US Airways adjusts mileage upgrade costs

I’m not going to lie, my heart almost stopped beating for a second when I got an email in my inbox entitled “Dividend Miles program changes.” I’m sure I’m not the only one with a (small) stash of US Airways miles that’s waiting for the day they double the price of premium cabin Star Alliance awards.

But they made a change, which kicks in on February 15, 2012, that’s not actually half bad. Basically, instead of charging 15,000 miles for any upgrade to first class in the lower 48, they now charge based on the distance, as follows:

Best of all, those co-pays are waived if you’re a Preferred member or traveling on a full fare ticket.

So for elite members, this is actually a nice improvement, since in all cases this translates to a discounted upgrade.

For non-elites, it means you’re paying fewer miles to upgrade, but also paying an upgrade fee. On shorter flights it’s definitely a better value, though.

Anyway, on the whole I’ll say it’s a pretty neutral change. Now here’s to hoping that their Star Alliance award chart doesn’t change anytime soon…


  1. Probably hoping elites burn through the miles instead of rolling the dice on elite upgrades. Got to get those mileage balances down! Someone realized we’re redeeming less often thanks to LH? 🙂

  2. Lucky,

    How do you determine if a US Airways domestic flight has upgradeable space (a la looking for NC/NF space on United.bomb via Expert mode)?


  3. could this change relate to “distance” be relate to a possible AA merger (re AVIOS distance miles rewards) ?

  4. @ daniel — Hah, I think that’s a bit far stretched, though nice thinking. American doesn’t have anything to do with the Avios program, so can’t imagine it’s related. Rather I suspect it’s a way that US Airways can get some revenue out of upgrades without it looking like a complete devaluation.

  5. @Jon
    My rule of thumb is to look at a first class award at the “Low” level online. If the award is available then the flight usually also has upgradable inventory. (This also applies to the application of Chairman’s Preferred Certificates).


  6. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this new chart is per flight segment, yes? So a San Francisco to Boston via Phoenix would be 6K plus 10K = 16K.

  7. @ Murphy — I don’t think they’ve specified whether the pricing is per segment or based on origin and destination.

  8. @ lucky – There seems to be a few hints. It does say “each way/per flight”, but for me, the big hint was “And now, you pay only for flights where upgrades are available.” I don’t see how they could apply that unless it was priced per segment.

  9. Did no one notice where they changed the quick ticketing fee window from 14 to 21 days?

    Like there is any additional cost to ticketing an award close in now that it’s all electronic. Total rip off.

  10. lets not give them any ideas on devaluing the award chart anytime soon….I guess sooner or later when you are known as the slut of the skies, something has to give hehe..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *