See if you’re eligible for a United Global Services status challenge

Aug 12, 2020

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Last week, United surprised its most profitable passengers with another year of perks, extending their beloved Global Services status through Jan. 31, 2022. Now, the airline is offering “GS” to another group of flyers — those who qualified for the tier last year, based on their flying in 2018, but didn’t make the cut again for 2020.

Before you get too excited, know that you’re going to have to spend quite a bit to meet the requirements — $12,000 on United and United Express flights within 90 days, calculated based on fare and carrier-imposed surcharges. Adjusted for 12 months, that’s a whopping $48,000 in United flights — a figure that might otherwise qualify you for Global Services the old-fashioned way, but — given that requirements aren’t published — that’s never a guarantee.

You can enroll by calling your current Premier phone number, or emailing If you’re eligible for the challenge, you’ll receive a link to a registration page where you can choose the start date for your 90-day travel window.

Global Services members receive top priority for upgrades, including to the Polaris business cabin when applying PlusPoints or a MileagePlus upgrade award. Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.
Global Services members receive top priority for upgrades, including to the Polaris business cabin when applying PlusPoints or a MileagePlus upgrade award. Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

Given where fares are at the moment, it’s going to take a lot of flying to pull this off — or, if you’d prefer, overpaying for tickets by booking a higher fare class. The good news is that United is being especially flexible about your start date — you can begin the challenge as late as Jan. 1, 2021, or even backdate it to July 1, 2020, which could make sense if you’ve managed to fly a significant amount during the previous six weeks.

If you’re starting from scratch, Global Services hopefuls may decided to chose United’s priciest domestic routes instead of international routes, which remain largely out of the question at the moment thanks to drastic schedule cuts and border rules and restrictions that apply to Americans. The premium Newark (EWR)-San Francisco (SFO) route can be booked on most dates for $896 round-trip in business class, though only $876 of that will count towards the challenge. Even then, however, you’d need 14 round-trips to meet the $12,000 requirement.

Even domestically, travelers also have to factor in mandatory quarantines in place at a handful of U.S. destinations — three months of weekend trips to the remote Northern California coast may sound lovely to a New Yorker, but unless the quarantine requirement is lifted, you’ll need to spend all of your time in quarantine when you return back home.

As valuable as Global Services perks can be — including United Club access on all itineraries, beginning this January — it’ll likely be more difficult to take advantage in 2021 as it has in past years given the ongoing decline in business and leisure travel and fewer flights to choose from. That said, for travelers certain they’ll be able to benefit, and those with a significant amount of premium travel planned by the first quarter of 2021, it could be worth reaching out to United to enroll.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

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.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • 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.
  • 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✓®.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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