United Airlines 2020 Elite Status Changes

United Airlines 2020 Elite Status Changes


United MileagePlus Has Announced 2020 Elite Status Changes, and they're not pretty, at least for many flyers. In a nutshell, the number of miles flown won't matter all; elite status will be earned by a combination of the number of flights (Premier Qualifying Flights, or PQF) and the amount spent (Premier Qualifying Points, or PQP).

2020 United MileagePlus Elite Qualifying Requirements

Currently, in 2019, these were the qualifying PQD (Premier Qualifying Dollars) and PQS (Premier Qualifying Segments) for each elite status tier:

  • Premier Silver: $3000 PQD + 30 PQS
  • Premier Gold: $6000 PQD + 60 PQS
  • Premier Platinum: $9000 PQD + 90 PQS
  • Premier 1K: $15,000 PQD + 120 PQS

As you can see, the amount spent (PQP) has increased by $3000 to qualify for Premier Platinum or IK status, when in conjunction with a certain number of flights (PQF), or by $6000 for Premier Platinum and by $9000 for 1K if qualifying on amount spent (PQP) alone.

Earning PQP with Star Alliance Partners

Currently, in 2019, PQD can only be earned on Star Alliance partners if the ticket is issued by United. In 2020, you're able to earn PQP, but only in the amount of 1/5 the number of miles flown for United's Preferred Partners, or 1/6 the number of miles flown for other MileagePlus partners. While better than nothing, this is very little.

Preferred Partners:

  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Azul Brazilian
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Eurowings
  • Lufthansa

MileagePlus Partners:

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air Dolomiti
  • Air India
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Edelweiss
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Juneyao Air
  • LOT Polish
  • Olympic Air
  • SAS
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines

Other Ways to Earn PQP

PQP may also be earned for other United purchases such as paid upgrades, Economy Plus seating, preferred seating, and MileagePlus Upgrade Award copays.

Will United MileagePlus Chase Card Holders Still Receive a Waiver for the PQP Requirement?

Currently, elites who also hold a Chase United card can receive a full waiver on the PQD requirement by spending $25,000 on the card in the calendar year, and having the card also waives the 4-segment minimum needed to earn status. These benefits are no longer available effective January 1, 2020.

Instead, PQP earnings will be as follows:

  • 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 per $12,000 in spending on the card, up to a maximum of 1000 PQP in a calendar year, that can be applied up to Platinum elite status.
  • The United MileagePlus Select Card and United MileagePlus Platinum Class Visa Card earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in spend, up to 3000 PQP in a calendar year, that can be applied up to 1K elite status.
  • The United Presidential Plus Card and United Presidential Plus Business Card earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in spend, up to 10,000 PQP in a calendar year, that can be applied up to 1K elite status.


Are PQP Earned on Taxes?

No, PQP from flight spend is only awarded on the base fare and carrier imposed surcharges.

Is Anything Changing in Terms of Earning Award Miles (Not Elite Status)?

No, earning MileagePlus miles for purposes of award flights is not changing. All MileagePlus members will continue to earn MileagePlus miles for United tickets in the amount of 5X the fare, and elites continue to earn a higher multiple based on their elite status:

  • Premier Silver: 7X fare
  • Premier Gold: 8X fare
  • Premier Platinum: 9X fare
  • Premier 1K: 11X fare

For MileagePlus earning on Star Alliance partners, click on the relevant Star Alliance partner on the United MileagePlus Airline Partners page.

Is Anything Changing in Terms of Earning Million Miler Status?

No, nothing is changing for Million Miler status qualification, which is still based on the actual distance flown.

Will these United MileagePlus Elite Status Qualification Changes Affect Your Plans to Fly United?

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4 years ago

I fly United exclusively, taking United connections even when nonstops are available elsewhere, and will re-qualify for Silver status next month after my Singapore trip. When they devalued their miles, I swore off earning them. I wasn’t planning to work toward Silver again anyway (Hello, Southwest), although I’ve been trying to justify holding onto my MileagePlus Select card when it renews in February. I’ve had it 9 years, and it was my favorite card until the Sapphire Reserve came along, but my mind has just been made up for me.