My first flight with status was a busy route–DCA to BOS. I was shocked when I was upgraded to first class two days out from the flight. I was pretty excited that I could get an upgrade on this route in particular. DCA-BOS is a really busy business route.
But even more so, it just felt cool to get an upgrade on my first flight ever with status. I think that’s when I was hooked.
I didn’t get upgraded on my flight back (which I expected), but I did get upgraded round trip from DCA-DFW and DCA-MBJ. Aside from a trip to SFO, the remainder of my flights were on CRJs, so I think I received an unrealistic view of upgrades in silver–5 out of 8 upgradable legs were upgraded.
Just so you know how US Airways upgrades work–Silvers receive upgrades 2 days out, Golds 3 days, Platinums 4 days, and Chairmans’ 7 days out. Full-fares automatically get upgraded for any status levels (if available), and one companion per status holder is upgraded. “Ties” are broken by the amount of miles flown in the last 12 months.
To guess whether or not you’ll get an upgrade, think about how often frequent fliers would be taking the route. That’s why I was shocked to be upgraded DCA-BOS. It was an afternoon flight, so not the most optimal flight for business travelers, but still a very popular route for business travelers. Business travelers are frequent travelers, and they’ll be your biggest upgrade competitors.
On the other hand, I thought there was a really good chance my DCA-MBJ (Montego Bay, Jamaica) flight would be upgraded. Infrequent travelers will take trips to Jamaica and there isn’t a huge demand for business travel there. Therefore, even a silver would have a good chance at upgrades.
I want to stress that I think my experience as a Silver Preferred was out of the ordinary. I think an over 50% success rate is unusual, and given some of my routes and holiday travel I did, I skewed the results in favor of upgrades.
Still, I was happy with just being a silver. Well, for the moment.