Posted on January 30, 2015
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)
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.
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.
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).
Other benefits include:
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.
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..
Moral of the story: Always be on the lookout to make the best of the travel you are going to be doing anyway!