United Airlines Mileage Plus Targets Members With Status Buy Back For 2018 Membership Year

United Airlines Mileage Plus has started to send out emails to their members that didn’t qualify for their current status and some offers appear to be reasonable.

This promotion has been an annual event with Mileage Plus for the last couple of year (similar to many other programs) and prices are going up and down all the time based on a variety of factors.

Our reader Jonathan who lives in Hong Kong has sent me a mail earlier today asking if what he has been offered is a good deal.

He was Premier Gold during 2017 but didn’t make the cut for the 2018 membership year, having reached the following balances:

  • 32,283 PQM
  • 17 PQS
  • 2,271 PQD (not really relevant for non U.S. residents)

He was offered a Premier Gold Buy Back for US$1,549.

To his question if that is a good deal I’d say that really depends.

It’s really hard to earn Star Alliance Gold Status these days with a decent program, especially one where you can’t fly on their own metal due to the limited network that airline uses (Aegean comes to mind).

While $1,549 is a good chunk of money I dare to say that in the past I found myself more than once in the situation of doing expensive mileage runs that cost a lot of time just to hold a status level.

In the end it comes down to how much you expect to profit from Star Alliance Gold and the United Premier benefits during the coming membership year. If your travel is exclusively outside the U.S. without any domestic flight then things like unlimited domestic upgrades aren’t even part of that consideration.

They might very well be if you fly on UDU eligible routes a lot, especially on those where Gold members have a good shot at upgrades (I’ve received Premier Gold UDU upgrades on every single flight to/from Vancouver in the last two years).


These buy back offers are now a common phenomenon among loyalty programs of all coleur and it’s sometimes not easy to determine if such an offer is worth it. Star Alliance Gold has plenty of benefits associated with it but how many of them are actually applicable depends on someones travel patterns.

Ultimately it’s also about the bottom line: How much is $1549 actually worth to you? Prices for airline tickets are pretty low these days which means for that money you can buy a few tickets already, maybe even one in Business Class with a bit of flexibility. Right off the bat I’d say if you can easily afford it then why not, the price is ok. If it’s ‘a lot’ of money to you then no, I’d not spend that much if I had to look after my finances more carefully.

Have you received this email offer from United as well? Post yours below!

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