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Yet again, US Airways is promoting the sale of its miles with an outsized bonus. This time, the bonus is for miles transferred among accounts, rather than for miles purchased outright.
Between September 30 and October 15, Dividend Miles members can earn a 100 percent bonus when sharing miles with other Dividend Miles members.
The normal cost to share miles is one cent per mile, plus a 7.5 percent tax, plus a $30 transaction fee. So with the bonus, a 50,000-mile transfer will net 100,000 miles for the recipient, for $567.50. In effect, you’re purchasing 50,000 miles at a cost of about 1.13 cents apiece.
As has become standard policy with these offers: “Dividend Miles accounts less than 12 days old are not permitted to Buy, Share or Gift miles.”
Deal or No Deal
Obviously this deal is moot if you don’t have US Airways miles in an account available for sharing.
If you do have US Airways miles, and your goal is to give someone an award ticket, the most cost-effective way to do so is simply to redeem your miles for a ticket issued in the name of the recipient. There’s no need to pay to transfer the miles at all.
But if the goal is to purchase US Airways miles at a very favorable rate, this promotion certainly delivers.
Since US Airways began offering buy-miles bonuses several years ago, the combination of increases in the price of miles and higher award prices has diminished the promotions’ potential value.
Nevertheless, purchasing discounted US Airways miles and redeeming them for premium-cabin international flights on Star Alliance airlines can still make for outsized return-on-investment opportunities.
Your mileage may vary, of course. And you’ll have to work around the capacity controls imposed on award tickets. But done right, this promotion is still capable of delivering solid returns.
In assessing the past couple of US Airways buy-miles promotions, part of the calculation has been that any current US Airways miles were almost certainly destined to become American miles as a result of the two airlines’ planned merger. The outlook for the merger has become considerably murkier, with the Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit casting doubt on the tie-up.
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