US Airways doesn’t do straight status matches like i.e. Delta and United, but they are offering something similar for a price and you don’t need to have status with any airlines to get started with. You can access this offer on US Airways web site here.
You need to decide at what level you would like to start your Trial Preferred. Silver costs $200, Gold $400, and Platinum $600. You will get the status for 90 days during which you need to complete:
- 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
Noe that if you start with Gold and fail to fly 15K miles or 20 segments on US Airways metal, your trial will fail and you end up with no status.
If you start with the Silver level for $200, you can go up to the Chairmans level just by flying the required number of miles or segments.
You don’t have to pay more than $200 to participate, but you may want to start at Gold or Platinum for:
1. Star Alliance lounge access for Gold or above
2. Higher likelihood of getting upgraded on US Airways upgrade eligible flights
3. Second and third bag free on US Airways flights
4. Higher elite bonuses on US Airways and some Star Alliance carrier flights
Timing of the Trial Preferred
The timing of passing the qualification threshold is very important. If you sign up i.e. in May and qualify for Gold in June, the status will be only valid until the end of February the following year (unless you meet the official qualification requirements). Qualify for Gold via trial in July 2013 and the status will be valid until February 2015.
Things to note:
– BIS (Butt In The Seat) miles only count. Not PQM class of service bonuses that you get on first or business class fares.
– You won’t get card showing your status during the trial period, but can print temporary one that reflects your status from the website.
– Mileage bonuses based on the DM status
– Only US Airways operated flights count towards meeting the trial requirements – not US flights operated by other carriers such as United
– You will get one free checked bag as Silver (two if you get upgraded to F based on the status) and 3 free bags for Gold or higher.
– If you have purchased US Airways tickets, you need to call reservations and request them to remove/reinsert the DM number for the new status to refresh.
– 500 mile minimums do count towards meeting the trial
– There are no fees for Preferred members for same day MoveUp changes within 6 hours original flight. These would otherwise cost $75.
Should I Sign up?
If you have flights coming in US Airways and if you could stretch the status until February 2015, I would do it at the Gold or higher level. You would likely end up paying part of the trial fee in baggage fees anyway that are waived for the elites.
Also, if you have international flights coming, having lounge access, business class check in, extra luggage allowance and preferential treatment during possible irregular operations definitely come handy.
If you need to change, book, refund or cancel award tickets, the fees are waived for members at the Chairmans level. Gold members get the award processing and quick (within 21 days of travel) ticketing fees waived.
American Airlines Status Wild Card
Here’s where things get even more interesting. American Airlines and US Airways decided to pursue merger last month and the airlines expect this to be completed by the years end.
Likely, it will take another year before the frequent flier programs are merged (Maybe 2015?) and US Airways ceases to exist at some point.
If Delta/Northwest and United/Continental mergers are any indication, you are likely able to link your US Airways Dividend Miles and American Airlines AAdvantage accounts sometime in early 2014.
You can then transfer miles between accounts and likely get similar level of status with American’s program as you have with US’. If you get really lucky, you may get the AA Executive Platinum status that comes with Oneworld Emerald benefits for being a Chairmans member.
If I would have flights coming with US Airways and I wouldn’t already have Star Alliance Gold from any other program, I would do this and make sure to hit the Gold requirement after July 1st to extend the benefit all the way to 2015.
There is a very long thread about this program on FlyerTalk that you may want to read. You can access it here.
Here are the very short terms and conditions of this offer:
This program is only available to non-Preferred members. Dividend Miles member must fly minimum amount of miles or segments to keep Preferred status for remainder of program year. Members may enroll in the Trial Preferred program only once in any consecutive 12 month period. Members who did not re-qualify for Preferred status for the current year are not eligible to participate in the Trial Preferred program. Only elite qualifying flights earned on flights operated by US Airways and US Airways Express can be applied toward the Trial Preferred program. The program participation fee is non-refundable. Federal excise tax of 7.5% will be added to the purchase price. Only bookings made after member’s status has been upgraded reflect member’s new status.