One thing we do know is that normally the vast majority of awards purchases should usually be happening in the bottom half of any tier system. Check out the weak, weasel-sounding "over half" language in their press release, per this skeptical writeup from SmarterTravel. If you were a traveler inclined toward suspicion, this is the kind of thing you'd point to as a dead giveaway:
With the addition of a fourth tier, technically there will be more award prices and restrictions to choose from. The question is whether, on average, members of US Airways' program will pay more for their award tickets... Coach seats to Hawaii increase by 5,000 miles, for example. Restricted business-class awards to Europe rise from 80,000 to 100,000 miles... the most significant change is likely to take place behind the scenes, with the reapportioning of award availability among the various tiers... in US Airways' FAQ, there's this: 'It's expected that over half of all awards will be booked at Low or Off-peak, and the remainder at Medium or High.'
We always get kind of a "who cares" feeling when we're writing up these sort of insidery awards level stories, both because they don't affect lots of you and because the people who they do affect can often afford an extra $50 here and there. But the broader story behind these stunts impact all travelers: airlines take away rewards that customers had previously banked on and then market them as "choices" at higher prices that actually decrease your options. It's the same nonsense United pulled with their "free" checked baggage package and it's fast becoming the PR model across the industry. We do not approve.
[Photo: Hunter Desportes / Wiki Commons]