|by Jason Steele|
A year an a half ago, I was very excited to the Trackitback product when I could combine it with other offers and essentially miles at around a half a cent each. At that time, I told a lot of people about what I had done, and they all wanted to get in on the next similar deal. The latest deal is not quite as good, but as you will see, it works pretty well.
US Airways Offering A Two For One Deal On Buying Miles
Most airlines allow you to miles. For example, US Airways will sell you miles for 2.75 cents each and then charge you 7.5% tax on top of that. Currently, they have a promotion where they will offer you a 100% bonus on up to 50,000 miles purchased. Doing the math, it will cost you $1479.50 for 100,000 miles. Now, you might think that 100,000 US Airways miles are not worth that. If you were thinking only of flights on US Airways, they would not represent such a good value. US Airways has terrible award availability at it’s “Low” level, with most seats going for 50-100% more than the minimum advertised mileage levels. What US Airways awards are actually valuable is for is travel on their many Star Alliance partners. I haven’t flown every airline in the world, but I have always been extremely impressed with Lufthansa. I have used mileage awards for their business class before and I always loved their service. Other Star Alliance partners include United, Continental, Swiss, Austrian, South African and many others. When you consult their partner award chart, you will find that 100,000 miles is enough for a trip in Business class from the United States to Europe or South America. Another measily 10,000 miles would land you any where in Africa or the South Pacific, in Business Class. It is easy to see how such business class tickets could cost many multiples of that $1,500 dollars.
The Good News
This promotion is good till the end of the month. One neat trick is to find the flights you want and put them on hold for three days. Only after they are on hold do you need the miles and confirm the booking. Purchased miles credit to your account instantly.
The Bad News
As I have written before, redeeming US Airways miles is really challenging. If you are up for the challenge, you can spend the time finding award flights and then try to find an agent useful enough to book them. Another factor is that you can only miles for accounts that have been open for at least 12 days. If you think you might want to take advantage of this later this month, open an account right now.
I can’t say that this is the best deal ever, but it is the best deal currently out there. At about 1.5 cents per mile it is still two or three times above my net cost for miles under the TrackItBack promotion. Nevertheless, it is hard to argue with a Business class ticket from the US to Europe for $1,500, especially with the current cost of fuel. If you are flying New York to Paris, you might find some discount business class tickets near that price from a consolidator, but if you want to go from Hawaii to a smaller destination in Italy, this would be a fantastic deal. Since US Airways partner awards include a free stopover, you could also add on another major city in Europe at no further cost. The point is that one of the few ways to enjoy premium international travel at a reasonable price will always be through the acquisition and redemption of frequent flier miles and the least expensive way to get those miles is often to purchase them from an airline.