Thursday, August 1, 2013

US Airways and Avianca 100% bonus miles purchase is back!

As I have previously outlined, US Airways and Avianca are known for offering 100% bonus miles purchases a few times out of the year.  For the month of August, both airlines are going toe-to-toe with double miles for purchases.  Both are Star Alliance carriers with US Airways merging with American Airlines and becoming a part of oneworld likely in early 2014, so your US Airways award miles will inevitably become AA miles in the near future.  With the bonus promo, US Airways and Avianca miles come out to 1.88 cents and 1.5 cents, respectively.  Though US Airways miles are more expensive, they have a number of hidden gems in their award redemption chart that make them a much better value.

You'll want to purchase at least 30k miles to get the full value out of the promo

Perhaps the greatest prize of all frequent flyer award programs is US Airways' travel redemption rate from North America to North Asia with a free stopover in Europe all in business class for 90k miles, which comes out to only $1,692 (90k x 1.88 cents).  A revenue booking would easily go for over $10,000, thus giving you a valuation of over 11 cents per mile.  Travel wholly within North Asia, which includes prime destinations as south as Hong Kong and as east as Kazakhstan, is also a steal at 30k roundtrip in biz, which comes out to $564 in award miles purchases for an often $4,000 revenue booking.

North America to North Asia w/stopover in Europe all in biz for 90k US Airways miles: the holy grail of award redemption values

Though generally less valuable, Avianca award flights can be booked online without the need for calling incompetent US Airways agents who are in desperate need of geography lessons.  Also, only 40% of the miles are required to book an award trip as the remaining 60% can be purchased at the time of booking for only 1.275 cents.  So in reality, you're only paying 1.365 cents per mile with this promo.  One of the main downsides of Avianca miles is the inability to book mixed class awards (ie. biz and economy on same itinerary).  Furthermore, no stopovers are allowed, though one-way awards are available, which US Airways doesn't offer.  The best value on Avianca's award chart is North America to Europe in biz for 105k miles, which comes out to $1,433.  Another steal is flights wholly within North America in biz for 50k miles, which would include Hawaii and Alaska.  So a 10-hour flight on flatbed biz from Newark to Honolulu would only run you $683, which is the usual cost for an economy revenue fare.

Avianca doesn't have a minimum mileage purchase requirement for this promo, and you only have to purchase 40% now

US Airways and Avianca's promos end on August 31st and August 30th, respectively, giving you plenty of time to plan your next trip.  Remember that you also don't need to book by the end of the month, so you can always buy the miles now and book later.  This is especially helpful when it comes to Avianca, because you only need to purchase 40% of the required miles now as the additional 60% can be purchased at the time of booking.  If you're going to go with US Airways, be mindful of the merger and book before year's end.

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