US Airways offers a paid status challenge program where you get temporary status for 90 days and then have an opportunity to fly to keep that status on an accelerated basis.
At the beginning of the month US Airways eliminated the ability to buy miles towards status, which used to be a great alternative to mileage running for those last few flights you’d need to qualify.
But how long will these paid challenges still be around?
Reader Mike P. asks,
Any thoughts or predictions on how long US Trial Preferred will be around?
I would like to start a trial as late as possible so that much of the
trial activity can be in earning year 2015. But then again, I’m
nervous they will pull the program.
Mike would like to fly his challenge in 2015 so the flying also counts towards qualifying for 2016 status.
To do that he needs his 90 day period to extend into 2015, and wants as much of the period as possible to, so he would like to wait to register. But he’s nervous the program will be eliminated before he signs up.
I think he’s right to be concerned.
Now, American AAdvantage makes a variety of status challenge offers and it seems that they vary them at different times, sometimes based on news of what their competitors are doing.
- They have charged to sign up, and they’ve offered it free.
- They’ve fronted the status during the challenge period, and they have required flying before granting status.
- They have offered a challenge up to their top tier Executive Platinum, and they’ve also capped it at Platinum (mid-tier) status.
So while American has had their own program, you never know what you’re going to get. For the version that’s free, and that has come with status during the challenge period, you’ve been required to demonstrate status with a competitor airline — most often United, but sometimes Delta.
In contrast, the US Airways program that you pay for, that gives you temporary status, and where the flying you do during the status period determines the status you keep going forward, you haven’t had to have any status with another airline to qualify at all.
Here’s why I would guess that the US Airways status challenge offer will be pulled and months before American and US Airways actually combine their frequent flyer programs.
I would guess that they will need to pull the program because it could be really complicated to register folks for the US Airways promotion, give them 90 days to fly, and move Dividend Miles into AAdvantage during that 90 day period. They’d have to build whole new IT process just to accommodate these trial preferreds whose qualifying period includes time in both the US Airways Dividend Miles program and the American AAdvantage program.
So if it were me running the show I would end the program December 1. Then I’d be in the clear if I transitioned the programs even a bit earlier than the start of the second quarter (‘just in case’).
That’s a guess but since I was being asked for my guess the advice I would give is not to wait if interested in signing up for the US Airways Trial Preferred program.