As I've discussed elsewhere, this year will go down in travel history as the easiest ever for earning airline elite status.
Or at least it will be for members of the programs of American, Continental, and United, all of which will have offered double elite-qualifying miles (EQMs) for fully half of 2009 by the time their current offers end on December 15.
We can now add US Airways to the list of airlines that have put elite status within easier reach of less frequent flyers.
Rather than the double EQMs or elite-qualifying segments (EQSs) on offer from the three other carriers, US Airways is promoting a fast track to elite status: lower qualification requirements during a specified time period.
Between October 1 and December 25, Dividend Miles members can earn elite status as follows:
- Silver Preferred status after 7,500 EQMs or 10 EQSs on US Airways or US Airways Express flights
- Gold Preferred status after 15,000 EQMs or 20 EQSs
- Platinum Preferred status after 22,500 EQMs or 30 EQSs
- Chairman's Preferred status after 30,000 EQMs or 40 EQSs
On January 10, 2010, US Airways will award elite status, based either on the total EQMs/EQSs earned during the calendar year, or on the EQMs/EQSs earned during the fast-track period, whichever results in the higher elite status.
So, putting this promotion into perspective, travelers have an 11-week window of opportunity, during which one cross-country round-trip plus a shorter trip will earn Silver status, or three cross-country trips will earn Gold. Those are fairly low hurdles, even for flyers who don't normally think of themselves as elite candidates.