One of the things I do appreciate about the behind-the-scenes folks at
America West US Airways is that many of their decision-makers are effectively bean-counters. Intelligent bean-counters, if there is such a thing.
Operationally, the management team at US Airways has done a good job, and that’s partly because they make decisions based on what they think makes the most financial sense.
So we’ve seen them sell miles at ridiculously cheap rates (because it was profitable), replace catering on short domestic routes with a snack basket (because it was profitable), and even outright sell you elite status (because it was profitable).
Apparently they’ve decided that last option no longer makes financial sense, as US Airways has eliminated the ability to purchase elite status through their Buy Up To Preferred program.
Historically, US Airways has one of the most generous programs when it comes to outright buying status, whereby you’ve been able to outright buy top tier status without having flown a mile. In March of this year they changed the program as part of the merger with American, and added the following restrictions:
- You could only 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 increased
So not only did they restrict the number of Preferred Qualifying Miles you could buy t0 24,999, but they more or less doubled the cost of purchasing the PQMs that you could buy.
However, as of today the option appears to be gone entirely:
This isn’t really surprising, to be honest. US Airways was one of the only programs offering the option of outright purchasing elite status, and now as they’re starting to align policies with American (somewhat), I guess they’ve decided this no longer makes sense.
As a reminder, US Airways also still offers trial Preferred status challenges, though I would guess that it won’t be till the 2016 program year that they have a single elite program with American. So challenging up to Preferred status almost certainly wouldn’t get you eight systemwide upgrades, if that’s what you’re after.
It can still be a great deal — pay $200 for a Silver Preferred challenge and fly 30,000 miles within 90 days, and you’ll be a Chairman’s Preferred member through February 2016. Of course it’s anyone’s guess how long the trial Preferred challenge continues to be offered.
Was anyone planning on taking advantage of Buy Up To Preferred? What are your plans now?
(Tip of the hat to Gary)