Buying US Airways Dividend Miles for low-cost Oneworld flights

By Chris Chamberlin, October 31 2014
Buying US Airways Dividend Miles for low-cost Oneworld flights

NOTE: US Airways' Dividend Miles program will begin the process of merging with American Airlines AAdvantage from March 28 2015.

As part of this transition, any miles remaining in your Dividend Miles account will be swept across to AAdvantage on a 1:1 basis, and Dividend Miles will cease to exist as a separate frequent flyer scheme.

For more on AAdvantage and on buying miles with AA, read our in-depth guide.

UPDATE | A new US Airways 'buy miles' promotion is underway, paying out bonuses of up to 50,000 Dividend Miles on purchases through November 13, which can be redeemed for travel on Qantas, Cathay Pacific, British Airways and other Oneworld airlines.

The number of bonus miles you earn depends on how many you buy – you'll pick up 4,000 more on 10,000-14,000 miles; an extra 8,000 when buying 15,000-29,000 miles; a 19,000-point boost on 30,000-49,000 miles; 35,000 bonus points when shelling out for 50,000-79,000 miles; or a cool 50,000 miles when buying an even 80,000.

Just 90,000 miles is enough for a return business class jaunt to the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong with Qantas or Cathay Pacific, which comes in at A$2,114.

That's not quite as generous as US Air's last promotion, which allowed the same number of miles to be picked up for around A$1,800, although it still significantly beats the airlines' regular retail fares.

Don't delay – the deal winds up at 4:59pm on November 13 (AEDST). While you'll need to buy your miles before then, they can of course be redeemed for flights after this date.

The article below, while written around a previous promotion offering percentage bonuses, explains more about the process of buying and using US Airways Dividend Miles to book flights with Qantas and Oneworld.

PREVIOUS | America's US Airways doesn't fly to Australia but there are plenty of good reasons to consider bulk-buying miles in its Dividend Miles frequent flyer scheme.

If you like the idea of flying to Asia and back in business class on Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines or Malaysia Airlines for just $1,900, read on!

Ditto if you fancy a transcontinental trek between Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane and Perth in Qantas business class for an insane $630.

To sum it up in just a few words: you'll be flying business class for not much more than the cost of an economy ticket.

Those are some of the deals available from next month, when US Airways joins the Oneworld airline alliance.

We've previously covered the 'bulk-buy US airline miles' strategy with regard to American Airlines and United Airlines, and US Airways is another one to add to your points portfolio.

Like its counterparts, US Airways often runs promotions offering slabs of bonus miles when you purchase Dividend Miles, which drives down the vital cost-per-mile factor.

US Airways also has a relatively generous 'awards chart' which sets out the number of miles required to fly a certain distance, or between set 'zones', in business and first class.

This includes flights departing from Australia on Oneworld members such as Qantas, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, as well as Finnair (which flies from Singapore and Hong Kong) and, from May, SriLankan Airlines.

In addition to that roster, US Airways will also allow its frequent flyers to redeem Dividend Miles on a dozen Star Alliance airlines even after it joins Oneworld on March 31.

As we reported earlier today, an American Airlines spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that US Airways "will continue its Frequent Flyer partnership... with Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAM, TAP and Turkish Airways."

The spokeswoman also advised that “after US Airways’ entry into oneworld, US Airways will maintain its current award chart” – meaning that the current pricing for Star Alliance awards will also apply to Oneworld redemptions.

Read: US Airways: earn & burn for Oneworld and Star Alliance from March 30

Buying Dividend Miles 

US Airways’ entry into Oneworld is made even sweeter by a current mileage purchasing promotion which offers bonuses of 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% extra miles alongside their usual mileage purchases.

Dividend Miles members need to log into their account to see which bonus they'll get, although very few frequent flyers are scoring the 100% 'double miles' deal.

But if you're among the lucky ones, buying the maximum 50,000 miles will net you a whopping 100,000 miles for just US$1,882 (including all taxes and transaction fees), or A$2,092.

If you don't already belong to Dividend Miles, we suggest you sign up as soon as possible. It's free, but you can only purchase miles if your account is at least 12 days old.

Given that this promotion end on March 26, US time – which is early afternoon on Thursday March 27, Sydney time – you'll just squeak in if you sign up right away!

Redeeming Dividend Miles for Oneworld flights

While redemptions with US Airways are priced as return journeys (with no discounts for one-way awards), there are some terrific value to be had for Australian travellers.

A return journey in business class from Australia to anywhere in Asia comes in at 90,000 miles, or US$1,693 (A$1,883) under the promotion, plus a small amount for taxes and surcharges when the miles are redeemed.

For that outlay, you could see yourself bound for Hong Kong on Qantas’ lush A380 or on Cathay Pacific… also on the menu is Sydney to Tokyo and beyond with Qantas or Japan Airlines, as is Kuala Lumpur and beyond with Malaysia Airlines, provided you're travelling outside of the blackout dates.

Business class on Cathay Pacific's Airbus A330s
Business class on Cathay Pacific's Airbus A330s

Compared to the usual Qantas asking price of A$3,738 for a return business class journey from Sydney, half price travel at the pointy end is just around the corner!

North America

A return trek from Australia to mainland USA will set you back 110,000 miles, so this is a destination best visited if you already have at least 10,000 Dividend Miles in the kitty.

Assuming this, you could boost your 10k balance up to 110,000 miles for less than A$2,100, setting your sights on Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York or any onward destination served by American Airlines or US Airways.

Business class on the Qantas Airbus A380, serving Los Angeles from Sydney and Melbourne
Business class on the Qantas Airbus A380, serving Los Angeles from Sydney and Melbourne

Provided that you can find an award seat on your desired travel dates, that comes in at roughly a quarter of Qantas’ asking price of A$8,485 in May.

Perth

Travellers to Perth are in for a real treat: return business class redemptions can be had for 30,000 miles – currently available for US$564 (AU$628) with the 100% promotion.

Again in May, the best price we could find for this return journey on Qantas was $2,198 – a saving of approximately 70% on the retail fare.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 117

thanks for sharing these travel hacks. keep up the great work!

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

Buy the miles then call up on March 31 and book two J or F award tix on QF SYD-LAX and let us know how you go.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

smit0847, why is March 31 so important here? US Airways has said the OneWorld redemptions can be made from March 31 but, if for some reason like a computer switchover they cannot be loaded until April 2, what is the big drama? I'm happy to buy Dividend Miles and go to the trouble of booking throguh the US website for these low fares but it's not like anybody will be doing so with the expectation that they MUST book on March 31.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 448

I really dislike the direction AusBT is heading....

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

And why is that? AusBT is a website for business travellers and frequent flyers, these stories are definitely of interest to frequent flyers like me and because my 'frequent flying' is mostly done for business trips like this let me get a lot more from my limited travel budget. And it's my own money I pay for trips because I run my own business so buying US airline miles means I can fly business class AND pay a lot less than I would usually have to do.

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

I agree with smit. I don't really understand this change of direction into travel hacking...well I do, it's about grabbing readership and hits by whatever means and crossposting links to articles here elsewhere...I get that.

This stuff has been going on for years...but recently AusBT has taken to posting each and every travel hack. Some of which are now dead.

I see this is a somewhat professional forum, and I don't think it's the place for this type of content. Now I'm not saying it shouldn't be shared, if you really want information about this you'll find posts by the thousand on FT or AFF...and expert knowledge, not a summary marketing piece that misses out so much key info.

I feel this type of content here probably attracts too much attention from airlines and alliances.

Just my opinion...you can vote me down now!

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

So your complaints are

a) AusBT is running stories to "grab readership", ie run stories which are popular with readers. Yes, that is a crime, I can see why you are upset.

b) "This stuff has been going on for years...but recently AusBT has taken to posting each and every travel hack. Some of which are now dead." Not sure which 'travel hacks' are now dead but I presume you are blaming AusBT for those?

c) "I see this is a somewhat professional forum, and I don't think it's the place for this type of content." Why not? Don't 'professional' people buy miles from US airlines and redeem them on partner airline flights? I'm sure you and smit0847 do, so are you saying you are not 'professionals'? Or are you suggesting that 'professionals' for some reason should not be entitled to buy US airline miles?

d) "Now I'm not saying it shouldn't be shared." Well it sure sounds like you don't want it shared.

e) "if you really want information about this you'll find posts by the thousand on FT or AFF...and expert knowledge, not a summary marketing piece that misses out so much key info." So you do want it shared but only among a very tiny and very select group of people, the 'in' crowd, because people who don't belong to AFF or FT don't deserve to know about it? I am also not sure what 'key info' is missing from this article, care to enlighten us or is that a secret too?

f) "I feel this type of content here probably attracts too much attention from airlines and alliances." Aha, I think this is what it comes down to. You're afraid that airlines and alliances will take away your special little tricks because they read about them on AusBT. That's insane. You think that airlines and alliances are not already reading AFF and FT? AFF has an official QF representative 'Red Roo' on the forum! UA has an executive who is active on FT. I would suggest that most airlines are also 'watching' these forums if not actively taking part.

To summarise, what you don't like is that AusBT is writing stories which people find useful and want to read, because those are 'secrets' you think should be known only to the select few because 'professionals' and basically everybody else does not deserve to know your little 'tricks'.

Did I get that right?

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

How often does US Airways hvae promos like this?.

How many miles would it be for HKG to NYC?

Mal
Mal

14 Jun 2013

Total posts 360

Gumshoe, I think the American airlines do these around the beginning of the year and middle of the year, twice a year? I might be wrong but when they come up they are worth getting as long as you can be flexible in when you want to fly. The award seats are not always available, it depends on the route and time of year. As Chris says in the article it is all "Provided that you can find an award seat on your desired travel dates". I think you would find lesser availability on the most popular Qantas international routes but for SYD-PER for instance it's not bad although their seats are pretty bad on those A330s. Probably more availability on CX flights to HKG, especially SYD-HKG eith four flights daily!

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Yes aware of award seats shortage just wondered if it was same ax CC like 145K miles.

JAF
JAF

08 Jan 2014

Total posts 5

If i purchase these points would i be able to use them on an upgrade for a QF flight already booked from Dallas to Sydney?

You won't be able to use these miles to upgrade on Qantas flights unfortunately JAF.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Rater than calling AA, would the miles required on CX be same as AA?, like HGK/ORD/HKG  is 145K miles in J on CX.

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

Under current rules HKG-NYC-HKG is 90k US miles in J.

Can someone tell me what the big fuss is? I'm lost and confused... I hope it's not some middle aged man getting hot under the collar - that's reserved for the idiots on talk back radio.

AlG
AlG

04 Nov 2010

Total posts 674

I think the 'fuss' is that some people for some reason they have not yet explained are fixated on March 31 availability of OneWorld flights for US Airways Dividend Miles, and others are uhappy that AusBT is publishing what they call 'travel hack' articles on things that they like knowing about and using but want to keep from everybody else.

March 31 is US tax time. that s why

16 Mar 2014

Total posts 22

On a related issue, For those of you who thought you may have missed out on Alaska Airlines buying miles deals because they won't accept non- North American credit cards anymore,I bought my last lot of FF miles using a debit card!

RSo next time they have a bonus offer available, try a debit card.

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Was it an OZ debit card or a USA tone o buy AS miles?, my understanding is the AS miles processed by points.com  will not accept any foreign cards as of 1st March last, they can tell by the 2nd & 3rd numbers on any card which country it is.

16 Mar 2014

Total posts 22

An Aust debit card issued by a credit union was used for the purchase 

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

What date afer March 1st?.

16 Mar 2014

Total posts 22

Last Fri 14 Mar

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Wonder why pointrs.com didn't recongnise the country code as OZ because that is the decider.

US  airways Dividend miles is always generous specially compare to aussie one. You can travel rtw with business class redemption award for less. check the mileage chart.

BA Gold

01 Apr 2012

Total posts 159

AusBT please DO continue with tips on how we can make the most of our miles with airlines.  I am OneWorld Platinum with BA and spend a massive amount annually with them - yet they make it extremely difficult to 'reward' myself with free flights.  So, provided it's legal I welcome ANY and ALL tips on how I can maximise my use of miles.  Many Thanks!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jul 2013

Total posts 8

Cooper81,  +1!!!  Thumbs up! Also, look at Avianca LifeMiles, probably cheapest option.

Can anybody please clarify on your comments re Alaska miles - I just bought mine on 15/03 using Maquarie credit card without any problems, and my patient tryed first time, was rejected because of OZ card, I told her to try again, and second time she was lucky with the same card...

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Cooper 81

AS stopped all non residents of USA, Canada from buying miles on March 1st last, no notice and no warning since, this week had a change of heart and now can buy again with OZ CC's.

Promo is back on can buy miles with up to 35% for free.

Currently I'm in Europe  thanks to Aslaka Ailines miles.

09 May 2014

Total posts 1

Great article, keep up the great work. 

I'm keen on looking for flights from Oz to Europe for a trip in J class.

Stupid question I'm sure as I'm a newbie, how does one look up flights for these reward flights which I can use the miles on? Via US airways website, partner airline websites or phone (also what number)?

Hi Danny123,

Sorry, just noticed your question. If you're having trouble locating awards on the US Airways website, they can always be booked over the phone by calling +1-800-428-4322.

(That's an American number, not a '1800' number in Australia, so unless you have international calls included in your phone plan, you might find it more cost effective to use Skype for the call.)

-Chris

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

28 Apr 2014

Total posts 37

I tried buying 30k US miles today (+ 30k bonus) and all seemed to work through checkout using PayPal. I accepted payment using Australian AMEX through PayPal.

But.. Never got a confirmation email nor from US Airways, nor from PayPal, that the card was charged. No miles are thus far added to me account.

But if I want to purchase miles again in a second try, the maximum amount of bonus miles to be had maxes out at 20k. So it seems US (or Points.com?) did register my first attempt, and limits bonus a possible second attempt..??

Any idea what's next, and why??

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Think youll fimd its about 24 hours till approved.

15 Jul 2014

Total posts 1

Hi there,

I understand Qantas does code share with Fiji airway. So can I get US airway points to redeem ticket to fly from Auckland to Nadi? And how much tax and fuel charges will Qantas charge? Thanks heaps.

27 Sep 2013

Total posts 7

Thanks for the great tip. Can you provide more details as to how they select which members get the new bonus? I have just logged into US Airways site and no bonus has been given :(

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

No one knows the answer to that. There is no apparent pattern to it. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 May 2013

Total posts 3

I received an email this morning, Us airways are offering 100% bonus points to everyone., it shows on their website without logging in as a member so I assume its available to everyone (who has been a member for 12+ days)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Jan 2012

Total posts 270

Can someone provide some assistance for me here? BNE is my home airport. When i signed up I could only select SYD as my home airport. When I try to book an award flight, ASP is the only Australian airport available to select from the list. Is there a way around this?

The US booking engine isn't near as user friendly as the AA one...

Hi nix584,

If you're having trouble locating awards on the US Airways website, they can always be booked over the phone by calling +1-800-428-4322.

(That's an American number, not a '1800' number in Australia, so unless you have international calls included in your phone plan, you might find it more cost effective to use Skype for the call.)

-Chris

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Avianco (Star Alliance) is currently running  a similar 100% bonus deal for purchases up to 75000 miles. Redemption rates on long-haul flights are pretty good. Has anyone here had dealings with this airline program? I am a little nervous about jumping in and buying the max points. (Offer is valid until 30 September, although to qualify you need to have signed up before 2 Sep.)   Appreciate any feedback.

Hi MissBasset,

I've written a similar guide for Avianca LifeMiles which you might find useful. A number of users have also shared their experiences in the comments section at the bottom.

-Chris

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Thanks so much for that pointer Chris! I have looked over your guide thoroughly, including subscriber feedback, and can certainly make use of it on LHR trips in 2015, but probably not US travel.  Seems like Avianca put on bonus points promotions more often than some of the others. As there is a maximum miles buyup allowed on a calendar year basis, now seems a good time to max out for 2014.

therealqueen Banned
therealqueen Banned

19 May 2014

Total posts 40

Has anyone actually been successful with us airways points purchase. For some reason the system told me wasnt able to purchase.

those of you who have ys air ffp is your postal address australia or usa ?

Thanks

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Need to be a member for 12 days first.

If not try different CC.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

I bought max miles on last promotion. I used my Citibank Debit card connected to a US based account so I was able to buy at the US price that US Air work on. (Created the US a/c when the Aussie was buying $US 1.06 a while back~ has proven a good move!)

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

Yes got the max using Amex card, suggest try a different CC.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 May 2013

Total posts 3

New promotion released: From November 13 to November 30, 2014, you'll earn up to 45,000 bonus Dividend Miles® when you buy miles for yourself, or add up to 45,000 bonus miles to your purchase when you gift miles to a friend or loved one.

That's a total of up to 125,000 Dividend Miles – our best offer ever.
Buy or gift
Bonus
10,000 – 19,000 miles
3,000 bonus miles
20,000 – 29,000 miles
4,000 bonus miles
30,000 – 39,000 miles
10,000 bonus miles
40,000 – 49,000 miles
15,000 bonus miles
50,000 – 59,000 miles
20,000 bonus miles
60,000 – 69,000 miles
30,000 bonus miles
70,000 – 79,000 miles
35,000 bonus miles
80,000 miles
45,000 bonus miles

 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

A new DM promotion started 13/11/14 ending 30/11/14. Max. buy 80000 miles with 45000 miles bonus. Very good deal if you need more miles for a trip.

07 Mar 2013

Total posts 30

It's certainly not a very good deal in historical terms...the cpm just keeps going up and up as we move towards the FF program merger with AAdvantage. However yes, the potential is still there to get a heavily discounted fare. Those buying now to use later need to look very closely into the rules of the AA program that will apply to their miles in a few months time...many routings will suddenly be significantly more expensive, even if there is no award chart devaluation as part of the merger.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Aug 2012

Total posts 197

Historically, no, but this is what's on the table now. I should add that the miles should be used soooner rather than later, with a trip/date in mind. These are definately not miles to put away for later! The AA merger is not a positive for DM holders overall.


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