How I got US Airways Gold Preferred…in 2 1/2 months.

US Airways First Class (A320)

How I got US Airways Gold Preferred…in 2 1/2 months.

Having status with airlines definitely has its perks. My airline of choice thus far in my life has been US Airways. This isn’t necessarily by choice, although they don’t run a bad operation, in my opinion. No, rather they are simply the airline that flies the most up and down the east coast, which is where my travel primarily is these days. As of now, that is, before US Airways and American Airlines merge, the status levels (and their qualification to get them) look as such:

(Click on Images to Enhance)

US Airways Preferred Status Chart!

US Airways Preferred Status Chart

Now, what is important to note is that unlike hotel status – which pretty much anyone can get for very cheap/little-to-no effort – airline status isn’t as easy. It can cost a decent amount of money and a lot of time to get status. Even with a year’s worth of flights concentrated on one airline, the average American wouldn’t qualify for silver status.

Enter, US Airways Status Trial Preferred! Now, only about a month ago, US Airways discontinued this program, but I’ll let you know how I did it in case it (or something like it) comes back in the future when the airlines have combined.

Trial Preferred Chart

Trial Preferred Chart

Seeing that I had a lot of travel between mid-November and mid-February, I purchased the Silver Trial. Essentially what this meant is that I now immediately had Silver status, and to keep it, or gain higher status, I had to qualify for the miles and/or segments listed above.  So even though I had paid for and was immediately given Silver Status, I was eligible to be fast tracked and keep any of the statuses listed if I completed their qualifications.

I had a lot of short haul flights (for the most part) up and down the east coast and ended up qualifying for Gold Preferred that will last until the end of February 2016. I qualified by getting 20 segments, not the miles, which is definitely not the more likely course of action.

us-airways-gold-card

An old US Airways Gold Preferred Card….sorry Nicholas Roshon!

 

Now you’re probably wondering, what does Preferred Status give you?

Most importantly, and what most people think of with elite airline status, are the upgrades to first class (obviously, my favorite benefit).

In the picture below, you can see the upgrade window prior to your flight based on status. Basically what this means, is that if you are a Gold Level member and there are seats in first class available three days before your flight, you’ll be upgraded automatically (for the most part). Keep in mind, if you have someone else on the reservation with you, they will be upgraded as well regardless of status (assuming there is room).

First class upgrade chart

First class upgrade chart

Other benefits include: 

  • Free checked bags (1 for Silver, up to 3 for Gold and above)
  • Priority Standby
  • Priority Check-in, etc.
  • MoveUp Fee Waived
    • You can move up to an earlier flight which is up to 6 hours before yours for no cost! Usually $75 for normal members. I use this all the time. I’ll buy the flight that leaves significantly after work should finish, but if I somehow get out early, I’ll head to the airport and try to get where I’m going quicker. My 2nd favorite benefit.
  • Award Processing/Quick Ticketing Fee Waived (for award tickets redeemed within 21 days of travel)
    • Great for last minute awards. It waves the $75 fee which is usually charged for close in award ticket booking and makes the award actually worth it. Cannot be overstated. My 3rd favorite benefit.

Now, there are other benefits, but I would say the ones listed above and the upgrades are the most important by far. To see a list of all the Preferred benefits, click here.

US Airways First Class (A320)

US Airways First Class (A320)

Over this period, I also earned about 5,000 bonus miles because of the preferred bonus miles that come with each flight while you hold status..

  • Silver – 25%
  • Gold – 50%
  • Platinum – 75%
  • Chairmen’s – 100%

Moral of the story: Always be on the lookout to make the best of the travel you are going to be doing anyway!

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