|Subject: Re: Using miles for upgrades|
Yes, you're right about having to spend a higher amount of money (a qualifying fare) on the coach ticket to use miles for the upgrade. In your case, paying $1200 for the domestic tkt just makes no sense. But there are times when it's worth it. For example last year when I went to Paris, I could have bought a ticket for $400 and not have been able to use miles to upgrade. So I bought a $900 qualifying fare ticket and then used the miles so I could sit in Biz Class. To me, it was well worth the extra money. Of course, how we spend our money is personal and for some, that would be too high a price to pay.
On the brighter side, I'm now elite status on AA and one of the best perks is being able to use miles to upgrade from any fare. So last week when I went to Paris, I bought a $385 ticket and then used miles to upgrade.
I don't fly USAirways so I don't know if that's one of their perks, but you should ask. Maybe getting to elite status is something you might be able to attain for next year?