United MileagePlus Extends Premier Status By A Year (And Much More)

Filed Under: United

On Sunday morning it was announced that Delta SkyMiles will be extending elite status by a year, and hours later United MileagePlus matched. While the initial announcement from United was brief, we now know the full details of what United Airlines is offering.

It’s actually a pretty comprehensive announcement that goes way beyond just extending status.

United MileagePlus extends Premier status

United MileagePlus is extending current Premier status by 12 months. That means whatever status you have right now will be valid throughout 2021, and into early 2022 (so it will expire January 31, 2022, rather than January 31, 2021).

These status extensions officially apply up to Premier 1K, so technically Global Services isn’t included. However, I would also expect that requirements for United’s invitation only Global Services will also be lowered this year.

A few weeks back United said they had no plans to make it easier to earn status, though I think we all figured they’d offer something like this.

United is extending all elite status by 12 months

MileagePlus will lower elite thresholds by 50% this year

For those who are actually trying to earn a higher elite tier, United MileagePlus is also making it easier to get to the next elite threshold by lowering elite requirements by 50% of the 2021 status year.

As many people may remember, United introduced major (negative) changes to the MileagePlus program as of this year, so it’s nice to see those already being changed.

Here’s the chart showing the elite requirements for 2021 status, which will require reduced Premier Qualifying Flyings and Premier Qualifying Points:

MileagePlus status will be easier to earn next year

Not only are elite requirements being reduced by 50% this year, but United Airlines is also promising to make it easier to earn status next year. Here’s how they describe that as of now:

We recognize that getting back to travel will occur at a different pace for different members. Keep an eye out for changes we will make to help you earn status in 2021 for 2022, as we’ll share details later this year.

It will also be easier to earn status

United Explorer Card PQP earning increased

Not only is United decreasing the published requirements for status, but between May 1 and December 31, 2020, they’re increasing how many PQPs you can earn through their co-branded credit cards:

This should make it easier for people to earn status partly through credit card spending.

MileagePlus PlusPoints are being extended

Last year United Airlines introduced PlusPoints, which is the name of their new upgrade system. This replaces the systemwide upgrades and regional upgrades they previously issued.

United is extending all PlusPoints with an expiration done on or before January 31, 2021, by six months.

Furthermore, with PlusPoints United had introduced a “Skip Waitlist” feature for 1K members, giving them the opportunity to confirm an upgrade at the time of booking on select flights. This benefit will be available for the remainder of 2020 on a greatly expanded number of flights.

United PlusPoints are being extended

Annual United subscriptions & memberships being extended by six months

Not only will MileagePlus elite status be extended by a year, but annual subscriptions and memberships are also being extended by six months. This includes subscriptions for wifi, checked baggage, United Clubs, and Economy Plus.

United Club memberships are being extended by six months

Electronic travel credits can be used for 24 months

Delta recently announced that vouchers will be valid for 24 months, and United is matching. United Airlines electronic travel certificates can now be used for two years from the date of issue to book a new flight, and then 11 months beyond that to travel.

This includes all currently valid and all new electronic travel certificates issued on or after April 1, 2020.

Award redeposit fees are being waived

For those with award tickets booked, United is currently waiving all award redeposit fees for travel through May 31, 2020. On top of that they’re waiving all redeposit fees for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure for the remainder of 2020.

Bottom line

You’ve gotta love how quickly the “big three” US carriers match one another. Delta made the announcement on a Sunday morning, United made a similar announcement a few hours later, and I suspect American will match soon as well.

At this point this is the right thing to do. I do have to give United credit for all the other positive announcements they’ve made as well, as this goes way beyond just extending status.

How are MileagePlus elites feeling about this announcement?

Comments
  1. Copycat!!!!! United’s leadership team is simply useless. Just fire them all and put an intern to just copy and paste whatever Delta does.

  2. Expected for sure. And they will be named with Delta, I expected American to announce tonight as well. They couldn’t linger for a day or two and let Delta get free positive PR while calling others to do it. Monkey see…. monkey do. All follow Delta in all instances, I think it’s brilliant United announced quickly after bc what it shows or media cycles. American is coming. Then Alaska. Etc. I conjecture all will by tmrw morning. Plus, now I think Marriott will final extend something in some fashion. Delta is best. But on surface I think they minimized getting caught with tail between legs on quick response. Be nice if there departure and arrival times matched this one. And FYI. Delta has a large hub in NYC, of course United would do this to try and keep the loyalists. I think a smart business decision.

  3. So they “matched”, but minimal actual detail (like PlusPoint expiry, what the reduced 2021 quals will look like, etc.). Quite reactionary.

    They look amateur compared to Delta.

  4. @Lucky sez: “As many people may remember, United introduced major (negative) changes to the MileagePlus program as of this year, so it’s nice to see those already being changed.”

    I am not sure that it is true that the negative changes United introduced to their elite qualification requirements are being *rolled back*, which your statement could be interpreted as saying. They will simply make it easier for those who wish to attain a higher elite level to do so, in recognition of the difficult due to the pandemic. However, the requirements would remain in place and become operational when things return to normal. That is why despite my extended 1K status, I will still credit by status and award miles to SQ to become SQ Gold, which I was on track to becoming by summer time when the scata hit the fan…

    Anyway, glad that United has done the inevitable and right thing in this case…

  5. I hope that the 12K PQP that I had already earned in 2020 will be rolled into requalification for 2022.

  6. @Greg, I dont think it will be. As someone with 8PQP and 25 segments, I wish it was, or I am going to be kicking myself for flying United in early 2020.

    You will have the status in Dec.2021 as someone who spent $0 with United for nearly 2 years.

  7. United doesn’t roll over anything, that’s a Delta thing.

    Everyone will start from 0 PQP in 2021 – will have to see what these lowered thresholds are (I would put it at the 2019 PQD number by status level, which is still probably too high)

  8. I think we should give UA some more credit, at least the benefit of doubt.

    It doesn’t seem fair to say UA matched DL.
    I don’t think UA can draw up, get approval, and match DL in matter of hours.
    I feel this was already in the works by UA for sometime now.

    AA on the other hand, probably take today and maybe tomorrow to think it up. AA would probably match by Tuesday.

  9. As reader DCS mentioned “the requirements would remain in place and become operational when things return to normal”, flyers have to consider the long run, not only 1-year extension. If the $24,000 (fare only) requirement does NOT work for you, this is the right time for you to switch to Delta, Singapore, American.. since you would have more time to qualify or the requirement will be less for you to achieve this year. Lastly, this is a must do for United to get passengers back to fly or to retain Elite members, but I already decided to leave United when it announced the new elite requirement in late last year.

  10. @Eskimo – if they actually had this in the works already, they would have 1) had official communication about it (as Delta did), but nope, they just released it to the blogs, 2) they would have had more details about PlusPoints expiry, 3) would have had details on 2021 lowered qualification levels.

    Nope, it was a “do the minimum, figure out details later” match of Delta, as they were clearly caught with their pants down.

  11. Ok wow. So United does what everybody wanted them
    To do, and instead of saying “Good” and moving on people still find things to complain and be obnoxious about. Really? Who cares if delta did it first and what the exact timeline is. There are WAY more important things than frequent flyer status. I’m happy that I get to keep my puddly gold status another year. That’s all I wanted. Now i can move on with way more important things. Why the constant bitching and moaning?? Get a life.

  12. Does the United Club membership extension apply to those with access from the Chase United Club cards (i.e. not a paid membership)?

  13. Oscar, I doubt if you are reading this, but you did the right thing. I am 150K short my 3MM. Even with being a 1K all of these years, it’s gotten to the point where I am sick of chasing down my status to get upgraded 65% or less of the time. I am done with chasing dollar increases. Bad enough at $15K now $18K or $24K no segment requirements. I was going to move to Delta as I have Plat Medallion through my Centurion Card. I got a lousy placard at 2MM. I was at least hoping for another bunch of nice coasters. So you send a $12 wireless charger? I was going to return it thinking UAL needed it more than me. Giving me the luxury of taking through to 2021 to make status gives me hope. My bigger concern is if Scott Kirby is part of the AA culture or the Continental culture when you retire. Tell Scott if he plans on ruining UAL by adopting AA culture, he’s going to turn UAL into Spirit. I hope from all of us he’s a Gordon Bethune and Oscar Munoz guy. Even Larry K was a good leader for UAL.

  14. @Jason Indeed – some of these attitudes were cultivated during the bankruptcy days at UA – the airline was most generous with international upgrades and bonuses thanks to too many widebodies for its own good. It attracted a tough to placate subset of gamers that overestimates its revenue contribution to the airline thinking placating them will ‘save’ the airline, or not doing so will send it to ruin. Savvier gamers play the cards dealt by each airline without the self importance regarding their revenue contribution.

    At the end of the day they want UA to be viable because it’s still the best for many gamers (I’m a gamer too – although most have latched on to AS or AA) – but these attitudes don’t help their credibility with UA management.

  15. The official announcement specifically states up to 1K – notably leaving out GS. Your article states INCLUDING GS.

    What do you know about GS as United intent with us?

  16. They posted an official update on their blog / United hub and specifically mention this extension applies to official published status levels up to Premier 1K.

    So they’re explicitly not providing a guarantee of Global Services extension for now FYI. This contradicts the story slightly as you mention GS being extended.

  17. My UA Club passes were not extended:

    Valid dates: November 09, 2019
    through November 16, 2020

    Do we have to make a call for the extension?

  18. @Greg, your 12K PQPs have now earned you 1K status through Jan 2022 – United reduced requirements by 50%

  19. Frankly credit should be due with Hilton. They started it. Delta merely updated it the fit, while United couldn’t be bothered and copied wholesale.

  20. In the meantime, in Japan both JL and NH announced double status points till end of June-July to maintain passenger traffic. I feel that encouraging people to take unnecessary risks for themselves and others is downright irresponsible in light of current situation. I wish prominent travel bloggers like you could raise awareness of the issue and shame the airlines.

  21. I’m living in palm beach. Love family more than all ( wife and 1 child ) and have avoided traveling. But I had too Tonight sadly bc I love my father and he was about ready to die on west coast. Lots confusion on him so plans changed lots. FYI delta had no clue of this obviously situation. But as a 360 they took the utmost care of me. Delta is the best if ur very loyal. FYI. I went to restroom and flight attendant thanked me for loyalty. Then asked a few questions and I told her. Long story short. A car was there as I deplaned and took me all the way to hospital. I 30 min drive in a car that say delta on it. And then asked to call a when I need to be picked up. Even for Be , that unprecedented in USA. Gooooooooo Delta. This flight attendant will get awesome notes and they shouldn’t lose her. So point is, if ur important to them as a customer, they are best.

  22. Lifetime 1k and Lifetime United Club. No love for me. Only wish is to use the club whenever I am at the airport when I am not flying UAL. Great gift to others, enjoy. Whats next triple miles?

  23. Lucky, the official announcement specifically only includes up to 1k in the extension. Do you have some other source that says gs will be extended?

  24. Would be great to see something similar in Europe. As far as I know, only BA offered an extension to those terminating their membership year in Q2. Nothing from any other airline group …

  25. I love how the Delta cult is all “United copies! Delta was first!” when Delta has innovated many dreadful things for us, such as Basic Economy, points pegged to close to one cent most of the time, award tickets that can’t be cancelled or changed within 72 hours of flight, etc. I’m happy that United has *not* copied all of their bottom-line tactics.

  26. I am GS for past 6 years and as [email protected]:42 am commented, the mass email I just received says the following:
    The big news: Your current 2020 Premier status will be extended to January 31, 2022.

    • At a minimum, you will enjoy the same published status next year that you have today, up to Premier 1K®. (You will see this reflected in your account in the coming weeks.)

    So if the point of this mail was to make me worry about my GS status next year then it has succeeded. I am already 1K for life so that promise means nothing to me.

    I am obviously not a United hater, I am closing in on 4 million lifetime flight miles with them that will get me GS lifetime status. But I can’t help but contrast United’s approach to this problem with SQ (where I am also Solitaire PPS) who wrote me personally 2 weeks ago promising my Solitaire status would be protected for an extra year no matter how much I travel this year. That is the right way to treat people who spend close to $50,000 a year on your company.

  27. Thank you for flying United Carbon Copy Airlines. Good job, UA! At least you guys are so creative with how to copying Delta.

  28. I do find this hugely Ironic…

    Just a few months ago- “we can jack the qualification levels, we can change the relationship…we can show you how loyal we are to you….as we like, we make the rules, we change the goal lines and relationship details how and when we like- live with it”, a bit arrogant and snotty….

    Now they want our monies, both as a customer, and as a taxpayer…Ironic….inconsistent…

    After all….United….they took forever to be truly “United” joining in their merger….then the Polaris Product….both the lounges and the product roll out as an flying experience/friendly skies…you rolled people down the isles and treated us literally as commodities…..now…

    So here we are….you want my loyalty…but offer no consistent relationship…no fair trade….no depth of commitment…no long-term loyalty back….take my monies (bot as a taxpayer, and as a customer), then later raise the bar….again and again….now you need us…

    We need you to be truly United, Friendly….in a long-term relationship….this shifting, unstable basis for a relationship is totally unacceptable….frankly….please rethink the situation you find yourself in….don’t just follow….lead….

    Suggest you Pledge loyalty and consistency to your already loyal flying customers….Promise in writing that you will be a flying partner, sustain the relationship, nurture it, foster it….remember us, respect us….

    We are awaiting your humble and committed relationship statement- one that leads from the front in the industry….not just lagging….

  29. The bit that I find tantalizing is this:
    “We recognize that getting back to travel will occur at a different pace for different members. Keep an eye out for changes we will make to help you earn status in 2021 for 2022, as we’ll share details later this year.”

    It could mean that the hit to their bottom line that they expect from what is looking to be a great depression-like downturn in global economy is going to get UA to reconsider the wisdom of the steep elite qualification requirements that they announced for earning status in 2020 for 2021 and beyond. I suspect that they will be rolling back those requirements, at least until their planes return to flying full again, which may take a good while…

    Nothing like a nasty bug to teach increasingly arrogant loyalty programs a bit about humility!

  30. Lucky, how do you read the statement “We are now also waiving all redeposit fees for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure for the remainder of 2020.”? I am looking at making an award booking for a potential trip in Jan 2021. If I cancel more than 30 days before, it will be in 2020. Is it the date of travel or the date of cancellation that counts?

  31. Can you earn PQP from the new Club card that you linked in your article? Or is it only from that old card that isn’t open to new applications?

  32. Copying? Really? Is that what we are worried about – who did it first? So the NBA is the best for shutting down first and all the other pro sports leagues are copycats for pausing their seasons? I suppose you all who are critics would always know the right thing to do at just the right time – and be first. There are a lot of factors involved in making important decisions. You don’t want to be too hasty and you don’t want to be too late. While United is far from perfect, they aren’t too late in making this decision.

  33. So basically if I get a United Club card like the Infinite, and then spend 3k on it for a UA flight I get quadruple PQP for a total of 12k which puts me at 1k?
    That might be enough to keep me from leaving MileagePlus this year like I was planning.

  34. @DeePeePDX

    United is increasing the PQP bonuses for credit card spending that replaced the PQD waiver. It seems that if one had the older cards that are unavailable to new applicants, he could quite easily become or maintain 1K through credit card spending under the temporary rules. The currently available cards only give 1,000 PQPs, but they are stackable, so, theoretically, if you had three Club cards, it seems like you could get 12,000 PQPs for $72,000 of spending.

    https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/help/faq/premier-qualifying-points-pqp.html

    Instead of offering a waiver for United MileagePlus Chase Cardmembers, we now offer ways to earn PQP through eligible cards to help members reach Premier status faster.

    Earn up to 1,000 PQP: The United Explorer Card, United Club Card, United Explorer Business Card, United Club Business Card, United MileagePlus Awards Card, United MileagePlus Card, and United MileagePlus Business Card earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in card spend, up to 1,000 PQP in a calendar year, that can be applied up to Platinum.
    Earn up to 3,000 PQP: The United MileagePlus Select Card and United MileagePlus Platinum Class Visa Card earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in card spend, up to 3,000 PQP in a calendar year, that can be applied up to 1K.
    Earn up to 10,000 PQP: The United Presidential Plus Card and United Presidential Plus Business Card earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in card spend, up to 10,000 PQP in a calendar year, that can be applied up to 1K.
    United TravelBank Cardmembers do not earn PQP for card spend.
    Additionally, On April 1, 2020, any residual Flex PQM (FPQM) balances will be converted and can be used as Flex PQP (FPQP) going forward at a ratio of 5:1. Flex balances that are converted can be applied up to Platinum.

  35. Such a convoluted program, ‘doubled’, ‘quadrupled’, they might not even be sure of their own math.

  36. Hi!
    Thanks for the update! Does the decreased thresholds apply to increasing status for 2021 only or for increasing status for 2022? Also, will the PQP from 2020 apply towards 2022 status or only PQP from 2021?
    Thank you!

  37. @cargocult Thanks. I thought my evaluation was a bit too hopeful.
    I will enjoy my Platinum status until 2022 then status match with AS like I was planning. The only way I’d stay with UA at this point is if they reinstate the CC spending waiver.
    Seeing how desperate they and the banks are getting, I can see this coming back in a few months.

  38. I am 80% of the way towards completing my requirements for Platinum under the old regime. I am currently Platinum. Very excited if that means 1K under the lower thresholds. Do you know if I would get upgraded to 1K status immediately for rest of 2020 + 2021? Will additional Plus Points be available immediately?

  39. @PM1 – yes, you should get the new status level immediately upon hitting 12K PQP and the plus points for this year should be available immediately too – but for everyone asking about things updating to the new date immediately, remember they said this would be available in a couple weeks. I believe this is why they hadn’t announced yet as they were trying to get the old systems to be updated before they updated anything – but when Delta announced they had to get something out there ASAP even if they back-end systems aren’t ready yet.

    Your plus points question is interesting to me too as I’m already at 15,000PQP for this year so not only will I get my current 1K rolled from 1/31/2021 to 1/21/2022, but I have already requalified so I should get my plus points (+280 PlusPoints) for that requalification as soon as they get their systems figured out, which would be nice. The website still says you get +20 additional points for every 3,000PQP on top of 18,000, so we’ll see if they drop that down to +20PlusPoints for every 3,000PQP on top of 9,000 (which is the reduced 18,000 number), or if it’s on top of 12,000. I’m hoping it’s on top of 9,000, which would already give me 280+40 on top of what I’ve already got in my account.

  40. One great thing that hasn’t been noted is the additional 12 months added to their Electronic Travel Certificates. I have one that I received from an overbooked flight that expires Sep 15, 2020 which I was worried I might not be able to use with my family (was planning to use it over this summer, but that’s likely out)… so nice they aren’t just adding making it 24 months on ETCs issued on or after April 1 (as I initially thought the release said)… Here’s the wording on that part:

    All electronic travel certificates now have 24 months to be used.

    If your travel plans have been disrupted, and you have an electronic travel certificate from us for the value of your ticket, you now have two years from the date it was issued to book a new flight, as well as up to an additional 11 months to travel. This includes all currently valid and all new electronic travel certificates issued on or after April 1, 2020.

    So the way I read that is if mine expires 9/15/2020 (issued 9/15/2019), I now have until 9/15/2021 to book the flight and the flight can be anytime before 8/15/2022.

  41. BTW there are no “rollover PQPs” with United, I see that question keep popping up. You have two scenarios:
    – Keep the status you earned in the 2019 flying year, all the way through Jan 2022
    – Meet the new (lowered) thresholds for this year, which may elevate your status also through Jan 2022, and/or give you a new batch of PlusPoints for the 2021 year

    Rollover is a Delta thing

  42. Is anyone surprised that it has been radio silence from AA on this issue? Perhaps AA is going to buck the trend and royally screw their elite members.

    Frankly I wouldn’t expect anything less from AA.

  43. Here’s what I got back from United Global Services customer service today in my email: GS is NOT included and won’t be extended, not as of right now at least. UNBELIEVABLE. Talk about screwing your best customers.

    “Global Services will continue to be an invitation only program. We realize your ability to travel in 2020 has been impacted and we plan on providing more information on the 2021 Global Services program later in the year. Given the fast-moving environment with travel demand, we will be offering, at a minimum, Premier 1K status to all 2020 earned Global Services members.

    As a Global Services member, we value your business. Thank you for choosing United and MileagePlus.”

  44. Hi double points!
    Just 3 ewr-sin trips + some domestic got u 1k under $6000
    Cheapest top tier ever.
    No complaint.

  45. My United club membership expired March 31st. Will I still be eligible for the 6 month extension?

  46. I received an e-mail just this Monday saying that United was reducing requirements by 50% but didn’t mention extending benefits out a year. Did I miss something? It’s entirely possible that I did…

  47. Does the United Club membership extension apply to those with access from the Chase United Club cards (i.e. not a paid membership)?

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