Flying international business class for a little more than economy prices

Thank you to Chris M. for this tip.

Every now and then (though recently its been happening a lot) US Airways runs a promotion where if you buy X miles, they will give you a 100% bonus (promotion page here), meaning you will get double miles for the normal price.  For those that are regular readers of this blog, this promotion could be your gateway drug to “travel hacking.”

The easiest way I promote getting miles is through a credit card offer.  I, like many of you, was extremely protective of my credit score (before I started applying for the credit cards earlier in the year, my FICO was about 770), not letting anything unnecessary to lower it.  While opening a new credit card may not necessarily lower your score, I still understand your hesitation.

This promotion can easily (at least monetarily) get you into Singapore Airlines’s Business Class from New York to Australia for a little more than the price of an Economy ticket.  With the 100% mileage bonus, 2k miles = $27.50.  The maximum bonus they offer is 50k miles.  So purchasing 100k miles will cost $1,375.00.  There is also a 7.5% tax, so the grand total for purchasing 100k miles is ~$1,478.  Many times, a ticket to Sydney in economy (from New York) can cost $1,500 anyway.

So looking at the award chart:  US Airways Star Alliance partner airline award chart

A business class ticket from the US to the South Pacific is 110k miles.  The first 100k miles costs $1,478.  The next 10k miles costs ~$148 after tax.  Through this promotion, you could fly from New York to Sydney for ~$1,626.  And that would include a flat bed to sleep on on the plane, lounge access in all the airports.  I haven’t been there yet, but I hear the lounge in Singapore Changi Airport is really nice…..even just the regular airport is nice.  A free movie theater, indoor parks, even has a 4-story slide you can ride!

Just for comparison, I dummy booked a business class ticket on Singapore Airlines’s website from New York to  Sydney.

Random dates, leaving/returning on a Wed in October

When you look at it, that is a real bargain.  You technically could be saving almost $11,400!  However it’s not the greatest comparison because you would only be saving that amount of money if were going to spend $13,000 out of pocket for the ticket.  If I had that kind of money to just buy on a flight, and only business class no less, I wouldn’t be spending time finding ways to travel hack.

The other factor to take into consideration is that since this is an award ticket, you wouldn’t be gaining any miles like you would if you paid $1,500 for an economy ticket.  (The mileage for the above itinerary EWR-SIN-SYD round trip is 26,884mi.)  So that lowers the value of the ticket a little bit.  Besides the cost, I might shy away from this because I also would need miles to maintain airline status.  I would say this would be a fantastic option if I were a newly wed about to buy a house (won’t open any credit cards because I’m looking to start a mortgage), an infrequent flyer looking to lower costs for my honeymoon, and looking for premium travel to a long-haul destination.

For the more advanced players in this game and to those who want more vacation…..If you look carefully, the mileage amounts to South & Central Asia (country definition is at the bottom of the chart) lowers if you fly from the Caribbean instead of the US.  So if you wanted to, for the price of 120k miles (~$1,774) + a positioning flight to the Caribbean (is possible to get a ticket for less than $200 roundtrip) you could fly to Thailand or the Philippines in FIRST CLASS.  You use the positioning flight to get to the Bahamas.  Enjoy a little vacation there (or not), then plan your trip to Thailand using your miles starting from there.  Fly back to the Bahamas, in FIRST CLASS, enjoy another vacation (or not), then use the last portion of your positioning flight to fly back home to the US.  First class tickets can easily soar upwards of $15,000 or more to Southeast Asia.

To me, if I had a couple thousand to use on a vacation, I would instantly jump on this.  As a reader of Get Gowing, you are already getting an awesome deal that you can brag to your friends about.  This theoretical trip to Thailand can get even more valuable if you include any stopovers.  Lets say you took ANA to Thailand instead of Singapore Airlines.  You could easily book a stopover at their hub in Tokyo for a few days, then continue on to Bangkok, all for the same amount of miles!  If you tried paying for a ticket, the cost could go up exponentially!

So for about $2,000…..you could get a trip to the Bahamas, Tokyo, and Bangkok.  And that would be a modest itinerary, at least for me.  That’s the making of a spectacular honeymoon!

If you do the math, using this promotion for economy tickets is just not lucrative enough.

One caveat is that new US Airways Dividend Miles (the name for their frequent flyer program) accounts cannot buy, share, or gift miles for the first 11 days of account opening.  Before even deciding if you are going to jump on this promotion or not, go HERE and open an account.  Its Free to sign up.  You then have 11 days to decide where you wan to go…..but this 100% bonus miles promotion ends June 30, 2011.

What are you waiting for?……Get Gowing!

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2 Responses to “Flying international business class for a little more than economy prices”

  1. […] Get Gowing! Travel above your means and within your budget. « Flying international business class for a little more than economy prices […]

  2. Samuel Koh Says:

    wow. you are fantastic! i am always looking for ways to travel hack, and i think this particular tip strikes me as the best yet.

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