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Bad news for anyone looking to earn elite status with United Airlines going forward.
Starting in 2019, the minimum Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQDs) you’ll need for 1K Elite status will increase from $12,000 PQDs to $15,000 PQDs. And “P” fare Business or First Class tickets will earn 150% Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs) instead of the 200% PQMs they currently earn.
With the changes you might want to reconsider your airline elite status strategy and just get one of the Chase United Airlines credits cards instead, like the United℠ Explorer Card. These cards mimic certain elite status perks like a free first checked bag and increased award seat availability.
Here’s what United Airlines had to say about the changes:
We’re adjusting qualification requirements for Premier status to make sure we’re offering our most appealing program benefits to our most loyal customers, and that these benefits, such as upgrades, remain more easily available.
Essentially they’re looking to limit the number of folks with elite status, and with these changes, they should be successful at doing just that.
In addition, next year you won’t be able to earn more than 4 Regional Premier Upgrades (RPUs). You’ll get 2 RPUs when you reach Platinum status and 2 more when you achieve 1k Premier Status. So you’ll no longer get 2 RPUs for every 25,000 Premier Qualifying Miles earned.
But it’ll be a bit easier to earn more Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs). Currently, you earn 6 GPUs when you reach 100,000 PQMs in a year and then 2 additional GPUs for every additional 50,000 PQMs. With the changes, you’ll get the same 6 GPUs at 100,000 PQMs and 1 extra GPU for every 25,000 Premier Qualifying Miles you earn over 100,000.
All that aside, there’s one positive change for those with elite status. As of a few days ago, all elite status holders will get a checked baggage allowance of 70 pounds (some elites used to only have a 50-pound allowance). And on international flights to Europe, those with Silver elite status will get 2 free checked bags and Gold elites will get 3 free checked bags.
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Hat Tip: The Points Guy