Unlike Delta Air Lines, United Airlines is not giving away status for another year for free. At the same time, United is making it very simple to re-qualify for Premier status or earn it for less spending with a pair of new promotions.
Fly to the Finish: Re-Qualify For Elite Status For 20% Of The Annual Requirement
For existing MileagePlus elite members, you can re-earn your existing status level (as of July 27, 2021) by flying 20% of the annual requirement before November 30, 2021 no matter how much you’ve flown this year.
For this promotion, your existing Premier Qualifying Point (PQP) and Premier Qualifying Flight (PQF) mean nothing. Instead, you’ll re-earn elite status if you fly according to the following threshold:
So by spending $3,000 between now and November 30, 2021, a Premier 1K member can re-earn status through the end of 2022. It doesn’t matter if the 1K has spent $10,000 or $0 this year…only spending in this quarter will count.
Note, you can only re-qualify under this promotion for the status you held on July 27th. For example, a Premier Silver member cannot earn Premier 1K status by earning 2,700 PQP and flying 10 segments.
Breakout Bonus: Re-Qualify For Elite Status Quicker On United Airlines
For MileagePlus members who currently do not have elite status or for those who already have re-quailfied for status, a “Breakout Bonus” promotion offers a flat-rate PQP bonus for the first three trips between now and November 30th:
A few key points:
- This is not a choice program – current MileagePlus elites will be enrolled in the Fly To The Finish promotion, not the Breakout Bonus
- However, United will automatically enroll MileagePlus members who didn’t reach the Fly to Finish qualification thresholds in the Breakout Bonus reward after November 30th
- So for example a 1K who is at $11,000 in spending and may not spend $2,700 during this quarter would receive 1,500 bonus PQPs for her first trip this quarter, 375 for her second, and 375 for her third. But these bonuses will only post after the promotion ends on November 30th and only if renewal is not satisfied under the Fly To The Finish promotion
- For the Breakout Bonus, one award trip will qualify (but not all three):
- So if your first trip this quarter is a mileage redemption on United, you’ll earn the PQP bonus under this promotion even though mileage redemptions general do not accrue miles
Earn 2 PQFs Through United Credit Card Spending
A small addendum to this promotion is that co-branded Chase – United credit card holders can earn 1 PQF for every $4,000 spent on the card during this period, but only a maximum of 2 PQFs can be earned.
This is a promotion that will require spending and effort to make it work. It’s particularly lucrative to travelers holding elite status who have not traveled this year and would like to re-earn status.
The promotion cements United’s decision not to award another year of status extension in the USA, though Vice President of Loyalty Luc Bondar told me that there may be promotions for non-US addresses, particularly in East Asia and Australia, depending upon how travel bans progress in the weeks ahead.
Will you take advantage of this new elite status promotion from United?
As a non-US based 1K and given the administration’s ridiculous travel ban, i have no chance of taking a UA flight this year… Interestingly enough, the UA HP is stating:
Meet these goals by Nov. 30, 2021, to requalify for Premier® 1K status through Jan. 2023 and earn +280 PlusPoints
Complete 10 Premier qualifying flights (PQF) on United or United Express®
Earn 2,700 Premier qualifying points (PQP) on United or United Express flights
Earn a total of 3,000 PQP only
So am i correct in reading that the 3.000 PQP do not need to be earned on UA or UA Express?
Thx for clarifying!
No – according to UAInsider on FT, all offers are on UA/UX metal only.
I just got off the phone with MileagePlus 1K customer service and confirmed that non-UA metal qualifies for the promotion. I’ll be flying vaccine-free to Europe. U mad, UA-TDS?
I re-read the “Fly to the Finish” promotion email and saw that language about the UA metal, so I called MileagePlus customer service again. The agent wasn’t sure about the rules, either, so she consulted with a supervisor. For “Fly to the Finish,” your flights have to be on UA metal. Apparently there are other promotions out there that allow partner flights, but this one does not.
I too am a non-US based United frequent flier. In 2018 I was Global Services and the few years prior and since I have been 1K. I gave up on United when they changed the rules (with the confusing PQP, PQF, PQGBT++ etc) that completely disenfranchises overseas travelers like me. In a normal year under the new system I’d have to spend $30K on partners just to get 1K. I don’t know why United chased me away to Delta (who not only still waives the EQD requirement for foreign addresses -like United used to – but actually lets you confirm your global upgrades at the time of ticketing. With United your global upgrades are a roll of the dice).
I happen to be back in the US on vacation and I saw the “Fly to the Finish” promotion and I’m tempted to take a domestic roundtrip for $3K just to keep my 1K status but I’m wondering if its even worth it. The global upgrades are not guaranteed and I can’t fly United, only United’s partners, due to being based in SE Asia. So United has succeeded marvelously in chasing away a big fan. I loved being GS and loved United (and actually still do). But its just not worth it to fly United if you live outside the US.
Can someone tell me the fastest and cheapest way to get to platinum for someone who is currently platinum but has flown zero miles this year? I still don’t know how to work out the freaking PQP.
Gold would be fine too, honestly.
Book a single ticket that costs $2k
So does this mean if you have already qualified prior to this, that you cannot get the Breakout Bonus? I guess they do not want people to move up to the next level…
Nevermind, just saw that you said “already re-qualified.” My question was really if someone would already re-quality under the old reduced rules, but not until this quarter, if they would get the Breakout, or if it would just be counted in the Fly to the Finish.
It’s based on your status as of July 27, 2021. However, if you are already re-qualified at this point, then you are eligible for the consolation prize of Breakout Bonus.
As a 1K, I’ve participated in all the previous status promotions this year. With only about $400 in spend and 8 segments flown, made it to 8,660 PQP and 5 PQF. The Breakout Bonus will be a nice way to coast into Premier Platinum.
It would have been nice if they announced that Plus Points would get rolled over again, but I guess that’ll be unlikely as 1k/plats who roll over to lower tiers won’t be eligible to use them.
It remains unclear, whether those 3000 required PQP (1K) for “Fly to the Finish” can be acquired by flying partner airlines like LH or AC. According to the terms and conditions, partner flights should be enough, but according to “UA Insider” on Flyertalk it’s UA / UX only.
This is similar to American’s promotion in that you can more easily re-qualify for current status but not move up in status.
I am a 1K at $10,500 of PQP and 13 PQF.
If I take 3 trips between now and November 30, will I qualify for the 1500+375+375 extra PQP? The answer seems to be no (since I had not requalified for 1K status on July 27 2021) but I can’t figure it out.
If you don’t meet the requirements for the challenge (a.k.a. Fly to the Finish), you then get 1500+375+375 PQPs if you have 3 trips during the promo period.
Have a trip booked in November, all on UA stock. Airfare is $1, but there is an “International Surcharge” of $1,400 which I assume is YX which should count as fare, so I think it would earn 1,401 PQP. The four segments are on UA, EI, LX, and AC; however, the EI segment has a UA flight number. My S.O. is Gold, so do any of the pros out there have any reason to doubt that this will requalify her?
Per UAInsider on FT, all PQPs/PQFs earned for this challenge have to on UA metal. So the PQP earned from your UA segment is the only one that counts.
I guess I’ll know soon enough, but am wondering if the pqp for my return flight on Monday will count
I’m currently a General Member with 5 PQFs and 511 PQFs. I’m flying on a J award ticket from EWR to AMS later this month. Will this count for the promotion, and will I be able to qualify for Premier Silver?
Totally confused – I’m a 1K now but haven’t flown yet this year. Does this mean I can fly once on a $3000 ticket to re-qualify for 1k? So confusing.
Yes. What is confusing about that?
I’m a bit slow.
What about the usual minimum flight segments then?
The “fly to the finish” promo says I can retain 1k status with 3000 PQP only but doesn’t mention the usual required flight segments. And it’s before November 30th (?) which makes it even more confusing. And there’s 3750 PQP already deposited as a 1k. I called the 1k desk but they said they’re not too familiar with the new promotion and ended up just reading info off the website in hopes of explaining it.
Honestly feels like United just wants to confuse everyone.
The required PQF “Premier Qualifying Flight” number for 1Ks are listed at 10. If only flying, it would be $2,700 on flight costs outside of taxes and fees AND 10 segments, or $3,000 without the segment qualifier. I agree that it’s confusing, there’s a post coming out tomorrow to this effect.
PM — did you ever get a clear answer to your question about the 4-segment minimum?
If you hold status and haven’t already qualified this year the “Fly to the Finish” promo applies.
However, it looks like if you don’t meet the “Fly to the Finish” challenge requirements by Nov 30 they will retroactively apply the “Breakout Bonus” PQP awards on up to 3 fights you took between July 27 and Nov 30
Currently a 1K. United exhausts my patience. Neither I or my company where put on this planet to spend the time to understand their frequent and ridiculous program changes or naming conventions (PQP, PQF, EQM, … what is this the military?) and to give them insane amounts of cash. United, who cares? You just seem like an entitled airline.
Just fly the airline that gives you the best deal on an individual flight. Instead of spending a lot of time trying to decode an airlines frequent flyer program get good at finding discount international business tickets and fly whoever gets you the best deal domestically. You will have more fun and have more money in your pocket.
Yes, you definitely can do that.
For someone who re-qualified for 1k in June by flying a regular schedule, what’s the incentive? Is there a path to Global Services? I will clearly fly significantly more than many others and yet in some socialist way, we all finish in the same spot. What’s the incentive? Maybe I should spend the 2nd half of year earning status with another airline.
The bonus EQDs can lead to more PlusPoints.
I have 11,400 PQP at the moment (flights and prior bonus). Not measuring PQF.
I need 4,600 PQP to meet this years goal of 15,000 without this promotion.
With this promotion I do the math that;
A – I earn 3000 PQP by spend to instantly reach it.
B- I try to reach 15,000 PQP by flying three times (one on points) earning 2,250 bonus PQP + earning at least 2,350 PQP by spend. The combination of promo bonus PQP + spend PQP brings me to 15,000.
It is like a status match where you come in with zero. Now you have to spend $x dollars in a set time.
“So by spending $3,000 between now and November 30, 2021, a Premier 1K member can re-earn status through the end of 2022. It doesn’t matter if the 1K has spent $10,000 or $0 this year…only spending in this quarter will count.”
Here’s a puzzle. I have been in New Zealand since February 5th, 2020, by choice. Normal life, it’s lovely. I don’t intend to come back to the U.S. until 2022. I can earn 3000 PQP by spending $72,000 on my United Quest card. I have 4 PQF by flying on Air New Zealand this year but the PQP’s from those flights only add up to 500 PQP. If I spent $72,000 do you think the 3000 PQP’s would keep my 1K status?
Not a fan of the Bondar fellow right now. So money driven and frankly, stingy. Yet when they needed the U.S. Taxpayers help, they were one of the first to sign up for and receive their bailouts. Why is it hard for UA to gift the status one more year recognizing we’re still in a global pandemic which lasts at a minimum of three years? In 2019 they decide to remove the waivers for status to equalize the loyalty base yet the Bondar fellow is now reverting back to segregating the markets based on how the geographic areas are progressing (or digressing) with the pandemic. No consistency at all. UA has followed DL’s lead on many programs and initiatives, they should have followed DL’s lead with extending status. There is no reason to be selfish right now.
Someone help me figure out to qualify for 1K under this promotion.
I am Lifetime Premier Platinum, Fly to the Finish would not benefit me as I do not need to re-qualify for my current status.
I am aiming for 1K. With my projected travel I will be about $4000 short.
If I am reading this correctly, with the Breakout Bonus I can get 1500PQP and only need to spend another $2500, correct?
Delta gets it. Keep it simple and know that we genuinely want you as our customer.
So I finally flew again roundtrip EWR-MIA in mid-July and I booked for early December. Both are work trips. Basically those two flights, the only ones I have planned this year, will not count. Great. Very helpful. Ugh. What was the point of booking on United if I get punished for flying outside of this timeframe?
Hi Matthew – can you do an article on how those who are based outside of the US are treated by each airline? I am a longtime 1K/GS member based outside of the US and have switched all my business from United/Star Alliance to Delta/Sky Team (and also AA/One World) because United’s PQP and PQF system makes it extremely hard for me to get to 1K. And their global upgade policy really stinks (can’t confirm at ticketing like AA and Delta). Would be really of interest to those of us who spend alot on international tickets (even now; I just flew AA a few weeks ago and will fly Delta in a week, internationally). Why has United chosen to chase us away?
For those living outside the US like me and many others, it is nearly impossible to earns that amount of “UA-metal-only” PQP for fly-to-finish re-qualification under the current situation where boarder control policy in-place.
Requalifying based on standard threshold is likely impractical as the earning rate for partner airlines is so low and the notorious PQP-capped rule of only 1500 a segment. Unless some other practical ways are offered, losing a number of non-US base customers seems unavoidable for the United.
If we could only get Matthew to pay attention to this issue and write about it. Its got to be alot of revenue for United.
Hi Matthew. Long time, no chat! Still miss that Sun Country first class.
Here’s the one bit about this promo that I don’t get: In order to be eligible for Fly To The Finish, a) you need to not have requalified by 7/27, and b) you need a certain minimum number of PQP to get requalify by usual means. In the case of 1K, you need at least 1500 PQP to go.
However, the “instant status” target offered by Fly To The Finish could be greater than the amount to simply requalify the usual way. In the case of 1K, it’s 3000 PQP (or 2700 PQP + 10 PQF).
So, it seems as though if you’re a not-yet-requalified 1K on July 27, and you had between 1,500 and 3,000 PQP to go, you do qualify for Fly To The Finish, but it doesn’t really do anything for you, because you’ll requalify normally before you complete the Fly To The Finish target.
Of course, you’ll still get to benefit from Breakout Bonus in that case; they explicitly lay that out. But why not have a higher qualification threshold, so that if you’re eligible for the promotion, it does something meaningful for you?
Or am I misunderstanding something?
United’s email said they are giving 400 PQP as bonus, does that count towards the 3000 PQP you need to earn to get to 1k status, does it mean I need additional of 2600 PQP or do I still need 3000 PQP?
My understanding is that you would need the full 3,000.
Hi, no. You just need 2600 PQP then. I just requalified , using the 400 corporate PQP.
‘Safety is our top priority.’ At the beginning of every flight. With over 150K new infections every day, it shows you United’s real priority. Money, not people.
What about UA elites that are non-US residents, live outside the US and are unable to fly to the US because of Covid travel restrictions? It’s impossible for us to earn status by flying on UA or indeed use Plus Points which will expire in Jan 2022. It does seem that UA has forgotten about us and I’ve been a 1K member for over 22 years, have flown 1.9million miles on UA metal. Perhaps extending non-US addressed elite members status for another year to encourage us to earn status again next year, when restrictions are hopefully lifted would be a wise business move for UA.
I’ve brought it up to Luc Bondar – he says they are aware of the issue and to stay tuned.
I’m a united airlines gold elite, reside in Japan and loyal elite member for 27 years. Travelling to and from japan has been difficult to say the least, thus without a little help from united, I will not be able to keep my status
It’s fast approaching end of the year and so concerned united has forgotten about it’s Japan market.
Is there any hope?
Question. I have 11,400 pqp. I’m existing 1K.
If I don’t earn 3000 before Nov 30th, but I do fly three flights (earn the breakout bonus PQP of 2250) and also earn 1350 in paid PQP (so that my BB 2250 + paid 1350 = missing 3600 to reach 15,000) I can reach 1K this year?
Is that correct? Or the BB 2250 will not be counted towards my reaching 1K goal of 15,000?
My understanding is your math is correct and it will count.
I called United – my situation is detailed above.
The one piece I learned is that since I’ve only EARNED to platinum by July 31st, when I accrue Breakout Bonus PQP it will be at Plat amounts (total 1500) not 1K amounts (2500).
So my 11,400 PQP now plus 1500 bonus means I need to spend and earn 11400+1500=12,900 short 2,100 pts I need to earn.
Fly 3 times by Nov 30th. Earn 2100 PQP by end of December.
That’s the story.
Does anyone know if a paid upgrade ($799) counts towards the PQP for this promotion – trip was originally bought on a economy fare but paid for an upgrade to first class. I have received the $799 PQP in my account but no one seems to know if this $799 counts towards the Fly to the Finish promotion requirements. And, I have gotten different answers from the 1K desk and the Mileage Plus Service Center.
Good question – the answer should be YES, but I’ll see if I can confirm this.
I was told that a cash upgrade counts towards the “fly to the finish” formula by 1k desk but mileage plus service desk says it won’t count. Anyone with firsthand knowledge? Appreciate the guidance.
Eight days left in the promotion and I was just told by MileagePlus that paid upgrades do not count….even though they show up as PQPs in your activity and I could not find anywhere in the promotional material that specifically excluded them, And of course leaving me short.
Any more insight on this?
I’m confused by whether the PQFs awarded based on the $4000 spends during the period count toward the 4-flight segment minimum.
They do count toward the minimum.
Thank you. Forgive me, but does it say that anywhere? I have enough PQPs to qualify for Platinum in 2022 (without having to meet the PQF requirement), but only 2 flight segments of the 4 required. So I have to decide now whether to do an end-of-year segment run to get those 2 extra segments, or wait for the 2 bonus PQFs to be credited and applied against the 4-segment minimum. I don’t see anywhere where it says the bonus PQFs apply toward the 4-segment minimum, and I know that not all PQFs apply toward the 4-segment minimum, because I have other bonus PQFs from earlier in the year that don’t apply toward the 4-segment minimum..