US Airways MasterCard 20% Bonus Miles

This summer, earn 20% more miles with your US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard.

IMG_1934

Earn 20% more miles on every purchase you make with your card between July 1 and August 31, including US Airways purchases, up to a maximum of 10,000 bonus miles. 

The mailer also said that there’s no need to register as you are automatically eligible. Bonus miles will appear 6-8 weeks after the end of the promotion. Barclaycard is usually quite good with bonuses posting in the allotted time frame.

Also, for international purchases between July 1 and August 31, the 3% foreign transaction fee will be reimbursed in your October 2014 statement. Of course, your account has to be open and in good standing for you to receive this refund.

Will this offer be enough for me to bite?

Probably not. Earning US/AA miles at 1.2 miles per dollar is better than 1:1 but still not as good asas the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card that effectively earns a multitude of airline miles at 1.25 miles per dollar spent.

I’d like to see a promotion like the ones we’ve seen in the past from Barclaycard – something like earning 5 miles per dollar spent in certain shopping categories.

Plenty of American Airlines Changes – Awards, Stopovers, & More

Big news this morning from the American Airlines – US Airways merged camp. There are a few changes that most flyers are not too happy about.

List of Changes

  • AAnytime awards increase and are broken out into 3 tiers, effective June 1, 2014
  • Free stopovers at North American international gateway cities (JFK, LAX, ORD, MIA, DFW) are eliminated
  • Oneworld Explorer awards completely eliminated, effective immediately!
  • US Airways has updated their “sweet spot” North America – North Asia Business Class award from 90K to 110K, aligning with AA
  • AA award ticketing fees for international tickets booked over the phone will go from $25 to $35 per ticket
  • Lots of checked bag changes – see further down.

Continue reading

A Machu Picchu Anniversary: Introduction

Introduction
Avianca Business Class New York (JFK) – Bogota – Lima
Sheraton Lima Convention Center
Avianca Business Class Lima – Cusco
Palacio del Inka & Cusco

I think a place as epic as Machu Picchu is on almost everyone’s list of places to visit before they die. For Joann and me, the list is pages long but I’d say the great Incan estate appears on the top half of that bucket list.

The idea of going somewhere for our anniversary first came up when I wrote about a very lucrative US Airways promotion. Basically, the targeted promotion stated that if you redeemed your US Airways Dividend Miles by March 31, 2014, you would receive 10-50% of them back. It really made us think.

I remembered a discussion we once had about the New7Wonders of the World and how any of them would be awesome places to visit.

After a few days of brainstorming and figuring out time off, we decided to go for Peru and Machu Picchu. Even though we’d be headed there during the rainy season, at least there would be fewer tourists and it would be an experience nonetheless.

Machu Picchu, Peru

By Pedro Szekely at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedrosz/

Planning

The best way to make the most of this promotion was to travel in Business Class. Since most Business Class awards are around 100,000 round trip (according to the award chart), this would be great for us to maximize the mileage rebate that US Airways was offering.

With Dividend Miles, searching for Star Alliance award space is easy with Wandering Aramean Travel Tools (WATT). What Seth does over there is great. The specific tool I used was his Star Alliance Award Search. More or less it mimics the results that United.com will give you but in a more efficient way (i.e. +/- 2 days per search). For $15 a year, it is a must-have and a bargain compared to other tools out there.

Hotels for this trip were very easy. We are flush with Club Carlson points, due to Joann having the credit card, so we booked two nights at the end of our trip at the Radisson Miraflores in Lima. We’ll also be utilizing the best perk of the Club Carlson Visa – redeem at least two award nights and receive the last night of the stay FREE! So we are redeeming 38,000 Club Carlson points for two nights.

The rest of the hotels went to Starwood, another program that we need to whittle down. We are doing an overnight in Lima on the way to Cusco so we redeemed a measly 3,000 Starpoints at the Sheraton Lima Hotel & Convention Center. Not bad when the rate was $135.

While in Cusco and Sacred Valley, we’ll be staying at two Luxury Collection hotels by Starwood – Palacio del Inka and Tambo del Inka.

The Palacio del Inka is a Category 4 hotel where we used Cash & Points – 5,000 Starpoints + $75 per night.

The Tambo del Inka, which will be our base for exploring Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, is a Category 5 hotel. We used 12,000 Starpoints per night for this.

In the end, this is the routing we ended up with. We’ll be exploring Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and, of course, Machu Picchu.

Not bad for 100,000 miles each in Business and receiving 30,000 of those back!

Our Routing to Lima & Cusco
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

American Airlines – US Airways Merger Will Proceed

aa us merger

The New American

With the settlement taken care of, the American Airlines & US Airways merger can fully proceed.

Frequent Business Traveler has a great article on the merger and what you, as a customer, need to know.

January 7, 2014 is being targeted as the “big day” where there are rumors of the two airlines merging operations to function as a single airline. More on that when details surface.

The main parts of the settlement are that the new AA/US will have to give up slots at Reagan National Airport outside Washington and at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Here’s a snippet from Chairman & CEO of US Airways, Doug Parker:

We are pleased to announce that American Airlines and US Airways will combine to create a premier global airline. Our combined airline joins two highly complementary networks with access to the best destinations around the globe – offering you increased choices, improved efficiency and better options to explore the globe with our oneworld® Alliance.

The combined company will retain the iconic American Airlines brand name, and will provide you with more choices and better service throughout the world. The combined company will be headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth and will maintain a significant corporate, operational and hub presence in Phoenix.

Implications

A few thoughts on what this merger will bring.

– No surprises here. The new merged airline will stay in the oneworld Alliance.

– With nothing left in their way, expect the new American to devalue their award chart along the lines of what everyone else has been doing this year (United, Hyatt).

– They could even require certain spend thresholds combined with miles flown to achieve elite status tiers. This is something that Delta and United have already put in place for 2014.

– I wonder what 2014 will bring for top tier elites in both programs. Joann and I will be top tier Executive Platinum on AA in a month. When 2 airlines merge, so do their elites and that could really dilute benefits.

– Most importantly, I would expect fares to rise and stay that way. Less competition is just bad, in general. There are really only 3 major US airlines now. Hopefully the low cost carriers like JetBlue and Southwest can step up.

For more information on the American Airlines & US Airways merger, visit newamericanarriving.com.

Targeted US Airways Promotion: Redeem 20K Miles, Get 10-50% of Them Back!

Both Joann and I just received this US Airways promotion email.

Good news! As a valued US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard cardmember, you’ve been selected to receive this special limited-time offer.

Starting October 1, 2013 get 50% of your Dividend Miles back when you redeem at least 20,000 miles for an award trip. Just redeem between October 1 and November 30, 2013 for travel before March 31, 2014 and you can get up to 30,000 miles back. 

Don’t miss this opportunity. Offer expires November 30, 2013. Redeem your miles for your next getaway and get miles back in your US Airways Dividend Miles account.

us-air-50-back-promo

However, I wasn’t as fortunate as she; my mileage rebate is 25%. As per Flyer Talk, some got as low as 10% or no targeted promotion at all.

The mileage rebate is capped at 30K miles so the sweet spot for a 50% redemption would be 60K miles, yielding a 30k rebate.

One of the best values in the US Airways award program is probably from the US to North Asia. That award is 90K miles in Business.

With a 50% rebate (30K max), the award turns in 60K miles round trip to North Asia in Business Class. Amazing.

Even with my 25% rebate, the award will end up being 67.5K miles round trip.

Throw in US Airways’ generous routing rules and agents (stopover in Europe) and this is a deal that we can’t pass up!

Did anyone else receive this promotion? What awards are you thinking of redeeming for?


Terms & Conditions

¹ Offer is valid for select US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard cardmembers and is not transferable. You will receive 50% of all miles redeemed during the promotional period back in your Dividend Miles account, for a maximum bonus of 30,000 bonus miles. You must redeem a minimum of 20,000 miles for award travel between October 1, 2013 and November 30, 2013 for travel completed before March 31, 2014. Award travel on US Airways, US Airways Express and any other partner airlines qualify for bonus. Miles used for mileage upgrades also qualify. If you do not redeem at least 20,000 miles you will not be eligible for this offer. Miles must be redeemed from eligible primary cardmember’s Dividend Miles account in order to receive bonus. Your US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard account must be in good standing. Miles used during periods when your account is delinquent, your balance exceeds your credit line or your account is otherwise not in good standing as defined in your Credit Card Cardmember Agreement do not qualify for this offer. Your 50% miles back award will appear on your Dividend Miles account 3-4 weeks after travel has been completed. Offer expires November 30, 2013. Travel must be completed before March 31, 2014. Bonus miles do not count towards Preferred status.