Premier Silver is the first level in United Airlines MileagePlus. There are many ways to get there. You can match hotel elite status with credit card perks or leverage certain credit card perks. The benefits of Silver status are great for frequent flyers with United or Star Alliance partners. Let’s look at United Premier Silver […]

Premier Silver is the first level in United Airlines MileagePlus. There are many ways to get there. You can match hotel elite status with credit card perks or leverage certain credit card perks.

The benefits of Silver status are great for frequent flyers with United or Star Alliance partners. Let’s look at United Premier Silver elite status and its benefits, as well as how to achieve this status.

United Premier Silver benefits

This is a great way to get started in elite status. You will soon see upgrades, bonus miles and savings, as well as travel conveniences.

What do you get when you purchase Premier Silver status from United?

  • Premier Silver members receive 7 miles for every dollar they spend on airfare. This is a significant increase over the 5 miles per dollar earned by general MileagePlus members.

  • One free checked bag: The tier includes one checked bag up to 70 pounds.

  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades: Upgrades to first class in space-available form are an attractive perk for non-basic economy domestic flights and selected international flights. For those with a United cobranded credit card, this includes award tickets. These upgrades are completely free and can be processed on the day you leave.

  • Premier access: United Premier Silver Members get premium check-in and preferred airport security lanes. They also have an earlier boarding group (Group 2) that general MileagePlus members.

  • Premier Silver members can get Economy Plus and preferred seats access when they check in. (For Premier Gold tier or higher, these freebies will be available earlier, at booking). This perk can be used for up to 8 additional passengers who are traveling along with you at check in. It is not available if your basic economy ticket has been purchased.

  • Clear Membership at a Discount: Premier Silver Members get preferred pricing for an Annual Clear Membership

  • Star Alliance Silver status is the entry-level Star Alliance status. It includes priority perks for flying with other member airlines. It is less robust than Star Alliance Gold and does not offer the popular perks such as access to lounges for international flights. The only benefits it offers are priority waitlisting and airport standby. This is disappointing because it does not include priority check-in and boarding.

  • Premier Silver members receive a higher priority in customer service than other members.

  • Reduction in cancellation fees for award tickets: United charges a fee to cancel or change an award ticket within 30 calendar days of travel. Premier Silver members pay $100. This is $25 less than what general members must pay.

  • Prime members have the option to change flights within 24 hours of departure if they are in the same class. A difference in fare might apply, or the member can stay on-board for the new flight free of charge.

How to Earn Premier Silver

To earn Premier Silver status with United, all members must complete certain goal posts within one calendar year.

These are the qualifying benchmarks:


  • Four flights on United Express or United Express during the calendar year.

Elite status is determined solely by the number of flights and amount of money you spend.


United doesn’t consider the distance traveled to earn its status.

What is Premier Silver elite status worth to you?


Entry Level




United’s elite entry-level status tier is far behind its competitors. This is due to the fact that this status tier costs $4,819, which is more than many of its competitors for their entry-level status levels. According to NerdWallet analysis, the average cost of this status level to attain is $3,035,

Even though the United loyalty program is ranked low, there are still a few perks that can be of real value to budding loyalists.

Earning 7 miles per eligible dollar instead of 5 for general members means you earn almost 40% more miles. MileagePlus is valued at 1.2 cents per person by NerdWallet. Premier flyers earn 8.4cs per eligible dollar instead of 6cs.

If you aren’t a frequent traveler, unlimited complimentary upgrades can be a great perk. If you don’t get upgraded, then what good is this perk? This perk is extremely valuable if you do.

It can also be beneficial to get access to the preferred seats for you and your guests. It’s a great way for you to ensure you are able to sit together if you are traveling with others. Economy Plus seats offer extra comfort and more space, making the journey easier. Bag-tourists will be pleased to know that they don’t have to pay $35 for their first bag. This is a $70 savings on a round-trip ticket.

You can change to another flight in 24 hours, and pay no fee. Priority boarding is also available. Premier Silver Clear members pay only $109, while a typical membership costs $189. This is a $80 value savings.

What other information do you need?

There are other routes to Premier Silver that may prove successful, even though there is no PQP waiver for United Chase cardholders or international members.

Other ways you can earn PQPs

You can earn PQPs for more than just the United flight cost. PQPs can also be earned by flying Star Alliance members carriers, paying for seat selection (including Economy Plus), and upgrading fees.

Checked bag fees, United Club membership, flight taxes, and in-flight food or drink are not eligible for earning PQP.

Credit card PQP spending reward

Earn between 500 and 10,000 points for every $12,000 spent on a cobranded United credit card during the calendar year.

If you have the United(sm), Explorer Card, 500 PQPs would be earned for every $12,000 spent (up to twice per year). You could be on your way to Premier Silver status in a little over a quarter of a year without flying.

You can earn 500 PQPs every $12,000 spent if you have The United Presidential Plus Card or United Presidential Plus Business Card. This equates to a total 10,000 PQPs annually. This means that you can easily exceed the PQP requirement, but you will still need to fly four United Express or United Express eligible flights each calendar year. This requirement cannot be waived.

With this spending bonus, you can climb to Premier Platinum with just four United flights per calendar year.

Marriott Bonvoy partnership

Is United Premier Silver worth it?

Although it is not the most elite entry-level status tier, it can still be a valuable option for frequent United flyers. You will be able to upgrade, get a free checked bag, earn Star Alliance Silver status, and receive bonus miles.

You can get status in the United Premier program if you have the right credit cards or are an elite Marriott member.

After you have seen the benefits of United elite status you might want to move up to the next level to enjoy even more perks.

NerdWallet has collected information about the United Presidential Plus Card Credit Cards and the United Presidential Plus Business Card Credit Cards. The information has not been reviewed by or provided by the card issuer.

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