Guide To United MileagePlus Lifetime Million Miler Status

Guide To United MileagePlus Lifetime Million Miler Status

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Many travel loyalty programs offer the ability to earn lifetime elite status. Ordinarily elite status has to be earned on an annual basis, so it sure is nice to be able to not worry about requalifying for status anymore.

I’ve written in the past about lifetime hotel elite status, including with Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt. Now I’m taking a look at the lifetime status tiers offered by major airlines in the United States, and in this post I wanted to take a look at United MileagePlus lifetime status, which is in my opinion the most lucrative lifetime status program offered by any airline (check out my separate posts on lifetime status with Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage, and Delta SkyMiles).

How to earn United MileagePlus lifetime status

United MileagePlus’ million miler program is incredibly lucrative. Not only can you earn all elite tiers (including Global Services) with this program, but you can also earn the status for a companion. The catch is that lifetime miles are also hardest to rack up with MileagePlus.

United’s lifetime elite status is based on the flight distance of paid United and United Express flights you take over your lifetime. So this is quite literally a measure of how many millions of (paid) miles you’ve flown with United over your lifetime. Award flights, travel on partner airlines, and class of service bonuses, don’t in any way contribute towards lifetime status with United.

Only “butt-in-seat” miles on United count towards million miler status

United has four lifetime elite tiers, so let’s go over the details of that.

Lifetime United Premier Gold status (one million miler)

Those who cumulatively fly one million revenue miles on United will receive lifetime MileagePlus Premier Gold status for themselves and one companion. This isn’t even United’s entry level status, so it’s nice that million miler status already gets you the second elite tier in the program.

Lifetime United Premier Platinum status (two million miler)

Those who cumulatively fly two million revenue miles on United will receive lifetime MileagePlus Premier Platinum status for themselves and one companion. This is United’s upper-mid-tier elite status.

Lifetime United Premier 1K status (three million miler)

Those who cumulatively fly three million revenue miles on United will receive lifetime MileagePlus Premier 1K status for themselves and one companion. This is United’s highest elite tier with published requirements.

Lifetime United Global Services status (four million miler)

Those who cumulatively fly four million revenue miles on United will receive lifetime MileagePlus Global Services status for themselves and one companion. Global Services is United’s invitation-only elite tier, which is ordinarily reserved for very high spenders or those who have a lot of influence over the travel of others.

United’s million miler companion status benefit

As you can see above, at each elite tier you can designate a companion to also receive your elite status. I wanted to go into a bit more detail on how that works:

  • The companion receives whatever elite tier you’re earning in the MileagePlus program that year; in other words, if you’re a one million miler who also happens to be a Premier 1K member, your companion would receive Premier 1K that year, rather than Premier Gold (the standard million miler status)
  • The companion benefit is awarded on an annual basis, so each year you can change the person who you designate as your companion (if you want to change it, you’ll need to do so by November 30, for it to apply for the following year)
  • A companion is defined as a spouse, significant other, or individual who resides at the same home address, based on MileagePlus profile information
United’s million miler program offers lifetime Global Services status

United MileagePlus lifetime status FAQs

While the above is a basic rundown of United’s million miler program, let me answer some of the common questions people may have about the program.

Can you earn lifetime United status with credit card spending?

United’s lifetime status is based exclusively on revenue “butt-in-seat” miles on United. While United’s co-branded credit cards can help you earn Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs), they can’t in any way help you earn million miler status.

How can you check your United million miler status progress?

You can check your progress towards United million miler status in the “My Account” section of united.com, after logging into your account.

Do United million miler miles expire?

Miles towards million miler elite status don’t expire, which is to say that you can continue to rack up miles slowly towards lifetime status. Unlike other elite miles, they don’t reset each year.

Also keep in mind that these are completely separate from redeemable miles, as you can’t use million miler miles towards anything. It’s simply a tally of how many total revenue miles you’ve flown on United over the course of your life (while crediting to MileagePlus).

How do you designate your United million miler companion?

If you’re a United million miler and want to nominate a companion, you can do so on this webpage.

Is United million miler status worth it?

Is it awesome to be rewarded for long-term loyalty with lifetime status? Absolutely. But in my opinion it’s never worth significantly changing your behavior in order to earn lifetime status. Why?

  • Airlines can change qualification rules at any time for lifetime elite status, even if you’ve spent the past 20 years trying to earn it
  • Airlines can change elite benefits at any time, so the perks of elite status can change considerably even after you earn lifetime status
  • While the airline industry is more stable than decades ago, there’s always the risk of the airline going out of business, merging, etc.

So it’s awesome to earn lifetime elite status, but it’s not worth significantly going out of your way to earn it, in my opinion.

United lets you designate a companion for lifetime status

United’s million miler program is rewarding & brilliant

There aren’t many areas where I think United MileagePlus is industry-leading, though the million miler program is an exception, not just for rewarding it is, but also for how well thought out it is. In fairness, miles towards United million miler status are harder to earn than with American and Delta, since United only counts flown miles on United.

However, the program is still by far the most generous:

  • One of the best things a travel loyalty program can do is reward the spouses of those who travel a lot, because they’re just as impacted by all of this travel; to give them the same elite status is a fantastic gesture
  • United offering its invitation-only elite status as part of the million miler program is a real “carrot” for some members, as this is a status that many may otherwise never earn, but the program gives them the chance to earn that
  • The fact that a companion receives the higher of your million miler status or your annual status gives million milers a real incentive to continue flying and earning a higher elite tier

Huge kudos to United for the million miler program, especially in comparison to American’s woefully unrewarding million miler program.

United’s million miler program is the best

Bottom line

United Airlines has a million miler program, whereby MileagePlus members can earn lifetime Gold, Platinum, 1K, or Global Services status. The status is earned based on the total number of paid miles flown on United over the years.

While United million miler miles are hardest to rack up, the program is also rewarding, and gives members a fantastic incentive to continue being loyal to the airline.

Are any OMAAT readers lifetime United MileagePlus elite members? If so, what has your experience been like?

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  1. Kia Guest

    I reached my million miles last week (after flying for years with united and many other airlines...) nobody even mention anything to me that I had reached the 1Million mile, instead, the flight had to stop on the tarmac for an hour due to a broken jet bridge... classic. In reality, I think they waited one hour to honor one million miles flown :)

  2. MSS Guest

    One million miler here. Retired for quite awhile now, and while I still travel quite a bit, it's not enough to earn any status annually. So being a million miler with those perks is super nice. Economy plus when we don't fly premium economy or business, no checked bag fees, early boarding, etc. Does seem increasingly difficult to get upgrades with miles, maybe it's just the routes we fly, idk. Interestingly, I find my wife...

    One million miler here. Retired for quite awhile now, and while I still travel quite a bit, it's not enough to earn any status annually. So being a million miler with those perks is super nice. Economy plus when we don't fly premium economy or business, no checked bag fees, early boarding, etc. Does seem increasingly difficult to get upgrades with miles, maybe it's just the routes we fly, idk. Interestingly, I find my wife and I (she's independently a million miler also) are treated much better overseas as a Star Alliance Gold member (which also comes along with being a million miler)- access to lounges being one perk we don't get here in the US that we get overseas.

  3. RVH Guest

    Hi there, a recent million miler here and a long term 1K (limited UA metal utilization over the years) but a question I have is about the companion status. My spouse got complimentary 1K but I don't see any points plus in the account. Is it fair to assume that your companion will get the perks of 1K such as upgrades, etc. but will not get the points plus without 1K spend/ segments? Thanks!

  4. Brian Banerdt Guest

    So I’m a million miler and I just retired, so will be just short of 1K this year. However, my designated spouse will be traveling on high cost fares, making her 1K. Does this make me 1K next year, or only her?

  5. Donny Guest

    How are Lifetime flight miles calculated? Are they only “Base Miles” or are miles inclusive of bonus miles from status?

    1. Zack Guest

      Wow congratulations on the 2 mill It’s the only airline i fly Im a Lifetime United Global Services

  6. Nicolas Giannotte Guest

    I am 87K from 3 million miles.

  7. Joseph W Guest

    I am just about to become 1MM. If I earn 6500 PQM this year, will this pump me up to 1K? Gold status is 6000 PQM + 6500 would bring me to 13,500 PQM.

    ...or my starting PQM balance every year is zero?

  8. John Delgado Guest

    What are the benefits ??????

  9. Paul S. Guest

    I was just on my 1M mile flight last night and the captain gave me a shout out as "as special guest on board this evening". I didn't realize I had hit 1M until he said my name.

  10. Harold Sogard Guest

    I made it to the 2 million mile mark right before I retired in 2016. Having United’s Platinum level benefit for both me and my wife has been very helpful ever since. Otherwise, without the company-paid business travel I used to do, I would have no status whatsoever and would be treated like just another piece of baggage. I am grateful to United for this program!

  11. dougkm New Member

    3MMGS here. I closed out 2021 at almost exactly 3.9MM (3,901,800). I just flew FRA to SFO yesterday, so now only 93k miles left to 4MM! If it weren't for the pandemic, I would have hit 4MM in late 2020 or early 2021. I'm flying SFO-SIN next week for the first time in 2 years. I should hit the holy grail number by June or July!

  12. Antonio Guest

    Technically it's not exactly butt in seat miles. For any flight less than 500 miles, you still earn 500 lifetime miles. This is really nice when you live at a small airport that feeds into a nearby United Hub.

    1. dougkm New Member

      3MMGS here. I closed out 2021 at almost exactly 3.9MM (3,901,800). I just flew FRA to SFO yesterday, so now only 93k miles left to 4MM! If it weren't for the pandemic, I would have hit 4MM in late 2020 or early 2021. I'm flying SFO-SIN next week for the first time in 2 years. I should hit the holy grail number by June or July!

    2. dougkm New Member

      Sorry, this was not meant to be a reply but a new post.

  13. John Roddy New Member

    Iberia's infinita prime is perhaps equally lucrative.

  14. Capt. Tom Guest

    One good thing about United's Million Mile program is that it included miles earned on it's predecessors.
    I got credit for miles flown on Eastern, PeoplExpress and CONTINENTAL as they merged or were absorbed.

  15. aussiebart Guest

    It seems that UA MP doesn't issue cards any more? I am a one million mile Star Alliance Gold and I sure appreciate the benefis (as does my wife).

  16. RRR Guest

    I was fortunate to start accumulating United miles in the early 1990’s with weekly travel and made reaching million mile gold status as a condition for my retirement. It’s always a nice surprise when my husband and I are upgraded together and he no longer is bothered by all of my travel!

  17. MBK Guest

    I am at about 2.5 mil miles and had hoped to get to 3.0 (lifetime 1K) by about 2025 but the pandemic has definitely postponed that goal! I have been 1K through flying for many years, so the lifetime status benefits are not particularly meaningful. What I have found worthwhile is that the lifetime status apparently appears when I call the 1K line for help now and then and I do think it may prompt...

    I am at about 2.5 mil miles and had hoped to get to 3.0 (lifetime 1K) by about 2025 but the pandemic has definitely postponed that goal! I have been 1K through flying for many years, so the lifetime status benefits are not particularly meaningful. What I have found worthwhile is that the lifetime status apparently appears when I call the 1K line for help now and then and I do think it may prompt somewhat better service and perhaps additional flexibility to address issues. Or else I am just lucky and have gotten good reps !

  18. AC Guest

    Any suggestions to resolve this are appreciated. I had around a million miles with CO but my United balance (which still uses my old CO frequent flyer number) only shows 132K lifetime miles. I'm lifetime elite on AA and DL (both with over 3 million miles) so never really cared about UA. However, I did their status match based on my AA status and am flying a couple of trips in the next month to...

    Any suggestions to resolve this are appreciated. I had around a million miles with CO but my United balance (which still uses my old CO frequent flyer number) only shows 132K lifetime miles. I'm lifetime elite on AA and DL (both with over 3 million miles) so never really cared about UA. However, I did their status match based on my AA status and am flying a couple of trips in the next month to extend it through 2022 in case I want to fly UA (retired and can pretty much fly anyone I want to the more options the better).

    I read the info on the lifetime miles and it clearly says legacy CO miles should be brought forward but it appears that only my lifetime UA miles (and not my CO miles) are reflected in the total. Any suggestions on how to research and possibly resolve this situation? Like I said I rarely fly UA and do have Silver status (think from Amex Platinum card) so have very limited status but if could lock in lifetime Gold would prefer that.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    1. RW Guest

      I can't speak to your miles on CO when the merger happened, but from my experience, my miles did transfer with the merger. But in all truth, I never really tracked it too closely. I do know that I didn't use that many miles and had over 600K with CO when the merger happened. So maybe you didn't have as many miles on CO as you thought (since you admitted you didn't care about flying...

      I can't speak to your miles on CO when the merger happened, but from my experience, my miles did transfer with the merger. But in all truth, I never really tracked it too closely. I do know that I didn't use that many miles and had over 600K with CO when the merger happened. So maybe you didn't have as many miles on CO as you thought (since you admitted you didn't care about flying UA) or maybe they only transferred unused miles. I just made MM in 2019 and can tell you only actual air miles flown count and only on United metal. I had to change my MM flight to Singapore because a major segment was on ANA metal.
      Your problem will be that it's been so long since the merger that your flight records are long gone. But since you have lifetime miles on Delta and AA, why does it matter? Good luck to you if you decide to pursue it.

  19. Wxguy Guest

    4MM GS for life here. It took a LOT of flying to get here, but now it's awesome not having to fret about requalifying for GS each year (I was GS for seven year on >$60K spend/year).

    It should be added that upon the UA merger, all prior CO (including EA!) plus UA as well as some past *A miles we're pooled. I had about 1MM CO and 1.5MM UA at the merger, and then built to 4MM in 2019 by flying. A lot.

    My spouse is sure happy too :)

  20. Rob Guest

    I agree w you... United Million Miler Program is terrific now that I have it and can see the benefits . Especially when I compare it to American - where I have very little to show for more than 3 million miles flown. I only wish I had done that on United!

  21. Blanca Guest

    677,558 here. Ugh. I should had 10+ trips to Hong Kong in 2020/21 to boost that

  22. Yuki Guest

    I just achieved 3MM last December and it took about 20 years. On that achieving flight, every attendant, and even a captain, told me I am the first person they celebrated as 3 million mile flyer. It might be a lip service, but for me, this is a big relieve because I don’t have to worry about annual PQP or PQF any more

  23. GermanExpat Guest

    2 million miler and it is worth it for sure because it is also G*. I moved to AA for a couple years and could then easily return to UA because of still having Platinum. Also my spouse likes to have the companion status so she can get into the lounges in Europe.

  24. Andy Guest

    Right after the continental and United merger, it was made known that Continental lifetime accrual was also based on certain awards and partner benefits… So some legacy continental million mile flyers did not actually have to fly 1,000,000 miles like UNITED legacy million miler‘s had to do

    1. dougkm New Member

      And what they did was multiply your UA miles by a factor that was roughly equivalent to the average additional bonus flown miles a CO flier had merger time.

  25. Mike Guest

    I have been a million miler for at least 10 years now. It’s a perk and status you can use with all the Star Alliance partners which is great. Plus my spouse likes it a lot also and a consistent reason to fly Star Alliance Alliance. And you can book economy and get bumped to economy plus automatically.

  26. Scott F Guest

    Million Miler status is not automatically renewed. You must fly 4 paid segments each year (2 round trips) to keep the status.

    1. Ric Guest

      Not true. My father is 88 and a million mile flier. He hasn’t flown for three years and gets his renewed every year

    2. AC Guest

      Agree Ric - Lifetime DL and some years never fly them but still renewed (actually doesn't expire so no renewal necessary). I understand UA requires a certain minimum number of flights when they changed to a more revenue based system but for million milers that requirement doesn't apply.

  27. Mark Guest

    I've been a Million Miler since 2008 having earned much of it during the bankruptcy years, anyone remember the deli sandwich?? Anyway I'm surprised you didn't mention how United (actually Continental management) screwed legacy United Million Milers in 2012 by taking away the lifetime promises I'd already earned. First they dropped status by a tier from Premier Executive as it was called (2nd tier) to "Gold" (3rd tier). So now instead of receiving 100% bonus...

    I've been a Million Miler since 2008 having earned much of it during the bankruptcy years, anyone remember the deli sandwich?? Anyway I'm surprised you didn't mention how United (actually Continental management) screwed legacy United Million Milers in 2012 by taking away the lifetime promises I'd already earned. First they dropped status by a tier from Premier Executive as it was called (2nd tier) to "Gold" (3rd tier). So now instead of receiving 100% bonus miles now if I flew them (which i don't) I get 8x versus 5x or 60% bonus not 100%. Then they took away all the promised upgrades which included systemwide and regional upgrades.

    So beware all you Million Milers, the lifetime language is BS.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Lifetime language is not BS.

      The benefits wasn't promised just the name. You should consider yourself lucky that United extended the courtesy to old "premier" and give you "premier gold". FWIW you can either hold your old "Premier Executive" as an obsolete status with zero benefits.

      Chasing lifetime status is BS, and great marketing gimmick.

  28. Nate nate Guest

    Does a flight ticketed on United, but flown on Lufthansa metal count towards MM? Similarly, does a LH ticket on UA metal count (not sure why you would do this and also credit to MP but curious)?

    1. AW Guest

      I assume it depends whom you book the ticket through. If you book through UA, and it has a UA flight number, it counts. I would assume other SA flights probably don't count, but I could be wrong.

    2. GS Guy Guest

      Not true. Only United and United Express metal count. LH and SA never count.

    3. Capt. Tom Guest

      Yeah, my wife said I couldn't retire until I (she) got Million Mile status. Gold for life is a nice safety net but this year we are 1 K between vacations and medical trips.

  29. RJB Guest

    My home airport is IAD so I used to fly United a lot and have had 1MM for a long time. I rarely choose United any longer unless it my only option. They are so up and down!

    A lot of my neighbors are overprivileged, overpaid United employees and its downright scary to hear them tell of the contempt they have for the company and the shenanigans that they pull. They are all union members and they know the company can't do anything to them.

  30. Johann New Member

    I have 1.3 million+ lifetime miles on UA. Been a MP member since 1984 and million miler since 2008 or so. As you can see it took a lo-o-ng time to get to 1mm miles. But it's absolutely worth it. When I neared both 1mm miles and retirement I took some mileage runs to get the status.
    In addition to what Ben has mentioned another perk is economy plus seating at no extra charge....

    I have 1.3 million+ lifetime miles on UA. Been a MP member since 1984 and million miler since 2008 or so. As you can see it took a lo-o-ng time to get to 1mm miles. But it's absolutely worth it. When I neared both 1mm miles and retirement I took some mileage runs to get the status.
    In addition to what Ben has mentioned another perk is economy plus seating at no extra charge. At 192 cm and 115 kg that matters! Plus free checked bags too.
    Thanks UA from a long time flyer.

    1. Casey Guest

      If I get to 1MM and am a 1K, does my spouse get 1K or Gold?

    2. GermanExpat Guest

      Your status so 1K in your example.

    3. Barbara Guest

      I am 1MM and 1K and my companion also gets 1K status. They only get pluspoints when they earn it through their own travel activity.

  31. Buzz Guest

    I cleared one million a few years ago. I was really close and I stepped up my flying (including some mileage runs) while United was still awarding miles based on distance. I have a nice chunk of miles now and my wife is also Gold which is great when she is flying by herself.

  32. Leslie Guest

    I have had UA million mile status for several years. Since I’m gold for life (hopefully) I do have continued loyalty to UA but find myself more open to other carriers based on price and schedule. I’ve been flying Delta quite a bit on a status match and really like the product, which I never experienced while marching toward 1M on UA. But I’m still working on 2M - the pandemic has halted significant progress toward this goal.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Paul S. Guest

I was just on my 1M mile flight last night and the captain gave me a shout out as "as special guest on board this evening". I didn't realize I had hit 1M until he said my name.

1
dougkm New Member

3MMGS here. I closed out 2021 at almost exactly 3.9MM (3,901,800). I just flew FRA to SFO yesterday, so now only 93k miles left to 4MM! If it weren't for the pandemic, I would have hit 4MM in late 2020 or early 2021. I'm flying SFO-SIN next week for the first time in 2 years. I should hit the holy grail number by June or July!

1
MBK Guest

I am at about 2.5 mil miles and had hoped to get to 3.0 (lifetime 1K) by about 2025 but the pandemic has definitely postponed that goal! I have been 1K through flying for many years, so the lifetime status benefits are not particularly meaningful. What I have found worthwhile is that the lifetime status apparently appears when I call the 1K line for help now and then and I do think it may prompt somewhat better service and perhaps additional flexibility to address issues. Or else I am just lucky and have gotten good reps !

1
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