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United unveils MileagePlus earning rates for Swiss premium economy tickets

February 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.

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(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

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 photo 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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