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The End Of The World As We Know It

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United has announced new premier qualification requirements that could mean the end of the world as we know it…

…for those who do mileage runs and for some business travelers.

Beginning next year (January 2014), United will require a minimum spending requirement to achieve elite status.

While the changes will go into effect January 2014, it will not affect elite status until January 2015.

United’s New Premier Qualifications And The End Of The World As We Know It

Thankfully, they’re giving everyone enough time to ramp up their credit card spending.  Either that or find a new airline, one that doesn’t require minimum spending for elite status such as Southwest and American Airlines. Of course, now that Doug Parker and his posse will be in charge of American Airlines, they too might embrace minimum spending requirements for elite status.

But enough speculation, let’s look at the facts and United’s new Premier Qualifications Chart that requires paid qualifying miles or paid qualifying segments AND paid qualifying dollars to earn elite status.

While the PQM (Paid Qualifying Miles) and PQS (Paid Qualifying Segments) thresholds remain the same, United has introduced a minimum spending requirement for each status level called PQD (Paid Qualifying Dollars).

  • Silver status requires 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS AND $2,500 PQD
  • Gold status requires 50,000 PQM or 60 PQS AND $5,000 PQD
  • Platinum status requires 75,000 PQM or 90 PQS AND $7,500 PQD
  • 1K status requires 100,000 PQM or 120 PQS AND $10,000 PQD

Additionally, you are required to fly 4 paid segments on United, United Express or Copa Airlines a year to maintain elite status.

While everyone will be affected by the changes, the two groups affected the most will be mileage runners and business travelers without a big budget.

It will no longer be possible to reach 1K status with only several thousand dollars of spending.

There is a ray of hope

United is offering a bone to its members: they will waive the PQD requirement for Silver, Gold, and Platinum qualification IF they spend at least $25,000 in Net Purchases using a US issued Chase co-branded MileagePlus credit card.

But 1K members are out of luck because there is no PQD waiver.

What counts toward the PQD requirement?

  • Base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges
  • Paid United, United Express, or Copa Airlines flights
  • United flights flown on a Star Alliance or a MileagePlus partner airline ticketed by United (ticket number starts with 016)
  • Economy Plus purchases

You can learn More about Premier Status Qualification.

What do you think of United’s new premier qualification changes? Will you jump ship and flee to Southwest or American Airlines?

If you’re happy with United, want elite status in the future, can meet the paid qualifying dollar requirements, and don’t already have the United Explorer credit card, now is a good time to get one.

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Debbie Schroeder

Wednesday 19th of June 2013

Hi Raffles,

Thanks for the heads up, I removed the possible objection. :)

Use Your Miles

Tuesday 18th of June 2013

This will require some rejigging of points strategies.

Debbie Schroeder

Wednesday 19th of June 2013

Hi Use Your Miles,

I agree. Glad I didn't try to make 1K after StarMegaDO 4.

Uri Fintzy

Tuesday 18th of June 2013

An absolute slap in the face.

Debbie Schroeder

Wednesday 19th of June 2013

Hi Uri,

Let's hope American doesn't venture down the same path.

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