The AA/US merger is in full swing and the next major miles stone that will affect frequent flyers is when the two programs officially merger into the American Airline Advantage program and the airline only has one loyalty program to manage. The ground work has already been laid, with announcements of what the new program will look like and the linking of accounts. However, before 2Q 2015 there are still a couple of hot spots in the US Airways Dividend miles that should be booked at today’s lower rate before the program merges and Frequent Flyer lose out on these awesome deals!
1) Travel to Central Asia from the USA In Business or First: US Airways defines South & Central Asia as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chagos, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. There are better deals on AA to fly to Southeast Asia, but if you fly to Central Asia with US Airways Dividend Miles you can save thousands of miles!
|US Airways||American||United & (United Partners)||Delta*|
|To Central Asia||120k/160k||135K/180K||140K/180K (160K/280k)||140K|
2) 90K Miles Round Trip to South & Central Asia in Business Class or 120K miles in First from Mexico, Central America, & The Caribbean Although US Airways charges 120k miles round trip to fly to this part of the world from North America in business and 160K in First, the price actually drops when you depart from just outside the United States. A quick Drive, boat trip or the use of British Airways Avios points to position yourself south of the boarder could save you thousands of points
|US Airways||American||United & (United Partners)||Delta*|
|To Central Asia From Caribbean/Central America||90k/120k||165K/205k – From Central America|
135K/180K – From Mexico/Caribbean
|To Southeast Asia From Caribbean/Central America||90k/120k||170K/215K – Requires 2 awards for awards from Central America|
110K/135K – From Mexico/Caribbean
(120k/220K) – From Central America
(170K/260K) – From Caribbean
3) Economy, Business or First Class Travel between Southeast Asia and Central Asia: Because US Airways defines Central and Southeast Asia as one zone, traveling between Southeast Asia to Central Asia is cheaper than using miles than on any other airlines!
Travel from Southeast Asia to Central Asia
US Airways South East/Central Asia Zone
4) Travel within South East Asia or Central Asia: Sticking with the theme of Central and Southeast Asia, travel within either region is cheaper in all cabin classes using US Airways miles than AA or their competitors!
Travel within Southeast Asia
Travel within Central Asia
5) Off-peak economy class travel to Europe: Travel from North America or Hawaii to Europe on US Metal in the off-season (January 15 – February 28, 2015) for only 35K miles in economy! This is a saving of 25K miles and is 5K miles cheaper than AA off-peak travel to Europe!
6) Travel to the South Pacific: Traveling down under isn’t easy because of routing rules and a la ck of airlines that fly directly between the US and the SouthPacific. Despite this, if you can find award space, US Airways will save you thousands of miles when traveling in a Premium Cabin!
USA to South Pacific
7) Off peak Travel to the Caribbean: If you want to bury your toes in the sand and relax when it’s starting to get cold at home in the United States & Canada, consider extending your summer by flying US Airways Metal from North America for only 25K in Econ or 50K in Biz. Off Peak travel to the Caribbean is Sept 1- 30th. US Airways flies to just about every Caribbean destination including Antigua, Aruba, Bermuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Saint Martin, Turks & Caicos, US Virgin Islands, Saint Kitts, Puerto Rico, Granada, & Saint Lucia.. And often times you can even enjoy the flat seats of Envoy class on the A330 to Puerto Rico!
8) Trips to Africa from North America: Trips to Africa from the USA are always pricey, so I always say if you’re going to go that far get away on miles!
|North America to Africa||70K/110K/150K||75K/150K/200K||80K/140K/170K|
Add 20K for both class of travel to S.A.
9) Travel from Hawaii to Europe or the Middle East: When flying on US Airways metal US Airways considers Hawaii as part of North America. This means you can fly from Hawaii to Europe for the same amount of miles as someone would pay to fly from NYC to Europe! This is a substantial saving, as most airlines consider Hawaii its own zone for award flights!
10) Travel within Africa: Most people do not realize the vast size of Africa because of the continents somewhat small appearance on world maps. Despite this, travel in Africa is not cheap as air liberalization has been slow. Africa is larger than the USA, China, and most of Europe combined, but traveling within the region is still CHEAP when redeeming US Airways miles. The biggest problem is that Oneworld has no partners in Africa, but remember US Airways is still partner with South African Airways and is partner with Qatar airways which makes traveling somewhat easier within the region.
|Travel Within Africa||35K/50K/100K||75K/150K/200K||35K/70K/110K||45K/80K|
11) International Stop overs: US Airways still allows stopovers on international flights. Each round trip is allowed one stopover. There is some back and forth over if the stopover must be in a hub city, however on my recent around the world trip, I was able to book a stopover in Paris (not a US Airways Partner hub), which tells me that a stopover can happen anywhere along the way. Remember a stopover is more than 24 hours; a layover on an international trip is less than 24 hours, meaning you could potentially stop along the way in multiple cities for up to 23 hours and 59 minutes without it counting as a stopover. This is great perk, as AA does not allow stopovers on award tickets.
The US Airways Dividend program has a number of hidden gems and is a program worth exploring before it integrates with AA. In many instances, US Airways Dividend award options are better than the AAdvantage award program that it is being combined with. If you have a stash of US Airways miles sitting around, I would highly suggest you book your trips using the miles before the program folds into AAdvantage and you lose free stopovers and the cost of travel increases.
*Delta does not allow first class redemptions, only Economy and Business