I’ve written extensively about the US Airways Challenge, which is more useful than ever given that we now know the timeline of the integration between American AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles.
US Airways Challenge basics
Basically you can pay $200-600 to start the challenge (depending on whether you want Silver, Gold, or Platinum status upfront), and then if you fly 30,000 miles on American or US Airways within 90 days you get Chairman’s Preferred status. That will be converted into Executive Platinum status in the second quarter of 2015, at which point you’ll get eight American systemwide upgrades (in addition to the US Airways Chairman’s Preferred upgrade certificates you get upon completing the challenge).
Now is a great time to start a US Airways Challenge
I think it’s worth pointing out that now is a great time to start a US Airways Challenge.
Why? Because if you start it now, you’ll have until the end of February 2015 to complete your challenge.
The ideal situation would be to do all your flying towards the challenge in 2015. That’s because if you fly 30,000 miles and earn Chairman’s Preferred now that’s great, but those miles won’t count towards next year’s status.
On the other hand, say you do all your flying in early 2015. You’d then not only get Chairman’s Preferred status after flying 30,000 miles, but those 30,000 miles would also qualify towards your status for the following year. In other words, in order to keep your status valid for another year (through February 2017), you’d “only” need to fly another 70,000 miles, as opposed to 100,000 miles.
Then why not start the challenge January 1, 2015?
Ideally you’d wait until January 1 to start the challenge, since you’d then have three months in 2015 to fly those miles, and all those miles would count towards the challenge and towards your requalification.
But the issue is that there’s no guarantee the challenge will stick around. It could disappear any day without notice. And I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it disappeared in the next month.
If you’re thinking of doing the challenge, I’d probably hedge my bets and start it sooner rather than later. If you do start it now, I think you’re best off doing all your flying in the first two months of 2015 if possible, and then you’d already have an awesome jumpstart towards 2016 elite status.
Are you doing a US Airways Challenge, and if so, what’s your strategy?