Babies! First of all, let me congratulate all of you who were able to get the US Airways Mastercard while that sexy 50,000 mile bonus was still strutting around the internet. We can all congratulate each other once again when we are flying first class and drinking champagne with those sweet miles! But there is more to this card than just miles…
There is also the companion pass! Which is not as glamorous as your award redemptions will be, but is a useful little slip of paper. What the companion certificate does is allow you to book up to 2 additional passengers on a paid US Airways ticket for $99 per person.
So let’s say you are planning to go to Hawaii to investigate Donald Trump’s claim that he was born on planet Earth. Then you are out of luck, as the certificate is only good for travel to the 48 contiguous states and Canada (plus there’s no way he is from Earth). If, however, you wanted to go with your two bestest buddies to Los Angeles to eat some tacos and get a medical marijuana prescription, then this little certificate is great!
As you can see, the flights aren’t as cheap as you might have hoped. In fact for the cheapest flight for you and your two traveling companions, you are looking at $1287 to get the three of you there and back. But if you were to instead call into the US Airways reservation desk (1-800-428-4322) and tell them which flight you want and that you wish to use your companion certificate, then it brings the cost down to $627. That’s less than half of what you would be paying without it! That money you saved could buy a lot of Tecate to go with those tacos.
There are of course a few caveats:
- Contiguous US and Canada only
- No stopovers, open jaws, open returns or circle trips
- Must be purchased at least 14 days in advance
- Minimum 2 night stay, Maximum 30 day stay
- Only valid on US Airways and US Airways Express, no codeshare flights operated by partners
- Not valid once you close the account
- Only valid for coach travel
- Fare has to cost $250 or more
- Blackout dates
- April: 2, 3, 6, 12 (from Indianapolis April 7, to Louisville April 30)
- May: 21, 22 (to Louisville May 1, from Louisville May 3)
- June: 25, 26
- July: 5, 6
- October: 18
- November: 20, 29, 30
- December: 18, 19, 26, 27
- No running, spitting, ball playing, skateboarding, snakeboarding, hula-hoops, ferrets or fun allowed on US Airways flights
Despite all the rules and blackout dates, I think that most people will still be able to put the companion pass to good use. And considering that most of us just picked the card up for the bonus, it’s really just icing on the cake (even if the icing is banana flavored and the cake is chocolate).
If you haven’t yet applied for the card and haven’t gotten a targeted email or direct mail invitation, then I’m afraid that the ship has sailed. Let it be a reminder that these deals can go away at any time, and that the best ones don’t last long. You don’t want to be the guy/girl that sits around telling people how you could have gotten the bonus/bought Apple stock when it was a nickel/gone to Woodstock, but you didn’t. When opportunity knocks, go for it! Grab those miles, book that trip and rock on!
Hit me up with all your questions and comments!
If you’ve already got all the miles and just need some help finding space and booking the award, I have an award booking service that will get you all squared away. Find out more about it here.