How much can you save by buying miles toward a business or first class flight? A lot

June 16, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    Here are some sample scenarios for spending US Airways miles you've bought with a 100% mileage bonus, on various flights, with a comparison of how much the fares would cost if you bought them in cash. Flights were researched in June 2011 for travel departing July 5 and returning July 12. Keep in mind that award seats won't be available on all flights, and on some travel dates you might need more miles than those stated here.

    City pair

    Airline routing

    Class of Service and mileage required round-trip

    Cost of  ticket if purchased in cash round-trip including tax

    Cost in cash (and miles if applicable) round-trip with purchased miles assuming 100% purchase bonus

    Your savings (plus whatever it "cost" to attain additional miles)

    New York -Sydney

    United JFK-San Francisco-Sydney

    Business Class

    110,000 miles

    $10,636

    $1,475 (cost of 50,000 miles plus 50,000 mile bonus)+10,000 existing US Airways miles

    $9,161

    New York-Sydney

    United JFK-San Francisco-Sydney

    First Class 160,000 miles

    $22,138

    $1,475 (cost of 50,000 miles plus 50,000 mile bonus) plus 60,000 existing US Airways miles

    $20,663

    Chicago-Auckland

    United/Air New Zealand Chicago-San Francisco-Auckland

    Business Class 110,000 miles

    $13,169

    $1,475 (cost of 50,000 miles plus 50,000 mile bonus)+10,000 existing US Airways miles

    $11,694

    San Diego-Rome

    US Airways

    San Diego-Philadelphia-Rome

    Business Class 100,000 miles

    $3,333

    $1,475 (cost of 50,000 miles plus 50,000 mile bonus) 

    $1,858

    Tampa-Istanbul

    United/Lufthansa

    Tampa-Washington Dulles-Frankfurt-Istanbul

    Business Class 100,000 miles

    $4,126

    $1,475 (cost of 50,000 miles plus 50,000 mile bonus) 

    $2,651

    Dallas/Ft. Worth-Osaka

    United

    DFW-San Francisco-Osaka

    Business Class 90,000 miles

    $6,019

    $1,237.50 (cost of 45,000 miles plus 45,000 mile bonus)

    $4,781.50

    Dallas/Ft. Worth-Osaka

    United

    DFW-San Francisco-Osaka

    First Class 120,000 miles

    $12,684

    $1,475 (cost of 50,000 miles plus 50,000 mile bonus)+20,000 existing US Airways miles

    $11,209

    San Francisco-Buenos Aires

    United

    SFO-Houston-Buenos Aires

    Business Class 100,000 miles

    $8,074

    $1,475 (cost of 50,000 miles plus 50,000 mile bonus) 

    $6,599

    Philadelphia-Honolulu

    US Airways

    PHL-Phoenix-Honolulu

    First Class 70,000 miles

    $2,903

    $962.50 (cost of 35,000 miles plus 35,000 mile bonus) 

    $1,940.50

    Philadelphia-Honolulu

    United

    PHL-Houston-Honolulu

    Economy Class 40,000 miles

    $1,025

    $550 (cost of 20,000 miles plus 20,000 mile bonus)

    $475

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