United makes status easier to attain in 2021

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United Airlines announced some changes today that will make it easier to earn elite status in 2021 (which would be good through the end of 2022). Elite status has already been extended due to COVID; these changes will make earning status next year (for the following year) easier than before.

PQP boosts for elite members

If you have 2021 elite status with United (many of us do since they extended status), you will receive a boost in Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) that I believe only counts toward meeting the PQP-only requirements for status as follows:

Again, the way the announcement is worded says that these bonus PQPs will essentially reduce the number of PQPs you need to earn if you were to earn status based on PQPs only.

United Reduced 2021 elite status requirements

United is also reducing the requirements to earn status next year as per the following chart:

Again, I think the PQP deposit noted in the section above only applies to the final part in the right column. For example, if you have United Premier Silver status (which is a benefit of Marriott Titanium status), you should get 825 bonus PQPs toward the 3,500 necessary to re-qualify for Silver status. That means you’ll need to earn 2,625 PQPs for Silver status (if you’re not keeping Titanium).

Bonus PQPs for United flights early in 2021

United is additionally offering the following bonuses for flights taken between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021:

  • General members (no status) get 50% bonus PQPs
  • Elite members get 100% bonus PQPs

PQPs earned from credit card spend will count toward 1K status, whereas they had only previously counted up to Premier Platinum.

Quick Thoughts

Given the current outlook, I expect that we’ll see reduced elite status requirements across the board again next year. Rather than continuing to extend elite status indefinitely, I expect we’ll see more opportunities like what United is offering here — giving a small boost to those who have status and bonuses to incentivize members to choose them if and when they do travel.

I’m personally mildly interested here since I have United Premier Silver status courtesy of Marriott Titanium. That means I’ll get the 875 PQPs, needing 2625 PQPs next year to maintain Silver status for 2022. While I don’t ordinarily fly nearly that many paid flights, I have a United bump voucher worth $1500 that was extended from an expiration in October 2020 to October 2021. Given the 100% PQP bonus on flights in early 2021, I could theoretically use my voucher to buy $1,312.50 in airfare and (assuming I actually fly) that would be enough to keep Silver status. I probably won’t do that, but if things turn around unexpectedly and I plan travel in early 2021, I’ll keep that in mind.

H/T: Doctor of Credit

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Jules

Apologies for asking here since it’s not directly related to United, but more so for BA, Virgin, AF, & KLM: Are you going to keep your SeatSpy membership? It’s been several months and no signs of any new airlines being added and I’m debating cancelling.

The FM team managed to make the Marriott breakfast benefit comprehensible. Can you attempt for MileagePlus?