The travelblogeteria ™ has gone a little bananas about the US Airways offer where you can basically buy miles at 1.1 cents each (by transferring to another account holder). I’ve gotten a couple of questions from people about whether they should take advantage of this. Here are some thoughts:
– If you were planning on purchasing a ticket, especially in business class to North Asia, where US Airways only charges 90,000 miles for a roundtrip, then this is certainly a good option – you’re basically buying a business class ticket for $1,000. Great.
– Think about what trip you are using these miles for – for people accustomed to using US Airways miles easily on Star Alliance carriers, that ship has sailed a bit. Take a look at availability on Oneworld airlines for trips you think you may want to take. It differs greatly from what you were used to with Star (starting with the insane fuel surcharges on British Airways, which makes getting to Europe much more difficult, and Africa basically impossible without surcharges).
– As many others have pointed out far more times than I have, US Airways allows a stop in Europe on your way to Asia for free. Maybe this benefits you, maybe it doesn’t. I think this used to be a more valuable perk when they were with Star Alliance because there were lots of non-fuel-surcharge partners to get you to Europe, and then onward to Asia. This is less the case now with Oneworld, though keep in mind that some Star (and non-star) partners are still bookable with US Airways miles (Aegean, Air China, Avianca, Jet Airways, Shenzhen Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, and Turkish; Air New Zealand can be booked until June 29; Avianca can be booked until May 31st, Eva Air until May 14, and Singapore until July 31). That does reduce the number of options to Europe and onward to Asia (without fuel surcharges), but you do have some choices there.
– I never buy miles speculatively. I know that lots of people do. I’m very happy for them. But I have a lot of miles sitting around, and the idea of spending $1,000 to get a bunch more to throw on the pile seems a little nutty to me. Plus, I can get 100,000 AA miles pretty easily with the AA Citi Exec card (where you’re basically buying 100,000 miles for $250), or 40,000 US Airways miles for $89 with their credit card.
– This can be a great option if you do need to top off an award and you don’t have Starwood miles to transfer to US Airways.
Don’t get caught up in the excitement – this deal does make sense for some people, but I really don’t recommend grabbing these miles just because everyone else is.