The US Airways frequent flyer program is called Dividend Miles – perhaps to echo a time when we actually used to get decent dividends from stock portfolios. Whatever the reason, there’s a basic level of membership and also a “Preferred” member level, which (naturally) offers more benefits.
You can’t buy your way into having Preferred status – you get there by earning enough qualifying miles when you travel on US Airways or earn miles through the other methods listed below. But if you’re a business traveler who’s on the road frequently, getting to Preferred status shouldn’t be as challenging as it sounds.
To make matters a bit more complicated, there are four levels of Preferred status – Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Chairman’s – which, of course, offer different levels of perks. To reach the most accessible level, Silver, you’ll need to accrue at least 25,000 qualifying miles and travel 30 qualifying segments during a calendar year. If you want to get to the Chairman’s level, you’ll need to fly 100,000 qualifying miles and 120 qualifying segments in a calendar year.
In this post we’ll cover how to earn US Airways miles, which will help you earn rewards even if you don’t get to Preferred member status.
When you fly US Airways, you’ll earn – at the very least – the actual number of miles flown. Those flying in first class or in “envoy” class will receive 150% of the miles flown. In both cases, if the actual miles flown is fewer than 500 miles per segment, US Airways will reward you with 500 miles per segment instead.
US Airways is part of the Star Alliance airline alliance, so any flight taken on a Star Alliance carrier can earn miles toward your Dividend Miles with US Airways. The number of miles earned will vary depending on the airline, so check with the carrier you’re flying. Some of the other airlines in the Star Alliance are Air Canada, Air China, Air New Zealand, bmi, EgyptAir, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Spanair, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, and United Airlines.
There are other airlines besides those in the Star Alliance, however, which help you earn miles with US Airways. On Bahamasair, you can earn the actual miles flown. On Hawaiian Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Royal Jordanian Airlines you can earn up to 150% of the actual miles flown. On Virgin Atlantic, you can earn up to 200% of the actual miles flown – which sounds generous, until you realize that some tickets only earn 50% of the actual miles flown.
The list of hotels that partner with US Airways to help you earn Dividend Miles is so long it would take up an entire article all by itself. And, as you might imagine, the number of miles you’ll earn for each stay varies on the hotel you’re staying in. So even though it’s a huge list, it’s probably a good idea to do your research and look through your hotel options in order to get the most miles for your stay.
Some of the hotels in the US Airways partnership program offer a certain number of miles per $1 US dollar spent during your stay. Others give you a certain number of miles per stay, period. Also keep in mind that some of these hotels require membership in their reward program as well as the US Airways miles program – you can then convert the hotel rewards into US Airways rewards later.
>> The complete list of hotels in the US Airways program is here. If you can’t find a participating hotel from this list for your next trip, then we don’t know where you’re going.
Like most other airlines, US Airways has a set of airline miles credit cards with which you can earn miles toward their frequent flyer porgram. There are two cards they call “Consumer cards,” two they call “Business cards,” and one debit card. All four credit cards are MasterCards, whereas the debit card is a Visa.
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- Consumer Cards – US Airways Premier World MasterCard earns up to 35,000 bonus miles for joining and transferring a balance from another card; earn 1 mile per $1 spent, plus double miles on US Airways purchases. US Airways WORLD MasterCard earns up to 20,000 bonus miles for joining and transferring a balance from another card; earn 1 mile per $1 spent.
- Business Cards – US Airways Business MasterCard earns up to 35,000 bonus miles for joining and transferring a balance from another card; earn 1 mile per $1 spent, plus double miles on US Airways purchases. US Airways Professional MasterCard earns up to 25,000 bonus miles for joining and transferring a balance from another card; earns 1 mile for every $2 spent on regular purchases, 2 miles for every $1 spent on US Airways purchases, and 2 miles for every $1 spent on restaurant, hotel, car rental, and gasoline purchases.
- Debit Card – US Airways Visa Check Card from Bank of America earns up to 1,000 bonus miles for joining; earnings per $1 spent can vary depending on where you live, but can be up to 1 mile per $1 spent on some purchases.
There are eight car rental companies with which you can earn miles toward US Airways rewards. The number of miles you can earn depends on the company, so check your options before you book your car rental to make sure you’re getting the most miles you can.
Some of the car rental agencies will give you a flat number of miles for each rental, while others will give you a certain number of miles per $1 spent on a rental. Sometimes the number of miles you earn will depend on whether you’re renting a car at the airport or at a non-airport location, and sometimes it depends on the number of days you’re renting the car for. And many of the agencies have special offers which give you discounts on car rentals in addition to helping you earn miles toward a US Airways reward.
>> The complete list of car rental companies which offer miles toward the US Airways program – and all the limited offers available – is here.
US Airways is one of the airlines that clearly believes you shouldn’t have to wait until you’re redeeming all those hard-won miles to have fun. Instead, they give you some ways to earn miles that are fun in and of themselves. Toward that end, there’s a long list of cruise ships with which you can earn US Airways miles.
Among the cruise lines you’ve likely heard of is one you might not have. US Airways Cruises isn’t a cruise line run by the airline – instead, it’s a cruise booking service operated by US Airways. You can book directly with any of the other cruise lines on the list and still earn US Airways miles, but it might be easier (and you might earn more miles) by booking your next cruise through US Airways Cruises instead.
>> The list of cruise ships on which you can earn US Airways miles is here.
The US Airways Dividend Miles program has a sub-program that’s specifically about earning miles for dining out. It’s called Dividend Miles Dining, and when you join you can earn up to 5 miles for every $1 you spend eating out at restaurants.
Joining Dividend Miles Dining is free, and once you join you’ll enter the information for up to five credit or debit cards into your profile. Then anytime you eat at one of the restaurants participating in the program you just use one of the cards you’ve registered with the program to earn as many as 5 miles per $1 spent on everything from the food and drinks to the tax and tip.
US Airways partners with several online retailers to help you earn miles with purchases from those websites. The number of miles earned varies depending on the retailer, and the types of retailers varies significantly as well. So before you go shopping, check out your miles-earning options first.
Some of the retailers with which you can earn miles on US Airways are:
In addition to the retailers on the list above (and the others not listed), there’s also the US Airways Dividend Miles Shopping Mall. The stores available in that “mall” are likely to be places you shop already, so again – it’s worth checking out before you do any shopping elsewhere.
There are nine financial-related services with which you can earn miles on US Airways – sometimes just for getting a quote, and other times for actually engaging the services themselves. The number of miles you can earn depends on the company you’re working with as well as what services you’re getting from them.
On the list of companies you’ll find insurance providers, home loan and mortgage providers, online banking services, and investment services. The companies which partner with US Airways are:
- 21st Century Auto Insurance
- Chase Home Mortgage
- Home Loan Center
- ING Direct
- Sentry Insurance
- TD Ameritrade
There are other airlines that let you earn miles for using certain wireless services, but the US Airways program is special in that you don’t have to choose a certain provider in order to earn miles. Simply by getting your mobile phone through the US Airways designated website, you can earn miles almost no matter which cell phone provider you use.
They call it Dividend Miles Wireless, and all you need to do is sign up for wireless service through the airline’s website in order to earn miles. You’ll get 3,500 miles when you start any new wireless plan (and also on some contract extensions), 5 miles for every $1 spent on accessories for your mobile devices, and even as many as 3,500 miles for new satellite TV service.
If you already subscribe to USA Today, why not earn miles for it? This is one of two newspapers with which you can earn US Airways miles just by subscribing through the airline’s website. You can earn 1,000 bonus miles for subscribing, and then another 100 miles every month you continue your subscription.
The other newspaper with which you can earn US Airways miles is the Charlotte Observer – and if you’re in the Carolinas then that’s definitely worth something. Again, you’ll get 1,000 bonus miles for subscribing and another 100 miles every month you continue your subscription.
Find out more about the US Airways Dividend Miles program on the program’s official website
photo by Ack Ook