United gives elites a big head start toward 2021 Premier status
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
As with a variety of other airlines and hotel chains, United adjusted its requirements for earning elite status in 2021.
The carrier has reduced qualification requirements by roughly 25% across the board, but, given ongoing entry restrictions, a new U.S. testing requirement and, of course, the risk of contracting COVID-19, it’ll likely be challenging for many members to meet even the reduced requirements for the tier they have in mind.
|Elite tier||Standard requirements||2021 requirements|
|Silver||4,000 PQP/12 PQF or 5,000 PQP||3,000 PQP/8 PQF or 3,500 PQP|
|Gold||8,000 PQP/24 PQF or 10,000 PQP||6,000 PQP/16 PQF or 7,000 PQP|
|Platinum||12,000 PQP/36 PQF or 15,000 PQP||9,000 PQP/24 PQF or 10,000 PQP|
|Premier 1K||18,000 PQP/54 PQF or 24,000 PQP||13,500 PQP/36 PQF or 15,000 PQP|
Right off the bat, United is making it easier for existing elite members to requalify in 2021, or reach a higher tier. Any members who held status at the end of 2020 should have just received an automatic deposit of Premier Qualifying Points, or PQPs. The number of points you’ll earn breaks down as follows:
- Silver: 875
- Gold: 1,750
- Platinum: 2,500
- Premier 1K: 3,750
When I logged into my account this morning, I noticed that I was already well on my way to requalifying for status. MileagePlus members who earned status without meeting flying requirements, such as Million Miler companions, may also find that they’ve been issued bonus PQPs based on their current tier.
United is also issuing bonus PQPs for trips flown in Q1 — you can earn a 100% bonus for your first three PQP-qualifying trips, with a minimum of 300 and a maximum of 1,500 PQPs per trip.
Since I qualified with a flight that earned 268 PQPs, I earned the minimum bonus of 300. If I book two trips, each totaling at least 1,500 PQPs, later in the first quarter, I’ll earn an additional 3,000 PQPs as part of the promotion.
Depending on your travel plans early this year, these promotions can help get you far closer to status — between the “starter” bonus and the 100% PQP bonus United’s offering for flights between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2021, I already have enough points to qualify for Premier Silver.
United’s also making it easier to qualify based on credit card spend in 2021, with credit card PQPs counting for all status tiers, including Premier 1K. Members can earn 500 PQPs for each $12,000 spent with current co-branded cards that carry an annual fee, up to a maximum of 1,000 PQPs, including the United Explorer Card and the United Club Infinite Card.
Assuming we aren’t able to travel freely anytime soon, I’d also expect airlines to introduce a variety of programs and promotions to help members close the gap later in 2021.
Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees