Last Call: Redeem US Airways Miles Today!

As you may (or may not) know, I also have a points consulting service, whereby we help people redeem their airline miles. I have several colleagues working with me, and they’re some of the most knowledgeable and passionate people I know in this hobby. During my dad’s round the world surprise birthday trip they offered to step in and help with some guest posts. Thanks to the positive feedback, they’re back with more. This post is from my friend Tiffany, whom you’ve heard from before.


In case you missed the announcement earlier in the week, today is your last chance to redeem US Airways Dividend Miles before the program combines with American AAdvantage.

Redeem Dividend Miles by March 25, 2015

All Dividend Miles award redemptions must be made by 11:59PM CDT on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. After that, award redemptions will be shut off for a few days, while the Dividend Miles program is merged into AAdvantage.

So this is your final opportunity to redeem Dividend Miles.

Should I redeem my Dividend Miles now or wait until the merger?

That’s an excellent question! For most people, in most cases, redeeming your US Airways miles before they merge with AAdvantage is the way to go. For specific examples, see my earlier post about the pros and cons of each program.

Is ____ allowed with US Airways?

Probably? In the past I would have said “just keep calling,” but that’s not a reasonable approach when you only have a few hours. So you might get an agent who thinks that Bueños Aires is a suburb of Madrid, but I wouldn’t count on that pricing today.

The official rules for US Airways awards have always been nebulous, at best, but there are a few things that are pretty much a guarantee:

No more than five segments in each direction

  • The “destination” should be the furthest point from the origin city, but YMMV
  • Many agents think this is four segments, but the rule clearly says four connections

You are allowed one stopover OR an open-jaw at the turnaround point.

  • Stopovers are only allowed at oneworld hubs or US Airways focus cities
  • Stopovers are not pricing on intra-region awards (bad news for those of us who had plans to go to South America and didn’t get their act in gear in time)

There are some glitches

  • Not sure why, exactly, but nearly every award we’ve tried to route through either Brisbane or Osaka this week has been initially rejected as being “over the miles”
  • I’ve never known US Airways to enforce MPM restrictions all that seriously, but if you’re told this, don’t argue
  • Calling again should eventually work, provided you have time, and get a different crew at the rates desk

I’ve been on hold for hours! How do I get through?

That’s unfortunately going to be the case, as everyone is in a last-minute scramble to redeem their miles. The usual tips for getting through on the phone during bad weather apply here as well, so try international numbers and foreign-language lines.

Can you help me book an award today?

Theoretically, sure! If you’re overwhelmed or out of time we’d be happy to try and help if you want to submit a request, with a couple of caveats:

  • We can’t take on “trick” awards — we like to play within the rules the programs set out, so we can’t help you try and get an extra stopover or an illegal connection or anything like that
  • These awards are very time consuming at this point, and we can best help if you’re ready to ticket and can respond quickly to emails

Otherwise we’ll try and respond to questions here as quickly as possibly (and by “we” I really do mean “Ben,” as his response-times are basically super-human).

Happy booking, and good luck!

Comments

  1. Pardon my ignorance but what is the best case for a AA Advantage reward booking for biz class to Europe? 200k per person or 100k?

  2. @ Joey — For me personally? A trip to Japan and Taiwan with my husband and his parents last fall. Have some others in the queue though!

  3. Thanks! But, I see BA rewards “at par” at 50k points I assume that’s becaus of fuel surcharges?

    It almost looks like it’s cheaper to go with a partner than with AA….

  4. Wonder what the problem is with Brisbane? I was also denied a couple routings to Australia because they exceeded maximum miles. So frustrating because I’ve personally never heard that phrase before at USAir. So now at the end when there’s no time to keep trying they are enforcing rules. Fortunately I did manage to get my ticket to Australia. Thanks very much to Ben and company for giving early warning that this was coming.

  5. @ John — For business class? It should be 50,000 each way regardless of carrier — AAdvantage doesn’t make a carrier distinction in terms of award pricing.

  6. @ Elteetrav — Glad you got something ticketed! I have no clue as to why it’s happening, but it’s maddening.

  7. Ah USAir, how I’m going to miss thee!

    Last night, booked a speculative RT to India in F next Feb on Cathay. It should have been 160k, but agent came back with a price of 140k after a lengthy hold. Then I discovered after ticketing that she had made 2 errors – put me in biz on the return, and was off by a day on one of the segments – the dreaded “close to midnight” flight problem.

    Called back, got a dud agent, HUACA, and voila, the next agent fixed both problems, and just reissued a new ticket. No rate desk, no nothing. So I ended up with an F award to India for 140k. Sigh. Another one for the “remember when…” story bin!This will never happen on AA.

    BTW – I called the AA Gold line, got an agent to xfer me to the DM international awards line, which was less than a 5 minute wait in all 3 cases. Of course, tonight may be a different matter!

  8. I’ve been waiting for almost 3 hours at the US reservations number now. The European number is closed. Is there any other number I could try on a second phone while waiting?

  9. I had booked and paid the taxes/ surcharges for HKG-FRA-MAD-UIO and return with the FRA-MAD-UIO legs on Iberia using US airways miles. Twice Iberia has cancelled the FRA-MAD-UIO legs.

    I know it has happened in the past to others, is there a solution to this.

  10. It was great running into you at SNA today. Love your Blog keep up the good work!

    I’m actually waiting for the merger so I can use my US airway miles for one way redemption on AA.

  11. @ VLivv — Have they been cancelled twice after ticketing? Or once while on hold and once after ticketing? Iberia has a ticketing deadline that doesn’t play nicely with the US and AA hold policies, but if you call US/AA they should be able to refer the itinerary to an alliance liaison to get everything resolved.

  12. Thx Tiffany for your reply.

    Both times a portion of my reservation on Iberia was cancelled after ticketing.

    If it happens a third time I will definitely take your advice an get a alliance liaison to help out.

  13. Awwww may it rest in peace. My last one was done back in June for a trip to Australia & NZ. I’ll miss the program very much…. though I’ll also admit I’m glad they’re becoming AAdvantage miles soon since I barely have any.

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