MileagePlus, United Airlines‘ frequent flyer program, is offering a status challenge, but with slightly different/better conditions than before. You will receive your frequent flyer status for a period of 120 days (with a custom start date, the latest being September 4, 2023). That’s the time that you’ll get to earn a certain amount of miles (PQP) or fly qualifying segments (PQF) only with United or United Express.
If you manage to achieve your goal, you will be granted your new Mileage Plus status until January 2025, as long as you complete the challenge before December 31, 2023. On this day, all 120-day-trial-periods end, even if started only weeks earlier.
Mileage Plus is running the challenge for its Premier Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers. From Premier Gold upwards, you will also obtain Star Alliance Gold privileges such as free access to frequent flyer lounges and additional luggage allowance on all Star Alliance flights.
Here are the requirements that you’ll have to meet within 120 days in order to complete the challenge successfully:
- Premier Silver: 1,300 PQP and 4 PQF
- Premier Gold: 2,600 PQP and 8 PQF
- Premier Platinum: 4,000 PQP and 12 PQF
Please note that all trial periods end on December 31, 2023. Even if you match your status later, the start date of your trial period will be set as September 3, 2023 (=120 days before the end of 2023).
PQP = Premier qualifying points; PQF = Premier qualifying flights
Remember that Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) are the tier miles in the new MileagePlus program. They are equivalent to the ticket price in US dollars (excluding taxes) on United flights. For the challenge, you have to fly with United. Means: In order to extend the gold status, you have to buy United tickets for around €2,400 (+ taxes). Only with tour operator fares can this turnover-based system be circumvented.
Premier qualifying flights (PQF) equal the number of flight segments on United and partners, excluding basic economy tickets. You can read more about the calculation of PQP and PQF here.
Also, United will decide which tier (Silver, Gold, or Platinum) you can obtain through the match. If you can’t meet the requirements for your challenge, there is no official soft-landing! E.g., if you are matched to United Premier Gold and you only earn 1,500 PQM during the challenge period, you may not be granted Silver status.
While you are in your qualification period, no physical card will be provided, even if you’re matched to Platinum (Silver and Gold members will generally not receive physical cards). But there are other ways to take advantage of your new member benefits:
- Enter your United frequent flyer number during the booking process. Now your new status should be visible on your boarding card.
- Download the United app to your smartphone. There you will have the option to view a virtual card. But it should be marked with the term ‘trail status’ which can lead to a discussion with the staff that checks if you’re eligible to enter the lounge.
To be accepted for the status challenge, you need a United Mileage Plus account and provide proof of elite status with another airline. This airline cannot be a member of Star Alliance! Use this form to send a photo of your frequent flyer card or a screenshot of your online account together with your MileagePlus number and other details to United Airlines.
Since you can only take on this challenge once every 5 years, you should have a good plan and know that you’ll be able to meet the criteria!
While the number of programs that are matched covers most major airlines, you can only match tiers you actually earned. United won’t match statuses that you already gained through a different status match.
Once your challenge is over, and you managed to earn enough points and fly the required segments, you’ll benefit from your new Mileage Plus status until the end of 2024.
- Star Alliance Silver: Priority standby and reservations waitlist
- Economy Plus seat selection at the time of check-in for yourself and one companion
- Complimentary Premier Upgrades (confirmed on the day of departure)
- Premier Mileage Bonus:
- 7x the airfare on flights with a United ticket number
- Up to 25% bonus on other Star Alliance flights
- Priority services such as Check-in, boarding, and luggage
- One additional piece of luggage
All benefits that the silver tier includes and …
- Star Alliance Gold: Lounge access, priority services, additional luggage
- Lounge access on flights with Eurowings
- Economy Plus seat selection at the time of booking for yourself and one companion
- Complimentary Premier Upgrades (confirmed 48 hours before departure)
- Free same-day flight changes
- Bonvoy Gold status included
- Premier Mileage Bonus:
- 9x the airfare on flights with a United ticket number
- Up to 50% bonus on other Star Alliance flights
- Access to United Clubs with a ticket for an international flight on the same day
- Two additional pieces of checked luggage (32kg each)
All benefits of Premier Gold and …
- Economy Plus seat selection at the time of check-in for yourself and 8 companions
- Complimentary Premier Upgrades (confirmed 72 hours before departure)
- 20 PlusPoints (instead of the usual 40)
- Premier Mileage Bonus:
- 11x the airfare on flights with a United ticket number
- Up to 75% on other Star Alliance flights
- Three additional pieces of checked luggage (32kg each)
- Discounted United Club membership
Access to the United Clubs is only granted to travellers that have an international flight on the same day. If you’re flying from Honolulu to San Francisco, you can’t visit the lounge. But if you have a connection flight from San Francisco to Europe on that day, you’re eligible for lounge access.
This rule might seem like a real bummer. And it can be if you’re flying domestic a lot. But it only concerns access to United Clubs. All other Star Alliance lounges are exempt from this regulation.
If you’re travelling to the USA a lot, MileagePlus will be an interesting frequent flyer program within Star Alliance. Especially if you’re flying United, you can take advantage of the complimentary upgrades to First Class. Note that these are only given away if seats are available and that higher statuses will get higher priority. Also, the super generous luggage allowance is excellent, but not valid on flights with other airlines.
Qualifying for the status has become a lot harder, so this status match challenge might be the easiest way to get the status if you really need it.
A downside is restricted access to United clubs on domestic flights. Not that there is much that you’d miss out on. Free drinks, as well as some cheese crackers, is more or less everything you’ll get. But visiting a lounge is always nicer than sitting somewhere on a bench in front of the gate.
If you’re not someone that travels to the USA regularly, you might want to take a look at other options for a fast track to Star Alliance Gold:
United Airlines Dealz
We currently offer the following Dealz with United: