One of the huge benefits of being a US Airways elites was having the mileage upgrade fee waived for upgrading with miles. This was one I invoked often. Now US Airways is taking away this benefit.
As of April 23, 2014, the mileage upgrade fee will now apply to Preferred members on US Airways flights. The fee will continue to be waived for fares purchased in Y or B.
I travel a lot for work, rack up the US Airways miles, and don’t get as much time for leisure travel–so it’s been wonderful getting to secretly upgrade my friends going to the West Coast to first for only 20,000 a pop.
To put this in context, if Keri and I are flying together to San Francisco as Chairmen, but want to ensure we are in first (rather than wait out the upgrade period), it has been 40,000 miles. Sometimes this is worth it, especially when our flights are short, to make sure we are fresh and ready to go (and conquer wine country).
Now the decision to spend miles would include a cash portion. A couple of hundred? No, $600 to be exact.
This is a huge downgrade for elites because it makes our miles less flexible. Business travelers spend so much time on the road, they may rack up miles without the time to take dream vacations. This has been a great way to use those miles for little perks for yourself and family & friends as you go.
I’m currently trying to upgrade someone on a flight but upgrades are not avaliable yet. I am going to obsessively call every day now. If upgrades don’t become available by April 23rd, the price increases by $600, making it impossible for me to eat the cost of the upgrade. My currency has been miles, and I’ve been able to spread the wealth in the past. Now, I have to be a bit miserly.