Update (November 21, 2012): Off-peak availability for 60k mile roundtrips in Business Class is gone. If you didn’t get on the plane with me this year, I look forward to seeing you in 2013!
- I recently read (on http://milevalue.com) that the US Airways Airbus 330 is the flagship of their Business Class.
- US Airways has something called “Off-Peak” awards — Business Class awards requiring 60,000 miles roundtrip to Europe versus the normal 100,000-350,000 — available on limited dates between January 15 and February 28, 2013.
- US Airways just announced a 100% bonus on miles purchased (buy 1 get 1 free), cutting the normal cost ($.035/mile) in half.
- US Airways flies the Airbus 330 from Philadelphia to Paris. I can puddlejump CVG to PHL.
- I’m always ready to go to Paris, even in the dead of winter.
I decide to book an off-peak fare to Paris! All I need to do is figure out how to make it work.
Booking a Mileage Award with no Mileage: I have history with US Airways. My “US Air” Frequent Traveler Program card shows a “member since” date of 09/85. But I now live in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s been awhile since I’ve had the opportunity to fly US Airways. I have zero miles in my account.
With these offers, however, zero miles doesn’t seem to be a problem. I can buy the 60,000 I need for an “Off-Peak” roundtrip (as long as I’ve been a member for 12 days ?!?!?) for $1128.75 including the taxes.
“Off Peak” means US Airways chooses the dates for my vacation: Here’s the chart for January off-peak flights to Paris from Cincinnati. Notice anything funny? Yep. Only one day is “Off-Peak” outbound and only two days back. There are none in February. Oh, well, Paris museums are heated. A week in Paris in January sure beats an week in Cincinnati in January. Let’s go!
So far, the tab for the flight is $190 in fees and $ 1128.75 to buy 60,000 miles = $1318.75. I have to know — How’s this compare to buying the ticket?
On the same “Off-Peak” days, the lowest (non-refundable) business class fare for the same flights is $5475. I can save $4156.25! I check some other dates during the month, but can’t get the fare below $5300 on US Airways.
Since I’m booking this flight as an award ticket, I earn no frequent flier credit for the 12,600 miles I’ll fly. No wonder I can’t keep any miles in my account.