30,000 miles to nowhere. $25,000 spent, probably for nothing

Background: Until recently, there was a one time opportunity to get top tier American Airlines AAdvantage elite status (Executive Platinum) by enrolling in and completing the US Airways Preferred Status Trial.  For fun, I decided to go for it and I know that many readers did too.  Now we just have to fly 30,000 miles on US Airways or American Airlines flights!  Follow along through this series of posts, or on Twitter search for hashtag #30Ktonowhere.  For additional background, please see:The last great mileage run.  See you in the air!

In the post “30,000 miles to nowhere. Progress and plans.,” I described the flights I had booked so far in my quest to fly 30,000 miles in 90 days.  As I said in that post, my plans left me 6,515 miles short of the 30K goal.  I hoped (but thought it unlikely) that I could make up that difference through credit card spend.  I wrote:

My plan right now is to complete $25,000 of spend on my US Airways card so that I’ll earn 10,000 PQMs from that card.  My hope is that those PQMs will count towards the Preferred Trial.  I am also intentionally completing the spend in December with the hope that when my statement closes in early January, the 10K PQMs will count as 2015 PQMs and will, therefore, count towards 2016 status.  To be clear, I do not expect either of these things to happen.  I’m doing this as an experiment, just in case.

Since then, I did spend over $25,000 on my US Airways card and my statement closed January 4th.  No PQMs (Preferred Qualifying Miles) were added to my account either for 2014 or 2015 so I called to see what was up.  The agent I spoke with left me on hold for quite a while to investigate.  In the end he told me that the PQMs didn’t automatically post because my statement closed in 2015.  He promised to open a ticket to get my account manually adjusted.  I considered asking him to post the PQMs in 2015 (since that would help me retain status for 2016), but out of curiosity I decided to just wait and see what happened.  The next day, I found that the PQMs had been applied to my account:


The good news is that I received the promised 10K PQMs.  The bad news is that the listed activity date is 12/31/2014.  So, the 10K PQMs will not help me retain status for 2016.  Further evidence is shown in my 2015 PQM tally:


I knew it was a long-shot going into this and I knew that US Airways reps said that the PQMs would post for 2014, but in my experience call center reps are sometimes wrong about things like this.  In this case, though, they were correct.

What’s left? I’m still hoping (but not at all expecting) that the earned PQMs will count towards the Preferred Status Trial.  I know its not supposed to count, and I know that agents will say no, but there’s always a chance that it will work anyway.

Viewing progress to-date

I haven’t found a way to see my current Preferred Trial progress online. If anyone knows of a way to do this, please let me know!  I could call and ask, but I really don’t want to bring attention to the credit card PQMs.  I’d rather see if they get applied automatically without getting a human involved.  Luckily, they did send an email with my progress to-date at the 30 day mark.  Assuming they do the same at the 60 day mark, I’ll know for sure on January 11th whether or not the 10K PQMs counted.  If not, I’ll have to hurry and book a new trip or two!

Your turn

Are you doing the US Airways Preferred Trial?  If so, I’m interested in hearing how you’re doing.  Have you booked enough flights to meet your goals?  Did you find any fantastic deals? Please comment below.

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.

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13 Comments on "30,000 miles to nowhere. $25,000 spent, probably for nothing"

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Really? That’s interesting. I didn’t get a 30 day email.


YYZ to HKG on AA, $545 roundtrip, 18K miles. 2 trips, 36K miles, $1100.


i doubt it’ll work. didn’t work for me with an AA trial.


Well, not the same situation, but I also had a “wasted” $25,000 in spending. Early last year I put $25k on my United card, mostly manufactured spend, for the waiver to not have to meet the PQD requirement. Then I only earned a little over 9000 PQM for the year… so no status. Not a complete waste, though, as I did end up with 25k miles out of it for pretty cheap.


I put 25k on my UA card just for the 10K bonus miles, so I don’t consider that a waste. I also earned the 10k PQMs on both my AA and US cards (and had >5k PQMs from flying), so am hoping to get AA Gold status for 2+ quarters of 2015.


I’m curious as to how much of your 25k spend manufactured (if you’re willing to share).


Greg – just curious how much US/AA flying you expect to do from the time you earn CP until next Feb. I’m doing #30Ktonowhere also but now that I’m committed I’m wondering how much actual upgraded flying I’ll get to do since I don’t travel weekly. With an award trip to London and the Etihad fare to AUH along with some WN trips, I’m questioning whether it will be worth it.

I like flying so I’ll still have fun but I’m curious if I’ll just start MRing just to keep status!


@ncSam: I have the old card that is now called the MileagePlus Select, not the Explorer, so no 10k bonus miles.

@Dave: About 15k was manufactured. I actually also had a big $5500 purchase for something in January that I ended up doing a chargeback on in October. It was a pre-order for something that never arrived. After that statement posted my award miles were taken away, but the United website still said I had cleared the PQM waiver even though my annual spend was brought down to a little over $20k after that. I wouldn’t depend on that, though.