much hope?
    Also I’m thinking of trying either LOTs 787 business class or Austrian Airlines business class on their 777 or 767 for the return flight. Which would you recommend? (even though I know you weren’t able to try the 787)

  42. @ Mike — I would hang up and call again. Just make sure you’re not exceeding the segment limit of five segments per direction.

    Between LOT and Austrian I’d definitely choose the latter. The catering is much better.

  43. Lucky, I had a friend ask about (gasp!) coach travel with this promotion. The cost to buy 30,000 + 30,000 bonus miles is $1,128.75 all-in. Is that worthwhile in your opinion? On the surface you’re still getting a trip to Europe and Asia for 60K points. Although coach travel is apparently rare for folks on the forum I’m inclined to say it’s still a good value since my last coach trip to Asia was several hundred more than that and didn’t include any stopovers in Europe.

  44. @ Dax — It certainly can be a good deal in coach as well if someone wants to travel from the US to Asia via Europe (and actually stop there). Keep in mind though that in addition to the miles it costs to purchase the ticket, you also have to factor in the miles you’re giving up by not booking a revenue ticket. That can be a substantial number if routing from the US to Asia via Europe, so it always makes sense to check the cost of a revenue ticket as well.

  45. Lucky, so would you say Austrian’s far superior business cabin outweighs the chance to try LOTs 787? Thanks for your help so far!

  46. @ Mike — Assuming you’re not an airplane nerd and there’s a *huge* novelty in flying the 787, I’d say so. The catering and service on Austrian is simply spectacular, while that’s not the case on LOT.

  47. Lucky, so I almost have my flights booked with this, however I’m running into a couple issues. A couple of the flight segments I’m looking at are available according to the ANA website AND the United site, however when I call US Airways, they tell me there are no seats available. Could there be a reason for this discrepancy? Thanks!

  48. Lucky, it’s business class on Turkish Airlines. ANA and United both say there is availability from Beijing to Istanbul on June 9th, but two agents at US Airways both said that its full. I’ve even checked the seat map and there are quite a few seats left in business.

  49. @ Mike — There are some cases where they block (like ANA on certain routes and Lufthansa first class), though I’ve never heard of it for Turkish.

    But I think I know what the problem is. The flight departs just aftermidnight, and US Airways’ computers are horrible at displaying availability for flights that depart around midnight. When you ask them to check availability ask them to do so for the previous day. I’d be willing to bet the space will show up.

  50. #1 US Air…Looking to book HNL to PHL 5/2014 which needs 45k miles & points account is at 1500. If your recommendation is to buy miles how many? 45k isn’t cost effective. I’m not seasoned in travel. Can I add $ to points? #2 In my hand is a solicitation enclosed with the c.c. statement from US Air to buy 20k miles and get 100% more. Good deal except US Air Dividend Miles Dept won’t honor and their suggestion was to write a complaint. Done! But this promotion is up 5/31/2013 so it’ll be over by the time they get around to looking at it. Did anyone else get this bonus and do I have any recourse?

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