As I’ve written about in the past, US Airways has one of the most generous programs when it comes to outright buying status.
They offer a Buy Up To Preferred program, whereby you can outright buy top tier status without having flown a mile. Up until now the chart has looked as follows:
That means for $3,999 you could outright purchase Chairman’s Preferred status, and if you flew even a single mile you could purchase Chairman’s Preferred status for just $2,999. Chairman’s Preferred status comes with a couple of systemwide upgrades, each of which can be used to upgrade you and a companion internationally. So that’s potentially quite valuable.
While the change in the Buy Up To Preferred program is not really surprising due to the merger, US Airways will be making two major changes to the program as of March 1, 2014:
- You’ll only be able to buy up to a tier that you are within 25,000 miles or 30 flight segments of reaching
- The fees for buying up to status will increase
So not only are they restricting the number of Preferred Qualifying Miles you can buy t0 24,999, but they’re more or less doubling the cost of purchasing the PQMs that you can buy.
So if you’ve been thinking of buying up to Preferred status then you’re probably best off doing so before the month is over.
Purchased status will be valid through February 28, 2015, so it will be valid for roughly 12 months.
Is it worth buying up to Chairman’s Preferred? Well, I do suspect that before the end of the year American and US Airways will offer more reciprocal elite benefits than they’re offering now. That being said, I would guess that it won’t be till the 2015 program year that they have a single elite program. So buying up to Preferred status almost certainly wouldn’t get you eight systemwide upgrades, if that’s what you’re after.
As a reminder, US Airways also still offers trial Preferred status challenges.
(Tip of the hat to Heels First)