On Monday US Airways launched what is hands down their most lucrative promotion of the year for generating miles, whereby you can get a 100% bonus on shared miles. While a 100% bonus on purchased miles is offered just about every month, the 100% bonus on shared miles is a bit rarer. Through sharing miles with a 100% bonus it’s possible to generate miles for a cent a piece, plus a 7.5% tax, plus a $30 transaction fee. So I figured I’d provide some tips for maximizing the promotion in the form of answering some questions I’ve been getting.
Up front it’s worth noting that in order to take advantage of this promotion your Dividend Miles account has to be open for at least 12 days. Today is October 2 and the promotion ends October 15, so if you want to take advantage of this promotion today is the day you’ll want to sign up for any Dividend Miles accounts you may need.
How do I maximize this promotion if I don’t have any miles right now?
So I’m sure if you have no miles right now you’re probably wishing you had purchased some during the last 100% bonus on purchased miles, where you could acquire miles at ~1.88 cents each. But if you didn’t do that, what are your best options?
Well, US Airways is a transfer partner with Starwood, so you can try to initiate a transfer there. The catch is that they don’t seem to post with an exact timeline, but generally speaking they almost always post within two weeks, so my guess is that would still work.
Otherwise US Airways does have a Dividend Miles Multiplier. When you purchase a revenue ticket online you’ll be given the option to double and triple your miles for roughly two cents per mile. It can take several days for the miles to post, though whether they post or not is independent of whether you decide to cancel the ticket (though of course you’ll still be charged for the mileage multiplier).
Can I make multiple transfers?
Yes, the only major restriction here is that you can transfer no more than 50,000 miles (pre-bonus) into an account. That means you can transfer 1,000 miles into an account 50 times, 25,000 miles into an account twice, or 50,000 miles into an account once — the choice is yours. You can transfer as many miles as you’d like out of an account. To be on the safe side I probably wouldn’t transfer back and forth between the same two accounts, if at all possible.
Can I have more than one US Airways Dividend Miles account?
The terms and conditions of the program state that you can only have one Dividend Miles account per person. That being said, you can always sign your family and friends up for Dividend Miles accounts instead.
How do I maximize this promotion if I only have one account?
For example, I have a US Airways account with 90,000 miles (which I purchased during the last 100% bonus on purchased miles so that I’d have enough for an award ticket to North Asia). Then let’s say I have two accounts with no miles in them.
I could then transfer 45,000 miles to each of those two different accounts for $513.75 each, and then both of those accounts would have 90,000 miles in them. If you have four more US Airways accounts then you could do the same thing again, and transfer 45,000 miles from each of those two accounts to the four empty accounts for $513.75 each, and then you’d have four accounts with 90,000 miles each. Theoretically you could do that as often as you’d like, assuming you have enough Dividend Miles accounts.
But what if US Airways devalues their award chart?
Usually when there are promotions for purchasing miles I suggest not buying miles speculatively, but rather only buying them when you have a specific short term use in mind. In this case though the miles are so cheap that I do suggest buying them speculatively.
There’s no doubt there are some gems on the award chart right now that will be devalued eventually. For example, business class awards between the US and North Asia cost just 90,000 miles, so right now you can literally generate the miles for a business class ticket to Asia via Europe for $1,000.
But even if many of US Airways’ award costs are devalued by 25% or so, we’re still looking at the equivalent of buying miles at 1.4 cents under the current award chart. So while I’d definitely make an effort to redeem sooner rather than later, the opportunity to buy miles this cheap doesn’t come around every day.
Will buying miles count as airfare spend for the purposes of my credit card?
The transactions will be processed by points.com, so won’t count as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card. As a result you’re best off using a credit card that gives you substantial points for “base” spend, like the Starwood American Express, for example.
Anyway, if anyone has any other questions about the promotion, let me know!