US Airways Elites “Special Dividend” Now Appears to Gift a Full Year of Elite Status Instead of 90 Days

On December 22, US Airways eliminated their temporary elite status offer that allowed you to fly a lot in a short period of time to keep elite status.

A couple of months ago I said that if I were running the program I would end it come December.

I assumed that had to happen months before American and US Airways actually combine their frequent flyer programs because it would be really complicated to register folks for the US Airways promotion, give them 90 days to fly, and move Dividend Miles into AAdvantage during that 90 day period. They’d have to build whole new IT process just to accommodate these trial preferreds whose qualifying period includes time in both the US Airways Dividend Miles program and the American AAdvantage program.

Commenters Larry and will both wondered about another version of this offer, “Special Dividends” where elite members reaching a flying threshold could ‘gift’ this temporary status to someone else. That’s something members had been promised and earned, and hadn’t been taken away.

While it remained something of a mystery how this would work, at least given my theory that US Airways needed to end the program at least 90 days before integrating with American AAdvantage, my theory was that instead of giving temporary silver status these ‘special dividend’ offers would grant a full year of Silver instead.

That way American could eliminate this IT problem from the integration, which effects a small number of members, while making those members ‘whole’.

Since the surviving program is basically the American AAdvantage program — and with very few changes — executives are very sensitive to making US Airways members feel whole. The combined program will have 500 mile upgrade requirements, for instance, while US Airways members had received unlimited complimentary upgrades.

While I think that the 500 mile system American has is better for elites, many US Airways members will disagree. So American has said that US Airways elites will start out in the new program with a balance of 500 mile upgrades.

With the desire to make members whole, the natural thing would be to give ‘more’ rather than less here.

The Special Dividends page no longer references elite status challenges for 90 days.

There’s only reference to 85,000 qualifying miles (or 105 segments) a US Airways elite can nominate someone for silver status. After 125,000 miles (or 150 segments) a US Airways elite can nominate someone for gold status. And then there’s an additional gold status nomination for each additional 25,000 miles (or 30 segments) flown.

The US Airways ‘Special Dividend’ gifts status through February 2016, instead of 90 days, and that’s confirmed in the terms and conditions as well — no more reference to trial preferred. That means the US Airways elite member can gift full status only, that will become AAdvantage Gold or Platinum.

Trial Silver Preferred nominations have, it seems, been replaced with full silver status nominations

This isn’t unequivocably a positive, since the temporary status offer allowed members to achieve an even higher tier of status based on their flight activity during those 90 days.

But it seems like a good solution all around, considering changing IT platforms for the frequent flyer program means it would be tough to straddle two systems while tracking progress towards a status challenge.

Want American AAdvantage elite status? Right now the best advice is to befriend a US Airways frequent flyer!

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’ve been 1K on United for years but I’m giving up on them along with troves of others for a bunch of reasons. I was waiting until Dec 28th to get the USair 90 trial period as I had 30k of travel miles in feb/Mar 2015 – and I was devastated when they killed the promotion earlier 🙁
    I’m still keen on moving to AA though.
    If any USair heavy mileage person out there is keen to befriend me I could repay with United global/regional upgrades as well as gratitude (I am an academic scientist who does a tonne of work travel on veryour modest grant budgets). Cheers, Brendan

  2. Pick me, Pick me! Losing UA status and thinking it is likely time for a shift in alliances!
    Happy New Year!

  3. Hi USAirways elites – I’d be very interested in being nominated by you for elite status. I would appreciate it very much. Thanks, and thanks to Gary for mentioning the option. And Happy New Year to all — elite or not! 🙂

  4. The year of Silver status gift at 85K isn’t new. I was the beneficiary of such a gift in Feb ’13, and my Silver status lasted through Feb ’14.

    In past years, Special Dividends included both the 3 month Silver gift (at 35K?) and the full year (at 85K).

  5. 85k silver and 125k gold were already a full year–that’s not a change. Only change I see is eliminating the 35k 90-day silver special dividend.

  6. Might as well join in with everyone, I would love to meet a friendly USAirways Elite, the status would help with a trip across the pond this fall for our honeymoon.

  7. add me to the list, please. I’m a United MM who is looking for a fresh start…”tit for tat” as they say.

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