A purchase of 100,000 miles (a 50K purchase+50K bonus) will set you back $1,881.25 with tax.
Of course there are far cheaper way of generating miles via credit card signups and manufactured spend, but if you have a specific award in mind and you’re not an expert at generating miles on the cheap, this can make sense.
For example a first class ticket on Cathay Pacific to Asia with no fuel surcharges normally costs $28,000. It can also be had for just 120K USAirways miles.
Plus with USAirways miles you’ll also get a free stopover. People have booked tickets to Hong Kong with a stopover in Asia in first class for 120K miles.
Otherwise a business class ticket to Israel can be had for 120K miles. USAirways flies nonstop to Israel from Philadelphia (and you can tag on a flight from anywhere in the US for the same rate). Plus odds are that American will start nonstop service from JFK and/or Miami to Tel Aviv in the near future.
Off-peak coach awards to the Caribbean are just 25K miles (20K for cardholders) and to Europe are just 35K miles (30K for cardholders) round-trip if you fly on USAirways. Off peak First Class/Envoy awards to the Caribbean are just 50K miles (45K for cardholders) if you fly on USAirways.
A business class ticket to Australia or New Zealand is 110,000 USAirways miles and a first class ticket is 140,000 USAirways miles. Plus you can stopover pretty much anywhere in the world on the way there for as long as you want.
Of course the USAirways mileage program will be merged into American’s program in 2015. The odds are that before that happens you’ll be able to transfer miles back and forth between American and USAirways. At some point in 2015 the American and USAirways award charts will likely change for the worse.
But American charges more money for their miles than USAirways does, so if you do want to lock in a trip now for travel over the next year, this can be a decent redemption. And it seems that it may not come back again.
It’s worth noting that the Barclaycard US Airways Premier World MasterCard will seemingly be discontinued this year as well. Even if you have gotten the bonus on that card in the past you can still get the bonus again and best of all, you just need to spend $1 on it to pickup 40,000 miles.
It’s also worth noting that you can transfer Starpoints from anyone’s account to anyone’s USAirways account. American only accepts transfers if the name matches. So if you do want to transfer points to someone else, do that sooner rather than later.