US Airways Buy Up To Preferred Program Changes

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)


  1. Ben-

    For the Envoy upgrades, can they be used for a flight after Feb 28, 2015 as long as it is booked before that, or do you actually have to fly before Feb 28, 2015?

  2. Will US Airways chairman translate to AA Executive Platinum for the other benefits (but yes, the 8 system upgrades was what I most wanted having missed out on EP by 12000 miles this year)

  3. @ Susan — We don’t know at what point they’ll offer reciprocal elite status or tier matching. It could be sometime this year, or maybe only early next year.

  4. Will the trial preferred status challenge end on February 28, 2014 or will it continue with or without changes until March 1, 2015?

  5. I’ve bought this two years running and it’s far and away the best deal out there just because the 2 system-wide upgrades can be used on ANY coach fare. I’m going to Madrid in a few weeks, and granted it’s low season, but tack on to these upgrades:
    First class domestic upgrades that clear nearly 100% of the time days in advance (and domestic includes Mexico, and the “islands”
    double mileage,and , companion upgrades, and gee….I wish they hadn’t merged.

  6. @alexr The upgrades presently can be used for flights booked by the end of the chairman’s years, for periods up to one year after the certificates expire. I just went through this with US

  7. @ Old Flyer — I haven’t heard anything regarding changes to the trial option yet. If I hear anything I’ll be sure to post again.

  8. @Lucky,
    I am just curious to ask: when I purchase UA Airways 110K business class roundtrip in Dec 2014 between US and Australia (with a stopover in Auckland, NZ), if I purchase the Chairman’s Preferred, do I and a companion seat still get upgraded even if I may actually fly other Star Alliance airlines?

  9. Ah ok – got it – so the upgrades don’t work on codeshares, only US Airways metal? Was just referencing the route map and got confused.

    Thanks for the clarification!

  10. I noticed you said if you have 1 mile in our account you can just purchase platinum and get chairman. I have 0 miles in my account. What if I buy up to Platinum, and then take a flight on US AFTER the purchase? Would that qualify me for Chairman? Or do I have to actually have 1 mile in my account before buying the Platinum to equal Chairman?

    If that didn’t make sense: does purchasing Platinum actually put 99,999 in my EQM account, or just gives me the status with no EQM’s?

  11. @ Abe — No, you don’t get the PQMs, but rather just the corresponding status. So you’d need to earn one PQM and then buy up to CP.

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