Buying Up to Preferred Elite Status Will Cost You More on US Airways in March

This Airbus A319-132 aircraft operated by US Airways awaits its passengers at gate A2 of Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. Photograph by FlyerTalk member kobebond00724. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by kobebond00724.

If you are a member of the US Airways Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty program and want or need to purchase your way to Preferred elite status through February 28, 2015, you will need to do it before March 1, 2014, when prices will increase — and you will also only be able to buy up to a Preferred elite level tier which you are within 25,000 miles or 30 flight segments of reaching.
The price increases are specifically outlined below as follows:

Preferred miles needed Preferred segments needed Current fee Fee Starting 3/1/2014 Increase by Dollar Amount Increase by Percentage
1 – 1,999 1 – 2 $249.00 $499.00 $250.00 50.1 Percent
2,000 – 4,999 3 – 6 $399.00 $699.00 $300.00 43 Percent
5,000 – 9,999 7 – 11 $579.00 $999.00 $420.00 42 Percent
10,000 – 14,999 12 – 18 $789.00 $1,499.00 $710.00 47.4 Percent
15,000 – 24,999 19 – 29 $989.00 $2,499.00 $1,510.00 60 Percent
25,000 – 49,999 30 – 59 $1,499.00 Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable
50,000 – 74,999 60 – 89 $2,499.00 Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable
75,000 – 99,999 90 – 119 $2,999.00 Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable
100,000 120 $3,999.00 Not Applicable Not Applicable Not Applicable

The prices shown above include a federal excise tax of 7.5 percent, if that is of any consolation. Between January and May, pricing is determined by the activity qualified for Preferred elite level status of your current or previous year — whichever is greater. Associated first class upgrade benefits are based on availability and only available on US Airways and US Airways Express-operated flights. Preferred status purchased through the ‘Buy up to Preferred’ program is not refundable; and the purchase does not earn you Preferred-qualifying miles or Preferred-qualifying segments. Program is subject to all Dividend Miles terms and conditions; and other terms and conditions apply.
In this discussion, FlyerTalk member dtremit posted: “Yikes. I’m not surprised they’re restricting the program, but $500 for 2,000 miles is a bit ridiculous. I don’t see how it benefits the company to have people mileage run for their last handful of miles. With BOS-PHL advance fares at $168 r/t it doesn’t make much sense. On the other hand, if they’re changing the program, they’re more likely to keep it, I suppose. And the cutoff at 25k might telegraph the retention of a tier at 75k.”
I would have to agree that the price increases are at a premium. FlyerTalk member truss assumes that “this is all to cut down on people buying up from dirt to Chairman in advance of the FFP integration.”
Do you agree with truss? Do you believe that the price increases to buy up to Preferred elite level status is actually beneficial to the US Airways Dividend Miles frequent flier loyalty program? Do these price increases and restrictions on Preferred elite “tier jumping” portend that Chairman Preferred elite level status will equal Executive Platinum elite level status in the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program, as contended by FlyerTalk member jghassell — or is there “no guarantee that a buy up is going to transfer to the AA program”, according to FlyerTalk member finster869?
What are your thoughts?

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