United Airlines Makes Major Changes to Premier Status Requirements

United Airlines MileagePlus Changes

United Airlines MileagePlus Changes

United Airlines has announced major changes to the way most frequent fliers earn Premier status in the MileagePlus program. Starting in January 2020, the basis for earning Premier status will be based solely on two things; how much you spend with United, and how many flights you take. Accrued mileage will no longer matter in the MileagePlus program. Yes you read that right.

United Airlines says that these new changes should make the program “more transparent and easier to understand how to earn and track progress toward Premier status”.

New Qualification Requirements

Starting in 2020, MileagePlus elite qualification will be based on two criteria, Premier Qualifying Points and Premier Qualifying Flights. Here’s a comparison between the current requirements and what is coming in a few months.

United Airlines MileagePlus Changes

A qualifying flights means one takeoff and landing. It doesn’t matter on what class you’re flying, as long as it is not Basic Economy. Those don’t count.

Premier Qualifying Points will be based on how much you spend. Spending on these items will still count, the same as before:

  • Base fare plus surcharges
  • Economy Plus seating or subscriptions
  • Preferred seat purchases

But with the changes, spend also counts for the following activities:

  • MileagePlus Upgrade Award co-pays
  • Paid upgrades
  • Flights ticketed and operated by Star Alliance partners

Here’s what you need to qualify for each Premier status tier:

Earning On Partner Airlines

This is probably the only positive change coming next year. Beginning January 1st, partner flights will earn PQPs, even if they are not ticketed by United. Here’s how much you can earn:

United Airlines MileagePlus Changes

Here’s who those partners are:

Chase United Credit Cards

Currently, members spending at least $25,000 per year on a United credit card are able to waive the spend requirement for elite levels. That will change. Moving forward, cardmembers will earn 500 PQPs toward status by spending $12,000, and an additional 500 or more PQPs when they spend an additional $12,000. That second part will vary depending on the card you have. Here’s the details for each card:

  • United Explorer Business Card, United Club Card, United Explorer Business Card, United Club Business Card, United  MileagePlus Awards Card, United MileagePlus Card, and United MileagePlus Business Card, will earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in spending, up to a maximum of 1,000 PQP in a calendar year, which can be applied up to Platinum status
  • United MileagePlus Select Card and United MileagePlus Platinum Class Visa Card will earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in spending, up to a maximum of 3,000 PQP in a calendar year, which can be applied up to 1K status
  • The United Presidential Plus Card and United Presidential Plus Business Card earn will earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in spending, up to 10,000 PQPs in a calendar year, which can be applied up to 1K status

Guru’s Wrap-up

If you’re not a frequent short-haul flier or very big spender, then you’re likely not very happy with these United Airlines MileagePlus changes. The main thing that stands out is that the amount of miles you fly no longer matters. That probably means no more mileage runs. Plus if you live near a United hub and often fly non-stop, you’ll find it harder to achieve Premier status.

These latest changes comes after two recent ones. Back in August, United announced that MileagePlus miles would no longer expire. Then last month, the carrier changed the way complimentary upgrades work, to provide greater flexibility for Platinum and 1K members.


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