YIKES! United Makes HUGE Change To Earning MileagePlus Status

Recently, I wrote about the award redemption changes that United Airlines’ MileagePlus program will require after 15 November 2019. Well, it just got worse and I thought I would share some thoughts as I received a few messages from worried United loyalists.

The MileagePlus program released an announcement that was incredibly confusing. Honestly, I had to read through it a few times to understand what they were doing. I appreciate simplicity so here’s the breakdown…


United Airlines wants to become the go-to program for business travelers that are spending big bucks. Prior to now, you could qualify for MileagePlus Premier status by flying a lot (butt-in-seat), however distance flown will no longer count towards qualifications for member status.

The airline is eliminating mileage flown as a pathway to gain status, instead using two measurements to determine status – Premier qualifying flights (PQF) and Premier qualifying points (PQP).

PQFs are the number of segments a traveler takes, while PQPs are based on the number of dollars spent on a flight (excluding taxes and surcharges).

NOTE: Basic economy tickets are, typically, the cheapest seats on the plane and United has stated that Basic economy tickets will not count towards PQFs.

The status requirements are as follows:

  • Premier 1K status: 54 PQFs and 18,000 PQPs, or 24,000 PQPs
  • Platinum status: 36 PQFs and 12,000 PQPs, or 15,000 PQPs
  • Gold status: 24 PQFs and 8,000 PQPs, or 10,000 PQPs
  • Silver status: either 12 PQFs and 4,000 PQPs, or 5,000 PQPs

Currently, MileagePlus members can qualify for status with the airline based on the amount of money they spend, and either the distance OR the number of flight segments.


In order to obtain status with United you have to fly a lot of segments AND pay a lot of money. In other words, they are attempting to create a loyal following with business travelers.

Let’s be clear, beginning in January 2020, the new MileagePlus program does not care how far you fly with them. They only care about the segments and how much money you have spent with them.

A statement on United’s website read “Measuring Premier qualification based on the dollars you spend and number of flights you take rewards customers equally. We’re making these changes to ensure our most loyal members get the best value from their benefits.”

Given the changes they will implement on the November 15th and these changes that go into effect at the beginning of the year, I’ll be interested to see how well this works for them.

What do you think about these developments?

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