US Airways 100% bonus on shared miles returns through October 15, 2013 — AMAZING deal!

US Airways is almost always offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles in one form or another, bringing down the cost of acquired miles to ~1.88 cents each. However, the single most lucrative promotion they seem to offer about once a year is a 100% bonus on shared miles, which they just announced through October 15, 2013.

The promotion is pretty straightforward and not targeted, fortunately. They’ll give you a 100% bonus on all shared miles, up to a total of 50,000. The cost to share miles is one cent per mile, plus a 7.5% tax, plus a $30 transaction fee.

US Airways Share Miles

So what this means is that if you transfer 50,000 miles from one account to another you’d pay a total of $567.50, and that account would then have 100,000 miles. So basically you “generated” 50,000 miles at a cost of $567.50, which is just ~1.13 cents per mile.

Obviously this promotion is only useful if you have US Airways miles in your account, but it could very well make sense to transfer points from Starwood, for example, in order to be able to take advantage of this promotion. It seems you can make as many transfers as you’d like under this promotion, and that the only major restriction is that members can only receive 50,000 miles per account — there are no limits as to how many miles can be transferred out of an account. The other restriction, which is standard for US Airways promotions, is that your account needs to be open for at least 12 days before they’ll let you take part in a promotion, so if you don’t have a US Airways account yet, it would make sense to sign up ASAP.

To put this into perspective, US Airways charges just 90,000 miles for business class from the US to North Asia, and you can route via Europe with a stopover there. So if you can generate miles at 1.13 cents each, that’s the equivalent of paying ~$1,000 for such a ticket. For tips on booking such a ticket, see this post.

This is absolutely as good as US Airways promotions to purchase miles get, and a rate at which I’d speculatively purchase miles even without an immediate use.

(Tip of the hat to Gary)

Comments

  1. The last time I booked the North Asia via Europe in business class they charged me 100,000 US Airways miles instead of 90k. I stayed 5 days in Japan and 4 days in Sweden. I tried calling twice and they would not budge.

  2. @ Maury — It all depends on the agent you get. Some argue that you should be charged the rate for the highest region you’re transiting, while the “standard” seems to be that you are charged based on your destination.

  3. Are you allowed to book award tickets not in the account holder’s name?

    i.e. can I create new profiles and gift miles to those?

  4. Also there is one more rule. The stop that you want has to be the hub city of that particular airline and not just any random place in Europe. If they do not enforce it is different but at least that is the rule. Am I correct?

  5. @Maury, I agree with Lucky. I just booked a north asia trip via Cairo for 90k though I’ll admit it took me 5 calls to finally get an agent to price it at 90k (three priced it at 110,000 since Cairo is in Africa and one priced it at 120,000 since Cairo is in Middle East.)

  6. So Lucky, in theory, could I have my father transfer 50,000 to me, pay the fee, and i’d have 100,000 points. Then, after that, I could transfer him 50,000 and pay the fee?
    That would leave us both with 50,000 more points than we started with, for $1,135 combined, at 1.13 CPM?
    I just want to make sure my thought process is correct.

  7. @ caveman — The stopover does have to be either at a Star Alliance hub OR a US Airways transatlantic destination. However, in my experience you don’t have to actually fly the airline with the hub to the particular city.

  8. @caveman, I believe you are correct. On mine, I wanted to fly Swiss from ZRH to CAI since they fly an A330 to CAI but that wasn’t possible; I had to fly EgyptAir to Cairo.

  9. Ben -What would be your strategy for us who have very few to no miles in our DM accounts. My partner and I both have accounts but have very little miles in both. We also don’t have much in our SPG accounts to transfer. Would love to take advantage of this deal. Thanks!

  10. @ Simon — If you don’t have miles in your account this can be a real toughie. Keep in mind US Airways does have a mileage accelerator at the time you purchase revenue tickets. That allows you to purchase miles at only a bit over two cents each. You can cancel tickets within 24 hours, and even if you do so you still get to keep the miles. So that might be worth considering.

  11. Dear Lucky,
    My 1st account currently has 100,000 miles
    2nd account currently has 0 miles
    3rd account current has 0 miles

    Can I transfer from my #1 account (50,000 miles each) to #2 account & 3rd account and both 2nd & 3rd account would get the bonus?

    Thanks

  12. Lucky,

    I currently only have 40,000 in my account. Just opened an account under my dad’s name. Would the following work? Share from my account to his, then once it’s in his account, Share back to me?

  13. @ Thomas — Yep, that should work fine, just be sure you wait at least 12 days before doing it so your dad’s account will be eligible.

  14. Thanks for the info Lucky!

    I understand I should wait 12 days to Share from my dad’s account back to me, but should I also wait 12 days before I can share to his account? Or is it safe to do that now?

  15. @ Bas — The terms state you can receive a maximum of 50,000 miles per account. They don’t seem to care about the number of transactions involved.

  16. @ Thomas — To be on the safe side I’d suggest just waiting 12 days before doing anything. The terms state accounts have to be 12 days old to buy, share, or gift miles, so it seems safest to wait till that period is over and then just making the transfers back and forth if you’d like to.

  17. Darn, I regret not buying $100K miles when that offer was going on but I actually had concerns about sharing/trasnferring miles (a transfer fee is silly, IMHO). Wish I’d known about this annual deal then as this is a great offer.

  18. Hi Lucky, I was sent an e-mail from US Airways last week advertising a wine club where I could earn 9k DM for signing up for their service. Any idea how long those points would take to post?

  19. When is US Air leaving start alliance? I heard that people are having difficulty getting award biz seats on ANA and some other airlines using US Air miles, is that true? Also, for domestic tickets, does the one stopover or one open jaw rule apply? Thanks!

  20. @ Sharon — It hasn’t been announced yet since the merger with American is up in the air.

    US Airways should still have access mostly to the same inventory as before. Any lack of inventory is due to system errors (aside from Lufthansa, which is intentional), so I wouldn’t read too much into it.

  21. My brain isn’t working so I want to ask you and see what can be done.

    If I transfer 50K Starwood points to my US Air account (zero balance now) and my wife has a brand new account. I transfer 50K to her so now she has 100K. She transfers back to me 50K so I have 100K and she has 50K. Correct?

    After that I can transfer anymore right because of the 50k max? Correct?

    Any way to get 100K into both accounts?

  22. I can’t find redemption for Alaska on the award chart, only Hawaii is excluded from US & Canada. Does this mean coach to Alaska only cost 25000 miles???

  23. @ Benny — You’re correct that the most you can transfer into an account is 50K miles. So if you transfer 50K Starpoints that will actually get you 60K miles, since you get a 5K miles bonus for every 20K miles transferred.

    If you had a few more accounts you could do what you’re trying to do. For example, say you transferred 40K Starpoints to your US Airways account, which would get you 50,000 US Airways miles. Then you would “share” 25K miles with two different accounts, getting them 50K each. Then from there you’d share 50K miles, getting 100K miles in each of two accounts.

    I think that would be your best option.

  24. Last year US Airways ran this promotion at the same time they had a 100% Buy Miles promo going on. Any chance they might do that again? I know you don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m curious what you think the chances are. I’ve place two tickets on hold just in case… Thanks!

  25. @ Romuald — Technically each person can only have one account, though you can make an account in someone else’s name. Address can be the same, just the name has to be different.

  26. @ MillValleyMom — It’s anyone’s guess but my money is on them not running a 100% bonus on purchased miles this month. But I certainly could be wrong.

  27. Are these transactions processed through points.com? If they’re through USAir, would be a great way to earn 2x points for travel with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.

  28. Hey Lucky,

    Please let me know if this is a dumb idea. But it seems to me that having only a small amount of US miles doesn’t matter here.

    Let’s say account A has only 1000 miles (which mine does!). Account B has 0 miles. Account A transfers 1k to B, which then has 2k. B transfers 2k to A, which then has 4k. A transfers 4k to B, which then has 8k …. and so on. Pretty soon you’ve reached the 50k bonus receiving limit for both A and B.

    Since there’s no restriction on the number of transactions, it seems like this should work, so that even someone with very few miles can still “buy” a ton of miles at 1.13 cents per mile.

    Is there a flaw with this line of thinking?

  29. Oh I also forgot to ask how you search for award flights to Europe using UA metal? I assume that you cant use .bomb

  30. @ Rich — Only flaw is that you pay a $30 fee per transaction, so if you’re purchasing miles in smaller transactions they’re considerably more expensive than 1.13 cents per mile.

  31. @ wayne — You can indeed search on united.com. If there’s saver award space available on the website it should also be bookable with US Airways miles.

  32. @ Rich – yes there’s a big flaw. You forgot to consider the $30 transaction fee, which would drive your cost really high for low level transactions.

  33. Okay let’s try this again. I think it still could be a decent deal for someone with only 1000 miles.

    A transfers 1k to B. Cost 10.75 + 30 = 40.75.

    B transfers 2k to A. Cost = 21.5 + 30 = 51.5.

    A transfers 4k to B. Cost 43 + 30 = 73.

    B transfers 8k to A. Cost 86 + 30 = 106.

    A 16k –> B. Cost 172 + 30 = 202.

    B 32k –> A. Cost 344 + 30 = 374.

    Since A ends up with 64k, he (or she) “bought” 63k miles for a grand total of $847.25.
    Thats 1.345 cpm. Not terrible from starting from only 1k!

    Okay, I’ll bet someone will point out a flaw in this one… I get nervous doing public math.

  34. Lucky,
    If I redeem 110K miles to Australia or New Zealand which star alliance partner has a good business class service? Can I stop over in New Zealand on the way to Australia?

  35. @ Kristin — You absolutely can have a stopover in New Zealand enroute to Australia, though since the stopover can only be at a Star Alliance hub it would need to be in Auckland, which is Air New Zealand’s hub.

    As far as routings go, there’s VERY little award space direct between the US and Australia or New Zealand. You’d be best off routing through Asia on either Asiana, Thai, or Singapore.

  36. Say, i have 3 Accounts A (75K miles), B (0 miles), C (0 miles) Can A transfer 50k to B and 25K to C? Then, can the resultant 50K in C transferred back to A. Finally, A and B will have 100k each?

    The terms state you can receive a maximum of 50,000 miles per account. But, can one account send out more than 50K like my above example?

  37. @ Ranj — Sending more than 50,000 points doesn’t seem to be an issue as long as no account receives more than 50,000 points.

  38. Hey Lucky,
    I need the miles to book an award on a routing hard to get and not possible on oneworld (only Star Alliance) on Sep 1st 2014, returning Oct 24th 2014. Right now it’s not possible to book the return segment because it’s too many days in the future to book and for award availability tools to search.
    I’m afraid the inbound segment might be gone by the time I can find + book the return segment, or even the merger being approved and US having left star Alliance before I can book the return segment.

    What do you suggest, is there any way to make the booking (e.g. booking the inbound with a random return flight and changing the ticket later for the change fee once the real return flight will become available – will I able to keep my initial inbound flight then while changing the return part?
    And what if they leave Star Alliance before the return becomes available?)

    Might be an interesting questions to mention in a separate blog post for other readers, too. And by the way thanks for this great tips about an awesome miles sharing deal!

  39. @ Holger — So the major issue here is that tickets are valid one year from the date of issue. So if you intend to return on October 24 2014 there’s absolutely no way to ticket anything before October 24 2013.

    That being said, at that point you could certainly book your outbound, and then you’d just pay the $150 change fee to book the return once the schedule opens, which is what I’d recommend doing if you’re looking at a route on which it can be tough to find space. Otherwise I’d suggest just waiting till the entire schedule opens up and then booking.

    If they leave Star Alliance before the return space opens up (which I think is very unlikely) then you could probably either book the return on OneWorld or otherwise refund the ticket. But again, I really don’t think that will happen.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!

  40. @Lucky,
    Question: i have 53,000 US airways miles in my account and my wife (and my parents) have about only 3,000 miles each.

    1. after i share 50,000 miles from my acocunt to my wife’s account (her account will have 100,000), can my wife share 50,000 (from her 100,000 miles in her account) to my father (so that my father gets 100,000 miles in his account)?

    2. if the answer to question 1 is YES, then, can my father share 50,000 miles in his account (that has 100,000 miles) to my mother (so that my mother will have 100,000 miles, too)?

    i think the answers to my 2 questions are YES, based on what I read form your post. But I’d like to confirm with you to make sure I am right before I will start sharing. thanks a lot in advance.

  41. 3. it seems my wife can share 50,000 miles back to me again so that my account gets 100,000 again?

    the flow chart is:
    initially, A 50K miles, B 0 miles, C 0 miles, D 0 miles;
    share miles begins: A -> B -> C -> D -> A
    in the end: A 100K miles, B 50K miles, C: 50K miles, D 50K miles.

    am I right?

  42. sorry to post again. after second thoughts, i think it is better:
    initially, A 50K, B 0, C 0, D 0;
    share: A->B, B->C; B->A; C->D.
    end: A 100K miles, B 0 miles, C 50K Miles, D 100K Miles.

    btw, it does not make any difference to pay by US Airways Card or any other card?

  43. @Lucky,
    Discover 4Q2013 promotion is 5% cash back for online purchase. Is this transaction eligible to earn 5% bonus on discover card?

  44. @Lucky,
    One more question: My intention is to take advantage of the US Airways 90K miles award flight to Asia (with stopover in Europe) next summer.

    1. Does this award flight available at all dates?
    2. What are stopover choices in Europe? Paris, London, or elsewhere? How many days can I stay in Europe?

  45. @ Andy (post 69) — Yes, it’s available any date as long as there’s award space. You can stop over at any Star Alliance hub in Europe or US Airways transatlantic gateway city, so that’s lots of options. You can stay in Europe for as long as you’d like. The only requirement is that travel be completed within a year of the date of issue.

  46. @ Andy (post 68) — I’m not sure about that card specifically, but it is an online purchase, so it should be eligible. The purchase is processed by points.com so it doesn’t matter which card you use really, in terms of this not counting as airline spend in terms of how the credit card companies categorize it.

  47. @ Andy (post 67) — That strategy sounds good to me. Just keep in mind you can’t transfer more than 50K miles into a single account. Other than that you’ll be good.

  48. If we are booking a 90k to N Asia are all of the following routings legal (or at least possible w/HUCA):
    US-TATL-Europe-Asia-TPAC-US
    US-TPAC-Asia-Europe-TATL-US
    US-TATL-Europe-Asia-Europe-TATL-US

    Also, is it 1 stopover per roundtrip or each way?

  49. so my friend has a good standing US account and doesn’t need any extra miles but I do. when i finish sharing with my friend, he’ll end up with his original balance. This is my plan:

    Me: 25k to Person B: B = 50k (for 25k: $250 + $18.75 + $30 = $298.75)

    Person B: 50k to Me: Me = 100k (for 50k: $500 + $37.50 + $30 = $567.50)

    so for 100k miles, i end up paying $866.25 which is about $0.0087 per mile, pretty much under a cent per mile…

    is my math correct? What do you guys think? is this totally doable?

  50. @ AT — Yep, looks good to me! Though in terms of doing the math keep in mind you’re actually “generating” 75K miles and not 100K miles, so you’re not really getting miles at under a cent each, but rather at just over 1.1 cents each (which is still a great deal).

  51. Do you know how long points take to post once transferred? Is it instant? Am looking into setting up a conga line but if I open new accounts today I’ll only have a couple of days to do a chain of 4-5 transfers.

  52. @tly,
    Instant in 5 second. I just shared 50K miles and login in again to find that the miles are already there.

    @Lucky,
    After I login to USAirways.com and click “Book Award Ticket”, I typed into LGA/JFK to PVG (Shanghai). But it does not recognize any airport in China. How can I book award ticket from NY city to Shanghai with a stopover in Europe (preferrably Paris) for next summer?

  53. @Lucky,
    Ooops, I found you has a link to teach us how to book it. I will read it carefully and, if I still have questions, come back to ask you again. Thanks a million for your great advice.

  54. Anyone else having issues with the miles not showing up? It’s been 8 hours now and I’m getting worried…

  55. @ Andy — You have to call, since US Airways’ website doesn’t display any partner award space.

  56. Hi Lucky, I did 5 separate transactions yesterday with this promotion. I bought miles in account A, shared with B, shared back to A, then with C, and shared with D. This was an attempt to end up with 90k miles in accounts C & D. Unfortunately, all of the transactions posted immediately except for the final shared transaction into account D. My credit card was charged for the amount, but there is no record of the transaction taking place (no e-mail confirmation from US Air, no mileage deduction from account A). I called this morning and was told that account A was considered fraudulent, because you can’t “double-dip” with shared miles. They said the transaction where I shared from account A to B and then back to A was illegal, and I would be notified by the fraud department. I’m not sure how this is illegal since no single account ever received more than 50k miles. Did I do something wrong and do I have any recourse? Thanks as always for your help!

  57. @ MillValleyMom — I just read the terms again and it doesn’t sound like you violated any rules. I’d hold off a bit and hope that either the miles post, or otherwise when you’re contacted regarding the situation ask them which rule was violated.

  58. hi lucky
    the comment section is really helpful!! thx a lot.
    after reading post 86 i decide to sign up another account and do not transfer backward anyway..
    but i have a question: i have no miles. I bought 75k wyndham points in the June dailygetaway at 0.6 cents per point (so 1.5 c per mile) would it be better to transfer today and take advantage of the 1.1 c or have patience and wait for a future point-to-miles transfer bonus (and the flexibility to trransfer to aa, ua, dl, etc)? travel pattern is yearly trip to china in economy. and some other leasure travels, short or long haul. student. the cheaper the better. thank you!

  59. @ w.w — Assuming the miles post in time, I’d say you’re best off transferring the miles now and then taking advantage of this offer. I doubt you’ll get better value for your points elsewhere.

  60. Hi Lucky, thanks for your quick response. After being told my account was frozen due to “fraudulent” activity, I received an e-mail today notifying me that my miles had transferred. Weird. Everything is fine now. The one thing I can think of that may have triggered the fraud alert is that my daughter & I (accounts C & D from post #86) have the exact same name. We obviously have different Dividend Mileage accounts, so I’m not sure why the 2nd transaction was frozen. Regardless, all is well now and we have the miles needed for our upcoming trip. Many thanks again for your help!

  61. Hi Lucky,

    I just shared 50K miles with my boyfriend but seems like nothing changed. I still have 100k in my account and my boyfriend still has 0. My 100K miles was gifted from my boyfriend’s account before, does this stop me from sharing the miles with him? The money has already been charged and now I’m really worried that I will get nothing after spending nearly $600 since all purchases are non-refundable. Please tell me what to do! Thank you so much!

  62. @Boming – Sometimes there can be a bit of a lag in the system. Have you tried logging out and back in to both accounts?

  63. Does the account receiving the miles also have to be at least 12 days old, or only the account from which the miles are shared?

    Thanks.

  64. Hi Lucky,

    Yes I did try to log out then log back into both account, nothing changed. I called customer service agent yesterday they said it can take up to 24 hrs for shared miles to get posted but today I checked again, both accounts still looked the same.

  65. @ Boming — Please let me know what ends up happening. Comment 86 above suggests a similar issue when sharing with an account that has shared with you, though it seems to work in the end.

  66. @ mcdullhk88 — It’s not entirely clear based on the T&Cs, so I would assume it has to be open for 12 days to be on the safe side.

  67. Hi Lucky,
    I called again and they said it could take up to 72 hrs for miles to get posted since it’s during the weekend, but they did say it’s weird that I did not get any confirmation email and it did not show on my activity history. If I still doesn’t show up on Monday I guess I’ll call Chase to dispute the charge.

  68. Hi Lucky,

    One thing I want to clarify is that my situation is different from comment 86. My boyfriend did not transfer me the 100k miles to my account after this shared miles promotion started to do a “double-dip”, he transferred miles to me in august when they had the 100% bonus on buy or gifted miles. So I really don’t know why they are not showing this transaction since I don’t think I violated any rules for this offer.

  69. I have 30,000 miles in my account and I need 60,000 for a award flight to Italy. Can I trander 30,000 to my boyfriends acct and give him the flight?

  70. @ Boming – That is quite odd. I’d definitely give it a day or so then, but please let me know what happens!

  71. Hi,
    I’m about to do this, but I have to upcoming trips I want to book before US Air leaves Star Alliance (Jan 2014). I was excited about the 90K US-Europe stopover-Asia routing.
    Do you know of equally good “bang-for-your-mile” routings available on OneWorld partners instead? Or, would booking a speculative trip for next summer/fall be worth the risk you think? If legs need to be changed (which they will because I’m not sure where I’ll be living next summer), I’d have to either re-deposit the miles and lose the itinerary, or find a OneWorld partner to fly on for that leg, and I’m not sure how likely the latter scenario is. Thanks for all yourhelpful advice!

  72. @ chicalei — At this point it’s tough to say what would go down since the merger seems so uncertain. But it could very well be that they won’t have access to OneWorld inventory until there’s a new award chart, and of course it will also depends on their routing rules. So it’s tough to say what would be an equally good value in OneWorld.

    If you had to make changes after they leave Star Alliance you’d probably have to fly those segments on OneWorld, assuming US Airways has switched alliances by then.

  73. Just shared 50K from account A to account B and back. Made 100K + 1135 on Chase Sapphire Preferred and satisfied requirements for 40K signup bonus in 5 min. Thank you.

  74. Hi Lucky,
    Just want to give you an update: the charge from us airways disappeared from my chase online banking after being pending for 5 days. I don’t know why. But this is the end of the story I don’t think I’ll try to share miles again. lol

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