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United Airlines Changes Elite Status Requirements for 2023

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James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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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 StatusPQF + PQPPQP onlyPQF + PQPPQP only
Premier Silver8 PQF and 3,000 PQP3,500 PQP12 PQF + 4,000 POP5,000 PQP
Premier Gold16 POF and 6,000 PQP7,000 PQP24 PQF + 8,000 PQP10,000 PQP
Lifetime status when you reach 1 million miles
Premier Platinum24 PQF and 9,000 PQP10,000 PQP36 POF + 12,000 PQP15,000 POP
Lifetime status when you reach 2 million miles
Premier 1K36 PQF and 13,500 PQP15,000 PQP54 PQF + 18,000 PQP24,000 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 StatusPQP Bonus in 2023
Premier Silver500 PQPs
Premier Gold1,000 PQPs
Premier Platinum1,500 PQPs
Premier 1K2,500 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).

United Airlines elite status levels
United is making it a ton harder to earn status, including significant adjustments to the amount of money you’ll need to spend. Image Credit: United

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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