Buy Airline Miles for 1.1 Cents Each

US Airways

Here’s an amazing deal that expires this Sunday April 13, 2014. This is one of the best deals you’ll see to buy airline miles, and the best way to get miles besides signing up for credit cards. I will be taking advantage of this deal. See below for more details.

Summary: US Airways is running a promotion where you get a 100% mileage bonus when you share USAirways miles. Through April 13, 2014 when you share up to 50,000 USAirways miles to anyone, USAirways will double the transfer. The cost to share 50,000 miles is $567.50. So if you transfer 50,000 miles to a second account, that account will receive 100,000 miles instantly and you will have effectively purchased 50,000 miles at a cost of $567.50 or 1.135 cents per mile.

Here are some things to consider.

  • These US Airways miles can be redeemed on any of their parter airlines, so you’re not just stuck flying US Airways. The posts below detail which airlines.
  • There is some risk involved because you will be paying money upfront for potential flights in the future and it can be hard to find award seats on the specific flights you want. The key is to be flexible.
  • The other primary risk is that the award chart may be devalued in the future, meaning the number of miles needed for a specific flight may go up. It is best to redeem the miles as soon as possible, though my guess is that for the next year or so we should be fine.
  • This makes most sense if you want to redeem the miles for first class or business class since in many cases you could pay the same price that you would for economy and get first or business class instead.
  • Some examples of why this can be a great deal:
    • $567.50 for a first class round-trip ticket from LA or San Francisco to New York.
    • $1,362 for a first class round-trip ticket to Asia. Plus you can even stopover in Europe or even Israel on the way to Asia for free for as long as you want, or you can even stopover in multiple cities as long as you are in the additional stopover cities for less than 24 hours.
    • $1,248.50 for a business class round-trip ticket to Australia or New Zealand.

This has been covered extensively elsewhere, so read these posts for more details:

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments as well. Let me know if you need someone to transfer with.

US Airways

Posted in Advanced Tips, Specific Deals

Cheap Business Class Tickets to Tokyo & Guam using Miles

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Update July 9 2014

This deal is now dead as LifeMiles has changed the number of miles needed for flights to GUM.

How to get very cheap business class flights to Tokyo

This is an advanced topic for those willing to take a bit of risk and do some work.

There is an airline called Avianca with a mileage program called LifeMiles. Avianca is part of the star alliance which means you can use their miles to book flights on other airlines like United and Singapore Airlines (just to name a few). There are 2 main features to LifeMiles that make them such a great deal to fly to Tokyo or Guam for less:

You can buy LifeMiles for cheap

Avianca often runs promos where you can buy LifeMiles for 1.5 cents per mile (which is a great deal). Recently they even had a better deal where you could get LifeMiles for 1.1 cents per miles by sharing between 2 accounts.

There are some sweet spots in their award chart

LifeMiles have some interesting “anomalies” in their award chart. This is where things get kid of crazy. They only charge 12,500 miles for a one-way ticket from the mainland US to Guam in economy and 25,000 miles in business class. For those not familiar with using airline miles, that’s the same price that it costs to fly within the continental US. But Guam is far away. Usually it’s 50,000-65,000 miles for the same flight in business class instead of 25,000.

But I thought you were talking about flights to Tokyo? Well, here’s where it gets even more “interesting.” To get to Guam you often have to fly through other cities like Tokyo. If you want to continue on to Guam, that’s fine. But there’s nothing preventing you from stopping in Tokyo instead. (This is much cheaper than booking a flight straight to Tokyo.) There are some things to consider if you decide to skip your last flight, though. First of all, don’t check any baggage because it will end up in Guam. Secondly, only book this as a one-way to Guam, not a round trip. Otherwise your return flights will get canceled if you miss your flight to Guam.

United Airlines flies this route with nice business class with lie-flat seat that turns into a bed (see photo at the top).

Cheap Economy Class tickets to Tokyo & Guam

This same deal can be used to fly economy class for 12,500 miles to Tokyo and continuing on to Guam. This is also a fantastic deal.

How do I get back?

If you go all the way to Guam, the return is the same great deal (just book it as a separate one-way). If you get off in Tokyo, you’ll have to book a separate flight back. I decided to use American Express membership rewards points to book Singapore Airlines Suites class.

Summary

You can get a business class flight to Tokyo for 25,000 LifeMiles or $275-$375 (depending on the deal you use to purchase the miles). You can get the same deal on the return if you fly all the way to Guam.

Further Reading

There are others who have written about this deal in greater detail:

 

Posted in Advanced Tips, Avianca LifeMiles, How to Use Airline Miles, Redeeming Miles, Specific Deals, Trip Reports

Weekend Trip to Tokyo, Japan – LAX-NRT

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Yes, I’m crazy.

I’m taking a weekend trip to Tokyo from LA. I’ll be on the ground in Tokyo about 48 hours. I’ll fly 11 hours each way.

Why??

  • I love travel and photography.
  • I got a great deal on business class tickets to Tokyo.
  • I had miles and found space on Singapore Airlines Suites class for the return flight. More details on that soon.
  • This means I will be enjoying a full lie-flat bed and excellent food in both directions. This will be my time to relax before and after
  • I get to take along my father-in-law (who also loves to travel) to visit some of his relatives in Japan.
  • I don’t like being away from my family for too long, but sometimes it’s nice to travel without kids.
  • And there are other things in life like a job to think about.

Want more details? Read this post where I explain how I got my cheap business class tickets to Tokyo.

My flight is about to take off, so I’ll sign off for now.

Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff (soon I will have my own Tokyo photos to share)

Posted in How to Use Airline Miles, Travel Resources, Trip Reports

Welcome to Airline Mile Deals

Introduction

This site is for anyone who wants to travel more for less money. I provide easy-to-understand travel resources specifically related to earning and using airline miles to save big on travel. I’ll let you know about the latest travel deals as well as provide background explanations of how to use and redeem airline frequent flyer miles.

My goal is to aggregate the best mile deals in one place for those who don’t have time to keep up on hundreds of forums and travel blogs and just want the best travel deals summarized and explained clearly. There are plenty of other sites that provide mountains of travel information, and I freely link to any of these sites that are helpful. I will curate the best of these travel resources so you don’t have to wade through it all.

The second goal of this site is to help beginners understand how to earn & use miles. If you’re new to earning and redeeming airline miles, this will be a great resource for you. There is a tiny elite group of people who know way more about this than the rest of us, but I think just about anyone could benefit from learning the basics. Most people don’t realize that they can make use of miles for free travel even if they don’t travel much.

I welcome any questions and feedback via comments or email.

Singapore Airlines

You can use miles to get a seat like this on Singapore Airlines for free. The airbrushed effect is generally not included.

Background to this Site

I started this site because travel is a big passion (or maybe obsession?) of mine, specifically using airline miles to get free tickets. I’ve spent countless hours learning about this and I want to share this knowledge with family, friends and anyone else looking to travel for less.

I don’t get paid for any of this; I do it because I love this stuff. Travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you assume. I think most people could travel more if they knew about how to leverage airline miles for free tickets. I want you to be able to travel more.

Daniel PeckhamAbout Daniel Peckham

I was born in Papua New Guinea, spent much of my early years in Indonesia, Philippines & Singapore, and have since traveled to many other places, though I currently live in southern CA with my wife and 2 kids.

I’ve always enjoyed traveling, but it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I started learning how to use airline miles to get free tickets. Since then I have been obsessively learning more and more about how to beat the system and get the most value out of travel.

As an example, our family has used miles to fly business class (with seats that convert into beds) to Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand for free. My wife and I currently have over 1 million airline miles in our various accounts, almost all of which were earned through credit card signup bonuses and practically none of them earned by actually flying. This may sound like a lot, but I’m actually much more conservative than many others who do this and try to limit the number of cards I sign up for. I share this as an encouragement to you: it’s not as hard as you think.

My other passion is photography, which you can check out on my gallery and photo blog.

Circle me on Google+, like my Facebook page, follow me @DanielPeckham on Twitter if you want to keep up with me.

Further Reading

Ready to jump in? Read my introductory post on how to earn and use miles.

Posted in Travel Resources
You Can Travel More
Most people wish they could travel, but think it’s too expensive. This site will teach you how to earn and use airline miles for free travel. Learn how to travel more for less money, even if you don’t travel much. Read this to get started.
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