New United MileagePlus Status Match Challenge

Filed Under: United

It’s common for airlines to offer some sort of status challenge or status match program, in order to lure people who are loyal to competing airlines, but are considering a switch.

United had offered a status challenge program for a long time, but suspended it in fall 2019, prior to announcing major changes to the MileagePlus program. Well, the details of the new United status challenge program have now been revealed.

United MileagePlus status challenge as of April 2020

The new MileagePlus status challenge program is available for requests made between January 3 and December 31, 2020.

With this new program, United will offer challenges to those who have status with American AAdvantage or Delta SkyMiles, though they’re only offering Premier Silver, Gold, or Platinum status — they don’t seem to be offering 1K challenges this time around, at least not on a published basis.

What levels United will match you to

If you are eligible to participate in this promotion, you’ll receive status for 90 days upfront.

For those with American AAdvantage status:

  • AAdvantage Gold members will be matched to Premier Silver
  • AAdvantage Platinum members will be matched to Premier Gold
  • AAdvantage Platinum Pro members will be matched to Premier Platinum

For those with Delta SkyMiles status:

  • SkyMiles Silver Medallion members will be matched to Premier Silver
  • SkyMiles Gold Medallion members will be matched to Premier Gold
  • SkyMiles Platinum Medallion members will be matched to Premier Platinum

Note that the terms don’t reference AAdvantage Executive Platinum and SkyMiles Diamond Medallion status. I’d assume at a minimum they’ll match you to the Platinum tier, though it is also possible that on an unpublished basis they’ll matched you to 1K.

United Airlines 737

How to extend your United status

In order to maintain your United status beyond the 90 day period, you’ll have to complete a certain amount of qualifying activity within those 90 days.

United has radically changed how earning status works this year, with status qualification being 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

Under normal circumstances, the requirement for status is 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 24,000 PQP

With the challenge, you need to earn the following number of PQF and PQP in a 90 day period:

  • Premier Silver requires 4 PQF and 1,000 PQP
  • Premier Gold requires 6 PQF and 2,000 PQP
  • Premier Platinum requires 10 PQF and 3,000 PQP

How long matched status is valid for

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

  • 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)
  • 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)

So if you want to earn status for as long as possible, you’ll ideally want to complete the challenge in July or later, so you get over a year of value out of the status.

United 787 Polaris seat

How to register for the United status match challenge

To take part in a 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
  • Not valid for 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

United Airlines 767 Polaris cabin

Bottom line

United’s new MileagePlus status challenge program is pretty decent, though this time around they’re not offering any challenges to Premier 1K status.

It’s a strange world we live in where the distance flown isn’t at all a factor in earning status or completing a status challenge, though…

Anyone plan on taking part in the new MileagePlus status match challenge?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. Question for the experts: Is Delta/Skyteam top tier status worth it in terms of benefits or Am I better off with Oneword Emerald in terms of Lounge quality around the world?
    Outside US of course

  2. @Lucky

    There is some type of ongoing glitch at United this morning that seems to be randomly cancelling tickets. My wife’s return ticket from from CES was cancelled sometime this morning. Nobody was contacted when this occurred. I just got off the phone with them and the rep said there appears to be some type of problem with their system. Can you confirm this?

  3. @Lucky

    Just a minor correction on the first bullet point of “How to extend your United Status”. The PQP at the end of the sentence should read PQF. And it took me a long time to get United to admit that it is “one flight segment”, not a round trip or multiple leg one way destination. You might want to clarify that.

    I think that the future trend will be just like United has done, a higher spend qualification that is just based on dollars spent, and forget about tracking anything else. It makes it simpler all around. I was having trouble meeting the mileage requirements (PQM’s ) last year, although my dollar spend (PQD’s) were way over the requirements. I literally had to find more multi-leg flights to get the PQM’s, which is a waste of airline resources.

    P.S. And how do I contact Ford? I have a 50th high school class reunion in Hong Kong in 2025 and want to start planning now.

  4. So does any else see the irony in Ben posting this article a mere two after his post on “OMG: Is This The Longest Upgrade List Ever?” in which almost every comment mentioned the worthlessness of status on US airlines:-)

  5. @Julia It’s my understanding that SkyTeam status is broken down into two levels: Elite and Elite Plus. You get Elite Plus status with Delta once you hit gold status, and Elite Plus guarantees you lounge access. Diamond status with Delta could get you extra perks on Virgin Atlantic, but I don’t think it does much with their SkyTeam partners.

  6. United has made itself the worst rewards program, had a Venezuelan magnitude point devaluation, and has one of the worst on-board products. Why would anyone switch at this point?

  7. @Brandon that’s likely United’s problem. They had an influx of AA frequent flyers because of AA’s operational issues but with this devaluation AA and Delta are running status matches and I’m sure some people are leaving UA. With every year the UA program has gotten worse so my formerly almost 100% spend this year will be more like 1%. Too many other great carriers out there to fly with I’ve certainly had enough of United changes.

  8. So here’s a conundrum. I signed up for a status match challenge 2 years ago, but it didn’t pan out. I now have 14,000 miles sitting unused. Any suggestions on how to use them up? I’m in Australia and doubt I’ll be visiting the US this year.

  9. I can’t decide if this is stupid or insulting to long-time customers like myself. I’m going with both.
    First, they change the earning requirements to punish Chase CC users who like the spending waiver and also travel long-haul several times a year. That was an easy way to maintain my Platinum status. 
    And now, they are opening the floodgates to hordes of non-UA flyers and clogging up the sub-1K tiers with status-matchers in an attempt to staunch the bleeding as flyers like me depart for greener pastures.
    As a 1MM, I’m Gold for life. I won’t continue my pursuit of 2MM status at this point and I’ll status match with AS in October for MVP75 status. UA can get bent. The few times I will fly them in the future will be non-rev as I’ve got 1.4 million FF miles with them. 

  10. @DeePeePDX

    Good for you. Make the switch.

    Unfortunately there are still some 1MM out there who would tell UA to shut up and take my money even if you torture me in a 2-4-2 business class. I just need to pay more for less to get from point A to B. Hopefully they get smarter soon.

    BTW, award mileage ticket is a revenue ticket. Nonrev is flying standby on employment benefits.

  11. So how long are people finding the match takes to post to their accounts.
    I got the congratulations on gold email on Saturday but I’m still a ‘member’ on the app / website.

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