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United unveils MileagePlus earning rates for Swiss premium economy tickets

Feb. 16, 2022
4 min read
Swiss Boeing 777 on the runway in Zurich
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When Swiss announced that it would launch a premium economy product, its modern seat design caught our eye.

The airline operates a relatively limited long-haul network, especially compared to its German neighbor, Lufthansa, which coincidentally owns Swiss. Although it will only be placing this product on its 12 Boeing 777-300ERs, Swiss has begun selling this product to eight of its long-haul destinations.

The product will take flight next month and will continue to be implemented throughout 2022.

(Photo courtesy of Swiss)

Up until now, for United flyers, what MileagePlus members could expect to earn when flying Swiss' new premium economy product has remained a mystery. Now, United finally published MileagePlus accrual rates for the new class of service.

Earning United miles and PQPs on Swiss' premium economy

Per United's Swiss earning page, you earn miles and Premier qualifying points at either a 100% or 150% basis when flying Swiss premium economy tickets booked directly with the airline. For reference, if you book your ticket with Swiss directly, your ticket will not start with 016 and you will earn miles and PQPs based on the distance of your flight and fare class you book.

(Screenshot courtesy of united.com)

At these rates, MileagePlus members can earn a generous amount of PQPs when flying with Swiss, particularly when cash rates are low.

Here's an example from San Francisco (SFO) to Berlin (BER) where you can earn far more than United's base 1 PQP per $1 spent:

  • San Francisco to Zurich (ZRH): 5,840 base miles, 750 PQPs (preferred partner maximum).
  • Zurich to Berlin: 420 base miles, 125 PQPs.
  • Berlin to Zurich: 420 base miles, 125 PQPs.
  • Zurich to San Francisco: 5,840 base miles, 750 PQPs (preferred partner maximum).
  • Total: 12,520 base miles and 1,750 PQPs.

In this case, you can earn 1.62 PQPs per $1 spent.

Related: United’s best kept elite status secret: How to earn PQPs faster with partner flights

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Where can you fly premium economy on Swiss?

(Photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy)

All Swiss premium economy flights will originate or terminate in its Zurich hub, with the exception of its fifth-freedom flight from Sao Paulo (GRU) to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE). Here's the full list of destinations that will feature Swiss premium economy:

  • Tokyo Narita (NRT).
  • Hong Kong (HKG).
  • Bangkok (BKK).
  • Sao Paulo (GRU).
  • Miami (MIA).
  • Vancouver, British Columbia (YVR).
  • San Francisco (SFO).
  • Los Angeles (LAX).

Interestingly, Swiss appears to only be operating its premium economy product on its longest routes, which explains the absence of flights to and from the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada.

Related: Understanding the differences between economy and premium economy

Bottom line

Premium economy is a win-win for both airlines and customers.

On the airline side, customers have been willing to pay a surplus for more comfortable seats and enhanced amenities, which has proven to be an infinitely profitable investment for airlines. On the customer side, premium economy offers an opportunity to travel more comfortably at prices that are less expensive than business class.

United earning rates for Swiss' premium economy are the same as Lufthansa's premium economy. This is a plus for United loyalists, as there will soon be more opportunities to travel to Europe comfortably and earn redeemable miles and elite status in the process.

Featured image by (Photo by Robert Smith/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023