September 1st, 2011
I’m late to the game with these promos, I know. I’m so focused on getting miles for free that I tend to tune out opportunities like these, especially in a year like this one where the card offers have been incredible.
Just in the past half a year or so I’ve been able to pick up 100k miles twice (along with $400 in gift cards) on the Platinum card, the BA card, and a couple of AA cards, 75k miles twice on the Premier Rewards Gold, 50k miles on Sapphire, Continental, United, and Southwest. Picked up 2 free nights in a suite at any Hyatt worldwide. And I’m working on 80k on the Ink Bold. Gotta’ love all the offers out there! Between my 9 active Chase credit cards I could go and buy I house on them if I wanted to
Not everyone is as crazy strategizing their next credit card churn though, so these offers may be of interest to you.
-Through September 15th USAirways has a BOGO offer on up to 50,000 miles. They normally sell 50,000 miles for $1,478.13 with taxes and fees and with this promotion you’ll get 100,000 miles for that price. That’s a cost per mile of 1.48 cents. Well if you account for the ~1,500 Starpoints you’ll also earn on the purchase (not to mention it will help you closer to spending that $4,500 you need to spend on your Starwood card to get the 30K signup bonus) and value Starpoints at a conservative 2 cents a piece then the cost is just under 1.45 cents per mile.
US Airways accounts must be at least 12 days old in order to buy miles.
-Through September 30th Delta is matching mileage transfer with a 100% bonus. Transfer 30,000 miles to a friend for a $330 fee and Delta will match the transfer, giving your friend a total of 60,000 miles. Rinse and repeat back and forth for up 150,000 miles transferred from an account and up to 300,000 miles that can be received in an account per year. It’s a cost of 1.1 cents per mile, and more like 1.075 cents per mile after factoring in Starpoints gained on the credit card purchase.
-Delta accounts must be at least 10 days old and have already earned at least 1 mile to be eligible for the transfer bonus.
So is it worth doing? With USAirways you have access to their vast network of Star alliance and non-alliance partners and a pretty decent award chart. Don’t expect to find partner availability on USAirways.com though, you’ll need to check that on a better site like Continental, Aeroplan, or ANA.
The real value here and of miles in general are in the premium classes on international flights. While a business class ticket to the far east would normally set you back $8.000 and a first class ticket $15,000, those can be had for a small fraction of that when using or buying miles.
Plus on an award you can check out 2 or more cities with free stopovers and connections.
If you need some extra miles to top off you account it’s definitely worthwhile.
Or let’s say you have 40,000 Starwood points. You can transfer those into 50,000 USAirways miles and then buy the remainder that you need to get an award.
But even if you are starting from scratch it can make sense.
USAirways rates from the US to/from:
-North Asia (Japan, China, South Korea, etc): 60K Coach ($870 at a rate of 1.45 cents per miles), 90K Business ($1,305), 120K First ($1,595)
-Europe: 60K Coach ($870), 100K Business ($1,450), 125K First ($1.813)
-South America: 60K Coach ($870), 100K Business ($1,450), 125K First ($1.813)
-Australia: 80K Coach ($1,160), 110K Business ($1,595), 140K First ($2.030)
-Israel: 80K Coach ($1,160), 120K Business ($1,740), 180K First ($2,610)
Delta’s saver availability is poor and their Skyteam partners are weak. Their policies like the new non-changeable/non-refundable award tickets within 72 hours of departure along with fuel surcharges on some partners like V Australia are just asinine. However at under 1.1 cents per miles there are definitely scenarios where it can make sense to “buy” the miles via transferring with the bonus.