Many travelers have abandoned the chase for elite airline status primarily due to the addition of minimum spending requirements with the airline in order to qualify.
Other travelers still find enough value in the perks and benefits that come with being an elite frequent flyer member — like upgraded seats, priority boarding, free checked bags, and free lounge membership — and they find a way to qualify each year.
If you currently have airline elite status, you’re fully aware of the value. But what happens when you need or want to change your airline loyalty? Fortunately, there is a shortcut you can take to match status from one airline to another, and we’re here to give you all the information to make that happen.
Here’s everything you need to know to request, receive, and qualify for a status match with United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flyer program.
What Is a Status Match and How Does it Work?
A status match is an opportunity for elite members in one airline’s frequent flyer program to request a similar (matching) status with another airline.
The airline you don’t have status with will review your documented status with your current airline and then grant you corresponding status for a specific period of time.
The elite status you have earned with your current airline, of course, remains intact — and once your status is matched with the new airline, you will have dual status!
Not all airlines offer status matches and/or challenges, but fortunately, United Airlines is one that does.
Hot Tip: United is just one of the airlines that offers a status match, along with American, Alaska, and Delta, among others.
The Difference Between a Status Match and a Challenge
For starters, the airline you don’t have status with will grant you a status match, a status challenge, or a combination of these.
Here’s what that means:
No minimum flying requirements are needed. You receive immediate matching status once your request is approved, and it continues for a specified period of time.
You are required to fly a specific number of miles or segments within a period of time, usually 90 to 120 days. You do not receive elite status until the challenge is completed.
Another version of a status challenge may include an upfront offer to purchase status so that you can enjoy it while completing your challenge. American Airlines has offered this option.
Status Match With a Status Challenge
You receive immediate complimentary elite status, and you keep that status level during the time you spend completing the challenge flying requirements until a specified expiration date.
United Airlines offers an initial status match for 120 days and then requires you to complete a challenge during that time by flying a certain amount of flight segments and meeting spending requirements. If you complete the challenge, you’ll keep your status for the time period stated in your challenge confirmation.
Hot Tip: If you want to learn more about status matches and challenges, our article on the topic could be helpful — The Ultimate Guide to Airline Frequent Flyer Status Matches & Challenges.
United’s Status Match Program
United MileagePlus will match your current airline elite status to its Premier Silver, Premier Gold, or Premier Platinum status levels.
Note that United may match other airline statuses at its discretion, but they only publish the matchups for these 5 domestic airlines.
Here’s how United’s status matches line up:
- American Platinum status would be matched to United Premier Gold status
- Delta Silver Medallion status would be matched to United Premier Silver status
Bottom Line: United’s status match program aligns your current elite status with its equivalent elite status and then requires you to complete flying requirements to extend the temporarily granted status.
How and When To Submit a Status Match Request
Completing the Status Match Request
You can request a MileagePlus Premier Status Match Challenge online by logging into your United MileagePlus account, completing the Status Match form, and attaching a copy of your current membership card for the airline you’d like to match status from. The membership card must clearly show your current elite status and the status expiration date.
You can also submit a request for a United Premier status match via email and include the following information:
- Your MileagePlus account number
- Your full name, mailing address, and email address
- A copy of your current membership card for the airline you’d like to match status from
- The membership card must clearly show your current elite status and the status expiration date
You can expect a response to your request within 7 to 14 business days.
Requests are accepted between January 5, 2022, and December 20, 2022.
The Importance of Timing
If you have a major trip or several trips planned on United Airlines, by all means, request the status match to align with those trips!
If you have yet to book any United flights, you may want to time your status match request and completion to maximize the length of time the granted status will be valid.
Consider these timeframes when requesting and completing your status match challenge:
- If you complete the status match requirements before July 1, you will have status through the current year and through January of the following year.
- If you complete the status match requirements after July 1, you will have status through the current year, for the entire next year, and through January of the following year.
Here are a few examples of how that can work:
- If you complete the status match requirements in April, May, and June of 2022, you will keep that status for the remainder of 2022 and through January 2023.
- If you request a status match and complete the requirements in July, August, and September of 2022, you will keep that status for 2022, all of 2023, and through January of 2024.
Hot Tip: Requesting and being approved for a status match by June 30, 2022, then completing the status match after that date offers you the longest period of elite status with United.
Completing the Flying Requirements
Once you’re approved for a status match with United, you will need to complete a set of flying and spending requirements to finish the challenge.
The number of Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF) and Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) you need to earn for your status match depends on the level of status you were matched to.
What Are PQFs and PQPs?
PQPs and PQFs measure the number of flight segments and dollars spent on United flights.
- Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF): Flight segments flown
- Premier Qualifying Points (PQP): 1 PQP per $1 spent on United and United Express flights, not including taxes; award miles earned divided by 5 for United bulk fares and flights on Preferred Partners; award miles divided by 6 for all other partners
For example, a $250 (excluding taxes) flight on United Airlines would earn 250 PQP. Alternatively, a Z class Lufthansa fare from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) would earn 1,152 PQP (5,760 miles earned divided by 5).
You must earn all PQF and PQP on United or United Express flights for the status match — this means that partner flights don’t count.
Here’s how many PQF and PQP you’ll need to earn for each status match tier:
|Approved United MileagePlus Status Match Elite Level
||Premier Qualifying Miles or Premier Qualifying Segments Needed
||Fly 4 PQF and earn 1,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express
||Fly 6 PQF and earn 2,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express
||Fly 10 PQF and earn 3,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express
You will only have 120 days after approval to complete the flying requirements, so be sure to plan ahead. If you do not complete the requirements, your temporary elite status will expire, and you may not be eligible for another status match for 5 years.
Creating a Status Match Challenge Itinerary
To achieve the required PQP you will need to spend enough on flights to meet the requirements. This means that Premier Silver requires flying $1,000 worth of United flights, Premier Gold requires flying $2,000 worth of United flights, and Premier Platinum requires flying $3,000 worth of United flights.
Remember that taxes don’t earn PQP, so you’ll likely spend slightly more than the numbers listed above to keep your status.
Plus, you’ll need to ensure you meet the PQF (flight segments) requirements for each tier – 4 PQF, 6 PQF, and 10 PQF for Premier Silver, Premier Gold, and Premier Platinum respectively.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid these requirements during the status match period. With that in mind, make sure to only start the status match if you’re confident you’ll fly and spend enough on United Airlines during the 120 day match period.
United has a flight map to help you search for flights, but you can also use Google Flights which works better for finding premium fares.
Enhancing Your New Elite Status
Once you’ve completed your status match and are flying on United, you might want to elevate your experience with the United Club Infinite℠ Card.
In addition to a generous sign-up bonus and 4x miles per $1 spent on United, 2x miles per $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1x mile on all other purchases, you’ll receive VIP perks including:
You’ll also be earning United MileagePlus miles you can redeem for award flights. You might even want to use your miles to try the exceptional United Polaris experience.
Access our complete expert guide for a summary of all the United Airlines co-branded credit credits and comparisons of their perks and benefits.
Additionally, Upgraded Points has published 2 separate posts on the worth of United MileagePlus elite status. One lists benefits before departure and at the airport and another discusses perks related to seating and upgrades.
Bottom Line: If you’re loyal to a particular airline, having the affiliated airline-branded credit card allows you to earn miles faster and enjoy benefits you don’t normally receive from elite status alone.
Everything Else You Need To Know
If you’ve participated in a United Airlines status match within the past 5 years, you are not eligible to participate in another status match.
When you are completing the status match challenge, you can only qualify for the status level you were matched to in the program. For example, if you are granted a status match for Silver Elite, you cannot qualify for Gold Elite regardless of the number of miles/segments you complete during the 120-day period.
To qualify for a higher status level, you would need to complete the normal annual requirements as published.
If you don’t meet the status match requirements during the 120-day period, your temporary status will expire. All qualifying miles and segments must appear in your account before the end of the 120-day period.
If you have status with an airline other than the airlines listed, you can still request a status match by completing the status match request form or sending an email containing the required documents and information.
United status is especially valuable at the Premier Gold and Premier Platinum levels. These status tiers give you lounge access when traveling abroad on Star Alliance carriers, a better shot at upgrades, and free Economy Plus seating when you book.
So, if you need or want to change airline loyalty and you currently have elite status, a status match and/or challenge, is a much better alternative than earning elite status with a new airline from scratch!