United rolls out new elite status based on lower 2020 requirements

Apr 22, 2020

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As one component of its sweeping elite status and benefits update, United Airlines has significantly lowered thresholds for earning new and requalifying for status in 2020. Meanwhile, anyone who already has elite status will have that extended through Jan. 31. 2022.

As for earning new status, the carrier has reduced flying and spend requirements by roughly 50% — rather than spending at least $18,000 and flying 54 segments to earn top-tier Premier 1K status, for example, customers will need to spend $9,000 and take 26 flights (or spend $12,000, without the 26-flight requirement) in 2020. Qualification breaks down as follows:

Status level PQF PQP PQP only
Silver 6 2,000 2,500
Gold 12 4,000 5,000
Platinum 18 6,000 7,500
1K 26 9,000 12,000

As a result of these reduced thresholds, I’ve already qualified for Premier Gold status, while TPG’s Zach Griff has already qualified for top-tier Premier 1K. These tiers are now reflected in our respective accounts:

While we were both 1K members already — and now have that status through Jan. 2022 — Zach’s eligible for an additional 320 PlusPoints, giving him more opportunities to upgrade flights.

According to this updated timeline, new PlusPoints should post this week, while existing PlusPoints have already been extended — to Jul. 31, 2021 for PlusPoints issued based on flying in 2019, and Oct. 31, 2020 for PlusPoints previously extended to Apr. 30, 2020.

United’s also making it easier to earn PQPs from its cobranded cards, as we explain in more detail here. From May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, the airline has doubled the number of PQPs you can earn from the United Explorer Card and United Business Card, and it’s quadrupled the PQPs you can earn from the United Club Card, United Club Business Card and the United Club Infinite Card. Note, however, that any PQPs earned from these cards will only help you qualify for Silver, Gold or Platinum status — not Premier 1K.

The information for the United Club Business Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Thanks to the reduced requirements, TPG founder and CEO Brian Kelly woke up this morning to a status boost. Having earned 7,304 PQPs and 10 PQFs, he got a boost from Premier Silver to Gold on account of the lowered thresholds. He’s not far from reaching Platinum status, which he plans to hit with the co-branded card promotion. Then, if travel picks up by the end of the year, he hopes to qualify for Premier 1K with some additional domestic flights.

Delta, meanwhile, has confirmed that extended Medallion status will be reflected on Feb. 1, 2021, American Airlines has reduced requirements for earning new status in 2020 as well, with updates expected to roll out by May 15, 2020.

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