US Airways is eliminating a standard feature included in almost every frequent flyer elite program. One of the perks of elite status is earning bonus miles on flights, but beginning Aug. 6, 2008, US Airways Preferred members will no longer earn extra miles when flying on US Airways or partner airlines. Silver members currently earn a 25 percent mileage bonus on all qualifying flights, Gold Preferred members earn 50 percent, Platinum Preferred earn 75 percent and Chairman’s Preferred earn a 100 percent mileage bonus. For these members, the frequent flyer experience will be dramatically altered.
If you, like us, are wondering why US Airways made this decision, the Web site states: “Miles issued through the Dividend Miles program represent a real and significant economic cost. Each mile that is issued can result in the loss of revenue for the company. By reducing the number of bonus miles issued, US Airways is in a better position to withstand the impact of record fuel prices.”
To get a feel about how we at InsideFlyer see Dividend Miles’ decision to do away with elite flight bonuses, read Randy Petersen’s “Opening Remarks” in this magazine and visit SaveDividendMiles.com.
Other changes to the Dividend Miles program include the addition of award ticket processing fees for tickets booked online and over the phone on or after Aug. 6, 2008. The fees will be assessed depending on the destination: $25 for continental U.S., Alaska and Canada; $35 for Latin America and Caribbean or $50 for Hawaii or international. This award ticket processing fee will be in addition to award ticketing fees required when calling reservations for award booking, currently $30 for tickets in the U.S. or Canada and $40 for all other regions, so if someone books an international award flight through the call center the fees charged would be $90. Chairman’s Preferred members are not charged the award ticketing fees when calling reservations, but they are charged the new award ticket processing fees. For all members, there is still no award ticketing fee when award tickets are booked online.
Other changes include $15 for the first bag checked, $25 for a second checked bag and a $2 charge for all non-alcoholic beverages (including bottled water and coffee) and $7 (up from $5) for alcoholic beverages. As with other airlines, some passengers are exempt from the first and second checked bag fee including, but not limited to, all Dividend Miles Preferred members, first class passengers for most flights and passengers traveling to and from Europe or Asia.