United Airlines has announced changes that will make it a bit more difficult to earn elite status in the MileagePlus program, starting with flights in 2023.
Airlines tend to adjust the requirements necessary to earn status every few years and United is no different. The airline is changing how travelers can earn elite status starting in 2023 and unfortunately for United flyers, more flying or spending will be needed to obtain elite status.
Let’s take a look at the details of these changes.
What Is Changing
To keep or obtain United MileagePlus Premier status, you can expect to either fly or spend more moving forward, starting in 2023. Unfortunately, this applies to all elite status levels, and it will make it much more difficult to earn status.
Status is made up of several factors:
- Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF), which are essentially actual flights flown
- Premier Qualifying Points (PQP), which are essentially the amount spent on flights
Here’s what is changing:
|Premier Status||PQF + PQP||PQP only||PQF + PQP||PQP only|
|Premier Silver||8 PQF and 3,000 PQP||3,500 PQP||12 PQF + 4,000 POP||5,000 PQP|
|Premier Gold||16 POF and 6,000 PQP||7,000 PQP||24 PQF + 8,000 PQP||10,000 PQP|
|Lifetime status when you reach 1 million miles|
|Premier Platinum||24 PQF and 9,000 PQP||10,000 PQP||36 POF + 12,000 PQP||15,000 POP|
|Lifetime status when you reach 2 million miles|
|Premier 1K||36 PQF and 13,500 PQP||15,000 PQP||54 PQF + 18,000 PQP||24,000 PQP|
|Lifetime status when you reach 3 million miles|
Some of these changes will require a ton more spending, especially at the Premier 1K level which offers the most benefits.
Want the best chance for upgrades, free extra legroom seats, and more? That will now cost you $24,000 per year, up from the previous $15,000. That’s an additional $9,000 for the same status level.
To help give you a head start on status earning with these new requirements, United will be providing some PQPs in 2023 to give you a leg up. This is for current MileagePlus members.
|Premier Status||PQP Bonus in 2023|
|Premier Silver||500 PQPs|
|Premier Gold||1,000 PQPs|
|Premier Platinum||1,500 PQPs|
|Premier 1K||2,500 PQPs|
Award Flights Will Now Count
Like several other loyalty programs, United will now let you earn based on the award miles you fly:
- You’ll earn 1 PQP for every 100 miles you fly
- You’ll earn 1 PQF for every United or United Express flight
So, you no longer will need to fly revenue flights to earn status, though it’s worth noting that no matter which route you go, you’ll still need to spend an overall amount to earn status (so free flights will only get you so far).
No More Change Fees
United will also be removing change fees and redeposit fees on award tickets. Both Delta and American currently do not have these fees and United has continued to charge for these but come 2023, you’ll no longer need to pay to have your miles redeposited or your award tickets changed.
This is a very pro-consumer move that will make using miles much easier.
While the requirements for earning status are going up significantly, there are some positive developments, such as award flights counting toward status and the removal of change fees. You’ll want to be creative in how you earn status so that you can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses as much as possible.
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