United Drops Requirements To Earn Elite Status By 50%, And Reducing Next Year’s Requirements Too

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United is extending everyone’s current elite status through January 31, 2022 and extending club memberships by 6 months as well as extending PlusPoints upgrades by 6 months that were set to expire through January 31, 2021.

They are also dropping requirements to earn status by 50%.

2021 status Earn Premier qualifying flights and PQP or meet a higher PQP goal
Silver 6 2,000 2,500
Gold 12 4,000 5,000
Platinum 18 6,000 7,500
1K® 26 9,000 12,000

United’s $18,000 / $24,000 top elite status level was a stretch even in good times. It was always going to present a challenge once the economy turned. No one expected it to turn this way, or this deep. And the airline is least-well positioned for it in its elite program.

That’s why in addition to dropping requirements to earn status this year, they’re increasing the ability to earn qualification via credit card.

United credit card customers can earn 500 premier qualifying points after $12,000 in spend each year, and another 500 premier qualifying points after $24,000 in spend, for a maximum total of 1000 PQPs that count for status up to the Platinum level. (This credit card spend won’t help earn 1K status.) However,

At the same time that we’re decreasing the published program’s PQP requirements, via a promotion from May 1 – December 31, 2020, we’re doubling (for United Explorer cards) or quadrupling (for United Club cards) the maximum number of PQP that Cardmembers can earn from card spending during 2020 to help achieve a higher level of status than you already have. More details to come later.

Between May 1 and December 31, 2020, UnitedSM Explorer Card can earn twice as much credit towards status as usual and New! United ClubSM Infinite Card four times as much.

  • The UnitedSM Explorer Card has a limited time offer to earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. It has a $0 annual fee the first year then $95.

  • The New! United ClubSM Infinite Card comes with United Club membership and has an offer to earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Annual fee is $525.

United is also waiving award redeposit fees for travel through May 31, 2020 (this needs to be extended farther out) and also waiving redeposit fees for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days prior to departure through end of December 31, 2020.

The airline also promises to “mak[e] it easier to earn status in 2021 for the 2022 program year” but have not yet announced what that will look like.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. […] Cardmembers get access to extra award availability at lower mileage prices that general members don’t have. Elites with the card can receive complimentary domestic upgrades on award tickets. The card earns up to 1000 elite qualifying points after $24,000 spend each year (500 points for each of the first $12,000 spent) – but in 2020 elite earning with the card is doubled, while elite requirements have been cut in half. […]


  1. Too late for me….dumped them after the last devaluation and not going back. Funny how that works, isn’t it. Will be interesting to see if there’s any lessons learned from all of the hubris, devaluations, not refunding tickets, etc, etc. What a dumpster fire.

  2. “United is extending everyones current elite status through January 2021″….don’t you mean 2022? 😉

  3. Gary, United is actually extended current status through January 31, 2022. . . NOT 2021.

  4. United really left a bitter taste for me, with their whole “do not refund at all costs” approach.

    AA in contrast was surprisingly easy to deal with and get my funds refunded.

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