For whatever reason, I have two US Airways accounts, and each got a separate offer yesterday for buying miles during the month of February. I’m not sure how targeted they are. The URLs are pretty generic, but you do have to log in before making a purchase. Try both and see what happens.
Offer One: 50% Bonus — Buy 100,000 and Get 50,000 Free
You can actually only buy 50,000 miles at a time, so you will need to make two separate purchases for 50,000 miles + 25,000 bonus miles, ending with total of 100,000 purchased miles + 50,000 bonus miles.
Offer Two: 100% Bonus — Buy 50,000 and Get 50,000 Free
You can only purchase 50,000 miles once + 50,000 bonus miles, so you will end with 100,000 miles.
In both cases the offer is capped at 50,000 free bonus miles, and in both cases the cost of purchased miles is the same: $1,750 to buy 50,000 miles. So the value really depends on which bonus offer you received. If you got the 50% bonus, you get a total of 75,000 miles for 50,000 purchased at $1,750 for a cost of 2.33 cents per mile. Not a very good deal. Although you can buy more and get more bonus miles, the math stays the same. If you got the 100% bonus, you get a total of 100,000 miles when you purchase 50,000 at $1,750 for a cost of 1.75 cents per mile. Add a 7.5% tax, and the price increases to 1.88 cents per mile. That might make sense for some people.
Assuming you got the better offer, how good a deal are we talking here? US Airways has an off-peak award chart that allows you to book tickets on US Airways-operated flights between the US and Europe South American in business class or to Hawaii in first class for only 60,000 miles roundtrip. Assuming you already have at least 20,000 miles in your account, buying 100,000 more would give you enough to book a trip for two.
These off-peak awards are only valid for travel to Europe through the end of February, but you can go to South America or Hawaii later in the spring. US Airways is also notorious for flexible routing rules to other parts of the world when you travel on a partner carrier, so you may get a good deal even when using the standard award chart.
Personally, I value US Airways miles at just under 2 cents per mile, so this deal comes out even. Not great, but not bad either if you have a trip you want to take. I wouldn’t mind paying about $1,880 to get most of the way toward two business class international tickets.
You might also view this as a speculative opportunity to buy American Airlines miles, which Amol has shown have some very interesting uses. There are rumors that a merger is all but done as they hash out roles for the executives in a combined company, and it may be announced in a couple weeks. I would expect miles in US Airways to become miles in American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio and the new combined carrier to continue operating as American Airlines.