We are about 3/4 of the way through the year which means now is a good time to look at where you stand for airline status next year! I’m currently in between Platinum and Chairman, so it feels like a waste NOT to go for full-fledged chairman status. But I am also investing more than I care to admit to myself ( ) in going on the MegaDo, which gets me no closer to Chairman status.
So what can you do if you are like me and you would like to hit your next status level without breaking the bank?
First of all, make sure you have a US Airways Mastercard. Gary at View from the Wing has the full explanation here, but basically, through October 31st, tickets booked through the end of 2012 qualify for double EQMs. That means 6,000 flown miles would count as 12,000. Note that you need to register, and previously purchased tickets (sadly) do not count. I already had a huge slate of trips coming up on US Airways and if they counted double, I would be all set for Chairman. But unfortunately, that does not count, so I needed to look at other options.
I loaded up ITA Software Matrix Airfare search and looked for the cheapest cross-country flights I could find. I did a 500-mile radius search around San Francisco to try to stay as much on the West Coast as possible.
This brings up the following option in December. (I searched December because my whole November is booked, but if you input November 1st as the date, it will show you both months).
So I click on a date and get my options.
This $268 flight will net you 4,957 miles normally, but under this promotion it will net you 9,914 miles. That is 2.7 cents per mile.
The link I have for ITA Matrix will show you the cost per mile to see what the best deal it, but it will not account for the fact that US Airways will give you 500 miles for short flights.
But at the very least, the first flight on the list goes from 5.8 cents per mile to an astonishing 2.9. Add in a short connection to the mix, and the cost really goes down. A really short unnecessary hop both directions turns into 2,000 EQMs.
This flight from DCA to LAX comes up as 6.2 cents per mile. With double EQMs, it is 3.15 cents per miles as written. But using the Great Circle Mapper, you will see that PHL to LAX (and back) is 4,803 miles. DCA-PHL-DCA is only 238 miles as listed, but US Airways counts that as 1,000 miles. So this is 5,803 miles or 5.3 cents per mile. Throw the double EQM promotion into the mix, and you get 11,606 miles for $313, or 2.65 cents per mile.
If you really want to hit a status level by the end of the year, this is the way to go. If I paid cash for my deficit towards Chairman, I would need to pay $989 to have the status. I wouldn’t get any redeemable miles if I did this either. Instead, I used a pre-planned flight I hadn’t booked yet plus a $300 flight to even myself out.
And in addition to receiving status, these extra flights get me this:
Aaah, mini-vacations. My life saver.