How do I get United MileagePlus status?
United Airlines’ frequent flyer program, MileagePlus, offers travelers the chance to earn miles and status that can lead to a variety of benefits. As with many frequent flyer programs, the more loyal you are to the airline, the more rewards you can receive. For those new to the program or for seasoned travelers looking to climb the ranks, here’s a guide on how to achieve status within United MileagePlus.
Understanding United MileagePlus Status Tiers
Before diving into the specifics of how to earn status, it’s crucial to understand the different tiers available:
Member – The basic level when you sign up for MileagePlus.
Premier Silver – The first official status tier in the program.
Global Services – By invitation only.
Each tier has its own set of benefits, with each higher tier offering more exclusive and expansive perks.
Earning Status: The Basics
Earning status within MileagePlus revolves around three primary metrics:
Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF) – These are the number of paid flights you’ve taken with United or a partner airline.
Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) – These are points earned based on the amount of money you spend on tickets, excluding taxes and fees.
Meeting a combination of PQF and PQP – This is a combination of the number of flights and the amount of money spent.
The requirements change depending on which tier you’re aiming to achieve.
Requirements for Each Tier (as of the last update in 2021):
Premier Silver: 12 PQF and 4,000 PQP or just 5,000 PQP.
Premier Gold: 24 PQF and 8,000 PQP or just 10,000 PQP.
Premier Platinum: 36 PQF and 12,000 PQP or just 15,000 PQP.
Premier 1K: 54 PQF and 18,000 PQP or just 24,000 PQP.
The Global Services tier doesn’t have publicly stated qualifications; membership is granted by invitation based on undisclosed criteria.
Tips for Earning MileagePlus Status Faster:
Fly United Often – This might seem obvious, but the more you fly with United, the quicker you’ll rack up PQFs and PQPs.
Choose Longer Routes – If you have a choice between a direct flight and one with a stopover that’s reasonably priced, the stopover can count as two flights (for PQF).
Book Higher Fare Classes – Premium cabin fares earn more PQPs. If business travel or luxury travel is within your budget, these fares can escalate your status climb.
Use United Co-Branded Credit Cards – Some United credit cards offer PQP based on spending. This can be a boon for those who might not fly as often but still spend significantly.
Stay Updated – United occasionally offers promotions that allow members to earn bonus PQFs or PQPs. Keeping an eye on your email or the MileagePlus promotions page can provide unexpected opportunities.
Benefits of MileagePlus Status:
Having status with United isn’t just about bragging rights; it provides tangible benefits:
Priority Check-In & Boarding: Higher status members get the privilege of boarding earlier, ensuring overhead space for their carry-ons.
Extra Baggage Allowance: Depending on the status tier, you can check in additional bags or heavier bags without extra fees.
Upgrades: Premier members have the chance to get complimentary upgrades, depending on availability and the tier.
Lounge Access: From the Premier Gold tier onward, members can access the Star Alliance lounges when traveling on international itineraries.
Priority Customer Service: Higher-tier members have dedicated phone lines, ensuring quicker responses to queries or issues.
Reduced or Waived Fees: Depending on your status, fees like same-day flight changes might be reduced or even completely waived.
Once you’ve earned a status level, you’ll want to maintain it. You must meet the requirements for your status level each calendar year. If you fall short, you’ll drop to the next lowest status level. However, it’s worth noting that once you earn miles, they don’t expire, but the PQFs and PQPs reset annually.
Achieving status within United’s MileagePlus can open the door to a range of benefits that make flying more comfortable and convenient. While it requires planning and, often, significant flying/spending, the perks can be invaluable for frequent travelers. Remember to keep an eye on any changes or promotions within the program, and always consider strategies to maximize your flights and spending with United. Safe travels!
Maximizing Your MileagePlus Status Experience:
While earning status is a primary goal, making the most of it is the next essential step. Here are some additional insights and tips to help you maximize your MileagePlus status experience:
Partner Airlines: United Airlines is part of the Star Alliance network, which means your Premier status isn’t limited to benefits on just United. Recognizing and leveraging this can open up an array of benefits on partner airlines.
Understanding Rollover PQPs: Introduced in some frequent flyer programs, if you earn more PQPs than needed for your highest achievable status in a year, some might rollover to the next year. Always check the latest United policies to see if they offer this advantage.
Seek Out Mileage Bonuses: Occasionally, United may offer promotions that provide bonus miles for certain routes or during specific periods. This doesn’t directly impact your status but can accumulate for award flights or other redemptions.
Stay Informed with the MileagePlus Dashboard: The dashboard in your MileagePlus account is a handy tool. It helps you track your progress, shows your current status, and can provide personalized offers or promotions.
Explore MileagePlus Exclusives: United offers unique experiences that you can bid on using your miles, from exclusive events to unique travel experiences. It’s a fun way to use your miles outside of just booking flights.
Plan Award Travel Strategically: Having status often means better availability or flexibility when booking award flights. Make sure to explore all your options, including partner airlines, to get the best value.
Engage with United on Social Media: Airlines often announce special deals, promotions, or updates on their social channels. By following United on platforms like Twitter or Facebook, you can be among the first to know about any new opportunities.
Adapting to Changes:
Frequent flyer programs, including MileagePlus, are continually evolving. United might adjust the qualifications, benefits, or structures based on industry trends, business needs, or feedback from members. It’s crucial for members to stay updated with any changes to maximize benefits and adjust their strategies accordingly.
United MileagePlus, as one of the major airline loyalty programs, offers a comprehensive range of benefits for its members, especially those with status. While achieving and maintaining status requires dedication and strategy, the perks can significantly enhance your travel experience. By understanding the nuances of the program, staying updated with changes, and leveraging opportunities as they arise, you can make your journey with United not just about reaching a destination but enjoying the journey itself. Safe and rewarding travels ahead!