United Airlines Adds Spend Requirement for Elite Status Beginning in 2014

Hot off the Flyertalk and Milepoint boards is the announcement that beginning next year, United will follow Delta’s lead by adding an annual spend requirement for elite qualification.

Here is UA Insider’s post from this morning:

Today we’re announcing some upcoming changes to our Premier qualification requirements for 2014. We’ve posted complete details and a FAQ at www.mileageplusupdates.com, but I wanted to share an excerpt of the key points with you directly:

Starting in January 2014, Premier qualification for members living in the United States will include a minimum annual spending level. We will track this new requirement with Premier qualifying dollars (PQD) – dollars spent on most United tickets, including partner flights, and Economy Plus purchases. The changes will not affect Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or Premier qualifying segments (PQS). The new criteria will look like this:

  • Premier Silver: [25,000 PQM or 30 PQS] and $2,500 PQD
  • Premier Gold: [50,000 PQM or 60 PQS] and $5,000 PQD
  • Premier Platinum: [75,000 PQM or 90 PQS] and $7,500 PQD
  • Premier 1K: [100,000 PQM or 120 PQS] and $10,000 PQD

A minimum of at least four paid flights operated by United, United Express, or Copa Airlines will be needed to qualify for any Premier status.

For 2014, the PQD requirement is waived for Premier Silver, Premier Gold, and Premier Platinum qualification for members whose address with MileagePlus is within the 50 United States or the District of Columbia and who spend at least $25,000 in Net Purchases in 2014 on a MileagePlus co-branded credit card issued by Chase Bank USA, N.A. There is no PQD waiver for Premier 1K qualification.

As mentioned above, there are more details and a FAQ posted at www.mileageplusupdates.com, and over the next few days we’ll be communicating this information to our members. In the meantime, if you still have any more questions after going through the FAQ, please post them here and I’ll do my best to clarify.

I’ll have more thoughts on this in another post, but wanted to spread the word ASAP in the event you haven’t seen it yet. My initial reaction is, “yep… figured this was coming.”

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.

Related posts:

United’s Revenue Model for Elite Status Is Only the Beginning

My Thoughts on the Rumored United MileagePlus Changes (2012)

Delta’s New Medallion Qualifying Dollar Requirement

What the New American AAdvantage Program Might Look Like


  1. @Joey: American has done status matches in the past (I’m not sure if they’re currently doing one)… you can try calling the AAdvantage desk. BUT (and this is a big BUT), I wouldn’t be surprised if AA rolls out a similar spend requirement soon, particularly the the majority of senior management at the “new” American is coming from US Airways and they’ve been the ones more likely to follow Delta’s (and now United’s) lead in adding a revenue requirement.

  2. Not really surprising. I wonder if there are significant numbers of members at each tier level who wouldn’t have met the spend requirement. If you are pure mile runner, maybe, but if do any material amount of work travel or inflexible-date travel, chances are that you are spending close to the required amounts.

    I do hope that the website will include a tool to monitor progress on the dollar requirement.

  3. Interesting. Wonder how many elites will be filtered out due to not enough spend? It must be a significant enough number for UA to make this change. Though it seems that the average business traveler would have no problem meeting these limits (especially if traveling internationally in premium cabins).

  4. Maybe Randy can have United sponsor next year’s BAcon dinner/concert. Since both United and Delta are bar-b-Qing their customers, seems very appropriate

  5. The FF community is getting hit left and right with changes. If you fly for business then the new qualifications are not going to affect you. Now those who fly for fun will have to shell out more dough. 2013 is not a friendly year, and six more months to go.

  6. @Carl: I bet for many *true* business travelers at each level, the revenue requirement is a drop in the bucket, as @Jon notes. And yes, I hope they introduce a web tracker so we all know where we stand!

  7. More of the same over the past seven years. Screw the 1K’s, this time no waiver for Chase card MP holders, like the 25k, 50k and 75k qualifiers. And United can’t figure out why 1K’s are bolting for AA and Delta.

  8. I have been a 1k for 11 years straight. So far as of June 18 this year I have just over 25,000 miles. I have permanent gold status as a 1.5 million miler. I recently changed jobs to one with far less travel. I have had it with United and I am busy using the 1.6 million miles my wife and I have in our accounts on free trips.

  9. @Jack United is hoping that 1K’s with less than $10K in annual spend bolt. They aren’t good customers and if they don’t bolt, United will be giving them less benefits. Delta already has similar requirements. At least you are lifetime Gold, including *G.

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