Earlier this week, United Airlines announced that co-branded credit card spending would be applicable toward elite status next year, but did not provide many details. Now we have a better idea of how you can earn United elite status with your credit card in 2021.
United Airlines Reduces Elite Status Thresholds In 2021
First, recall that United is reducing thresholds for earning elite status in 2021 (for status through 2022). PQP (essentially $ spending) will be reduced by about 1/3 over prevailing levels with a 25% boost for current elites and a lucrative first quarter promotion.
- Premier Silver – 3,000 PQP + 8 PQF or 3,500 PQP
- Premier Gold – 6,000 PQP + 16 PQF or 7,000 PQP
- Premier Platinum – 9,000 PQP + 24 PQF or 10,000 PQP
- Premier 1K – 13,500 PQP + 36 PQF or 15,000 PQP
United explained that select credit card spending would also count toward the PQP goal, but failed to provide many details. But now United has clarified how credit spending will play in.
United Airlines Credit Card Spending: Up To 1,000 PQP Per Card For Up to Five Cards
I received the following email from United:
Matthew, we’d like to share key program updates that apply to United MileagePlus Cardmembers for the 2021 program year.
NEW for the 2021 program year, your card-earned PQP can be applied to Premier 1K status if you, the primary Cardmember, meet the Premier qualifying flight (PQF) requirement (36 PQF).
Earn up to 1,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP) on card spend
You earn 500 PQP for every $12,000 in card spend, up to 1,000 PQP in a calendar year, with UnitedSM Explorer Cards, United ClubSM Cards, United MileagePlus Awards Cards and United MileagePlus Cards with annual fees.
Additionally, you can now earn up to 1,000 PQP per card, not just a total of 1,00o PQP.
As of January 1, 2021, if you have more than one qualifying United MileagePlus Card, you can combine the PQP earned from all of your eligible cards, up to 5,000 PQP in the calendar year.
Ok, so it is not as lucrative as we hoped for, but more lucrative than we assumed. If you do happen to have multiple United cards, be sure to run a cost/benefit analysis on the tradeoff between putting additional spending on United versus directing that spending to more lucrative credit cards.
Those with grandfathered cards (Presidential Plus Card and Presidential Plus Business Card) are excluded from the 5,000 PQP cap.
I’m just not thinking about 2021 just yet. There’s all sorts of trip I hope to take, but with the world as it is now…I am just not getting my hopes up. If you don’t have a United card, consider signing up for a United Explorer Card, which currently comes with a sign-up bonus of up to 70,000 miles.
How much credit card spending will you place on your United co-branded credit card next year?
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