US Airways off-peak awards are one of my favorite awards and offer an exceptional value for getting to Europe and other destinations. Even though US Airways and American Airlines are in the process of merging, US Airways Dividend miles are still among the best miles to earn, are offer some amazing perks and value for international travel.
The current welcome bonus offer for The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is 40,000 miles after the first purchase. It only costs 30,000 miles for a round trip award to Europe using their off-peak award chart. This means the welcome bonus can get you a free round trip to Europe, which can’t be said about for more than a handful of credit card offers. Easy right? Just buy your morning cup of coffee with the card and earn a free flight to Europe.
One big perk of having the US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is a 5,000 point discount on US Airways award flights. Currently cardholders get a 5k mile discount on awards (30k round trip), but this is slated to change in 2015 with several other card benefit changes announced last week. Without the card a round trip off-peak will cost 35,000 miles and is still a bargain for a round trip award from the US to Europe. The bottom line is that the perk of a 5,000 mile discount on US Airways awards with the US Airways credit card is great, but make sure to use it while you can (before the changes in 2015).
Off-peak Awards to Europe - 30,000 Miles Round Trip
While the the off-peak season for 2014 to Europe just ended, you can start booking award travel for the 2015 off-peak season between January and February with US Airways miles now depending on award availability.
Link: US Airways Award Chart
As I mentioned above, booking awards with US Airways in economy is a great bargain if you have a US Airways Premier MasterCard because you will be receiving a 5,000 mile discount on your award. Plus, off-peak awards to Europe is already a considerably great value redemption with several cities in Europe that you can fly to for 30,000 miles round trip.
Compare with American Airlines miles, which costs 20,000 miles to fly one-way to Europe during the off-peak season, so considering that American Airlines and US Airways have similar routings to Europe, redeeming an award to Europe with US Airways may be a better option.
Unfortunately, you no longer have the option of booking Business class off-peak awards at 55,00 miles, but regardless, the 30,000 miles is a great price for a round trip award in economy.
Booking Dividends miles Off-peak awards to Europe is only allowed on US Airways metal, so flying with a Oneworld partner airline is not an option and means that not all European destinations will be possible.
US Airways serves these cities in Europe:
(a few of these destinations are seasonally available and may not be available during off-peak awards)
Portugal: Porto, Lisbon, Faro
Spain: Madrid, Barcelona
Italy: Milan, Rome
Germany: Frankfurt, Duesseldorf, Munich
UK: London, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dublin, Shannon
Greece: Thessaloniki, Athens, Mykonos, Thira
Israel: Tel Aviv
Stopovers with US Airways
US Airways also allows for stop overs, however since off-peak awards can only be redeemed on US Airways flights you will only be able to add stopovers within the US on US Airways metal flights. This means it is possible to have a stopover within the US either on the way or return from Europe. If you’re looking for a way to maximize your round trip with stopovers in Europe you will have to book a standard (60k round trip) award with partner airlines.
Unlike American Airlines, your stopover city can be outside of the US just as long as the stopover is in a Transatlantic Gateway City. With American Airlines, your stopover must be in North American Gateway city meaning if you were flying from Los Angeles to Paris, you can have a stopover in Toronto or New York before continuing on to Paris. However, since American Airlines changed many of its policies, stopovers have been limited to 24 hours. That is not the case with US Airways, which is another reason why US Airways miles can offer more value.
Transatlantic Gateway Cities:
The Bottom Line
The incredible value you can get from US Airways miles from off-peak awards and their stopover rules make earning Dividend miles a valuable proposition. For only 30,000 miles (US Airways credit card holder) you can fly from the US to Europe in economy from during off-peak times, plus you have a handful of destinations that US Airways serves.
This makes the The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® a one of the top cards to go for this year before its gone. So if you've been looking for one of the easiest ways to get to Europe start planning your trip using a US Airways off-peak award in 2015. Remember to take advantage of the 5k mile discount on US Airways awards before the card benefits change!