United Makes it Harder to Earn Top Tier Status in 2019 + More MileagePlus Changes

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United MileagePlus Updates 

United MileagePlus Updates

United has made a few changes to their elite program MileagePlus. For complete details and FAQs check out the official Updates Page. A few of the changes will go into effect in January while others have already been implemented. United has cited simplification and value to top customers as reasons for their recent changes. There are changes to the boarding and baggage rules as well as the elite qualification requirements.

Premier Status Qualification Changes

  • The Premier qualifying dollars (PQD) requirement for Premier 1K status will be raised from $12,000 to $15,000 effective January 1, 2019
  • Premier qualifying miles (PQM) fare class bonus for P‑class fares with a travel date on or after January 1, 2019, will change from earning 200% PQM to 150% PQM. (P‑class fares are a type of discounted premium cabin fare.)

RelatedWhat Is The Best Airline Rewards Program For Domestic Travel

Baggage and Boarding Changes

The changes here are nothing major and really only standardize the baggage allowances, increasing the baggage weight to 70 Lbs for all elite members. Also, the boarding groups were re-worked a bit allowing 1k Members to board in Pre-boarding and Gold Members in Group 1.

Changes to the Way Upgrades are Earned

Currently, Premier members earn two Regional Premier Upgrades for every 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS and two Global Premier Upgrades for every 50,000 PQM or 60 PQS after reaching Premier 1K status. In 2019, Premier members will earn one Global Premier Upgrade for every 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS after reaching Premier 1K status, and will no longer earn additional Regional Premier Upgrades.

Thoughts

Airlines making changes to their elite status programs is nothing new. Devaluations are unfortunately a common occurrence. Generally updates to status qualifications are a response to an unanticipated large number of members qualifying for elite status. As programs and elite tiers become oversaturated, elite status benefits are devalued. By increasing requirements and making qualifying a bit more difficult, United is prioritizing it’s more loyal flyers. However, it’s not all bad because lesser members are now entitled to heavier baggage allowances which could save some money.

 


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Subtitle could be: United makes it harder to hold on to high value frequent flyers. I don’t think I will be alone bailing from UA. As an international traveler it has been hard to keep paying higher fares on UA when very low cost economy and business tickets are out there on other airlines. Their international network for charging PDQ to UA is rather poor also. So while I spend $12-16k per year on UA I am spending over $20k in total. UA will lose $12k of my cash per year but my life will become less complicated.

    • I hear you, I’ve never understood why people go out of their way for United. I like Delta best but have top tier AA status (challenge) and find it to be fairly useful. I’ve only flown United 3 times and each one was blah. You can move that 20k over and get plenty elsewhere.

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