For the second time in just over a year, US Airways has raised the price of purchased miles. Effective immediately, miles now cost 3.5 cents each–a 27% increase over the 2.75 cents the miles were previously available at and a 40% increase over what miles cost just around this time last year.
Why the price increase? First, 3.5 cents per mile is around what most carrier charge, including Star Alliance partner United/Continental. Second, if the past is any indicator of the future, miles will still be cheaper through US Airways frequent 100% bonus on purchased miles promotions–the carrier can get away with the price increase. Last (and this is just a hypothesis), perhaps US Airways is finding that complex, premium class award redemptions are costing them a lot of money and raising the price of miles will somewhat offset the hefty bills they are getting from other airlines.
What this means is that *if* US Airways brings back the 100% bonus promotion, 100,000 miles will now cost around $1800. As Gary argues, $1800 approaches a point where you can find discounted business class tickets from the East Cost that earn miles. Still, even at this higher price the miles still may be a great deal for those traveling to Europe from the West Coast or those working a stopover and multiple layovers to maximize an award.
Suddenly, the US Airways Grand Slam Promotion is looking more and more like it is worth your while.