United MileagePlus is the latest airline loyalty program that raises elite status qualifications. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a reduction in qualification requirements. To maintain elite status, you will need to fly more and spend more with United.

There is good news. United now allows flights booked on miles to earn points towards elite status. United has also eliminated redeposit fees for cancelling award travel. The United credit cards have a higher level of elite status and earning power.

New qualification requirements for United Premier status

To understand how to earn United Premier status, it is necessary to know a little bit of alphabet soup. United requires Premier status holders to fly at least 4 flights on United Express or United Airlines. You can either reach a certain threshold to earn Premier qualifying points (PQP), or you can earn slightly less PQPs by combining Premier qualifying flights with them (PQF span>).

These are the new qualifications you will need to meet between Jan. 1, 2023 and Dec. 31, 2023 in order to maintain each Premier status level until Jan. 31, 2025.

Status level

Premier Silver

12PQF + 4,000 QP.

5,000 PQP.

Premier Gold

24 QF + 8,000 QP.

10,000 PQP.

Premier Platinum

36 QF + 12,000 QP.

15,000 PQP.

Premier 1K

54 PQF+ 18,000 PQP.

24,000 PQP.

How to get PQPs

Although the requirements for elite status are more stringent, United has created new ways to earn PQPs.

PQP Jumpstart for Premier Members

Everyone currently holding United elite status will get a PQP boost from the airline. You’ll get some bonus PQPs if you have United Premier status by the end of 2022. Based on your elite status, here’s how many points will you get:

  • Premier Silver: 500 PQPs.

  • Premier Gold: 1,000 PQPs.

  • Premier Platinum: 1,500 PQPs.

  • Premier 1K: 2,500 PQPs.

Awards tickets count towards elite status

You can now earn elite status by booking award flights on miles if you are always booking with miles. MileagePlus miles can be used to book award flights operated by United Express or United Express. Each 100 miles you redeem will count towards 1 PQP. If you redeem 10,000 United miles to get a free flight you will receive 100 PQPs.

You’ll also earn 1 PQF for each flight.

Credit card spending caps were increased

United allows you to count spending on its credit card as a way to earn status, but only to a limited extent. For those who had multiple United credit cards, there was a limit on the number of PQPs that you could earn through spending. The combined cap now stands at 15,000 PQPs

These are the new PQP caps for individual cards:

Compare United’s news to other airlines

Southwest raised the minimum number of Rapid Rewards points required to earn its highly coveted Southwest Companion Pass. This is basically a one-year, buy-one,-get-one Southwest flight deal. You will now need 135,000 points to earn the Southwest Companion Pass, instead of 125,000 points. This change took effect on January 1, 2023.

United’s news comes amid massive inflation. This means that you may not need to fly as much to achieve the elite status you desire. In September 2022, the average U.S. airfare was 43% more than it was in September 2021. You’re likely spending more to fly the same amount as you did in the past, so you are likely spending enough to satisfy the new elite status requirements.

Photo by United Airlines

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