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One of my favorite airline redemptions so far was my US Airways Envoy Suites business class round trip ticket to Europe earlier this year. It rang it at just 55,000 US Airways miles for roundtrip off-peak business class seats to Europe. It was a great value for a great flight. Sadly US Airways has since removed the option for off-peak business class flights to Europe, but they have retained that option for economy flights, and currently the availability is good for the next off-peak season in early 2014.
In case you aren’t familiar with the US Airways off-peak option, to fly roundtrip between North America/Hawaii and Europe from January 15 – February 28th, it is just 35,000 miles in economy. This is down from the normal cost of 60,000. To make the deal even sweeter, 5,000 miles are knocked off the price if you have the US Airways credit card. You must fly on US Airways-operated flights to get the off-peak rates and the credit card discount.
There is no question that 30,000 miles roundtrip to Europe is amazing. The only catch (other than the fact that it is in economy) is that you have to find availability, and that can be hit or miss. However, right now with just a tiny bit of flexibility you are virtually assured of a homerun. I did some test searches for February 2014 to Rome, London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris, and Madrid and saw many dates with availability at the off-peak level.
When you search you want to see lots of blue options as those are the ones that will show as 17,500 miles each-way. In the screen below you can see that for Los Angeles to Amsterdam there are lots of blue dates to pick from out the outbound, but fewer options on the return. There are still plenty of options to make it work, but I would recommend locking something in if it works for you. My experience with off-peak US Airways award is they don’t always get better with time – availability often gets worse. In fact, this is the time of year last year that I booked my off-peak award for 2013.
As you can see, since I have the US Airways credit card, my price on a mock trip to Madrid rings in at just 30,000 miles plus taxes and fees of a little over $100 total. That is insane considering that a roundtrip within the US at the lowest level on most airlines would be just 5,000 miles fewer than a trip to Europe!
In many parts of Europe you can expect it to be cold in January or February, so that may put a damper on this deal for some. However, our experience in Europe this February was great. Sure it was a little cold out on some days, but that didn’t impact the fun we had. We still did things outdoors plus visited indoor attractions as well.
At 30,000 miles a pop this is the sort of deal that can get a family with multiple travelers to Europe even without a ginormous stash of miles. Have you ever used the US off-peak award? Any plans to use it again in the future?