United Airlines Announces Big Changes for 2020

Posted on December 9, 2019 by in Frequent Flyer Programs, Travel Deals, Travel News, United Airlines

United Airlines introduced its new system for awarding cabin upgrades, PlusPoints, a few weeks back. Today united came out with the announcement they are completely changing how you earn MileagePlus Premier Status, and the feelings are mixed.

United Premier Status Changes

Until these changes, United tracked Premier Qualifying Miles and Segments (PQM and PQS) and Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD). To get any elite status you had to meet an earning goal for both PQM and PQD. Now, United announced they will be replacing that system with y Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) and Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF).

So right now there are three requirements to get a United Airlines premier status:

  • Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM) – You can earn PQM based on the number of miles flown and type of fare purchased
  • Or Premier Qualifying Segments (PQS) – You can earn PQS based on the number of flight segments flown and type of fare purchased
  • Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) – You can earn PQD based on base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges on United Airlines flights. This option was only valid for US-based customers

United is planning to replace these three options in 2020 with:

  • Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF) – You can earn PQF based on the number of flight segments flown, four of which need to be flown on United or United Express
  • Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) – You can earn PQP based on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharge of flight purchases, along with seating purchases and paid upgrades. This is valid on United flights and partner flights

Until now, you had to meet two criteria for status. First, you could earn a certain number of Premier Qualifying Miles or Premier Qualifying Segments. Second, you needed to earn a certain number of Premier Qualifying Dollars or receive a waiver.

New Status Requirements for 2020

These changes United Airlines is implementing are pretty big. Premier Miles are completely disappearing. What that means is that the distance you fly will no longer be a factor. The most important thing to look out for is the Premier Qualifying Points, as you can earn your status just with them. You earn 1 PQP per dollar spent on the fare, so it is easy to keep track of them. This puts the focus from how far you travel to how much you pay on United Airlines.

PQP and PQF needed for elite status:

  • Silver – 12 PQF and 4,000 PQP. If you opt out just for PQP you will need 5,000 of them
  • Gold – 24 PQF and 8,000 PQP, or just 10,000 PQP
  • Platinum – 36 PQF and 12,000 PQP, or just 15,000 PQP
  • 1K – 54 PQF and 18,000 PQP, or just 24,000 PQP
  • You can sign up here

So far, United Airlines will continue to award miles as before, based on how much you spend for each elite status. Beginning next year, the credit earned by partner flights will also change a lot for the way you earn on United. United will now allow partner flights to earn PQP credit. Some of their partners include Air Canada, Air China, Avianca, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines and many more.


About the author: Mila Kostic is a native of Belgrade, Serbia. After majoring in sociology at the Belgrade University she has been working as tutor and coach. Prior to taking on her role at Mighty Travels, she wrote for a video games, fitness, and health lifestyle website. After starting her work with the Mighty Travels team she discovered her passion for travel and travel writing. Now, she is focused on bringing you the newest travel news. In her portfolio here at Mighty Travels, you can find articles on Airline news, hottest credit card deals, tips and tricks on earning miles and much more. You can reach her at [email protected]

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