US Airways Chairman’s Preferred Elites: Hurry to use your upgrade certificates

Thanks to the last great mileage run in which I and many readers flew 30,000 miles to nowhere, a number of us now have US Airways’ top tier elite status: Chairman’s Preferred.  One of the benefits of that status is that we get two international upgrade certificates (plus two companion upgrade certificates) to be used on any US Airways flights.  With the upcoming merger between AA and US Airways, we will also automatically receive top tier Executive Platinum status with American Airlines.  And, that means that we’ll get 8 systemwide upgrades that can be used on both airlines.  There’s nothing new there.  However, the latest news from AA and US Airways (via an email to members) is that we must redeem the Chairman’s Preferred certificates before the programs combineGiven that the same email starts off by saying that the programs will combine within 30 days, we have little time left to redeem our US Airways upgrade certificates.

The good news is that the upgraded flight does not have to occur before the programs combine.  So, it should be possible to buy and upgrade tickets now for future travel.  And, of course, we’ll have plenty of time to use our new AA systemwide upgrades once we get those.  The great thing is that those upgrades (the AA ones) will work on both US Airways and AA flights so we’ll have more options.

A quick note about US Airways upgrade certificates: as far as I know, there’s no way to see the existence of those certificates in your account online. However, if you call US Airways they should be able to confirm that you have them.

For completeness, here is the full email I received today (you probably got the same email so I’m not sure why you would read this… but maybe you thought it was SPAM and didn’t read it, but now you’re kind of curious…):

Countdown to a single loyalty program

In October, we announced we would combine our frequent flyer programs in the second quarter of this year. And now, we’re on track to bring the US Airways Dividend Miles® program into the AAdvantage® program within the next 30 days. We’ll be providing you with more information on timing in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know:

Moving to the AAdvantage program

Once we combine programs, we’ll begin transferring your Dividend Miles mileage balance, Preferred-qualifying activity and million mile balance into your AAdvantage account on a one-to-one ratio. We’ll determine your elite status level by looking at your combined elite-qualifying activity for 2014, and separately, your combined 2015 year-to-date elite-qualifying activity. It may take a few days to transfer everything, but we’ll email you once it’s completed.

As a member of the most rewarding airline loyalty program, you’ll continue earning miles when you fly on American, US Airways, oneworld® and other participating airlines, as well as with over 1,000 partners. And, you’ll still be able to redeem miles for flights, upgrades on American and US Airways, car rentals, hotel stays and more.
Benefits of the AAdvantage program »

Booking award travel

Dividend Miles award bookings and mileage upgrade requests will be disabled a few days before we combine programs to allow us to integrate your accounts. If you plan to redeem Dividend Miles for an upcoming trip, we encourage you to book now. Once our programs are combined, Dividend Miles will be converted into AAdvantage miles, and you’ll be able to redeem AAdvantage miles with American.

Upgrading your experience

Once we combine programs, your elite benefits will initially work differently for American and US Airways flights, as we’ll still operate as two separate airlines. We’ll adopt the American upgrade process for all flights when we have a single reservation system later this year.
How upgrades will work »

To upgrade, you should book flights that are marketed and operated by the same airline – either American or US Airways. If you’re booked on a codeshare flight, you’ll only be able to upgrade when you check in based on availability.
What is a codeshare? »

Soon after we combine programs, qualifying Dividend Miles Preferred members will receive 500-mile upgrades to use on American flights.
How to calculate 500 mile-upgrades »

If you’re Chairman’s Preferred or your combined elite-qualifying activity allows you to reach AAdvantage Executive Platinum status, you’ll receive 8 systemwide upgrades to use on both airlines. You’ll need to redeem your Chairman’s Preferred electronic certificates before our programs combine. We’ll allow you to use them for future travel as long as it’s confirmed before we combine programs.

Benefiting with your card

As a US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard® cardmember, you’ll begin enjoying your first eligible checked bag free and Group 1 boarding on domestic American flights once we combine programs. This is in addition to the current benefits you’re already receiving on US Airways.
Your card benefits »

We appreciate your continued loyalty.
Suzanne L. Rubin
Suzanne L. Rubin
President, AAdvantage Loyalty Program

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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  1. Sorta unrelated but…if you have a $89 AF USAirways MC from Barclays, you’re automatically getting switched to the AAdvantage Aviator Red and the benefits of the new card kick in on March 25th, 2015 even if you don’t receive the new card until sometime between Apr 1st-Jun 30th. Thus, on 3/25 you gain the 10% rebate on USAir/AA awards (according to the rep I spoke to). Kinda falls in line with the time frame of joining USAir/AA accounts.

  2. I’m a chairmans preferred but I don’t think I ever got upgrade certificated. Assume they are electronic. Maybe in my account somewhere?

  3. I am trying to find the terms for these certificates online but cannot find them. Do you have any link? Are all economy fare classes eligible? Also, does the companion have to be on the same reservation? I have a ticket where myself and companion are on different record locators flying same plane.

    • I’ll have to search for a link, but from my knowledge:
      1. All economy fares on usairways metal are eligible (I think) as long as upgrade space exists (which is unfortunately rare)
      2. Yes companion must be on same reservation. In your case it might be worth calling to see if they can connect or combine your reservations for this purpose. I don’t know if it will work but it can’t hurt to ask.

  4. I just applied my certs so I can answer some of these.
    1. As FM says, there is no evidence of the certs online. You must call.
    2. Certs only good for C-class tickets as they are capacity controlled.
    3. Finding availability is like trying to use a timeshare week.
    My question: Above says, “we get two international upgrade certificates (plus two companion upgrade certificates) “. Are these two separate documents? The upgrades already include companions.

    • Thanks!
      The call rep I spoke with described them as separate but I don’t think there is a practical difference. Either way, the companions are paired up with your use of your upgrades.

  5. This is a bit frustrating. I was not aware that I had these. It is a bit frustrating that these can only be used on flights marketed as US Airways and not codeshare flights. This really limits my choices.

    Anyone have any quick summer destination ideas?

  6. It’s really ridiculous because they are asking you to use them before a date we don’t know — also very hard to figure out what flights qualify for upgrading on the US site.

  7. How is everyone else doing?

    I have plans to fly to SVO, ITA shows AA and AY (FinnAir) for ~.07 per mile. Not bad, would love to upgrade, but you cannot even book to SVO on US Airways so I cannot code share if I tried. This went from annoying to disconcerting.

    Does anyone know what syntax I could use to find a European destination that is US Airways metal?

    Thank you and good luck.

      • FrequentMiler,

        Thanks. I found a few routes from the US to HEL, MAD, and even DUB. From there I can catch a cheap roundtrip to SVO. Considering I have never been to DUB, I will try to build in a few days on the front end.

        Kudos to all and thank you.

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