US Airways just announced a “share miles” promotion offering a 100% bonus for sharing or transferring miles between accounts. Shared miles until October 15, 2013 (a little more than two weeks from now) receive a bonus making the transfer fee potentially highly worthwhile. For more information, visit the Share Miles Promotion Page.
Except in specific circumstances, it’s usually not a good idea to transfer miles between accounts due to the fees involved of about 1 cent each. These are fees we pay to “keep” our miles, but to be able to pool them into accounts. However, with the bonus, the fees we pay actually buy us extra miles. Sharing miles costs 1 cent per mile, a 7.5% tax and a processing fee of $30.
- Share 10,000 miles, give 20,000 miles (buying 10,000 miles for $137.50)
- Share 30,000 miles, give 60,000 miles (buying 30,000 miles for $352.50)
- Share 50,000 miles, give 100,000 miles (buying 50,000 miles for $567.50)
The last option allows us to buy miles at 1.13 cents each.
The one major restriction is that accounts less than 12 days old cannot participate in buying or sharing miles. This promotion only lasts another 15 days. As it’s free to sign up for a US Airways Dividend Miles account, there’s no harm in signing up now while deciding if you want to take advantage of this promotion. No reason to pass on a free option!
While the limit per account for transfers through this promotion is 50,000 miles, you can do this a few times between different accounts and even turn 10,000 miles into hundreds of thousands at a cost of about 1.13 cents per mile. Simply start with one account, transfer to a second account and then continue transferring to a train of accounts. When I did this last year, the transfer was instantaneous so it’s certainly possible to pull this off within the promotion timeframe.
- convert 10,000 miles to 20,000 miles for $137.50
- convert 20,000 miles to 40,000 miles for $245
- convert 40,000 miles to 80,000 miles $460
- every additional 50,000 miles will cost $567
Good Deals with US Airways Dividend Miles
US Airways has an award chart for its own flights when flying exclusively US Airways operated flights. It also has a partner award chart and both offer some nice deals. There’s always the standard redemption rates of 25,000 miles round-trip in the US, 35,000 miles to the Caribbean. Round-trip to Europe is 60,000 miles in economy or 100,000 miles in business class.
If you manage to procure 100,000 US Airways miles through the Share Miles promotion, these will come at a cost of $1134. After the international processing fee of $50 and international taxes of about $100-$150, you’re looking at $1300 for a round-trip business class ticket to Europe. That’s an awesome deal! In addition, holders of the US Airways World MasterCard will receive a 5,000 mile discount on award when flying on US Airways operated flights.
A few highlights and sweet spots of the US Airways award chart:
- The ability to add free one-way trips before an international trip only. Samba for Miles added a free one-way trip from Vancouver in September onto her international trip to Rio de Janeiro.
- 90,000 US Airways Dividend Miles Business Class Awards to North Asia (allowing a stopover in Europe). With the Share Miles promotion, this will cost about $1000 for a business class ticket visiting two continents!
- 110,000 US Airways Dividend Miles Business Class Awards to Australia (allowing a stopover in Asia).
- Off-peak economy travel to Europe on US Airways operated flights for 35,000 miles round-trip between January 15 and February 28, 2014.
- Off-peak economy travel to South American on US Airways operated flights for 35,000 miles round-trip from February 3 — 13 & March 17 — April 3, 2014.
How to Redeem US Airways miles
One drawback of US Airways miles is the inability to redeem for one-way awards. All redemptions must be round-trip. Moreover, you cannot mix classes on awards. That is, you pay a single rate for the full award. If you fly to Europe in business class, the whole award costs 100,000 miles; this is even if you cannot find business class for the return and fly economy. No discount is given here.
If you look online at US Airways, you will only see availability for specifically awards on US Airways operated flights. But US Airways miles can be used on far more airlines. They are part of the Star Alliance and the miles can be redeemed on any Star Alliance low level award availability.
I always search for Star Alliance award availability on the United Airlines website. The low level Star Alliance award availability are the flights you see in Blue. If you find your flights and write down the flight numbers, you then simply call US Airways Customer Service, give them the flight numbers and they can book your award. They even offer a 3 day courtesy hold. Unfortunately, once you’ve booked, any date changes on award tickets are extremely expensive so you should be fairly certain of your plans.
Is the US Airways Share Miles Promotion a good deal?
I don’t typically buy miles, but this is one of the few buying or sharing miles deals that I feel can be truly worth it if you can find the right award availability for your trips. The last time US Airways offered this was pretty much exactly a year ago. While it doesn’t come around all the time, it’s not a once in a lifetime opportunity either.
US Airways miles can often be redeemed at above 2 cents each (and much higher than that in business class). I certainly plan to take advantage of this and I will probably post my plans with the miles. That said, don’t go crazy with the promotion unless these are miles you’ll actually use in the next year or so. Miles programs get devalued over time so there’s no benefit in having them sit around long term.
Is anyone planning to take advantage of the US Airways Share Miles Promotion?