Why You May Want to Get a US Airways Preferred Trial When Not Going for Status

NOTE:  US Airways changed the rules about upgrade with miles and this route will no longer get you fee-free upgrades.  Do not pursue a trial for this purpose.

I wrote about my own quest for status through the US Airways Preferred Trial, and on how to maximize the trial once you have it.  But what I haven’t written about is why someone not chasing status may want to sign up for a US Airways Preferred Trial.

Wait, what?  Why would someone ever pay to go on trial for a status when they don’t even want a status?

If you are using US Airways miles to upgrade at least two long-route tickets, you may want to consider using the US Airways Trial.

US Airways has a very generous upgrade program.  But without status on US Airways, you need to pay a fee.

US Airways Upgrade with Miiles

If you are a non-elite taking a round-trip to California from Philadelphia with a companion and wish to upgrade the tickets both ways with miles, it is only 40,000 miles for the two of you, but a staggering $600.


But US Airways elites get the fee waived for flights to the United States, Caribbean, and Central America.  So if the person trying to take this round trip to California were an elite, they would save $600.

But we already established they aren’t.

If this person is someone who is just burning miles on US Airways and has no longer term plans on becoming a US Airways elite, they should consider a US Airways Trial.

For  $200, you can temporarily be a Silver member and make all your US/Caribbean/Central American upgrade bookings over the next 90 days for free.  This will save you $400 on the trans-con round trip.

US Airways Trial Preferred Silver

There are a few caveats.  First, be sure you aren’t going for US at all for at least a year.  By going for the trial status, you need to wait twelve months before you can try it again.

Second, this only works for the miles owned by this account.  You cannot apply your traveling companion’s miles for free.  Just your own.

But another bonus is, in addition to the free upgrade-with-miles option, you’ll temporarily get a 25% bonus on your flights, which isn’t a ton over 90 days, but is better than nothing!

Have you ever gotten temporary status, just to get one perk?


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. I appreciate the article and it’s insight. I haven’t seen anyone approach temporary status like this before.

    Keep up the good work

  2. Is there a related perk for US Airways flights to Europe?

  3. Another thought – can one upgrade as a USAir elite if the flight is credited to another carrier (say, A3)?

    • Jeanne Marie Hoffman

      The technical rule is your US Airways FF number should be on your account, but I’ve never tried switching numbers after I got the upgrade.

  4. Great post. My brother gifted me a Silver Trial and I saved $200 upgrading a trip to New Orleans next month for my girlfriend and myself. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Wanted to mention that as a recent Preferred Trial (Silver) subscriber that I am really enjoying your articles’ insights. I just signed up a few days ago because I knew I would fly a minimum of 15K miles in the next 3 mos partially b/c of an upcoming trip to from MSP>PHX>OGG. My question for you is whether there are any upgrade options for these OGG flights. It seems like Hawaii is the one destination (short of Europe, etc) where any status short of Chairman’s is mostly ignored. Other than the baggage, boarding and security line perks, is there any way short of spending a ton of miles (or cash) to get an OGG upgrade? Or can I just try for an exit row? Or is even that not allowed? Thanks in advance for your insight.

  6. I just booked my ticket to Greece, Athens from SFO>PHL>ATH and just saw that there is a Trial Preferred and wondering if this would work. We bought coach tickets thinking we can upgrade with our points and $300 per person. We signed up for their 40k points cc also.

    I also read you can’t use your status for flights booked after signing up with this Trial Preferred.

  7. I’ve just noticed that after booking Glasgow -Philip-pheonix spokan and back for me and my partner through a 3rd party website ….. Can I register and have my status changed to try and get upgrades once in the US .so angry I never done this prior.

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