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In a gesture of goodwill that is (to put it diplomatically) uncommon in the airline industry, United Airlines appears to be waiving 2014 revenue requirements for certain Premier 1K members, and allowing them to retain their elite status level despite missing the mark on Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQDs).
Last year United added a revenue component to elite status qualification, compelling MileagePlus members to spend $2,500, $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000 on United fares in order to qualify for Silver, Gold, Platinum, and 1K status, respectively, in addition to the usual mileage or segment requirements. However, TPG reader Greg recently emailed to report that even though he had fallen short on PQDs, United sent him a message confirming his 2015 Premier 1K status. That experience has been echoed by other TPG readers and elsewhere.
This is particularly surprising since United announced in November that it would raise 2015 PQD requirements by 20%, signaling an increased emphasis on revenue in the MileagePlus program moving forward. However, the airline appears to be shrewdly cutting targeted elite members some slack, perhaps just because revenue requirements are new, or more probably because cost-benefit analysis showed it’s not worth raising the ire of the most valued flyers over a relatively small amount of unspent dollars.
Given the low number of data points, it’s hard to tell what criteria United used to decide who would keep their elite status and who wouldn’t. It may have been done on a case-by-case basis. The best I can tell at the moment is that PQD requirements were only waived for flyers who hit mileage or segment requirements, but plenty of flyers who did qualify on PQMs or PQSs did not receive the PQD waiver.
It’s also hard to tell where that leaves other elites who fell short in 2014. If you’re in a similar situation (having qualified for 1K or maybe even Platinum on miles/segments but not on dollars), it couldn’t hurt to contact United and see if they’ll extend you a similar courtesy. I wouldn’t bet on your success, but it seems the airline is in a charitable mood, so you never know!
If you received a 2014 PQD waiver from United, congratulations! Please share your experience in the comments below so we can attempt to piece together who else might be eligible. The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.
The standard sign-up offer for these co-branded cards is 30,000 miles after you spend $1,000 in the first three months, so the current bonus is a significant step up. TPG values United miles at 1.5 cents apiece, so this 50,000-mile sign-up bonus gets you $750 in value.