US AIrways Returns Elite Bonus Miles and 500 Mile Minimums for Elites

I turn the mike over to One Mile at a Time

I never thought the day would come, but US has made the decision to return 500 mile minimums for elites, as well as return elite bonus miles. Best of all it’s retroactive, and it doesn’t come with an announcement of another “enhancement.” I have no clue why it took the airline so long to realize that eliminating elite bonus miles is idiotic, but at least they’ve woken up a bit. I think the credit for this goes to Randy Petersen, who has fought like crazy to “Save Dividend Miles.”

Previous coverage of US Airways’ ill-fated moves and the campaign to reverse those decisions can be found here, here, and here.

And with this about-face, I can finally lift my advice that it makes sense to continue accruing US Airways miles — just not for flights. US Airways had made a truly idiotic decision in ending elite bonuses when all other carriers retained them. The only reason at that point to be a US Airways elite was if you lived in a captive market with US Airways offering the only real non-stops and if what you valued most was upgrades. Otherwise you’d either want to fly another airline or at least fly US Airways and credit to, say, United.

This decision makes it almost ok to fly and credit miles to US Airways Dividend Miles again. I still don’t trust those folks who took so long to see what kind of boneheaded move they had made (let alone the fact that these were the folks who made the decision in the first place). But a big decision it is to turn around, so kudos to them for that!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I wonder how many elites it cost them in the process. If I found out, mid-year, that they were planning on ending elite bonuses, that might make me think enough about switching loyalties – as you say, perhaps credit to United or switch carriers altogether.

    Thinking back to a marketing class in college, I remember a staggering statistic on the proposition of losing a customer – especially a top customer versus the cost of retaining that same customer.

    I have a sneaky suspicion that US pissed off a lot of people and will find their numbers in the dump. On the other hand, it may mean an opportunity for excellent bonuses to induce flying in the spring!

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