United Airlines laid out reduced elite qualifying criteria for 2022, and when they did so back in December it was already clear this wouldn’t be nearly enough.
For 2022 here’s how members reach elite status with United Airlines:
|Status||Normal Qualifying Spend/Flights||2022 Qualifying Spend/Flights|
|Silver||$4000 + 12 Segments or $5,000||$3,000 + 8 Flights or $3,500|
|Gold||$8,000 + 24 Flights or $10,000||$6,000 + 16 Flights or $7,000|
|Platinum||$12,000 + 36 Flights or $15,000||$9,000 + 24 Flights or $10,000|
|1K||$18,000 + 54 Flights or $24,000||$13,500 + 36 Flights or $15,000|
United is still basing status strictly on airfare spend (though they allow use of their credit card to count towards up to 4000 qualifying dollars now). That’s a business travel-led model but as I wrote two months ago Omicron is delaying even further some return to office plans.
And United’s route network is uniquely heavy on international travel, whose recovery lags domestic, and it’s also especially heavy on Asia which lags further still. 2022 isn’t just about lopping a quarter of premium international travel off. There’s no sign of a return to the carrier selling Apple 50 business class seats a day on the San Francisco – Shanghai route.
In what no doubt will not be the last concession to make status-earning easier this year, United will let members know on Friday they’re getting deposits in their accounts of 15% – 20% of the qualifying dollars they need to keep their current status. And in typical United fashion, it’s complicated…
United is showing love to its most loyal customers just in time for Valentine’s Day….United will notify MileagePlus Premier members of a surprise deposit of extra Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) to their accounts to help jump start earning towards their 2023 Premier status goals. Since United extended the lowered Premier qualification thresholds offered at all levels last year, the personalized deposit gifts members 15% -20% of what they need to requalify for status through 2023.
Premier members’ deposit amounts will vary depending on:
- The Premier status level reached at the end of 2021
- Whether Premier status was earned or extended
- Members who earned status, by either meeting the annual requirements or completing the Fly to the Finish challenge, will receive higher PQP deposit amounts
These post as “Starter PQP” in member accounts. A silver might receive 700, a Platinum with extended status 2000, while a Platinum who earned their status last year would receive 2250. 1Ks who qualified ‘for real’ and Global Services members receive 3000 “PQP.”
Of course this does nothing to help those actually flying the airline now – perhaps for the first time – earn status. It only helps existing elites keep status. More to come, no doubt. United just wants to wait and see how much more will be needed, what the crest of the Omicron wave and the rash of global re-openings, means for their business book.