Guide To United Airlines Status Match & Challenge

Guide To United Airlines Status Match & Challenge

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It’s common for airlines to offer some sort of status challenge or status match program, in order to lure frequent flyers who are loyal to competing airlines, but are considering a switch. In the United States, most major airlines offer some sort of a status match challenge opportunity, including Alaska, American, Delta, and Southwest.

Now that it’s 2024, in this post I wanted to take a look at the program offered by United MileagePlus.

United MileagePlus status match as of May 2024

United MileagePlus has a published status challenge program, which is currently valid for requests received through December 20, 2024.

With this program, you can have your status matched for a period of 120 days, and then your status can be extended based on qualifying activity within that period. As it stands, United is offering this program in order to earn Premier Silver, Premier Gold, and Premier Platinum status.

Officially it’s not possible to get a status match to Premier 1K, though anecdotally there are many reports of top tier elites with other airlines getting matched to this. Global Services matches aren’t possible, however.

What status will United match?

Currently United Airlines is offering to match those who have status with any of the following programs:

  • Alaska Mileage Plan
  • American AAdvantage
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Elite tiers roughly map over as you’d expect, and below you can see a chart with all the details. While not explicitly listed, higher elite tiers can similarly be matched to Premier Platinum. All status challenges give you the status for 120 days, so if you want to keep the status longer you’ll need to complete certain requirements.

Programs United MileagePlus will match from
United has a published status match challenge program

How do you maintain United status?

In order to maintain your United status beyond the initial 120 day match period, you’ll have to complete a certain amount of qualifying activity within that timeframe. The ability to maintain elite status is based on earning PQF and PQP:

  • PQF stands for “Premier Qualifying Flights,” with each flight you take earning you one PQF
  • PQP stands for “Premier Qualifying Points,” with one point being earned for each dollar spent, before taxes and fees

For 2024, standard United MileagePlus status requirements are as follows:

  • Premier Silver requires 12 PQF and 4,000 PQP, OR just 5,000 PQP
  • Premier Gold requires 24 PQF and 8,000 PQP, OR just 10,000 PQP
  • Premier Platinum requires 36 PQF and 12,000 PQP, OR just 15,000 PQP
  • Premier 1K requires 54 PQF and 18,000 PQP, OR just 24,000 PQP

With the challenge, you need to earn the following number of PQF and PQP in a 120 day period:

  • Premier Silver requires four PQF and 1,300 PQP
  • Premier Gold requires eight PQF and 2,600 PQP
  • Premier Platinum requires 12 PQF and 4,000 PQP

Those who have been offered a Premier 1K challenge report that it requires 18 PQF and 6,000 PQP.

United MileagePlus status challenge requirements

How long is matched United status valid for?

Assuming you satisfy the PQF and PQP requirements, the validity of your status is dependent on when you complete your challenge:

  • If you complete the challenge before July 1, then the status is only valid for the remainder of the program year (which would be through January 31 of the following year, in this case 2025)
  • If you complete the challenge after July 1, then the status is valid for the remainder of the program year, and the entire following program year (which would be through January 31 two years later, in this case 2026)

So currently if you completed a challenge it would be valid through January 31, 2025. Meanwhile if you completed a challenge after July 1, then it would be valid through January 31, 2026. So if you want the challenge to be valid for as long as possible (roughly 18 months), wait until July to complete it.

Status earned now would be valid through January 2025

How do you request a United status challenge?

To take part in a United MileagePlus status match challenge, complete this form. A few things to note:

  • It can take 7-14 business days to get a response and for your account to be upgraded (however, many report being approved for this instantly, which is pretty cool)
  • This program is not available to those who have participated in a status match challenge with United in the past five years
  • Those who hold trial or temporary status with a competitor aren’t eligible to participate
  • Those who earn Premier Platinum through the match will be awarded 20 PlusPoints
  • There’s no cost to participate in a United status match

What are the benefits of United elite status?

What are United Airlines MileagePlus status perks like?

Some of the most popular benefits of Premier Silver status include:

  • Complimentary upgrades in most domestic markets
  • Complimentary Economy Plus seating at time of check-in
  • One complimentary checked bag
  • A 40% mileage bonus (7x miles per dollar spent)

Some of the most popular benefits of Premier Gold status include:

  • Complimentary upgrades in most domestic markets
  • Complimentary Economy Plus seating at time of booking
  • Two complimentary checked bags
  • A 60% mileage bonus (8x miles per dollar spent)
  • Star Alliance Gold status

Some of the most popular benefits of Premier Platinum status include:

  • Complimentary upgrades in most domestic markets
  • Complimentary Economy Plus seating at time of booking
  • Three complimentary checked bags
  • An 80% mileage bonus (9x miles per dollar spent)
  • Star Alliance Gold status
United MileagePlus status benefits

Upgrades are obviously the most valuable benefit, and those are prioritized by status. The higher your status, the better the odds of those clearing. Don’t expect that you’ll be seeing too many upgrades as a Premier Silver member, for example.

Elite members are eligible for complimentary upgrades

Is a United Airlines status challenge worth it?

If you’re genuinely thinking of switching your loyalty to United (whether it’s because you’re fed up with your current airline, you’re moving, your travel patterns are changing, or whatever else), then it’s absolutely worth completing a status challenge. This gives you some status upfront, with the potential to maintain it in the long run.

I know some people also like to status match just for the heck of it, or because they have one trip where it could come in handy. In this case I probably wouldn’t recommend taking advantage of that, since you can only request one challenge every five years.

So while United’s status challenge program isn’t the most exciting in the industry, it is your best option if switching business to United.

A status challenge could be worthwhile if switching to United

Bottom line

United Airlines’ MileagePlus program offers a status match promotion, open to frequent flyers with other major US airlines. You can receive status upfront for 120 days, and then you need to complete certain flying and spending requirements in order to maintain that status through January 2025. If you want your status challenge to be valid for as long as possible, wait until July to complete it, because then it will be valid through January 2026.

Have any OMAAT readers taken part in a United status challenge? If so, what was your experience like?

Conversations (24)
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  1. Ken Buchanan Guest

    Update on BA. My uploading the PDF of my card resulted in an email asking for more info. I uploaded a JPG of the required info and while the website once again said it wasn't valid, a subsequent click on the web link in the email said it was now pending and an hour later it was approved! Having said that I'm looking for privileges when fling Lufthansa and I get the hint it won't work for them...?

  2. Ken Buchanan Guest

    This is for British Airways. I was pulling my hair out but then I went onto my BA account on the web (not the app) and in Manage My Account I selected Print a Copy of My Membership Card. I saved that locally and while United still didn't like it, for the first time it offered me something like "Submit for Review". My hunch is that its AI can't read PDFs and so it will now be reviewed by a human. Fingers crossed!

  3. Eric Guest

    I was awarded immediately after sending a screenshot of my status from the aa.com website. Also, I'm Executive Platinum with AA and United status matched me to Premier 1K status. Everywhere I have read says that's not possible but it happened for me for some reason.

  4. Randy G Guest

    i am in the first 30 days of a United Status match from American---last week I was awarded Platinum Pro on American---does anyone know if I can go for another level with United in the middle of a match?

  5. MAC Guest

    Anyone having Issues with United’s automated status match recognizing Delta’s current status? Delta has changed all of their pages and cards to not include expiration date. Cannot find one document which includes all of the necessary United requires since Delta redesigned shortly after the start of 2024. United system rejects every document I upload.

    1. Rachael Guest

      I'm having the same the problem. I don't see any solution! /

    2. Bill Guest

      Same here and super frustrated w United's process...I've sent snapshots of every imaginable form of ID and medallion status and they can't get a human to intervene on my behalf. As stated, nothing shows our EXPIRATION DATE, which seems pretty dumb since all programs operate on a calendar year. Called United multiple times and they are NO HELP. Delta was also no help. One United agent told me she had another caller with the same...

      Same here and super frustrated w United's process...I've sent snapshots of every imaginable form of ID and medallion status and they can't get a human to intervene on my behalf. As stated, nothing shows our EXPIRATION DATE, which seems pretty dumb since all programs operate on a calendar year. Called United multiple times and they are NO HELP. Delta was also no help. One United agent told me she had another caller with the same issue and she said they were able to get the info from Delta, but I think that is BS. IT'S A CONSPIRACY!!! @Ben - can you HELP???

    3. Justin Guest

      You need to print your "Sky Miles Digital Card". There is a link to do this on your SkyMiles Overview page (on the website) under the "SkyMiles Quick Links" section.

  6. Nate nate Guest

    For what its worth, I was approved immediately. I matched using my AA status and used a screenshot from the AA app.

  7. DD Guest

    I can't seem to find a way to print a "statement" from my AAdvantage program. United indicates that they require a statement that has your account number, full name, status level, and expiration date. I've tried to print various screens and emails from AAdvantage and United is rejecting the info saying it "is not in the format for the program selected". Any suggestions?

    1. JY Guest

      I used a screenshot of my AAdvantage Card. You can find this on the AA app under your profile if you swipe up on the tab at the bottom that says "rewards", "promotions", and "travel credit.

  8. iamhere Guest

    I'm waiting for when they will allow status match from other partners of the legacy carriers. It's always the major carriers but not their partners.

  9. Chas Guest

    Oh joy...just as we've gone through a purge of the top tiers at United and pushed a lot of folks downstream, United goes and tries to poach a whole new crop of status-seekers.

  10. Andy Diamond

    I had some interest because UA is part of a group of „core“ *A airlines which includes some non *A subsidiaries like Edelweiss and Discovery. No *A benefits on the latter, reduced benefits on the non-core *A airlines. I wonder if this core group will be the future *A? The non-core members already started to drop off, e.g. SK …

  11. Dean Guest

    What does Frontier 50k match to? Looks like United is matching Frontier now, and I have 50k from the recent Frontier match to Marriott Titanium. Already have United Silver from Titanium, so want United Gold or higher.

  12. Lu Guest

    BE CAREFUL EVERY FLIGHT IS ON UNITED METAL(no star alliance/code share parters), despite what the TRACKER is saying, or whether you made ALL your reservations on United.com.

    Maybe I assumed too much, but I took this challenge and was on course with the tracker and even checking with a rep saying how many miles I needed for my Platinum-level qualifications. Now I know not to personally pick a partner airline while reaching for status,...

    BE CAREFUL EVERY FLIGHT IS ON UNITED METAL(no star alliance/code share parters), despite what the TRACKER is saying, or whether you made ALL your reservations on United.com.

    Maybe I assumed too much, but I took this challenge and was on course with the tracker and even checking with a rep saying how many miles I needed for my Platinum-level qualifications. Now I know not to personally pick a partner airline while reaching for status, but United put me on a partner airline, and because the "tracker" indicated I was going to be fully credited I did not worry, it was not until time had run out and United gave me "gold" did they fully explain:
    YOUR PROGRESS IS NOT WHAT THE TRACKER SAYS, IT'S WHETHER ALL THE FLIGHTS WERE ON UNITED METAL AS PER THE FINE PRINT.
    Now I fully understand the fine print, but I felt United was dishonest mostly with what's showing on the tracker, and secondly putting me on a partner airline during a challenging period with NO INDICATION that it did not count towards my status challenge.

    Lu

    1. MS Guest

      I also had an issue with United saying the fine print disqualifies the PQPs I earned for the Status Match, and while they count for regular members only certain PQP counts for matches, see page 12 l, footnote 39. Yeah, felt very bait-and-switch.

  13. Ivan X Gold

    I’d add a significant benefit to Platinum for those wjo travel families, which are: up to 7 Economy Plus companions, rather than 1 for gold

    And another unpublished benefit for all levels is discounts on many award fares, and even better ones for Gold than Silver.

    1. Joey Diamond

      Good to know! I'm currently AA platinum pro and was thinking of doing the status challenge to be United Gold (or Platinum) to get star alliance gold status and to book E+ seats at booking. In some of United's longhaul routes, E+ upgrades can easily cost $200-$300 each.

    2. Ivan X Gold

      Yup! And for those who don't hold United Gold status, the Economy Plus subscription is a great deal for those who fly the airline regularly. For global, it's $799 for no companions, $999 for one companion, or $1,099 for eight companions -- so, one or two roundtrips, depending on the number companions, can easily pay for it. There's also cheaper tiers for Continental US, and North + Central America.

      So, I got it -- at...

      Yup! And for those who don't hold United Gold status, the Economy Plus subscription is a great deal for those who fly the airline regularly. For global, it's $799 for no companions, $999 for one companion, or $1,099 for eight companions -- so, one or two roundtrips, depending on the number companions, can easily pay for it. There's also cheaper tiers for Continental US, and North + Central America.

      So, I got it -- at the time, it was $899 for the global with one companion, rather than the $600 I would have had to pay for our roundtrip to Beijing from EWR. That and one other trip made me a United elite, and (mostly) I haven't looked back, though they've done a fair bit in recent years (PQP scheme, award ticket inflation) to make me somewhat less loyal. Now I just try to make Gold and call it a day, but I don't have kids.

  14. TheRubioRoom Member

    Agreed it's not the optimal use, but I did match to United Gold from AA Platinum last year in full knowledge I didn't have enough travel planned in 120 days to keep. (I also knew I wasn't going to requalify for AA Plat so last year was the year I had something to match from, if you follow.) Even so, because at Gold one can select E+ at booking, I selected E+ for reservations as...

    Agreed it's not the optimal use, but I did match to United Gold from AA Platinum last year in full knowledge I didn't have enough travel planned in 120 days to keep. (I also knew I wasn't going to requalify for AA Plat so last year was the year I had something to match from, if you follow.) Even so, because at Gold one can select E+ at booking, I selected E+ for reservations as far out as February 2024 before the challenge period expired (some of which my spouse was traveling with me so double the value on those segments). I think I was in a complimentary E+ seat 8 times (with one more to go, this trip next month) and my spouse joined me on four (soon to be five).

  15. philip Guest

    Any idea if you can challenge for a status level lower than your matching airline? ie- a Delta Platinum matching at Premier Gold, because it’s a more achievable challenge to maintain the status.

    1. Ocean Guest

      Even if you did the match to Platinum, just fly what's required for Gold during the challenge period. This way you'll get Gold status at the end.

    2. Justin Guest

      I did this (matched delta diamond to 1k, met the requirements for platinum). It didn’t happen automatically at the end of the trial period but I emailed and they updated my status to platinum.

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.

JY Guest

I used a screenshot of my AAdvantage Card. You can find this on the AA app under your profile if you swipe up on the tab at the bottom that says "rewards", "promotions", and "travel credit.

1
Ivan X Gold

I’d add a significant benefit to Platinum for those wjo travel families, which are: up to 7 Economy Plus companions, rather than 1 for gold And another unpublished benefit for all levels is discounts on many award fares, and even better ones for Gold than Silver.

1
Ken Buchanan Guest

Update on BA. My uploading the PDF of my card resulted in an email asking for more info. I uploaded a JPG of the required info and while the website once again said it wasn't valid, a subsequent click on the web link in the email said it was now pending and an hour later it was approved! Having said that I'm looking for privileges when fling Lufthansa and I get the hint it won't work for them...?

0
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