Trial Preferred Question

Discussion in 'US Airways | Dividend Miles' started by RZS, Aug 16, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. RZS
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    RZS Active Member

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    My wife and I recently moved to the Washington D.C. area, and starting next week she will be flying DCA-MSY and back each week. We've been CO fliers for a long time and she does not have a DM account. It seems like the Trial Preferred program would make a lot of sense for her.

    The round trip is only 1940 miles according to GCM, so unless she did some MRing or connected through PHX on her way home or something like that it looks like she'd have trouble making the 22,500 or 30,000 for platinum/CP in 90 days.

    Gold looks doable, however. Not having a lot of experience on US, does anyone have any idea what kind of upgrade success can she expect to have as a Gold for weekday morning/evening flights? I suppose the 50% bonus miles she'd earn might make it worthwhile, too.

    I'm also a bit surprised that this late in the year the offer hasn't rolled over to be good through the 2012 year rather than just 2011 (Feb 2012). Anyone know if we can expect this to roll over soon and maybe should hold off? Any other thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  2. DeacFlyer1
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    I just moved a couple weeks ago, but before then, DCA was my home airport...I found that with the exception of the 3 PHX flights or the 1 LAS flight each day, upgrade chances were pretty good as Gold. In fact, I would say upgrade chances as a Gold on US are often better than the Gold equivalent on other airlines.

    However, keep in mind that the DCA-MSY route is actually an express route operated by Republic...fortunately, those planes are scheduled to get a first class cabin in a couple months this fall, but don't currently have one. Not a huge deal if she's going to be doing this long term, but if you're making this decision based on her getting upgrades only for the remainder of the year, you should bear this in mind.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    If she travels this route every week, then doing it 12 out of 13 weeks in three months should meet the 22,500 goal, but for her travel patterns getting to CP could be worthwhile. I would expect prime business time DCA upgrades to be very tough at lower status levels.

    The bigger question concerns the strategy of whether to wait so that the status is good through 2012. However, if her travel pattern continues, earning status during 2012 shouldn't be much of a problem, right? I'd wait if common wisdom says that late-year challenges apply to the following year (have you called US to ask this specifically?), but otherwise I see no reason to delay status that she can easily get in the following year anyway. Of course, if her future travel pattern is uncertain, then it's an entirely different ball game....
     
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  4. dcpatti
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    dcpatti Silver Member

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    I flew that route several times recently. It seems to be elite-heavy for some reason. Since there's no F yet on those aircraft, hard to tell if it's going to be an easy or a difficult upgrade but I think higher status may be beneficial, given how many elites I saw. Perhaps route some of those trips through PHL for an extra ~ 1000 miles per round trip.
     
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  5. RZS
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    If she buys Trial Preferred and completes the 90 day challenge, her status (based on what the TP website says right now) is only good through February 2012, which is the end of the 2011 year, right? So yes, she may eventually re-earn it in 2012, but she's not going to get back up to even Gold under normal qualifying rules in the first 2 months of 2012.

    You're right, I think she will earn status in 2012 eventually, which will last her through February 2014. But between now and the end of this year year she's probably only going to make Silver that will last her through February 2013 under normal qualifying rules. So if she buys Platinum with Trial Preferred, she all of a sudden drops from Platinum to Silver on March 1 and is stuck there until she re-earns with 2012 travel, which kind of sucks. That's why we're trying to figure out if she can wait and buy Trial Preferred through next year, to February 2013.

    Looks like we probably just need to call US and figure it out. Thanks for the help, and for the tips on the DCA-MSY route. Good to know.
     
  6. DeacFlyer1
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    Bottom line is, regardless of what you choose to do in terms of trial preferred, if you're going to be living fairly close to DCA, US Airways is the smartest option for you guys.
     
  7. MSPeconomist
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    To assess upgrade chances exDCA, you need to investigate (1) whether US has the government contract for your route (including possible connecting segments taken separately and (2) whether US treats some or all government fares as (almost) full Y for upgrade priority purposes and gives them free upgrades either before or with higher priority than most other fare classes. On NW and then DL, this effect was huge for the DCA-MSP route, especially on typical business travel days and times. Once as a PE on a high fare code but the the government equivalent of full Y, I was about #30 for a gate upgrade on a DC-9 and that was a mid-day flight on an ordinary weekday.
     
  8. MJonTravel
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    MJonTravel Silver Member

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    Just curious. I purchased trial preferred. Do any of you with more US experience know if it takes some amount of time before I can access preferred seats. My Dividend Miles profile reflects my status, and when I open up the seatmap, I now see the pinkish colored preferred seats. But when I select them, and click save seats, they don't "stick."
     
  9. RedM3Pilot
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    Same thing happened to me a couple years ago...a quick phone call fixed it for good. Apparently something incomplete/corrupted in my profile that the CSR was able to fix.

    By the way, forget the pink seats (they aren't that special). Go for the exit row seats.
     
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  10. DeacFlyer1
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    I've been following your musings about the potential switch to US Airways on the blog, and as a result, I'm curious which preferred level you purchased (although I'm guessing you'll blog about it too!)?
     
  11. MJonTravel
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    I will blog about it over the weekend, but I purchased Silver Preferred.

    I should add reference my earlier post that it took about 36 hours, but I can now select preferred seats on usairways.com, so I surmise that it takes at least 24 hours for preferred status to make its way through all of USAirways' systems.
     

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