How to Status Match With United Airlines [In-Depth 2020 Guide]

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Many travelers have abandoned the chase for elite airline status primarily due to the addition of minimum spending requirements with the airline to qualify.

Other travelers still find enough value in the perks and benefits that come with being an elite frequent flyer member, and they find a way to qualify each year.

It’s no wonder there are still plenty of status-holding flyers out there, as the list of elite benefits can be significant:

  • Upgraded seats
  • Priority boarding
  • Free checked bags
  • Change fees waived
  • Redeposit fees waived for miles when award tickets are canceled
  • Special assistance when things go wrong
  • Discounted or free lounge membership
  • Ability to change flights the same day without hassle or fees
  • Complimentary drink vouchers
  • International/domestic upgrade certificates

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?

For example, your ability to re-qualify for elite status with Delta may be threatened if you move from a Delta hub city to a United hub city.

Fortunately, there is a shortcut you can take to match status from 1 airline to another, and we’re here to give you all the information to make that happen.

United Airlines is just 1 airline that offers a “status match,” along with American Airlines, Alaska, and Delta, among others.

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 1 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 grants you corresponding status for a specific period of time.

The elite status you have earned with your current airline, of course, remains intact — 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 1 that does.

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:

Status Match

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.

Status Challenge

You are required to fly a specific number of miles or segments within a period of time, usually 90 days. You do not receive elite status until the challenge is completed.

Status Match With a Status Challenge

You receive immediate 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 90 days and then requires you to complete a challenge during that time by flying a certain amount of miles or flight segments. If you complete the challenge, you’ll keep your status.

United Polaris Middle Seats
You’ll earn frequent flyer miles faster and premium flight redemptions sooner with United MileagePlus elite status. Image Credit: United

Hot Tip: If you need more clarification on these 2, check out our piece — The Ultimate Guide to Airline Status Matches/Challenges.

United’s Status Match Program

United will match your current airline elite status to either their Premier Silver, Premier Gold, or Premier Platinum status levels.

Note that United does match other airline statuses at their discretion, but they only publish the matchups for Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.

Here’s how United’s status matches line up:

Corresponding United MileagePlus® Status
Premier SilverPremier GoldPremier Platinum
Delta Air Lines Medallion® Elite StatusSilverGoldPlatinum
American Airlines AAdvantage® Elite StatusGoldPlatinumPlatinum Pro

For example:

  • If you have American Airlines Platinum status, you would be matched to United Premier Gold status.
  • Delta Silver Medallion status would be matched to United Premier Silver, etc.

Bottom Line: United’s status match program aligns your current elite status with their 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 the following information:

  • 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 7-14 business days.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 request a status match and complete the requirements in November of 2020, you will keep that status for 2020, all of 2021, and through January of 2022.
  • If you complete the status match requirements in March of 2020, you will keep that status for the remainder of 2020 and through January 2021.

Hot Tip: Requesting and completing a status match in July 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 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 were implemented in 2020 and have replaced the standard Premier Qualifying Miles and Premier Qualifying Segments that were used when qualifying for United elite status in the past. Here’s a look at how to earn both PQF and PQP:

  • Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF): 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/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 LevelPremier Qualifying Miles or Premier Qualifying Segments Needed
Premier SilverFly 4 PQF and earn 1,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express
Premier GoldFly 6 PQF and earn 2,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express
Premier PlatinumFly 10 PQF and earn 3,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express

You will only have 90 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.

Google flight map
Use the Google Flights’ Explore map to search for United flights to complete your status match challenge. Image Credit: google.com/flights

Creating a Status Match Challenge Itinerary

In the past it was possible to complete these status matches for cheap — in short, you could buy cheap long-haul tickets on United and you’d earn the Premier Qualifying Miles required to keep your status.

But with the move to PQP and PQF, you need to spend enough to meet the PQP requirement. 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 meed the PQF (segment) 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 90 day match period.

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℠ Card. You’ll receive VIP perks including:

  • United Club lounge membership (normally costs $550 annually)
  • 2 free checked bags when you use your card to purchase the ticket
  • Premier Access® including priority check-in, screening, boarding, and baggage handling

You’ll also be earning United frequent flyer miles you can redeem for very cheap flights. You might even want to use your miles to try the exceptional United Polaris experience.

  • 2 miles/$1 spent on United, 1.5 miles/$1 all other purchases
  • Generous sign-up bonus

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 90-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 90-day period, your temporary status will expire. All qualifying miles and segments must appear in your account before the end of the 90-day period.

If you have status with an airline other than Delta or American, you can still request a status match by completing the status match request form or sending an email containing the required documents and information.

Final Thoughts

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 (or status challenge) is a much better alternative than earning elite status with a new airline from scratch!


Frequently asked questions

What is a status match?

If you have elite frequent flyer status with an airline, you may be able to ask another airline to match that status. This process is called a status match.

Some airlines will grant you the same status you have with no other requirements. Other airlines will match your status but require you to complete a certain amount of flying on their airline in order for you to keep the status for a specific period of time.

What is a status challenge?

A status challenge is a requirement by an airline with which you’re requesting a status match. It requires you to fly a certain number of miles/segments before the airline will match your current elite status.

Some airlines will even allow you to complete a challenge that gives you a higher level of status than you have currently.

For example, you may have Silver elite status with an airline and request a status challenge with another airline for their Gold level elite status.

An airline may offer a status match, a status challenge, or a combination of both.

How do I request a status match with an airline?

You can usually find the information for requesting a status match/challenge in the airline’s frequent flyer program section on their website.

For example, to find the information on how to request a status match with United, you would make your request via email or complete a status match form.

You can also read our in-depth guides on how to status challenge with American or status match with Alaska or Delta.

How long does it take to get the status match?

Once you submit your request, you should receive a response within 14 business days. If you’re approved, all the terms of the status match/challenge will be communicated to you.

An example of this response may be: “You have been approved for Premier Silver elite status. The status will be effective immediately and continue for 90 days, expiring on November 30. If you complete 4 Premier Qualifying Flights and earn 1,000 Premier Qualifying Points by that date, your Silver elite status will be valid through January 31, 2022.”

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

51 comments

  1. Douglas S Baker October 16, 2018

    You must also fly on the the “metal” of the airline you want to get status on. So if you want United, you cannot fly on a codeshare partner even though they are in the same affiliation. This can make it harder overseas as United hands off to Lufthansa, for example, and the Lufthansa miles would not count.

    Reply

    • Hi Douglas. Thank you for that reminder. As mentioned in the article, when status matching with United, you must fly on United or United Express operated flights. There are other airline status match programs that do not require you to fly on just the “metal” of the airline for which you want status, however, so it’s good to reiterate that point for United. Thanks again for your comment.

      Reply

  2. 2 Questions ~

    1) How long from the time you submit the request till you receive an email confirmation that your account has updated status?

    2) If you booked flights before the status challenge request but the trip falls after the suggested start date will you get credit for the miles?

    Reply

    • Hi Zach. You should receive a reply in 7-14 business days. Yes, if the flights you have booked fall within the period of your status challenge, you should receive the mileage credit. The email reply you receive from United will let you know the start date and terms of the challenge. Thanks for your questions.

      Reply

  3. Do miles flown from award tickets count toward the PQM requirement for the status challenge?

    Reply

  4. Great article, thanks Christine! I followed your steps and had submitted a request to United to status match my British Airways Bronze membership and, within 3 business days, they replied to confirm we have been matched to United Gold!

    Just need to see how to fly those 12,500 miles during our status match challenge period now…

    Reply

    • Wow Graham, what a great report and congrats on your United Gold status. Good luck with completing the challenge and extending your United status, perhaps using Google flights to find a good deal. Thanks for your comment and safe travels.

      Reply

  5. Thanks for this helpful article! I have just gotten my Delta Platinum status challenge confirmed with United, and I was wondering, would miles earned from signing up for a credit card count towards the match? I’ve timed this well with hopefully two international trips coming up, but I’m not sure if I will make the 18k miles without an additional boost…Thanks for the advice!

    Reply

    • Hi Danice. Congrats on getting approved by United for their status challenge. Unfortunately, miles earned on a United credit card are bonus redeemable miles and do not qualify towards a challenge or towards elite status.

      Reply

  6. Hi there. I’m a Lufthansa Senator. Any idea how I can get United status to benefit from their luggage and wait list policies?
    Cheers, JB

    Reply

  7. Imran Mohamed February 1, 2019

    Fantastic article! I am travelling on United in a couple months and was considering applying for a status match. Currently I’m Emirates Skywards Gold and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold, do you think any of these would be valid for a status match with United? Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    • Thanks for the kind words and for reading! I think you have a good chance for a status match or challenge. You could simply call United and ask which status has the better chance of being accepted or submit a request documenting both statuses. Good luck and let us know your results.

      Reply

  8. Hi,

    Nice article. I have a Platinum Medallion Status on Delta. If I were to take the United Challenge, will I lose the Platinum Status on Delta? In other words, when we switch loyalty, do we lose the status on the other airline or will we have it for both the airlines? I do understand we still have to fly a lot to maintain them both for the following year!

    Reply

    • Also, is there any guideline on when they do a match and when they require a challenge?

      Reply

      • Hi Suraj. United only does a status match combined with a challenge: “United’s status match program aligns your current elite status with their equivalent elite status, and then requires you to complete flying requirements to extend the temporarily granted status.” Thanks so much for the question.

        Reply

    • Hello again Suraj. Nice that you have Platinum Medallion status on Delta. And yes, you do keep your current airline status even though you are working on status with another airline. You’re really not switching loyalty programs, you are adding an additional one. Great question.

      Reply

  9. Hi Christine,

    I just was approved for a match to premier 1k for united as I am currently delta diamond. I am curious if I don’t complete the challenge for premier 1k in 90 days (35k PQM or 40 PQS), but complete the requirements for premier platinum (18k PQM or 22PQS), will I be awarded premier platinum status? Or is it all or nothing in the status match challenge? It seems difficult to fly enough in 90 days to achieve the premier 1k status, but I believe I should be able to to hit the 18k PQM or 22 segments for premier platinum.

    Thanks!
    Brandon

    Reply

    • Hi Brandon and congrats on getting approved for the challenge. Normally it is all or nothing when it comes to a challenge and the terms set forth in the confirmation email prevail. If you do not meet the 1K challenge requirements, you will not get Platium, in my opinion. I would call United and attempt to get the challenge changed to Platinun.

      Reply

  10. Question that I can’t seem to figure out! I have Platinum status on AA, but have since moved to a United hub and am not flying AA much. I have 2 upcoming flights on United and was hoping to status match, but they are just shy of 90 days apart (May 7 and August 3). What is my best way to time my request so I can cover both flights with status? I don’t often have status (this was a bit of a fluke with work travel) so I don’t mind not being able to request for another 5 years.

    Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Hello Quin. I think I would use the email method of requesting a status match request and include your flight information in the request and add that you wish to have both itineraries count toward the challenge. Also mention your intentions of flying UA in the future. That might be your best chance of them structuring the challenge appropriately. Good luck!

      Reply

  11. Curious if you might be able to start the status match earlier – in April and complete it in July – and get the benefit of the stub year and the year after or whether the July date is when you start the match.

    Reply

    • Hi Jen. If you submit a request and are approved for a status match in April, it is possible that United may only extend your status through January 2020. It is also possible that you could receive a confirmation for a challenge to extend through 2021 if completed in July. I am aware of incidents of both scenarios. I would make a call to United to confirm.

      Reply

  12. Brendan Knight April 21, 2019

    To get the best “bang for the buck”, I am trying to finish the challenge in early July for it to carry over the next year. Is the requirement for the challenge to both start and end in July (or after) or just finish in July?

    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Hello Brendan. I would submit your request close to July 1st so that it could be approved early in July and there would be no doubt. You would then have the 90 days to complete the challenge which should give you that extended status. The exact terms will be spelled out in the approval email you receive from United.

      Reply

  13. Sam Mangano April 29, 2019

    I have AA Platinum status ending 5/15. If I submit a request for a status challenge on 5/14, and it may take up to 7-14 days to get approval, would I be denied the challenge by United because my AA Platinum status would have expired by the time they make their decision? United lets you choose the starting date of your challenge up to 2 weeks after you submit, so just wondering if I should make sure I get approved before my status with AA expires on 5/15. Thank you, excellent article!

    Reply

    • Hello Sam and thanks for the kind words. I am just wondering why your AA Platinum status is expiring on 5/15. Elite status years commonly end January 31st. If you acquired the AA Platinum status from an American Airlines challenge, you may not be approved for a United status challenge. However, since your status with AA is expiring anyway and you can submit a request without risk, I would do it as soon as possible and not wait until it’s close to your status expiration date.

      Reply

  14. Craig Frazier June 2, 2019

    What do you do if you don’t get a card? Will they accept a screen shot of my app showing status and YTD miles and segments flown?

    Reply

    • Hi Craig. A virtual copy of your membership card from your profile will work plus your statement showing the information you mentioned. You need to make sure you send documentation of the expiration date of your current status as well.

      Reply

  15. Pam Dickerman June 10, 2019

    Great article. I’ve applied for and received matching status for my husband who is a million miler on AA and has Gold. Originally, united rejected as no “through” date, but I added a pointer to the URL for american which shows Million Milers have no expiration.

    I also applied to match my AA status which is currently Platinum Pro. Here is the reply I received:


    We appreciate your interest in the MileagePlus Premier Status Match Challenge; however, the purpose of this program is to match the earned status in the frequent flyer programs of select airlines. Based on the document(s) you submitted, we’re unable to offer you a challenge as it appears you have a promotional status.

    United is correct. I received Platinum Pro as a promotion and it expires on Sep 25. The online card status shows “through Sep 25, 2019”. How does United know this is a promotional status – based on the date? I’m flying both in June and again July 18 and July 27 on United and would love a match. Perhaps I should try the email method?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Reply

    • Hello Pam. Congrats for getting your husband a status match with United. Unfortunately, as you suspected, United does not match promotional status. And you are also correct that the date your status expires indicates that it is indeed promotional. Earned status would expire at the end of a normal status year which would be January 31st.

      Reply

  16. Mahalo for the article!! I was awarded a trial period of Premier Silver status for 90 days and fully expect to complete the challenge within that time frame. My questions is, during this 90 day challenge period, would I be able to enjoy the benefits of Premier Silver? How long before temporary status is updated in the system? Thank you for your time!!

    Reply

    • Hello SJ. Yes, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of Premier Silver if you are approved for a status challenge. When you receive the confirmation email from United,stating you have been approved for the challenge, it will contain the dates and terms. Your status should be updated the date the challenge is effective.

      Reply

  17. Martin Mac July 15, 2019

    United will only match a airline where you have earned a status by flying.
    IE: if you have earned AA Platinum Status as a match from a hotel status, United will deny you their matched Gold status.

    Reply

    • Hi Martin. This is absolutely correct and worth reiterating. If you are granted status as a result of a promotion, United will not match that status or offer you a challenge.

      Reply

  18. Do MileagePlus Premier Accelerator PQM’s count for this promo?

    Reply

    • Hi Rob. According to United’s status match rules, “bonus PQM/PQS, promotional PQM/PQS, and/or credit card PQM do not count” toward status challenges. United adds that “Class-of-service bonus Premier qualifying miles (PQM) and Premier qualifying segments (PQS) will count” toward the challenge. Premier Accelerator PQM’s do count towards normal annual United Premier Elite status requirements but do not count for PQD.

      Reply

  19. Charles Nelson September 17, 2019

    Does the status match apply to Southwest at all?

    Reply

  20. FYI to all, this program has an end date of Sept. 30th. United will not start any 2019 status match challenges following the end of the month until details for 2020 match are released and a new year starts.

    Reply

  21. Thanks for the article. I have two questions.

    Will United do a status challenge if you already have status? I would be matching from Delta Platinum but already have United Silver as a Marriott Titanium perk.

    If I wanted to wait until July 2020 to take the challenge to keep Platinum status through 2021, would I have to submit details showing that I have qualified in 2020 (for 2021) or only my 2019 MQMs and MQDs which qualified me for Platinum for 2020? Assuming it is for the qualifying year as I can’t imagine most people would qualify for Platinum Medallion in a current year by July (and certainly not by January if they are matching then) unless they were well on their way to Diamond Medallion, but wanted to double check. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Hi Ken. The status match opportunity for 2019 has ended and a new one will be announced early in 2020. We will update this article with the new information when it is announced. Normally you cannot be approved for a challenge with United if you have current status. Also, in the 2019 program, you just needed to show current status (earned in prior year) and recent activity.

      Reply

  22. Thanks for the detailed post and replying to the comments (lots of others do not). Had some questions.
    1. 2019 MileagePlus status ends on 12/31/2019 and not 1/31/2020 like the GPUs, correct?
    2. I’m about halfway to Mileageplus silver for 2019. I have a booked United long haul RT, departs and returns next month in January 2020 where a friend used two GPUs. Since this is already booked, if I am approved for an United status match to silver, would I receive the silver bonus miles on this RT flight that’s already booked?
    3. Any other thoughts to maximize my situation?

    Reply

    • 1. If you earned MileagePlus status is 2019, it would be valid until January 31, 2021. If you earned it in 2018, it would be valid until January 31, 2020. 2. You must be approved for the status match prior to your trip and you would travel with status (and receive bonus points). Good luck with completing your match and thank you for reading!

      Reply

      • Thank you so much! Well, looks like I’m SOL, my flight departs on Jan 3rd. I’ll email them anyways with low expectations:
        MileagePlus Premier Status Match Challenge
        Posted Tue., Oct. 1, 2019
        Thank you for your interest in the 2019 Premier Status Match Challenge. Our 2019 Challenge has ended. We’ll have an updated Premier Status Match Challenge in January 2020.

        Reply

  23. United is not status matching to Southwest. I have a companion pass on Southwest and was just trying to match to Gold. Got a denial instead.

    Reply

  24. Thanks for this very informative article! I was wondering if I get approved for the status challenge, would the benefits of United Premier (e.g. Silver on United) carry through on ALL Star Alliance carriers? So, if during the challenge period, I fly on Croatia Airlines, would I be recognised as Silver in the Star Alliance programme?
    Thank you so much!

    Reply

Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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