How to get to South & Central Asia cheap using US Airways miles

US Airways’ Dividend Miles is one of my favorite programs out there, especially given how often they sell miles at under two cents each. I’ve covered the basics of Dividend Miles in this post, where I point out that one of my very favorite redemptions is for travel between the US and North Asia. They charge just 90,000 miles in business class or 120,000 miles in first class roundtrip, and you can even route via Europe with a free stopover there. In this post I covered the basics of booking such an award, which is one of the very best values in the industry.

The price for travel to South Asia is substantially more, though, as US Airways charges 120,000 miles for business class or 160,000 miles for first class. That’s an increase of 30,000 and 40,000 miles, respectively. This includes destinations like Bangkok, Singapore, Bali, etc.

What I often recommend to people is to book a US Airways award as far as Hong Kong (which is considered North Asia), and then a separate ticket using British Airways Avios to South Asia, since it can end up being quite a bit cheaper.

That being said there’s another great value at least worth mentioning. Take a look at the US Airways award chart below:

Yes, while travel from the USA/Canada to South & Central Asia is 120,000 miles in business class or 160,000 miles in first class, travel from the Caribbean to South & Central Asia is 90,000 miles in business class or 120,000 miles in first class, the same rates that are charged to North Asia.

Anyway, this is quite an opportunity if you ask me. Flights to San Juan are typically quite inexpensive, and if you can save 30,000-40,000 miles by positioning there for an award ticket, I’d say that’s probably an even better value than booking an award to North Asia and positioning to South Asia from there.

Hopefully some of you can benefit from that.

(Tip of the hat to Justin Ross Lee, pictured below with whom I suspect is “my” airline’s future CEO)


  1. how does that even make sense lol? oh us airways…this proves that people at us scareways are geographically challenged….

  2. I tried doing this from India to the Caribbean w/ a stop over in USA and the higher mileage amount would prevail. Can’t see anyone talking advantage of this as you’ll still need one last flight to get back home from the Caribbean.

  3. The same applies to Mexico as well. US airways has some sweet spots like that if you can position yourself. I just wish they allow both a stopover and an openjaw.

  4. Not totally on point as it’s not USAir, but I have to think the best deal is Cathay to Sri Lanka, as that is in Southeast Asia by their reckoning (i.e., same miles as Hong Kong, Bangkok, etc).

    Hoping to do a Sri Lanka/Maldives vacation in 2014. If Sri Lankan airlines joins One World by then (already announced but without firm date), it will be even better.

  5. Works much better coming from Asia. I would dig a few days in the Caribbean + a stopover in the US to visit some friends before heading back!

  6. @ikonos You can do open jaw with US. I did it JFK-FRA-SGN and BKK-FRA-JFK last year. It was no problem and the mileage was as if one basic RT.

  7. Very good post and quite useful for me. I personally prefer positioning from Caribbean rather than switching in North Asia since baggage expenses show up to be expensive at times (yes, I carry 2 bags when crossing the pond).

  8. If 120k biz class for bkk, might as well just use united if the same.

    In fact, i am looking for LAX-BKK, RGN to LAX-on biz OR better yet, LAX-CNX,CNX- RGN, RGN- LAX..anyone know which airline would be cheapest and best to use awards miles for the above itineraries?

  9. With merger rumors getting hotter, do you recommend we start burining our stash of US miles along the lines you’ve outlined or hold and wait for them to possibly be converted to Aadvantage miles?

  10. Have you been able to route North America to North Asia with a stopover on South Asia? I haven’t tried it yet, but it seems like that should be doable since the destination could still be Japan.

  11. When you advocate “You don’t have to take the flight from the US mainland to Caribbean…” aren’t you raising the risk that, if done often enough, you’ll trigger an investigation by the airline into abusing the “hidden city” rule?

  12. @ sil — Well only Star Alliance really serves RGN, so you’d be best off burning either United or US Airways miles, as both programs charge 120,000 miles roundtrip in business class.

    @ JetAway — I’ve been advocating burning US Airways for a long time, and it has nothing to do with a potential merger. Their award chart is ripe for a devaluation, so I’d be burning sooner rather than later.

    @ Bryan — I have. It’s not supposed to work but everything at US Airways is manually priced, so…

    @ wolfgang — Sure if done frequently I’d say so, but as a one time thing that shouldn’t cause any problems.

  13. very helpful article. I would want to fly to Jeddah (JED) from US (Chicago preferably). How can I get to JED in business class using 90,000 US airways miles + BA avios? I have 100k BA avios.
    I would like to know where in Asia should I terminate my US airways flight and start my BA flight? Would there be hefty BA fees for flight in Asia?

  14. I want to see JRL jewjettin’ with a dime. The “Oahu” album he is jettin’ around with a 4/10. I hope she was fundin’ it.

  15. @ Flyer — There are fuel surcharges for travel within Asia using BA Avios, but they’re typically quite reasonable. Given how far JED is from HKG and most other Asian gateways I really don’t think it’s worth trying to book an award like this if your goal is to get to JED.

  16. addition to my last request, I was looking on circle map. may be I should fly ORD-AMM on US airways in business and then go AMM-JED using BA avios. AMM-JED is only 70mins flight , so I can get return flight in economy for 15k avios. is showing there is an US airways flight from ORD-AMM. However, when I search on US airways, it gave me an error that US airways or partner does not fly on this route. Should I call US airways booking number? any suggestion?how bad is business class in US air?

  17. @ Flyer — US Airways doesn’t fly to Amman, though they do codeshare there on other airlines. You can definitely fly a Star Alliance carrier to Amman using US Airways miles, though, but it would have to be booked by phone.

  18. Looking for a biz class ticket for LAX to BKK, RGN to LAX , departure December 20, 2013 , back on January 4th or 5th 2014. What is the best routing to find a savers awards ticket for 120k?

    When is the best time to search? I usually use United Search engine. And I don’t want to go on Air China. Had a bad experience with the airline before

  19. @ sil — You’ll want to plan that one as far out as possible given the time of year you’re traveling. I’d check the United search tool when the calendar opens for both directions and then book from there. Doubt you’ll have much choice of airlines given the time of year, unfortunately.

  20. Even better than using Avios to get from north to south Asia is using Aeroplan points. They divide Asia into somewhat arbitrary zones. From what I can tell, it’s based not on geography but rather on what I loosely call the level of “sketch”. Asia 1 has your “big-name” Asian countries like Japan, China, Thailand, and so on (plus North Korea for some reason). Asia 2 is your more obscure places like Myanmar, Laos, Brunei.

    The good news is that flights entirely within the Asia 1 zone are dirt cheap – 20K in economy, 30K in business, and 50K in first. That means you can fly Tokyo or Seoul to Singapore in J for just 30K points round-trip (10K less than HKG-SIN on CX with Avios). When you consider that SQ also has great intra-Asia award space and is one of the few airlines that doesn’t have Aeroplan surcharges, this becomes probably the best value on the entire AP award chart.

    My YYZ-SIN trip next month was pricing at 160K in F and couldn’t include the stopover I wanted in HKG due to US’s segment and stopover city limits. Instead, I booked YYZ-HKG for 120K with US and added HKG-SIN with AP for 30K in J for a savings of 10K points.

  21. If you go from San Juan SJU to Asia won’t you be going through the US (New York City JFK for example)? Can I book from San Juan and get on the let from nyc – skipping the SJU – JFK leg? And by doing so still get the business class flight for 90k?

  22. @ Jeff — If you skip a segment all remaining legs of the itinerary will be canceled. You can usually “throw away” the last segment on an itinerary since there are no subsequent flights to cancel, but that’s about it.

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