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Mileage Plus Ups PQMs for 2016

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Have you wished you could earn elite status on United faster? Well, if you have it appears that United has been listening because they have upped the ante for their frequent flyer program double the PQM’s for premium seats.

This is a big score if you frequently fly in first or business class.

This change at MileagePlus came on the heels of an announcement by American that they would be increasing their Elite-Qualifying Mile (EQM) earning rates, which at the time made them the best deal in town, But with United upping their rates, the two on now running neck-in-neck when it comes to earning power.

The bottom line –these changes directly affect first and business Class fares, which are the most lucrative for airlines, and now more lucrative for travelers looking to earn elite status too. Economy PQM’s remain unchanged. One other thing to remember with all of this is that while United still has a spend minimum in place, American doesn’t.

Doubling down on Business and First Class seats

Flying first or business class can be a big slice of heaven, and earlier this year it got better. You now earn up to double the Premier Qualifying Miles than you did last year. And it gets better because these new rates count no matter when you bought your ticket, even if it was last year when the other, and much lower rate were in full swing.

In 2015 PMQ earning was at 150% but its now jumped to 300% for full fare first or business class and up to 200 on discounted fares. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, the less expensive seats remain at their usual earning rate.

Fare typeEligible purchased fare classes 2015 PQM earning2016 PQM earning
Full-fare First or BusinessF, J 150%300%
Discounted First or BusinessA, C, D, Z, P150%200%
Full-fare EconimyY, B150%150%
Discounted EconomyM, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G, N100%100%

Star Alliance PQM’s get a boost too

What else is really nice about this change is that they are increasing the PQM’s earned on some Star Alliance flights, and have already made the adjustments to certain charts so you can see exactly what you are earning when you fly with Air Canada Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS, ANA, Austrian and Brussels. Their other partners are unchanged, signaling that these may be the only carriers whose PQM’s earning power has been upgraded. But more remains to be seen.

The Brussels Airlines Chart outlines Premier qualifications:

For flights flown on or after January 1, 2016:

MileagePlus Premier qualification

Class of service Purchased fare classPremier qualifying milesPremier qualifying segments
Discount BusinessD, Z, C200%1.5
Deep discount BusinessP200%1.5
Full fare EconomyY, B150%1.5
EconomyM, U, H, K, Q, V100%1
Discount EconomyW, S, G100%1
Deep discount EconomyT, L, E, N100%0

Some non-PMQ upgrades

There are some more changes at United as well, which have nothing to do with PQM’s when sitting in premium seats, including a new on=board chef created menu, featuring dishes inspired by various cuisines around the world.

They have also upgraded their first class seats, so they are more comfortable. These new seats will be installed on all their Airbus fleet, along with their Boeing 737-700 and 757-300 aircraft’s. They are also expected to roll out additional upgrades for premium areas throughout the year.

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