A couple of weeks back AAdvantage and Dividend Miles announced some major program changes. One of the smaller changes that was announced involved using US Airways Dividend Miles for upgrades.
Previously upgrade fees (co-pays) were waived for Dividend Miles Preferred members upgrading to first class. They weren’t waived for business class upgrades on their longhaul international flights, though. They updated those terms, and as of April 23, 2014, Preferred members will also have to pay the co-pay even on first class upgrades.
Here’s the upgrade fee chart:
And then here are the upgrade terms:
*Mileage upgrade fee is waived for Preferred members (except for Business Class upgrades) or if you buy a full fare ticket (Y or B class). Starting April 23, 2014, the mileage upgrade fee will no longer be waived for Preferred members.**Mileage upgrade fee for Business Class is waived if you buy a full fare ticket (Y or B class). Any travel from France or the United Kingdom is subject to additional international taxes. All upgrades are subject to availability. Chairman’s members get two free Business Class upgrades each year.
So if you’re a Dividend Miles Preferred member and have a ticket you want to use miles to upgrade, be sure to apply it today. It’s okay if the travel is on a future date, as long as the upgrade is locked in today.
Admittedly US Airways is one of the easier airlines to get complimentary upgrades on as an elite member, though their mileage upgrade fees are quite reasonable as well. A 2,000+ mile transcon is just 10,000 miles to upgrade, and if you confirm it today you won’t have to pay the $150 co-pay as a Preferred member.
Ultimately adding these co-pays was a way to “align” with American’s current system, even though their amounts are different.
Here’s American’s upgrade fee chart:
As you can see, American charges a $75 co-pay for upgrades within the lower 48/Canada, while they charge a $175 co-pay for upgrades between the lower 48/Canada and Hawaii.