United Airlines Basic Economy Is Still the WORST in the Industry – Don’t Let This “Upgrade” Fool You
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Let me remind you about the unprecedented inconveniences of United Airlines Basic Economy.
- If you’re traveling with someone else, hug them goodbye before you reach the end of the jet bridge. You can’t choose your own seat.
- If your plans change, you forfeit everything. You can’t make any modifications to your flight.
- You can’t bring a carry-on bag. If you try, they’ll check the bag at the gate, charge you for a checked bag, and charge you an additional $25 gate handling fee.
- You board the plane dead last. That way the folks with more disposable income than you can snicker at you from their seat.
Note: You can combat those last 2 bullets by opening the United℠ Explorer Card and using it to pay for your Basic Economy flight.
But now, United Airlines is sweetening the deal for Basic Economy customers with the opportunity to earn elite status twice as slowly as coach customers!
United Airlines Brings Elite Status Credits to Basic Economy
I hate United Airlines Basic Economy. But I do fly it, because I pay with my United℠ Explorer Card and receive priority boarding, a free carry-on bag, and a free checked bag. If I didn’t have the card, forget about it.
Previously, United Airlines restricted Basic Economy passengers from earning miles that qualify toward elite status. But now, United Airlines allows them to earn 50% elite qualifying miles and 0.5 elite qualifying segments. In other words, you’ll receive half the elite credits that regular coach passengers get. So if you were to fly strictly Basic Economy, here’s what you’d have to achieve:
- Premier Silver – 50,000 miles or 60 segments (and $3,000)
- Premier Gold – 100,000 miles or 120 segments (and $6,000)
- Premier Platinum – 150,000 miles or 180 segments (and $9,000)
- Premier 1K – 200,000 miles or 240 segments (and $15,000)
That’s a LOT of miles to travel. My sense is that folks who fly Basic Economy aren’t interested in achieving elite status (I’m certainly not). So United Airlines isn’t losing anything by making this change. It just sounds good.
If you’re serious about elite status, you’re better off paying an extra ~$20 to fly regular coach and earn double the elite credits. Not to mention you’ll receive a free carry-on bag and other unalienable rights endowed by our Creator.
I could be wrong though. Let me know if you’re a Basic Economy customer chasing elite status! And subscribe to our newsletter below:
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Want to know more about Basic Economy and avoiding its pitfalls? Check out:
- How I Saved Hundreds of Dollars and Avoided United Airlines’ Dreaded Basic Economy on a Last-Minute Flight
- Delta Expands Basic Economy to More Award Flights – Here’s What You Can Do About It
- How I Won (and Lost) Booking American Airlines Basic Economy
United℠ Explorer CardAPPLY NOW
United℠ Explorer Card
40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays, and on United purchases
Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck™ fee credit
25% back on United inflight purchases
Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and eligible delivery services including GrubHub, Caviar, Seamless and DoorDash
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
$0 Intro for First Year, then $95
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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