US Airways Offers Free Elite Status Challenge With New Lounge Membership

US Airways is certainly one of the most creative airlines in monetizing the benefits of elite status.

They were the very first ones to come out with getting a credit card equating some of the benefits of bottom-tier elite levels (priority checkin and boarding). They once ran a promotion where all miles earned through their shopping portal counted towards status at the end of a year.

They’ll even straight-out sell you status – if you literally have one mile flown during the year they will sell you top tier elite for $2999. (You can’t buy preferred miles and segments to meet one of their status challenges, however.)

US Airways doesn’t offer status matches (giving you the status you hold on another airline in order to entice your business). Instead they offer a status challenge — they will front you status for 90 days and the flying on US Airways that you do during that time determines the status that you’ll keep. They charge a fee for this. Anyone without status on the airline who did not have status in the prior year either can sign up. No status with a competing airline required.

You can pay varying amounts depending on the status you want during the promotion period: $200 for Silver, $400 for Gold, and $600 for Platinum. But regardless of the level you choose to buy for the 90 day trial, your flying can earn a higher level, including top tier Chairmans Preferred status.

  • Silver: Fly 7,500 miles or 10 segments
  • Gold: Fly 15,000 miles or 20 segments
  • Platinum: Fly 22,500 miles or 30 segments
  • Chairmans: Fly 30,000 miles or 40 segments

Through September 30 only, US Airways is offering to waive the fee on a Silver Preferred 90 day trial with promotion code CLBTR for buying a US Airways lounge membership.

This isn’t the greatest offer they’ve ever made, since they’ve on more than one occasion been willing to straight-up discount lounge membership by $200 (including waiving of the $50 ‘initiation fee’ for new club memberships, which this offer does not include).

If you meet the status challenge based on your US Airways flying during the coming 90 days, you’ll keep the status you earn through the end of February 2014.

But it’s a great way to tie a move over to US Airways, along with lounge access, and save some cash in the process. Ultimately it’s a great opportunity for someone considering doing a lot of US Airways flying. It’s not a great offer just for buying US Airways lounge access if your primary flying is with United, or if you’re buying lounge membership as a relatively infrequent flyer.

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. Interesting…

    I see a notice at the bottom that “Only elite qualifying flights earned on flights operated by US Airways and US Airways Express can be applied toward the Trial Preferred program”

    Assuming they meant miles rather than flights, that would mean only US metal counts, and only miles flown, rather than miles earned — because obviously the DM Mileage Multiplier would be an awesome tool for this. 🙂

    If it counted, you could do JFK-PHX-HNL for $509 plus $599 x3 miles and end up with 30,426 and instant Chairman’s status.

  2. I you paid the $2,999 today for Chairman’s status, when would the status expire? And would your receive the SWUs (or whatever they call them)?

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