See If You’re Targeted for a United Elite Status Shortcut

Aug 20, 2019

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From time to time, airlines and hotel chains offer opportunities to earn elite status with lighter requirements — it’s what we refer to as a “status challenge.” Some are more challenging than others, of course, but rarely are they as specific as what United’s just dropped on a number of MileagePlus members.

First, the good news — this is a rare opportunity to earn top-tier Premier 1K status without meeting the regular requirements, including earning 100,000 Premier-Qualifying Miles (PQMs) and $15,000 Premier-Qualifying Dollars (PQDs). Assuming you’re targeted for the offer (check here), as a friend of mine was, you can achieve certain milestones to earn Gold, Platinum or 1K status.

Now, here comes the fun part — actually qualifying for 1K requires four round-trips (or a mix of eight individual segments), between Newark (EWR) and London Heathrow (LHR). All segments must be in a paid business fare class (J, C, D, Z or P). You don’t need to originate or end your travel in Newark and/or London, but you do need to travel on one of United’s daily nonstops between the two cities as part of your itinerary, between now and December 15, 2019.

This latest promo coincides with a big business-class upgrade on United’s Newark-London flights — soon, all five daily departures will feature the airline’s special “high-J” 767-300ER, with a total of 46 Polaris business seats. That’s a big boost from the 30 seats United previously offered on those planes, which may have led to this creative solution, clearly aimed at generating interest for this particular route.

Paid business-class flights can be booked starting at $2,188 round-trip, though I’m only finding fares that low over Thanksgiving — much of the time, you’re looking at $7,000 round-trip or more.

That said, assuming you’re able to meet the requirements outlined above, you’ll have full elite benefits for your given tier, including Regional Premier Upgrade and Global Premier Upgrade certificates if you hit 1K. And status will be valid through January 31, 2021, making this offer worth a look for some.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy

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