Last Flight of the US Airways Dividend Miles Challenge?

usairways-smallBy now, I’m sure you’ve heard the plan to start merging US Airways’ Dividend Miles program into American Airlines’ AAdvantage. And, in of itself, the news is not a bad thing. Effective immediately, the airlines will extend upgrades to elites of either program flying on either’s metal. By 2015, everything will come together in the AAdvantage program – including miles balance, million-miler status, and elite qualifier activity.

However, it appears that one of the hidden sweet spots for fast tracking status – the Dividend Miles Trial Preferred challenge – may be going away as a result. If you’ve ever considered getting status the fast way with these two carriers, your opportunity to complete the challenge quickly and effortlessly may be sending out it’s final boarding call.

The US Airways Dividend Miles Trial and You

The Dividend Miles Trial Preferred challenge is one of the easiest ways for a flyer to fast track to status on one of the legacy carriers. Simply pay for the status you want to challenge for, and either fly the distance or number of segments needed to obtain that status over a 90-day challenge period. With the merger in place and moving forward, flights on both American and US Airways now count towards status.

What makes this a hidden gem in my opinion is how cheap it can be to get top-tier status with “The New American Airlines.” Even paying $200 to challenge for Silver, you have a shot at making Chairman’s Preferred level with 30,000 miles flown or 40 segments. The creative mileage runner should have no problem hitting 40 segments using the ITA Matrix for inspiration.

The US Airways Dividend Miles Preferred Trial Pitfalls

The only downfall to the challenge is no matter when you complete the challenge, your status will expire February 28, 2015. Meaning that in the next six months, you would still need to requalify for 2015 status. But that being said, you’ll have a leg up with 30,000 miles or 40 segments flown. To re-qualify for at least Platinum on “The New American,” you’ll need 50,000 miles or 60 segments.

So why does it expire February 28, 2015, instead of extending into 2016? While there’s no official published reason yet, my reasoning is that this is indicative of two things. First off, with the sunset of the Dividend Miles program, it makes no sense having status in a program that, simply put, won’t exist. Second (and much more important), it appears that the Dividend Miles Preferred Trial will be retired with US Airways’ frequent flyer program. Meaning this could be your last chance to fast track to status before the program is gone for good.

Another pitfall that has always limited the potential of this challenge is that the deal you pay for is “all or nothing.” That is, you either go all-in to hit Chairman’s Preferred Status, or you’re limited to the challenge you pay for. So, assuming you achieve that $200 Silver status challenge, but don’t quite make it to Chairman’s Preferred in 90 days. Instead of getting to the closest tier, you’re stuck in Silver purgatory until you hit that magical 100,000 mark. So should you decide to challenge before the sun goes down on this deal, make sure you can achieve all 30,000 miles or 40 segments in 90 days.

Is it time for the US Airways Dividend Miles Preferred Trial run?

In short: this is really a decision that only you can make. If you’ve never had status with American Airlines, this could be your best chance to do so with a minimal amount of effort. If you can find a way to fly 30,000 miles or 40 segments in 90 days, you could very easily be looking at top-tier status for the remaining six months of 2014, and a leg up on status in 2015. The only variable is the timeline for integration – and the fact that there’s no guarantee that you’ll hold that top-tier status beyond February 2015.

The other variable in this situation lies in re-qualifying for status beyond 2015. We know that, to qualify for AAdvantage Platinum status for 2015, you’re looking at an additional 20 segments or 20,000 miles (assuming you complete the Chairman’s run). But how much harder will it be to qualify for status looking towards 2016? The only constant in the points and miles game is change. And this is a situation where, no matter what you do, your miles may definitely vary.

Are you – or have you – considered the last call for the US Airways Status Challenge? Can this still be a viable status run in the third quarter of 2014? Weigh in, Saverocity citizens – I want to know your thoughts on this challenge!

5 thoughts on “Last Flight of the US Airways Dividend Miles Challenge?

  1. Not too many years ago, the DM Preferred Trial was my first taste of elite status. I’ve been A US Silver for a while now, and very satisfied with the treatment given to the bottom tier – absolutely better than any other airline. My wife later did the same. Come to think of it, the only one in our household that has qualified the old fashioned way is our 2 year old, who flew 26k in her own seat last year.

    Personally, I recommend this to anyone who thinks they’ll fly US a bit this year and can hit the mileage required to keep the status through program year end. $200 gets you silver status outright for 3 months which is great.

  2. I paid for my Chairmans Status @$3000 each for 2 years. Great deal if you will only travel first class. Now I need to build some miles. The best , cheapest , most fun way to get back to 100k, is the Male-NYC RT on Cathay in business class for $2500. You get 25% bonus PQM’s, so I have paid for the tickets already and positioned to the Maldives earlier in the year and started a mileage run.I can change the return (from Lax ) for $35.
    Does anyone want to spend some miles to get to The Maldives, the start their mileage run from there along with me, traveling through Hong Kong?
    I can’t think of a cheaper, more fun way to get to exec plat in a week of travel.

    • Very cool — Not nearly as cool as the Maldives, but when I did my EXP Status match last year, I did 74 hours in India – 2 nights in Delhi, 1 night in Agra, to see the Taj Mahal. Never been to the Maldives though!

      • it’s awesome. and awesomely humid right now. That’s why the Park Hyatt is only $625/ night versus $1400+. I just assume I am gonna get wet being on an island. 2 nights in The Maldives is about all the solitude I can stand…maybe 3.

        • *only* $625 a night — The big restraining factor for me was the cost to get from MLE to the Park Hyatt… it seemed like it was another few hundred dollars and at least an hour or two. Did you get an over-water bungalow?

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