The US Airways Sweet Spot to North Asia in Economy

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US Airways charges only 60,000 miles roundtrip in economy to North Asia. This is one of the cheapest economy awards on any American airline’s award chart.

Sixty thousand miles is the same price US Airways charges to Europe and South America even though it is quite a bit farther to China than it is to Europe or South America.

US Airways defines North Asia as:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Macau
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia

Delta and United charge 70,000 miles roundtrip to North Asia. American charges 70,000 miles to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and 50,000 to 65,000 miles to Japan and South Korea depending on the season.

Like Delta and United awards, roundtrip US Airways awards allow one free stopover. American Airlines awards do not allow free stopovers.

US Airways awards have extremely lax routing rules, enforced only by human agents. This means you can get away with any routing you can imagine and have the patience to attempt to ticket as long as it has at most 10 segments.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 5.47.05 PM

Even though it has no flights of its own, US Airways has partners in both the Star Alliance and oneworld alliance that service North Asia. You can use either set of partners, though you can’t combine both sets on a single award.

Currently, The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is offering 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase, and you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 30,000 US Airways miles during July 2014.

  • With whom does US Airways partner to North Asia?
  • What are the routing rules for US Airways?
  • How can you get US Airways miles?

Comparing Awards to North Asia

The price of a roundtrip US Airways award to North Asia in economy is 60,000 Dividend Miles no matter how you route to get there as long as you have the patience to wait for a phone agent to let you ticket your routing.

Via Qatar

Awards to the Middle East cost 80,000 miles roundtrip. Awards to North Asia via the Middle East cost only 60,000 miles roundtrip.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 5.47.05 PM

I priced out an award that starts in New York City and heads to Doha, Qatar. After one evening in Doha–though nothing prevents you from stopping over for days or weeks–it continues to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong, it crosses the Pacific Ocean on its way back to Newark, New Jersey. Starting at JFK and ending at Newark is not considered an open jaw.

This award priced at 60,000 miles and $163.62 in taxes and fees, including the $50 award processing fee on international US Airways awards. All US Airways awards must be booked by phone that include segments on carriers other than US Airways and American Airlines. US Airways waives phone booking fees for awards not bookable online.

Simple Roundtrip to Japan

I priced out a simple award from New York-JFK to Tokyo in economy on US Airways, American, Delta, and United.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 4.18.47 PM

US Airways Charges 60,000 miles and $101 in taxes and fees for this award.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 4.15.57 PM

United Airlines charges 70,000 miles and $45.50 in taxes and fees for the same trip.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 2.54.22 PM

Delta Air Lines charges 70,000 miles and $48.00 in taxes and fees.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 2.57.08 PM

American Airlines charges 50,000 miles and $50.50 in taxes and fees for the same trip because of the April dates. From May through September, American would charge 65,000 miles.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 2.49.45 PM

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 2.49.27 PM

The American Airlines award chart places Japan, Korea and Mongolia in “Asia 1.” The rest of East Asia including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan cost 70,000 miles roundtrip year round.

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 3.47.59 PMScreen shot 2014-06-19 at 3.44.48 PM

US Airways Asian Partner Airlines

US Airways recent merger with American Airlines has brought about some changes at US Airways. In March 2014, US Airways left the Star Alliance for oneworld.

US Airways maintained some Star Alliance partners in the transition. The ability to book awards with both of these alliances is something unique to US Airways.

These are the key partners for flights to North Asia. Starred partners have direct flights from the United States to North Asia.

oneworld:

  • *American Airlines
  • *Japan Airlines
  • *Cathay Pacific
  • Qatar Airways

Star Alliance:

  • *Air China
  • *Singapore Airlines (for bookings until July 31, 2014)
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Turkish Airlines (for bookings until July 31, 2014)

You can use oneworld or Star Alliance partners for the same price, but you cannot combine both on a single award.

US Airways Routing Rules

US Airways allows either one stopover or an open jaw, but not both, on a roundtrip award. I also do not succeed ticketing awards with more than 10 segments.

Beyond these two hard rules, it seems that I can ticket just about anything, especially if I lead the call by naming my destination and keeping my segments to eight or fewer.

By leading the call and naming my destination, I mean that I tell the US Airways agent that my agent is Hong Kong and my stopover is Doha to take advantage of the cheaper price to the former, instead of just giving the segments and letting the US Airways agent decide which is my destination.

Most US Airways agents won’t bat an eye at crazy routings or routings that have a stopover in a more expensive region. If your does, hang up and try the next agent.

How to Get The Miles

Currently The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® is offering 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase, and you can transfer 20,000 Starpoints to 30,000 US Airways miles during July 2014.

Recap

US Airways awards to North Asia in economy for 60,000 Dividend Miles roundtrip represents a great value.

US Airways allows either one stopover or one open jaw, but not both, on their roundtrip awards to North Asia.

By taking advantage of US Airways’ lax routing rules, and also building in a stopover, you can unlock the full potential of their awards to North Asia.

US Airways partners with all of the oneworld alliance carriers, as well as several of the Star Alliance carriers, providing numerous options for redeeming awards.

US Airways Dividend Miles are easy to accumulate by getting The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® and through the current US Airways/SPG promo.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Would from DC to SGN then open jaw from Maldive to DC be considered a round trip?

    Which miles would be best for this route? I would like to go to vietnam then to maldives, then back to DC.
    Thanks

    • You could book that for 80k US Airways miles in economy and 120k in business. US Airways or AA miles would be best.

  2. Wouldn’t the AA redemptions off peak be a better deal? Especially if you have the AA plat card? Even at peak prices, 65K-6.5KK (10%)=58.5K to asia round trip.

    • That 65k price only applies to Japan, Korean, and Mongolia, which is quite a bit smaller than US Airways’ North Asia region. Plus AA has worse routing rules. Plus if you use the 10% rebate on this award, you can’t use it on another.

  3. I just landed at home after doing JFK-MAD-CMN-DOH-HKG-JFK in J on IB/IB/QR/QR/CX

    New IB planes on JFK-MAD are nice
    CMN-DOH was an old 777-200, but it was half-empty, so I had 2 seats to myself.
    DOH-HKG was a new 777-200: fewer rows. Service on both flights was excellent. Too bad they were dry flights due to Ramadan
    HKG-JFK on CX J is always a fun flight

    New Doha terminal is huge and pretty easy to navigate, but it’s a mess. They need to finish it up. Avoid it for now.

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