I have been getting many questions from readers about the US Airways share promo and whether or not it is a good deal for them. I thought it would be a good idea to just show some of the instances in which it would prove a good idea for someone.
To read about the promo, click here to see my post from earlier in the week. Basically, if you transfer from 30,000-50,000 US Airways miles to another account (friend, family, etc), US Airways will give you a 100% bonus (smaller, tiered bonuses for amounts transferred less than 30,000). They will charge you 1 cent per mile transferred, a $30 fee per transaction, and 7.5% in taxes. So, at the most, it will cost you $567 to take 50,000 miles and transfer them to another account to total 100,000 miles (counting the 100% bonus). This works out to you buying US Airways miles at a rate of 1.1 cents per mile. That is a fantastic deal, but is it for you?
Should you do it?
Most of the times that miles are at a semi-decent value to purchase, they really only translate to a great value if you use them for premium cabin travel. While it is true that greatest value with this promo can be realized with premium travel, economy travel is also a great value through this promo. Here is why: it takes 60,000 miles to fly to Europe using US Airways miles on the Star Alliance network. If you have 30,000 miles and wanted to take a trip to Europe, you could transfer those miles to make 60,000 miles at a total cost of $352 plus the original 30,000 miles. You cannot buy a regular economy ticket to Europe for $352! Even taking the original 30,000 miles into effect still leaves you way out ahead.
Remember, this is going to be (most likely) the last transfer bonus for US Airways. The merger is set to go through with American Airlines and they will definitely not be having share promos like this! In recent memory, we have seen up to a 30% bonus and that was it. This is a great time to situate yourself for entrance to the Oneworld Alliance.
That being said, remember also that once the miles are in the Oneworld Alliance, you will no longer be able to book tickets on the Star Alliance network. This eliminates a lot of great route options and award savings. So, if you are wanting to transfer the miles to take advantage of the Star Alliance network, be ready to book soon! No telling how long it may take.
Here are some situations where people may consider using this share promo:
- Trying to combine family accounts – for example, my wife and I each have US Air miles in our accounts. Using this promo, we could combine them into one so that we have a greater “buying power” for our next trip – plus get the 100% bonus (75% for transfers of 20,000-29,000 and 50% for transfers of 10,000-19,000)
Move to the account of someone with US Airways status – after the merger goes through, someone with status with US Airways will be given comparable status in the new AA (if the status is set to go through 2015). If you transfer your US Airway miles to someone who is a US Airways elite, you may have better access to award tickets and lower (or no) fees with the new AA
- Trip plans in the Star Alliance that can be booked right away – if you have a trip on Star Alliance airlines that you want to book but do not have enough miles, this is the best way get the miles in a short amount of time
- Better than Bluebird – if you have been using Bluebird to accomplish manufactured spend on a US Airways card, this is actually a better way to do it. It will cost more to get 50,000 miles (if you transfer the max) than it would cost you to earn 50,000 miles by buying Vanilla cards – $567 (share promo) vs $395 (vanilla fees). However, it would take a long time to hit that type of spend with your US Airways card, so this is a quicker route
Here are some reasons why people should pass on this share promo:
- No immediate trip plans – there is a financial reason that US Airways is running this promo just before the merger takes effect and it is not to benefit you! It may be so people take one more big swing with miles and then find they are devalued with the new program. If you do not have immediate plans, it may be better to pass
- Banking miles towards AA award charts – AA has some nice award charts and deals – like being able to fly one-way on Cathay Pacific to South Asia for 67,500 miles. Having flown that route, I think it is a great value but I seriously doubt that it will be the same amount come the new AA award chart. Given United’s gutting of partner award mileage requirements, I wouldn’t be surprised to see AA follow suit. In that case, we may see the mileage requirement jump by 50% or more for a similar award. If you are just banking for economy tickets on AA, you should be ok.
- Because it is a good deal – this is a great deal but that does not mean that you should jump on it. I have seen many great deals (in shopping and travel) and I do not jump on them just because they are great. If I did that, I would be broke fast! Make sure you have some actual plans for using the miles picked up in this promo before jumping. Also, weigh the cost against your travel plans for the next year. If $500+ is going to really rip into your travel budget for 2014, it may be better to pass on this
Only you can really identify if this is a good deal for you. If it is, don’t delay – the deal runs out tomorrow! If it is not a good deal, just exercise some self-control and wait for the next good deal. Don’t worry, there will always be one!