When it comes to earning elite status, US Airways' Dividend Miles program has generally been one of the most liberal, allowing program members to earn elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) for non-travel activities and even to purchase EQMs or status outright.
Currently, for instance, program members can purchase enough miles to qualify for any of US Airways' four elite tiers, for between $249 (1,999 EQMs) and $3,999 (100,000 EQMs).
Beginning on March 1, those prices will rise precipitously, in some cases more than doubling.
So, for example, the price for 24,999 elite-qualifying miles—enough to qualify for entry-level elite status for anyone who has banked just a few elite miles for the year—will rise from $989 to $2,499.
Moreover, from March 1, program members will be limited to buying enough EQMs or segments to qualify for elite tiers within 25,000 miles or 30 segments of their current balances. So no more jumping from Silver directly to Platinum, or from Gold to Chairman's Preferred.
Naturally, anyone planning to purchase US Airways elite status, or upgrade from a lower to a higher tier, should do so before the new pricing takes effect on March 1.
Why the change at this late date? It's likely intended to wean US Airways loyalists away from the easy-to-earn elite policies they've come to expect from Dividend Miles in the run-up to merging that program with American's AAdvantage program, which has stricter earning rules.
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.