I could kick myself! I had been waiting for this promo to come back until I could wait no longer and had booked a ticket with the US Airway miles I had wanted to transfer. Figures – 2 weeks later, this promo comes out!
Anyway, this comes around about once a year lately and it is a fantastic bonus promo where you are basically buying US Airway miles for 1.1 cents each. That is not as good as free, but given the many sweet spots that the US Airways award calendar provides (70K for Africa, 110K business for Africa, 90K business to North Asia with stopover in Europe, off-peak 35K to Europe, etc) this can be a big money saver if you were going to buy tickets.
How It Works
Here is how this works:
- You select an amount of miles you want to transfer from one account to another (for example, 50,000)
- You pay the fee of 1 cent per mile to transfer plus the 7.5% tax plus a $30 per transfer charge (in our example, this comes to $567)
- The person you are sharing the miles with received the initial amount that was transferred (ie. 50,000) and receives a 100% bonus of that amount (50,000)
- The person who transferred the miles out of their account is left with that many fewer miles and the recipient has all of those miles plus double the amount.
- Must share miles by October 15
- The US Airways accounts must have been setup for 12 days before a transfer can be initiated
- There is a maximum of 50,000 miles that can be received during this promo period
- Purchases are non-refundable
Is this a good deal? When it comes to purchasing miles, this is pretty much the best deal that comes around. However, like with all point and mile purchases, it should be done with a specific purpose in mind and not just as a random purchase. Whether it will be cheaper for you to purchase these miles for a trip rather than buy the tickets outright will all depend on your routes and dates. Do not forget to take into account the fees that will accompany an award ticket (award processing fee, taxes, ticketing fee, close-in booking fee, etc). To read more about the fees and “free” travel, check this previous post here.
Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios as to whether it will make sense to purchase miles with this promo.
Fly from Rochester to Frankfurt in December
Cost is 60,000 miles and $183 in taxes and fees. If you were to transfer 30,000 miles from one account to another to get the full 60,000, the cost to transfer would be $352.50. That makes for a total of 60,000 miles and $535.50.
Purchasing the ticket
To purchase a ticket costs $750 right now. There are many options with many airlines at that price.
Clearly, it makes more sense to buy the ticket outright. Not only is the cost difference only $220 more to purchase it, but you will be able to save those original 30,000 miles for something as well as earn miles on the purchased ticket (around 10,000).
Fly from Rochester to Tokyo with a stopover in Frankfurt in business class
Cost is 90,000 miles and taxes and fees of around $200. If you were to transfer 45,000 miles from one account to another to get the full 90,000, the cost to transfer would be $513.75. That makes for a total of 90,000 miles and around $713.
Purchasing the ticket
To purchase such a ticket would cost well over $9,000!
Clearly, it makes much more sense to use miles for such a trip. Not a bad way to take a trip such as that for 90,000 miles and under $1,000!
To me, this makes perfect sense if you have award travel coming up, if you have a US Airways account with just a few thousand miles in it, or if you are looking to top off another US Airways account. I just wish I had waited a few more weeks… 🙁