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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 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 Status||PQFs + PQPs||PQPs Only|
|Premier Silver||8 PQFs + 3,000 PQPs||3,500 PQPs|
|Premier Gold||16 PQFs + 6,000 PQPs||7,000 PQPs|
|Premier Platinum||24 PQFs + 9,000 PQPs||10,000 PQPs|
|Premier 1K||36 PQFs + 13,500 PQPs||15,000 PQPs|
Now here's what these requirements look like starting in 2023:
|MileagePlus Status||PQFs + PQPs||PQPs Only|
|Premier Silver||12 PQF + 4,000 PQP||5,000 PQPs|
|Premier Gold||24 PQF + 8,000 PQP||10,000 PQPs|
|Premier Platinum||36 PQF + 12,000 PQP||15,000 PQPs|
|Premier 1K||54 PQF + 18,000 PQP||24,000 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.
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:
- United Quest℠ Card: increase from 3,000 to 6,000 PQPs
- United Club℠ Infinite Card: increase from 4,000 to 8,000 PQPs
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.
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?
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