US Airways Eliminates the Ability to Buy Miles and Segments Towards Status

US Airways used to let you straight-up buy elite quaifying miles or segments. With the Dividend Miles program there was frequently no need to ‘mileage run’ or take extra flights just for the miles in order to reach status, it was usually cheaper just to have them charge your credit card.

In fact, you could go from 1 mile flown to top tier Chairmans Preferred (100,000 mile flyer) for a flat $2999. Compare that to Delta where they want you to fly 125,000 miles with minimum ticket revenue of $12,500.

US Airways had a history of unconventional means of qualifying for elite status. At the end of 2006 they offered an ‘everything counts’ promo where even miles from sending flowers and renting cars counted towards elite status. That way they wouldn’t have mileage runners taking all the first class upgrades.

But after their merger with American Airlines things tightened up. As of March 1, US Airways:

  • raised the price to buy qualifying miles and segments
  • restricted you to only be able to buy enough miles or segments to reach a tier that you are within 25,000 miles or 30 segments of

Here’s the historial pricing and the pricing which was in effect from March through September:

That change meant you couldn’t use this technique to really leverage 2015 status with American.

And now you can’t use it at all. Because Buy Up to Preferred is Gone.

Trial Preferred, where you pay for temporary status and an accelerated path towards keeping and even earning higher status, remains available as of this writing.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. As an American EP who flies 300,000+ miles/year, I am very glad to hear this. I am already dreading Doug Parker’s move toward less business/first seats on the planes, and I am already feeling the pinch on upgrade availability. Having a bunch of people who simply paid for (or most likely charged their company for) status would just make everything worse.

  2. Today I purchased the silver status challenge and there was an option to buy it outright sans challenge so YMMV*.

    *For once this truly makes sense. 🙂

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