US Airways Will Sell You Your Elite Status

Troy points to US Airways’ new offer to let members buy elite qualifying miles or segments towards their status.

Now, the status lasts only through February 2012. So it’s current-year status, not earning credits this year for status through February 2013.

But what really sets the US Airways offer apart is that the offer runs all year, and you can buy all the way up to top tier status even if you’ve never had a single segment or qualifying mile credited to a US Airways Dividend Miles account.

For the first five months of the year, you can choose to top off the elite qualifying miles you earned in your account in your choice of 2010 or year-to-date 2011. So you get more months of status and at a lower cost.

For the last seven months of the year, you can top off your 2011 elite qualifying miles towards a new level of status at any time to have the higher status through the end of the program year.

If you flew even one qualifying mile in 2010, or so far in 2011, you can spend a flat $3000 to have top tier Chairmans Preferred status. For someone that’s going to fly 100,000 miles in 2011, that could well be worth it.

The full buy-up schedule is as follows:

Preferred miles needed

Preferred segments needed

Buy up to Preferred fee*

1 – 1,999 1 – 2 $249
2,000 – 4,999 3 – 6 $399
5,000 – 9,999 7 – 11 $579
10,000 – 14,999 12 – 18 $789
15,000 – 24,999 19 – 29 $989
25,000 – 49,999 30 – 59 $1,299
50,000 – 74,999 60 – 89 $2,199
75,000 – 99,999 90 – 119 $2,999
100,000 120 $3,999

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. It seems like the buy-up doesn’t give you any EQMs, only the status.

    Preferred status purchased through the ‘buy up to Preferred’ program is non-refundable, and purchase does not earn you Preferred-qualifying miles or Preferred-qualifying segments.

  2. If they waive award ticket change fees for the top tier, it might be worth it for someone putting together a lot of trips that need to be purchased and optimized over time out of a single mileage accounts.

  3. These prices are a lot cheaper than the UA buy EQM program. 15k on UA was at a cost of $2400. With US it is less than $1k.

  4. Not new though. They’ve sold status outright for several years. They’re just aggressively pushing it this month. The info has always been on the website. In fact they lowered the cost in 2009. Chairman’s Preferred from zilch used to cost $10k.

  5. If one gets US Air Platinum comped thru AMEX Centurion, can you simply buy the EXTRA miles to go to a higher level?

  6. Per Erik, yes, this has been around for a couple of years. They are just promoting it more thru twitter, etc.

  7. Do US Airways offer a soft landing if you fail to qualify for your tier the following year? It might be a useful way to retain *Gold for three years.

  8. They have no common soft landing – many people retain their same level of status if they provided significant revenue but not enough miles. Or at least this has been reported to be the cased quite a number of times in the forums over the past few years. Just buying status alone wouldn’t necessarily allow you to retain it the following year.

  9. Seems like US Airways will sell you anything for a price, decreasing the value of the DM program and the airline reputation as a whole. It’s one thing to be creative, it’s another trying to be the US’s RyanAir.

  10. The trial preferred program is an even better deal if you’re going to fly. 200 per tier for 90 days and you get itinstantly.

    US has a bit of a tier inflation (lots of promos for status) – but a very fair way to allocate upgrades (by eqm). Even if you buy up to cp – you’ll be the last cp on the list.

    This is a great way for US to generate revenue. If they don’t fly often it won’t affect me – and if they fly often they’ll probably earn status. Most US airlines have unbundled most of the elite benefits – this is a good way to earn more than what the other airlines charge plus brings in new fliers

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