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.”