US Airways is offering up to a 100% bonus on shared miles (miles transferred between accounts) between December 2 and December 6.

Don’t transfer points today (December 1) — wait until this promotion goes live.

You can earn up to 50,000 bonus miles with the offer, which should appear instantly with the transfer.

The cost for this is “$0.01 per mile plus a processing fee of $30 and a tax recovery charge of 7.5%” — transferring 50,000 miles from one account to another will deposit 100,000 in that account at a cost of $567.50.

Since that’s a net increase of 50,000 miles you’re buying miles at $0.01135 per mile. At that price I’m a buyer.

What I love about US Airways is awards in premium cabins on Star Alliance partner airlines, and a generally reasonable award chart — in some cases downright generous such as 90,000 miles roundtrip between the US and Hong Kong, and 110,000 miles roundtrip between the US and Australia or Africa. Here’s my guide to using US Airways miles to book Star Alliance awards.

What I don’t love about US Airways is that there are no one-way awards at half the cost of round trip, and no changes to an award ticket once travel has commenced. In addition, US Airways has had challenges ‘seeing’ some Lufthansa award space and even some ANA award space, my sense is that this is the result of a technical glitch that US Airways has not at all seemed eager to solve (“a feature not a bug”).

Since it’s now been nearly four years since they increased prices across the board on their award chart, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another round of increases — held in check by the impending American Airlines merger — in the near term I’d expect to see some harmonization of their award charts, generally in the upward direction (e.g. it wouldn’t surprise me to see US to North Asia in business class going from 90,000 miles to 110,000) and over time I’d expect to see awards become moderately more expensive still.

It’s still hard to go wrong at less than 1.2 cents apiece. So I intend to take advantage of this offer. This is a great way to buy miles in conjunction with a friend (you transfer to them and they back to you) as well as a great way to clean out orphan accounts.

Two caveats: Accounts need to be open for a dozen days to transfer, so you cannot open a new account to take advantage of this promotion. And transferring between two accounts in the same name is a recipe for an account audit.

  1. postnobills said,

    Isn’t Dec. 6 the date that the merger with (acquisition of) AA becomes official? The cynical side of me wonders if we are going to see a big miles devaluation announcement made December 7 and they are trying to extract maximum $ from the program before that time.

    Nevertheless, the pricing is compelling, so I will probably jump on this too, since I am going to be booking some South Pacific award tickets at the end of December.

  2. LarryInNYC said,

    How about transferring back and forth between two accounts with the same _address_ — I transfer to my wife and she transfers back to me. Is that against the terms of the deal (whether or not it’s likely to trigger an audit)?

  3. Gary said,

    @LarryinNYC that should be fine under the rules, and as long as the two accounts are long-standing with independent activity shouldn’t even trigger an audit under most circumstances

  4. ffi said,

    Each time they run this there are hidden restrictions
    you can only get 1 bonus (this is standard, although there was a glitch with respect to elites gifting in 2010)

    You can only give or receive once (2011)
    Your account has to be 12 days old to receive
    Your account has to be 12 days old to give
    The giver gets a bonus not the recipient

    Wonder what the caveats are this time
    As a way to buy cheap AA miles, this is OK.
    BUT, watch for the AA devaluation next.

  5. caveman said,

    @ ffi – That is why buy these miles now and book before merger

  6. Hellman said,

    If one used this same promo earlier in the year, can one do it again?

  7. Gary said,

    @Hellman yes

  8. John said,

    Can I transfer 50K to wife and 50K to son or is my transfer limited to as single 50K transfer?

  9. Gary said,

    Each account can receive up to 50k in order to generate 50k bonus

  10. Greg said,

    Glad to see that you can do this promo more then once this year.

    I am not 100% sure I will do this again this year AFTER the big devaluations with United and Delta. I am pretty confident we will see a 25%-75% devaluation this coming year – which would make the points closer to 1.6 – 2.0 CPM which would make me NOT a buyer.

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  12. Nic said,

    Ugh…I’m so on the fence with this. I can’t stand USAir miles. I only want AA. If I do the transfer I’ll have 85k and husband will have 99k in USAir which I hope will become AA miles. If it doesn’t, I’m screwed. I can never, ever us USAir miles. I’m working on spend for the USAir MC in hopes those points will go to AA. Ugh. I’m so stuck.

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