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

Aug 20, 2019

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.

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.