Just days after Delta announced it was reducing the number of complimentary checked bags for Silver Medallion members, US Airways followed suit and announced the end of a free second checked bag for Silver Preferred members for tickets booked on or after Dec. 15, 2011 for travel on or after Feb. 15, 2012. Gold elite and above can continue to check two bags for free on domestic flights.
US Airways is also changing the mileage upgrade policy to include co-pays, starting at 5,000 miles plus a $25 fee on flights less than 500 miles within the U.S. and Canada. The co-pay and miles required increases on longer flights and is capped at $150 plus 10,000 miles on flights within the U.S. and Canada. For international flights, members can upgrade for 15,000 miles plus $150. The co-pay is waived for elite members. Previously, mileage upgrades were 15,000 miles with no co-pay.
The $75 close-in award fee will also apply to a longer booking window. From Feb. 15, members will be required to pay $75 when booking award flights within 21 days of departure (from 14 days). The quick ticketing fee is waived for Dividend Miles Gold, Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred members.
Bottom line: US Airways already charges a co-pay on upgrades to Europe, South America and the Middle East and now, the co-pay policy has been extended. If you are upgrading a short flight, the new policy is a better deal but for long-haul flights over 2,000 miles, instead of spending 15,000 miles, you’ll now have to spend 10,000 miles plus $150 out of your pocket.