United Increases Elite Status Requirements, Adds Elite Earnings on Awards Starting in 2023 United Increases Elite Status Requirements, Adds Elite Earnings on Awards Starting in 2023

United Increases Elite Status Requirements, Adds Elite Earnings on Awards Starting in 2023

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Some major changes are coming to the United MileagePlus program in 2023. Most of these changes were originally announced in 2019 but never came to fruition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, United Airlines is now ready to implement these significant changes to its MileagePlus frequent flyer program.

The most significant change impacts how you'll earn MileagePlus elite status. Here are the changes members will see starting in 2023.

United is making some significant changes to how you'll earn elite status in 2023. (Image via United Airlines)

United Increasing Requirements to Earn Elite Status

The most significant change to the MileagePlus program is that members will need to fly more and spend more in 2023. United is increasing the minimum number of Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) and the minimum Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) to earn MileagePlus elite status. Here's just how much more you'll need to fly and spend with United Airlines in 2023.

First, let's take a look at the current requirements to earn elite status with United:

MileagePlus StatusPQFs + PQPsPQPs Only
Premier Silver8 PQFs + 3,000 PQPs3,500 PQPs
Premier Gold16 PQFs + 6,000 PQPs7,000 PQPs
Premier Platinum24 PQFs + 9,000 PQPs10,000 PQPs
Premier 1K36 PQFs + 13,500 PQPs15,000 PQPs

Now here's what these requirements look like starting in 2023:

MileagePlus StatusPQFs + PQPsPQPs Only
Premier Silver12 PQF + 4,000 PQP5,000 PQPs
Premier Gold24 PQF + 8,000 PQP10,000 PQPs
Premier Platinum36 PQF + 12,000 PQP15,000 PQPs
Premier 1K54 PQF + 18,000 PQP24,000 PQPs

With these changes, the minimum required spend with United Airlines to earn entry-level status will increase from $3,500 to $5,000. The minimum required spend on airfare to earn Premier 1K increases from $15,000 to a whopping $24,000 starting in 2023. As a reminder, travelers will typically earn 1 PQP per dollar spent (before taxes and government fees) when traveling with United Airlines or United Express.

Over the past few years, there has been a consistent trend among airlines resulting in higher minimums for elite status. For some travelers, this is an unwelcome trend that makes earning status more difficult. For others, this trend makes elite status more valuable as fewer members hold elite status. As a result of fewer MileagePlus members with elite status, upgrades become more frequent and benefits typically become more lucrative.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the United MileagePlus Program

United Will “Jumpstart” Your Quest for Elite Status for 2023

Though the minimum flight and spend requirements will increase in 2023, United will “jumpstart” your quest for MileagePlus elite status in 2023.

MileagePlus members with status earned in 2022 will start 2023 with Premier Qualifying Points already posted to their accounts. Ultimately, this is designed to make these changes seem less significant to existing members. However, members that don't have elite status going into 2023 will still have to start from scratch.

Here's how many PQPs MileagePlus elite frequent flyers can expect to receive at the beginning of 2023:

  • Silver: 500 PQPs
  • Gold: 1,000 PQPs
  • Platinum: 1,500 PQPs
  • 1K: 2,500 PQPs

As previously mentioned, this “jumpstart” is nothing to get excited about. The PQPs that members will receive will only account for about 10% of what will ultimately be required to retain one's status starting in 2023. Furthermore, if you've earned status as part of a status challenge or trial, you will not be eligible for United's status jumpstart.

Increases to Eligible United Credit Card PQP Caps

There is some good news for United MileagePlus members in 2023. Among the good news is an increase in the number of Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) that members can earn with eligible United Airlines co-branded credit cards.

The maximum number of PQPs that can be earned with eligible United co-branded credit cards will double in 2023. Here's a breakdown for cardholders:

For 2023, eligible United MileagePlus Chase cardholders will continue to earn 500 PQPs per $12,000 spent.

Additionally, United cardholders with multiple cards will see an increase in the number of PQPs they can earn in a calendar year. United is increasing the maximum number of PQPs that can be earned across multiple cards from 5,000 to 15,000 PQPs starting in 2023.

Ultimately, this is great news for eligible United MileagePlus cardholders. The increase in the number of PQPs cardholders can earn toward elite status will also make the subsequent increases a little less painful.

Related: Which United Credit Card is Right For You?

Earn Towards Elite Status on Award Travel

In 2023, United MileagePlus members will be able to earn Premier qualifying credits towards elite status on award travel. This is a significant development as the only other U.S. carrier to allow members to earn qualifying credits towards elite status on award travel is Delta Air Lines.

Starting in 2023, MileagePlus members will earn 1 PQP per 100 miles redeemed on flights operated by United or United Express. Additionally, members will earn 1 PQF per flight with United and United Express. Elite MileagePlus members that earn PQPs on award travel will also have these PQPs count towards PointsPlus.

Unfortunately, you won't earn PQP on award flights on United's partner airlines.

United Waiving Redeposit Fees

In addition to earning Premier qualifying credits on award flights, United is making another positive change to award travel. United has now removed all award redeposit fees associated with canceled award travel.

So, if your plans change, you can cancel an award ticket and have your points redeposited to your MileagePlus account without fees.

The Bottom Line

United announced some of these changes back in 2019. That being said, these changes should not come as a surprise to MileagePlus members. However, the changes to how members will earn elite status will ultimately be unwelcomed for many MileagePlus members.

Luckily, there is some good news to balance out this announcement. In 2023, United MileagePlus members will be able to earn Premier qualifying credits towards elite status. Additionally, eligible cardholders will see an increase in the number of PQPs they can earn through qualifying spending.

How do you feel about the changes coming to the MileagePlus program? Does this change your 2023 elite status strategy?

3 / 5 - (23 votes)
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  • THE PQP earned on United cc does not count toward 1k status so makes spending on the card less valuable, especially if you can hit a lower status with flights/PQP

  • johnny scheff says:

    So the card spend PQP’s aren’t tethered to the flight segment side any longer? We can spend 192k on the club card and 144k on the quest and have 14k PQP’s in the bank? And I’m existing 1k so that’s a 2500 PQP, so at that point I’d only need $7500 in revenue flights to keep my 1k? Am I understanding this correctly?

    • It took me a bit to do the math, but I think you’re right!
      $192,000 on the Club / $12k = 16 x 500 = 8,000 PQP
      $144,000 on the Quest / $12k = 12 x 500 = 6,000 PQP
      + 2,500 PQP boost as an existing 1K
      = 16,500 PQP
      So, you’d need either 7,500 PQP from flights… or 1,500 PQP + 54 segments

  • One more thing – to get those max 15,000 pqps from credit cards, you need to spend a whopping 360k per year on cards only generate Unite miles mostly at 1 mile per dollar spent on most purchases.

  • PQP credit for award flights is nice but its only for flying united metal and at 100-1 rate even if you have use 100K miles on award tickets in a year its only 1000 pqps.