US Airways changes international upgrade policy….

Check it out:

On August 15, 2009, Dividend Miles members will no longer be required to purchase a minimum value fare (currently $1,400 roundtrip or $700 one way). Instead, you can use 30,000 miles and pay $300 to upgrade to Envoy on trips to Europe and South America. Trips to the Middle East can be upgraded for 40,000 miles and $300. All upgrades are subject to availability.

I’m not quite sure what this means. In the past you needed a minimum fare of $1,400 to upgrade, which seemed rather arbitrary to me given that there can be a substantial difference in base fares throughout the year, meaning that the premium to upgrade varies substantially.

Anyway, in general this is probably a positive change for the leisure traveler. Assuming your ticket to Europe is less than $800 you’re coming out ahead. At the same time, it’s not clear to me whether someone with a $1,400 ticket has to pay the $300/$400 as well, or whether that only applies to those with cheaper fares. I’m leaning towards the former, which would probably be a negative change for most business travelers that could otherwise upgrade with miles and will now have to pay the cash portion out of pocket.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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