With Tuesday’s announcement that the American and US Airways anti-trust suit has been settled with the DOJ, it’s a good time to start thinking about the implications this can have on your elite status with US Airways and American. As I mentioned yesterday, one possible way to take advantage of this is by outright purchasing status with US Airways.
They’ll literally let you “buy up” to whichever status level you’d like. Here’s the US Airways chart for “buying up” to Preferred status:
As you can see, you can outright purchase 100,000 PQMs for $3,999, or it’s a better deal if you have any qualifying activity to purchase up to 99,999 PQMs for $2,999.
But US Airways also offers status challenges for a fee, and those willing to fly a certain number of miles in a 90 day period should consider a US Airways Trial Preferred status challenge.
US Airways gives you the status upfront, and charges you the following amounts:
- Dividend Miles Silver Preferred status costs $200
- Dividend Miles Gold Preferred status costs $400
- Dividend Miles Platinum Preferred status costs $600
Then your status beyond the 90 day trial period is determined by how much flying you do in that 90 day period:
- If you fly 7,500 miles or 10 segments you get Dividend Miles Silver Preferred
- If you fly 15,000 miles or 20 segments you get Dividend Miles Gold Preferred
- If you fly 22,500 miles or 30 segments you get Dividend Miles Platinum Preferred
- If you fly 30,000 miles or 40 segments you get Dividend Miles Chairman’s Preferred
This status will be valid through February 28, 2015, and only miles earned flying US Airways and US Airways Express qualify (meaning travel on Star Alliance partners wouldn’t qualify). This is also only valid to those that don’t currently have status with US Airways, and that haven’t done a status trial in the past 12 months.
So to be clear, if you do the Silver challenge and fly 30,000 miles you’d get Chairman’s status. Meanwhile if you did the Platinum challenge and only flew 7,500 miles you’d get Silver status.
If you’re willing to fly there’s no doubt this can be a better value than outright buying status. Say you pay $600 for Platinum status upfront (which you don’t have to do, you can just purchase Silver status, but let’s say you want your flights to be comfortable so you’re maximizing your chances at an upgrade). You would have a really easy time flying 30,000 miles for under $2,399, which is how much you’d otherwise pay to buy up to Chairman’s Preferred status (factoring in the $600 fee you’re otherwise paying for Platinum status upfront). And that’s not even accounting for the redeemable miles you’ll earn.
It’s almost certain that there will be elite reciprocity and status matching between American and US Airways next year, though I wouldn’t count on getting the eight systemwide upgrades that American top tier elites get in the next program year. You do, however, get the two systemwide upgrades (each valid for travel with a companion) that US Airways Chairman’s Preferred members get that are valid on most fares, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those could also be used on American before the end of the year.
Whether or not it’s worth it depends on your exact circumstances, but there’s certainly potential for this to be more than worthwhile.