Is it Too Late to Buy-Up to Preferred Status on US Airways?

US Airways allows you to buy status straight out.  If you’ve never flown on them, you can buy it for about $4,000.  If you’ve flown at least one mile on US Airways, that number drops to $3,000.

But the huge benefit to buying up is if you are just shy of your status, you can top yourself off for relatively cheap.  Relatively.



$249 to get that last thousand you just couldn’t fly isn’t too bad when you consider you’d be out of luck on most other airlines.  And while you won’t get redeemable miles on US Airways for buying up, it makes life a lot easier when you don’t need to mileage run!

But when is the cut-off to topping off your miles?

Some think it is December 31st.  That you need to top off your miles by the end of the year to hit qualification through February of 2015.  This is not true.

Some think it is by the end of February.  This is when your status runs out, so it would make sense that you would need to renew before the next “status year” starts.  This is not true.

The answer?  If you want to top off your miles from 2013, you must buy up by the end of May, so you have some time to think this one over.  If you managed to fly more in 2014 from January to May, you can elect to buy up using this year’s miles instead of last year’s too.

Purchase of the buy-up does not increase your actual mileage total–it just conveys the status on you that you would have gotten IF you got that many miles.  So in essence, you are paying US Airways to pretend you had 1,000 or 100,000 more miles in your account in 2013.

Remember, you can use your status on US Airways with American for select elite benefits (sorry, no upgrades yet!).

Please note you can only buy up for status through Feb 2015, even if you are using this year’s EQMs:

“Price includes federal excise tax of 7.5%. Between January and May, pricing is determined by your current or previous year’s Preferred-qualifying activity, whichever is greater. 

Preferred status purchased through the ‘Buy up to Preferred’ program is only valid in the Dividend Miles program through February 28, 2015. Associated First Class upgrade benefits are based on availability and only available on US Airways and US Airways Express-operated flights.”


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. “If you’ve flown at least one mile on US Airways, that number drops to $3,000.” You can actually fly that one mile on a Star Alliance partner (like United), as long as you credit the flight to your US Airways account.

  2. Hey friend,

    Two questions. First, is there an easy way to find my PQMs from last year? Second, I got AA Plat with their match in the Fall, and I’m at Silver on US. Does it make sense to go for anything besides CP? Probably not, right?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      Yes! If you go to your account on US Airways and click on “Your miles”, you can set the date range for last year to see your PQMs. Just make sure you only have the PQM box checked off and not the rest of them.

      It only makes sense to get CP if you are looking to have top status on US Airways (and AA whenever they start doing upgrades for US Airways elites).

      Since they haven’t announced when that is fully happening, what I would do is sit tight for a while since you have until May to decide, to see exactly what they are planning to do in terms of elite benefits and when, and see if that’s worth the cost.

      If you are planning to fly just US Airways this year and want to start getting lots of upgrades now, I’d personally jump on it if you can afford the difference.

  3. In 2013, I flew 75,000 AA miles before moving to Denver. In theory, if I purchase 25,000 US miles for 2013, would they combine to renew my AA EXP status?

  4. Do you anticipate any future Double Elite Miles promotion for American Airlines or US Airways in 2014. Last year in 2013 American Airlines did not had any Doubles Elite Miles for its existing elite members but they targeted non-elite members. Should I open US Airways Dividend Account and buy miles towards their elite status and once the two airlines programs are combined in 2015 will US Airways miles be added towards my AA Elite Status for 2014? I am AA EP since 2008 and currently I have about 41,000 elite status miles. Any suggestions?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      They are still not saying much on whether or not they will be combined on 2015. (I heard no at first and then maybe). But any elite miles bought now will NOT count towards 2015. It’s worth opening an account though and seeing what promos you yet.

      US Airways changes their tact every year. I got targeted as a platinum to go for chairman in 2012. Keri got targeted as an elite who stopped flying in 2013 (and I got no promotion as a chairman). I think they are mostly testing the waters now.

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