US Airways is certainly one of the most creative airlines in monetizing the benefits of elite status.
They were the very first ones to come out with getting a credit card equating some of the benefits of bottom-tier elite levels (priority checkin and boarding). They once ran a promotion where all miles earned through their shopping portal counted towards status at the end of a year.
They’ll even straight-out sell you status – if you literally have one mile flown during the year they will sell you top tier elite for $2999. (You can’t buy preferred miles and segments to meet one of their status challenges, however.)
US Airways doesn’t offer status matches (giving you the status you hold on another airline in order to entice your business). Instead they offer a status challenge — they will front you status for 90 days and the flying on US Airways that you do during that time determines the status that you’ll keep. They charge a fee for this. Anyone without status on the airline who did not have status in the prior year either can sign up. No status with a competing airline required.
You can pay varying amounts depending on the status you want during the promotion period: $200 for Silver, $400 for Gold, and $600 for Platinum. But regardless of the level you choose to buy for the 90 day trial, your flying can earn a higher level, including top tier Chairmans Preferred status.
- Silver: Fly 7,500 miles or 10 segments
- Gold: Fly 15,000 miles or 20 segments
- Platinum: Fly 22,500 miles or 30 segments
- Chairmans: Fly 30,000 miles or 40 segments
Through September 30 only, US Airways is offering to waive the fee on a Silver Preferred 90 day trial with promotion code CLBTR for buying a US Airways lounge membership.
This isn’t the greatest offer they’ve ever made, since they’ve on more than one occasion been willing to straight-up discount lounge membership by $200 (including waiving of the $50 ‘initiation fee’ for new club memberships, which this offer does not include).
If you meet the status challenge based on your US Airways flying during the coming 90 days, you’ll keep the status you earn through the end of February 2014.
But it’s a great way to tie a move over to US Airways, along with lounge access, and save some cash in the process. Ultimately it’s a great opportunity for someone considering doing a lot of US Airways flying. It’s not a great offer just for buying US Airways lounge access if your primary flying is with United, or if you’re buying lounge membership as a relatively infrequent flyer.