Many people bash US Airways Dividend Miles because it is not a very user-friendly award program. You have to do some work to get the most out of these miles, but when you learn a few tricks, these miles are incredibly valuable. Dividend Miles have almost a cult-like following in the frequent flyer arena because of because of their relatively flexible routing rules, amazing off-peak awards, award chart bargains, and wide range of partners and destinations.
Partner flight redemption: Dividend Miles are redeemable on all Star Alliance partners, including United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, AviancaTaca, All Nippon Airways, etc., as well as some non-alliance airline partners. However, you will not see these partners on the US Airways website. I recommend going to United’s website to find award availability, and if they show low-level “saver” availability, then there is a 99% chance you can also get that flight with US Airways miles. You have to call US Airways to redeem miles on partner flights, which takes a few minutes, but they will waive the phone booking charge since it is not possible to do it yourself online.
Off-peak and special deals: US Airways-operated flights cost 5,000 miles less if you have the US Airways credit card.
US Airways has a fantastic “off-peak” award chart. These awards are only available on US Airways-operated flights, which means that off-peak destinations can be rather limited, but it also means that off-peak awards are easily searchable and bookable on the US Airways website. My personal favorite, as a credit cardholder, is Europe for 30,000 miles in economy or 55,000 miles in business class from Jan. 15 to Feb. 28. That is the best Europe flight deal in the industry, and easily attainable from a single credit card signup.
Award chart: US Airways’ award redemption chart has some great deals:
60k economy or 90k business class to “North Asia.” This includes many countries in Central Asia which would otherwise cost a fortune to reach.
110k business class to South Pacific. This is simply way less than United, American and Delta.
110k business class to Africa. This is simply way less than United, American and Delta.
25k within “South Asia.” Trans-continental flights on the biggest continent for 25k is a bargain.
Routing rules: US Airways’ routing rules are quite flexible. You are allowed either a stopover or an open-jaw on your trip. This means that if you want to book an award from the US to Australia, you can stop in one of many Asian cities along the way, for as long as you want! You can even book an award to North Asia via South Asia and stop over in South Asia, all for the cheaper North Asia award price. Let your imagination go wild with some downright crazy itineraries—US Airways is the most likely program to accommodate them.