US Airways and AviancaTaca have two great promotions for purchasing miles right now. Get in on either one if you want to score a relatively cheap flight on a Star Alliance carrier. Or, buy the US Airways miles and hold onto them until they merge their award program with American’s AAdvantage to get access to Oneworld awards.
US Airways Share Miles Bonus (up to 100%)
US Airways Dividend Miles is offering the chance to earn a bonus of 50 to 100% when you share between 10,000 and 50,000 miles with another Dividend Miles account. Although not quite the same as purchasing miles, there is a transaction fee that makes the process very similar. The catch is you must have some miles in a starter account in order to transfer them to another person.
When you share 50,000 miles, that person will receive a total of 100,000 miles. The recipient could then share 50,000 miles back, and you would receive a total of 100,000 miles. The net result is that each person gains 50,000 miles at a cost of $567.50 — or 1.15 cents per mile, an excellent price by mileage run standards and an amazing price for purchased miles, which tend to be more expensive.
This promotion only runs through December 6, so you must act quickly. US Airways and American Airlines have announced plans to begin reciprocal benefits between their programs in early January, and US Airways will be leaving the Star Alliance by the end of February to join Oneworld about a month later. Any miles purchased now will likely be available for Oneworld awards after joining the new alliance, but they can be used to book Star Alliance awards while they are still part of the existing alliance.
AviancaTaca LifeMiles Bonus (100%)
LifeMiles is the new US Airways of sorts, with reasonable award prices, one-way fares at half the round-trip rate (not as common as you’d expect), and no fuel surcharges. Now through December 30 you can buy up to 75,000 miles and receive a 100% bonus for an all-in price of 1.5 cents per mile. (That means after buying 75,000 miles at 3 cents each you would receive 150,000 miles at a final cost of 1.5 cents each).
You can also buy additional miles at the time of redemption for 1.56 cents each as long as you already have 40% of the miles required. Purchasing 150,000 miles now means the potential ability to book 375,000 miles’ worth of award travel at an average cost of 1.536 cents per mile.
What can you do with 375,000 miles? How about five round-trip tickets in first class to Hawaii on United Airlines, which codes its domestic first class on two-cabin planes as business class? There are a number of attractive Star Alliance award redemptions. Just keep in mind the call center is awful and the same cabin class must be available on all segments, so you should plan to book relatively simple awards online.