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United, following Delta's lead, extends elite status for all Premier members and more

April 05, 2020
7 min read
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Well, that was quick. In response to Delta's announcement Sunday morning extending elite status for another year, United's just made its move.

Like Delta, United is extending status to all its current Premier members through the end of the 2021 program year, which ends on Jan. 31, 2022. There's a lot more in UA's announcement than just a status extension, so let's take a look at the details.

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United Premier elite-status extension

As mentioned above, all current elite status will be extended until Jan. 31, 2022. This includes all tiers, up to UA's highest Premier 1K.

Unfortunately, the carrier isn't ready to announce what's going to happen to fliers holding its invite-only Global Services (GS) status. According to recent reports, at a minimum, United is going to offer current GS members 1K status for 2021.

Earning United Premier status in 2020

Earlier this year, United introduced new paths to earning Premier status, based on spend with the airline (which United refers to as Premier Qualifying Points (PQP), earning 1 PQP for roughly every dollar you spend on a United-operated flight) combined with number of flights taken (known as Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF), which you earn for each flight segment you fly with United or its Star Alliance partners).

Related: Complete guide to United Premier elite status

In order to incentivize customers to continue flying with the airline, United is going to lower the PQP and PQF thresholds by 50% for earning status this year. (Delta pulled a similar move by rolling over all Medallion Qualifying Miles earned this year to 2021).

If you're going for status with United, here's the updated chart:

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Status levelPQFPQPPQP only
Silver62,0002,500
Gold124,0005,000
Platinum186,0007,500
1K269,00012,000

Note that there are two tracks to earning status — either a combination of PQF and PQP, or just PQP (at a higher rate). Depending on when it's safe to once again resume travel, these numbers are certainly within reach for those looking to lock in status with United. Interestingly, United halved all the requirements, except for PQF for Premier 1K, which should've been 27 — not 26 — as fellow Zach (Honig) originally reported.

Related: Best credit cards for flying United

Furthermore, United's making it easier to earn PQPs from its co-branded cards. From May 1 until Dec. 31, you can earn double the PQP from the United Explorer Card family or quadruple the PQP from the United Club Infinite Card family. Unfortunately, PQP earned from co-branded cards are only applicable up to the Premier Platinum. (Specifically, this offer will apply to the United Explorer Card, United Business Card, United Club Card, United Club Business Card and the United Club Infinite Card).

Earning United Premier status in 2021

Delta's move of rolling over all MQMs makes it easier to earn status in 2021 for 2022. Well, unsurprisingly, United plans to do something similar. Although the airline doesn't have details to share yet, it promises that "changes" will be made "to help you earn status in 2021 for 2022."

We expect to learn more about those plans later this year.

PlusPoints upgrade extensions

PlusPoints are United's newest currency, which let Platinum and 1Ks apply upgrades on all United operated flights. United's extending the validity of all PlusPoints that are set to expire on or before Jan. 31, 2021 by six months.

Furthermore, UA's greatly expanding the availability of the Skip Waitlist feature for the remainder of 2020 and 2021. This option allows you to confirm an upgrade at the time of booking in exchange for a higher number of PlusPoints. It's hardly a good deal, so I wouldn't get too excited about this news. (Plus, there should be plenty of confirmable upgrade space for the rest of year, rendering the Skip Waitlist feature useless).

Related: How to upgrade United flights

But perhaps worst of all is that United isn't giving PlusPoints next year to Platinum and 1K members if they didn't re-qualify for status (at the decreased thresholds). Delta, on the other hand, is giving all members a fresh set of Choice Benefits for 2021, so this move is definitely a bit stingy on United's part.

If you over-qualify for 1K using a combination of PQF and PQP, you'll receive additional PlusPoints at the standard rate — 20 PlusPoints for every 3,000 additional PQPs earned. Sadly, these thresholds are unchanged from the beginning of 2020.

Extending United Club memberships and subscriptions

United is extending all of its annual subscription options, including United Club memberships, Wi-Fi packages, Economy Plus and checked bag memberships by six months for each customer.

Additionally, if you've got a one-time United Club pass that expires between March and July, it'll get extended for 90 days.

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United status match extensions

If you signed up for a status match and already earned status, it'll be extended until Jan. 2022. If you're in the middle of one and want to change the date or cancel and restart later, you can do so by calling United.

Waived award redeposit fees

As we previously reported, United is waiving all award redeposit fees from March 30 until May 31. And now, as part of this news, the airline is going to waive redeposit fees for the remainder of 2020, so long as you cancel your award more than 30 days before scheduled departure.

Bottom line

This is great news for United MileagePlus members. Though Delta led the pack, United was quick to follow up with the details of the Premier program for 2020 and 2021. The only real difference from Delta's plan is that UA's not giving extra upgrades to elites whose status is extended and didn't fly enough in 2020 to re-qualify for status.

Now that Delta and United have made their move, it's only days (or minutes) until we hear from American.

For the latest on elite status extension, check out:

All photos by the author.

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    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.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more