Picture courtesy of lolomoda.com
As many of you know, the merger between US Airways and American is all but finalized. Experts have predicted that the two airlines will merge operations in the first or second quarter of 2014. This merger will also combine the two airlines' respective award programs.
US Airways gets a lot of flak for their operations (not serving food for flights under 3 hours, domestic upgrades, etc) but their award program combined with their cheap miles sales have some of the most lucrative redemptions in the industry. It's almost a guarantee that these "sweet spots" will go away when they merge with American, and I'd highly suggest booking these flights before the merger. Here are some of my favorite redemption deals in the current US Airways chart:
1. North America to Europe to Asia: The granddaddy of them all. US Airways flies from North America to Asia for 90,000 miles. North America to Europe is 100,000 miles. You can actually save 10,000 miles and go to both destinations using your stopover on one flight.
2. Off-peak awards from North America to Europe: For years, US Airways offered a business class flight on their excellent Envoy sleeper cabins for 60,000 miles in the low season to Europe. However, even though they've discontinued this option, the price for a coach ticket is only 35,000 miles. Compared to the prices for United, American and Delta (if you can even find availability), this is a great way to get yourself or your whole family to Europe for very few miles.
3. Central America/Caribbean/Mexico to South Asia: My favorite award by far in the US Airways Chart was detailed here. In essence, you can get a free one way from the Caribbean, Mexico or Central America to the US, and then pay 90,000 miles to fly from the US to South Asia instead of the normal 120,000 miles. If you have maximal flexibility and want to see the world at a 25% miles discount no less, this is the way to do it.
In conclusion, this is just another example of the truism of "earn and burn". Miles devalue all the time – as we've seen with the unfortunate turns at United and Delta this year – and before US Airways and American merge, it'd be a good idea to start booking that dream trip of a lifetime.