Why you should sign-up for the US Airways MasterCard now – and what I would do with it

You can apply here for the 50,000 miles US Airways World MasterCard.

The latest US Airways World MasterCard sign-up bonus is a fantastic offer – you get 50,000 US Airways Dividend miles without any minimum spend requirements. This card is supposed to disappear early next year.

Barclays is also rather friendly; if you have had this card before, you will usually get a new sign-up bonus. We have done a full review of the US Airways World MasterCard here.

What is the best value using US Airways Dividend miles? This answer has shifted over times but here are my favorite redemptions based on the US Airways award chart:

Keep in mind that US Airways does not charge fuel surcharges and also has no concept of one-ways. Additionally, each outbound or inbound should be now more than 4 legs and you can have one stopover OR an open-jaw.

Also keep in mind that the option to redeem US Airways awards will go away once the merger goes into its final phase in Q2 2015.

1) 30,000 miles Round-Trip in Business Class within South & Central Asia

US Airways has an interesting definition of this zone – here is what the award chart reads:

South & Central Asia includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Chagos, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Until recently, even Mauritius was part of this zone (but this has changed unfortunately).

The best way to take advantage of this is to plan a trip from, say, Manila or Bali all the way to Male in the Maldives.

I'd travel to Bali on a different ticket, then take Qatar to the Maldives via Doha and Cathay Pacific back to Saigon via Hong Kong.

That is more than 10,000 miles flown in Qatar Business Class and Cathay Business Class for just 30,000 miles and taxes. I reviewed Cathay Pacific Regional Business Class (which is now all lie-flat suites) last year.

Qatar Airways (pictured above) has just gotten some fantastic lounges at the new Doha Airport and the Business Class product on their newer planes (777-300, 787 and even A320) is fantastic as well.

With the 50,000 sign-up bonus you can almost book two tickets for a $89 fee. Incredible value!

You can apply here for the 50,000 miles US Airways World MasterCard.

2) 90,000 Miles Business Class Round-trip from Mexico & Central America to South East Asia

This award used to be available from North America as well, but now you need to start south of the border.

From Mexico City, you can route via Dallas (on American) and then with Qatar to Doha and onwards with Cathay Pacific or Qatar.

This will give you a chance to try different Business Class products and try the brand new Qatar Lounges at Doha Airport.

Again, the South Asia zone is huge – consider flying into Indonesia – one of my favorite countries!

Since there are no fuel surcharges, you will just pay the airport taxes.

You can apply here for the 50,000 miles US Airways World MasterCard.

But wait – how do I get so many miles before Q2 2015?

There is another lesser-known way to build up US Airways Dividend miles. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan (on a 1:1 basis) and from there on a 1,000 to 1,191 basis to US Airways Dividend miles using points.com.

This is an easy process, but you have to allow a couple of days for this transfer to come through.

You can apply here for the 50,000 miles US Airways World MasterCard.

3) 120,000 Miles Round-Trip in Business Class Mexico & Central America to South Pacific

This incredible redemption will take you on a 30,000 mile journey around the world twice.

For instance, route from Mexico City via Dallas and Doha to Melbourne and back via Asia (with a stop-over).

If you are more adventurous, go to Tahiti (PPT), Fiji (NAN) or Noumea (NOU) – all served by Oneworld partner Qantas.

This redemption is not easy, since you have to stay within 4 legs per outbound or inbound and many agents will give you pushback because of the excessive mileage flown. In my experience, US Airways agents are a friendly bunch and if you talk to them often enough and sweet enough you will get what you want.

You can apply here for the 50,000 miles US Airways World MasterCard.

4) 120,000 Miles Round-Trip from South America to Asia (or South Pacific)

This award is very similar to the one above, but instead you start from the deep South America (like Ushuaia). You may route from Southern Chile or Argentina to Sao Paolo to Doha and on to Australia. This routing is really difficult to get to work in both directions within the restraints of MPM and legs available, but it isn't impossible!

You can apply here for the 50,000 miles US Airways World MasterCard.

Picture courtesy of http://www.navjot-singh.com/

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