United Airlines Elite Status: How to Reach it and What’s in it for You
Soon after Delta announced the revenue component to its frequent flyer program, so did United. The new United Mileage Plus program requires you not only fly certain amount of miles, but also spend a predetermined amount of money to reach elite status.
Despite the dramatic devaluation in terms of earning and redeeming miles in 2014, United MileagePlus remains one of the most valuable U.S. frequent flyer programs with the biggest number of airline partners and a generally good award availability.
There are three elements in the United Arlines MileagePlus program. PQM stands for Premier Qualification Miles, and is based on distance flown. PQD stands for Premier Qualification Dollars, and is based on the amount you have paid for traveling on United and its partner airlines. PQS stands for Medallion Qualification Segments, and can be used for qualifying instead of PQM.
Earning the Status
- For Premier Silver you need to fly 25,000 PQMs or 30 PQSs and $3,000 PQDs.
- For Premier Gold: 50,000 PQMs or 60 PQSs and spend $6,000 PQDs.
- For Premier Platinum: 75,000 PQMs or 90 PQSs and spend $9,000 PQDs.
- For Premier 1K: 100,000 PQMs or 120 PQSs and $15,000 PQDs.
- All elites get Complimentary access to Economy Plus and Premier Upgrades, including a companion.
- Silver: Departure day
- Gold: 48 hours
- Platinum: 72 hours
- Gold: 96 hours
- Premier Silver elites and above get instant upgrades on full-fare economy tickets.
- Premier Gold elites and above get Regional Premier Upgrades.
- Premier 1K elites also get Global Premier Upgrades.
- Premier Silver elites earn 7 miles per dollar
- Premier Gold earn 8 miles
- Premier Platinum earn 9 miles
- Premier 1K earn 11 miles
Premier Bonus Miles
- Premier Silver: 25%
- Premier Gold: 50%
- Premier Platinum: 75%
- Premier 1K: 100%
All Premier elites get 500 PQM minimum accrual
- Premier Silver and above: Baggage Fees
- Silver: 1 bag/50lbs.
- Gold: 2 bags/70lbs.
- Platinum and 1K: 3 bags/70lbs.
- Premier Silver and above: Date changes 21 or more days prior to the date of travel
- Premier Gold and above: Same-Day Flight Changes
- Premier Platinum: Award Redeposit/Reissue Fees, booking an award ticket by phone, booking or changing an award ticket at any time
- Premier Silver and above: Priority Check In, Security, Boarding, and Baggage Handling.
- Premier Gold and above: Free for member and one companion on international flights
- Premier Silver — Star Silver
- Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, and Premier 1K — Star Gold
Other Ways to Earn Status
Existing members can earn PQMs with the Chase MileagePlus Presidential Plus Credit Card, but it’s not available to new applicants. However, if you carry a Chase United Club Card, the PQD requirement will be waived after you spend $25,000 on it.
Status Match/Status Challenge:
United won’t give you a status match just because you are an elite with a competing airline, but it will offer you a status match challenge. The good part is that they will upgrade your status for the three months while you’re participating in the challenge, so you will get the status upon approval. It will not, however, match you to the top Premier 1K level. Read the United Status Match Challenge page for more information.
- Premier Silver: 7,000 PQMs or 8 PQSs
- Premier Gold: 12,500 PQMs or 15 PQSs
- Premier Platinum: 18,000 PQMs or 22 PQS
Earning Miles on Partner Airlines
You can earn miles by flying on United partner airlines. With the introduction of the new revenue-based model, there are two options. If your flight is ticketed by United (even if you fly on a partner airline), you’ll earn your miles based on the ticket price, distance, and class of service. If your flight is ticketed by a partner airline, you’ll earn your miles based on the distance and class of service, but not the ticket price. For more information, check this page.