Late last night I posted a screenshot from US Airways’ website highlighting up to a 100% bonus on the sharing of miles. While the offer wasn’t live yet, it sure got me excited, since this is the single most lucrative opportunity out there to generate miles.
To be honest I’m shocked that they’ve brought back this promotion post-OneWorld integration, given how lucrative it is. I was expecting them to continue to offer a 100% bonus on purchased miles occasionally (which allows you to generate miles at ~1.88 cents each), but this is basically an opportunity to generate miles for 1.1 cents each.
Well it appears that the promotion is now live.
Details of US Airways’ share miles promotion
The share miles promotion is valid for miles that are shared April 7-13. The bonuses are tiered, based on how many miles you share, as follows:
- Share 10,000-19,000 miles and get 50% bonus miles
- Share 20,000-29,000 miles and get 75% bonus miles
- Share 30,000-50,000 miles and get 100% bonus miles
The cost to share miles through US Airways’ share miles promotion
The cost to share miles through this promotion is one cent per mile, plus a 7.5% federal excise tax, plus a $30 transaction fee. You can share at most 50,000 miles per transaction before the bonus, meaning with the 100% bonus you could transfer a total of 100,000 miles at a cost of $567.50.
Basic rules for taking advantage of US Airways’ share miles promotion
There are a couple of key rules that come along with this promotion that are important to understand:
- Your account has to be at least 12 days old to take part in this promotion.
- You can’t transfer more than 50,000 miles (pre-bonus) into a single account during a promotion. You can transfer a million miles to 20 different accounts if you want and they’d all qualify for the bonus, but you just can’t transfer more than 50,000 miles into a single account. That being said, you can make multiple transfers to reach that 50,000 mile limit (so you could transfer 10,000 miles from five different accounts, 1,000 miles from 50 different accounts, etc.).
How to take advantage of the promotion if you don’t have any US Airways miles
Obviously this promotion is amazingly lucrative for those with existing mileage balances, though what about those without any miles right now? Well, you have a few options:
- You can purchase some miles at the normal cost of 3.5 cents per mile plus tax (which is really high), though if you go that route be sure to crunch the numbers and make sure you still come out ahead.
- You can transfer points from Starwood at a 1:1 ratio (plus you get a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred), though Starpoint transfers can take more than a week, so there’s some risk there.
- You can try to find someone that has an existing mileage balance and would be willing to share miles with you, and maybe you could share some miles back.
How long does it take to share miles with US Airways?
Historically, some transfers are instant and some take 1-2 days. The ones that are instant are usually for established accounts with a history, while the ones that often take 1-2 days to process are for new accounts and/or accounts without existing mileage balances.
How often does US Airways offer a 100% bonus on shared miles?
Historically they’ve offered this promotion about once a year on average. Last year was sort of an outlier, as they ran the promotion in both October and December. As I said above, I really wasn’t expecting this promotion to return so quickly. Color me surprised.
Has the value of US Airways miles decreased now that US Airways is in OneWorld?
I had mixed feelings about US Airways leaving the Star Alliance and joining OneWorld, given the amount of uncertainty there was surrounding it. That being said, US Airways’ award rules for travel on OneWorld couldn’t have turned out more favorably, so I’d say US Airways miles are as valuable as ever.
Here are some posts related to US Airways’ transition to OneWorld that might be helpful:
- US Airways OneWorld Award Routing Rules
- Comparing Award Charts: American And US Airways
- US Airways Award Stopover Rules And OneWorld Hubs
- Changing US Airways Star Alliance Awards To OneWorld
- US Airways Dividend Miles Earning Rates For OneWorld Carriers
- US Airways Flights Bookable Using British Airways Avios
Putting the value of this promotion into perspective
Back when US Airways was in the Star Alliance I repeatedly wrote about the amazing value of US Airways’ business class North Asia awards. Basically for 90,000 miles you could fly roundtrip business class from the US to North Asia via Europe, and even have a stopover there. Just a few weeks ago I planned one last Star Alliance North Asia award, which I’ll be flying in June. That’s in addition to the ones I’ve already flown, including:
- New York to Brussels to Vienna to Tokyo to Istanbul to Warsaw to Chicago in January
- Seattle to Frankfurt to Nice/Zurich to Vienna to Tokyo to Taipei to San Francisco in July
- Chicago to Charlotte to Paris to Beijing to Tokyo to Taipei to Los Angeles in October
The great news is that the opportunity is still “live,” and you can still redeem 90,000 miles for business class on OneWorld from the US to Asia via Europe. When you put it into perspective, if you generate 90,000 miles for ~1.1 cents each, you’re paying ~$1,000 plus taxes for a business class ticket to Asia with a stopover in Europe if you want. That’s a crazy value, cheaper than you’d pay for a revenue economy ticket.
Which credit card should you purchase miles with?
US Airways processes points purchases and transfers through points.com, meaning that the money you spend sharing miles doesn’t qualify as airline spend. As a result you’ll want to use one of the credit cards that’s best for everyday spend.
If you have an existing mileage balance with US Airways and have the cash, this promotion is an absolute no brainer to take advantage of. In 90% of cases I recommend not purchasing miles unless you have a specific use in mind. In this case I absolutely recommend speculatively purchasing miles, even without a specific use in mind.
Let me know what questions you guys have in the comments section below, and I’ll do what I can to help.