United Airlines Basic Economy Is Still the WORST in the Industry – Don’t Let This “Upgrade” Fool You

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

United Airlines Basic Economy Is Still the WORST in the Industry – Don’t Let This “Upgrade” Fool You

Joseph HostetlerUnited Airlines Basic Economy Is Still the WORST in the Industry – Don’t Let This “Upgrade” Fool YouMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

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 money 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 Makes a Slight Improvement to Basic Economy – But It’s All for Show.  Here’s Why!

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 Chase 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.  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!

To make sure you never miss valuable miles & points news and changes, sign up for our email newsletter!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 33,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

United℠ Explorer Card

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 and on hotel stays
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $120 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 on purchases from United, and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

1comment

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Following