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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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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