US Airways seems to run a promotion on the purchase of miles almost every month. Often it’s just a straight 100% bonus on purchased miles, sometimes it’s a tiered bonus, and sometimes they offer a 100% bonus on shared miles, which is the best promotion of all (though we haven’t seen that yet this year).
Well they just announced their March Buy Miles promotion, which runs from March 1 through March 26, 2014. This month they’re offering a “mystery bonus” on the purchase of miles, whereby different accounts are targeted for different bonuses. Accounts seem to either be targeted for a 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% bonus.
The cost to purchase US Airways miles is ordinarily 3.5 cents each plus a 7.5% federal excise tax, or a total of ~3.76 cents each. Of course US Airways sells miles in a similar fashion to how Jos A Bank sells suits, so the “normal” price is kind of a moot point.
So through this promotion the cost to purchase US Airways Dividend Miles is as follows:
- 25% bonus: ~3.29 cents/mile
- 50% bonus: ~2.82 cents/mile
- 75% bonus: ~2.35 cents/mile
- 100% bonus: ~1.88 cents/mile
My account was targeted for a 50% bonus:
While another account I manage was targeted for a 75% bonus:
Ultimately the value of US Airways miles is highly dependent on the redemption you’re looking to make, and in some cases it can probably even make sense to pick them up with just a 50-75% bonus (if you have a specific short term redemption in mind).
Anyway, even 1.88 cents per mile isn’t a rate at which I’d usually speculatively buy miles, but if you have a specific use in mind it can still be a very good deal. US Airways charges just 90,000 miles for business class between the US and North Asia, and you can route via Europe with a stopover there. It’s anyone’s guess how much longer till they devalue their award chart, but spending under $1,900 to get enough miles for such a ticket is a bargain, assuming you can lock it in soon.
Once they join OneWorld we don’t know what their routing rules will look like or what award chart they’ll use, so I generally think you’re better off redeeming US Airways miles with the “sure bet” which is the current award chart, vs. hoping they don’t change it when they join OneWorld.