I wrote last week about why a 2% cash back credit card actually makes the most sense for everyday spend for a vast majority of people.
I received an email for an offer (enter your details to see the exact offer for you) that’s been around for a bit to purchase US Airways miles with a 100% bonus. This offer is available in some format several times a year. They’ll sell you 100,000 miles for $1881 (or 1.8 cents per mile).
As I wrote last week, because you can get 2% cash back with a couple of cards out there, by forgoing the cash back you are purchasing miles for 2 cents each. It’s ultimately your decision to calculate whether you’re getting more value than that when you put spend on a points-earning card. But US Airways is basically telling us that their miles are available for purchase at 1.8 cents per mile several times a year.
If you put any spend on your US Airways credit card, you are buying points at 2 cents per mile – you are better off getting a 2% cash back card and using the cash to purchase US Airways miles at 1.8 cents each. Other airlines don’t sell their miles (typically) this cheaply.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t get the card – the 35,000 mile signup bonus for 1st purchase is great, and it’s (somewhat) churnable. And once in a while once you have the card they’ll have some pretty good spend bonuses. (Unlike several other airlines, US Airways does not waive checked bag fees for credit card holders).
But if you are one of the many people who are using that card to earn miles, you’re making a mistake — take the cash and buy the miles when you need them.