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As you might imagine, many people aren't flying as often as they would be in a world without COVID-19. That's why many airlines—including United—have implemented program changes to support members traveling less. With that in mind, United debuted a new elite status-match/challenge for 2021.
Qualifying members can use their status with another major airline to temporarily match to Premier status. Then, you can extend it by meeting specific criteria. If done right, members can get United Premier status all the way through January 2023 with far easier requirements than earning status through normal means.
Unlike previous years, this year's match lasts for 120 days instead of 90. Moreover, members who attempted a United status challenge in 2020 and failed to meet the requirements can try again in 2021.
Let's go over all the details.
United MileagePlus Premier Status Match-Challenge
In 2021, MileagePlus members with another airline's elite status can match it to United. Here is an example of how United equates other airline status:
Once matched, you'll get United Premier status for 120 days. To extend the validity of the matched Premier status, members must complete specific travel criteria within those 120 days:
Note that members can only qualify for the Premier status matched under these thresholds, not a higher status. (To reach a higher status, they'd have to qualify under United's standard Premier qualifications.)
Interestingly, United offers two different lengths of Premier status extensions. If a member meets the requirements for a status challenge on or before June 30, 2021, their status is good through January 2022. However, if they meet the requirements on or after July 1, 2021, they get to keep the status through January 2023!
To give yourself a shot at earning status after July 1, you'll want to wait until at least March 4, 2021 — and probably a little later to give yourself some wiggle room — before starting the status match. And, as you'll see below, you can start the challenge on any day that you want.
How to Request a United Status Match
To request a status match, start by navigating to United's dedicated webpage for the MileagePlus Premier Status Match. Once there, you'll have to sign-in and fill out a form that includes:
- United MileagePlus account number
- Valid email address registered on your MileagePlus account
- Proof of your elite status with another qualifying airline (with your name, elite status, and the status' expiration date)
United allows for matches from most major airlines, apart from its Star Alliance partners. Moreover, you can choose any start date in 2021 when you fill out the request. Typically, you can only select a date within 30 days of the request.
Once submitted, United may take 7–14 business days to respond and upgrade your account.
Premier Status Match Key Terms
- Status challenges are not available to members who have completed a status match or received a status exception within the last 5 years. (Excludes members who received a United status match in 2020 but failed to complete the challenge.)
- Trial or temporary statuses aren't eligible for a MileagePlus Premier status match.
- Members will receive no Premier membership materials or reciprocal Star Alliance partner status benefits during the 120-day period.
- Members who complete both the PQP and PQF requirements to retain Premier Platinum status will receive 20 PlusPoints within 7–10 business days.
- If a member fails to meet the status challenge requirements, the matched status will expire, and they may return to a lower status tier or general member status.
United has debuted a new MileagePlus status match program for 2021—offering a longer qualification period and leniency towards incomplete 2020 status challenges.
This is a fantastic opportunity for elite members with other airlines to earn Premier status for a lot less flying. It's especially enticing given the longer qualification period and ability to select your start date.
However, considering travel still isn't back to normal, you should carefully consider how valuable airline status will be to you. Furthermore, while United has shown leniency to incomplete 2020 challenges, United generally limits members to one challenge every five years. So, make sure you have a plan before requesting a match.
Do you plan to match your status to United MileagePlus Premier status?
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