Today, United Airlines announced changes to its MileagePlus elite program for the 2021 membership year, allowing you to earn status with fewer flights and less cash.
United will deposit member accounts 25% of the PQPs based on their 2021 status (earned in 2020) by February, lower Premier-status requirement by 25% in 2021, and give elite members double PQP for the first three trips January – March 2021. PlusPoints expiring on or after January 1, 2021, are extended by six months.
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Here’s the announcement:
To make earning status easier, United is reducing PQP and PQF requirements at each Premier level. New requirements in 2021 will be:
Requirements Adjusted for 2021
4,000 PQP + 12 PQF or 5,000 PQP
3,000 PQP + 8 PQF or 3,500 PQP
8,000 PQP + 24 PQF or 10,000 PQP
6,000 PQP + 16 PQF or 7,000 PQP
12,000 PQP + 36 PQF or 15,000 PQP
9,000 PQP + 24 PQF or 10,000 PQP
18,000 PQP + 54 PQF or 24,000 PQP
13,500 PQP + 36 PQF or 15,000 PQP
Automatically Depositing PQP
To make maintaining status even easier for Premier members, United will automatically deposit PQP into their accounts by Feb. 1, 2021. Members will receive 25% of the PQP-only requirement for 2021 based on their Premier status for 2021. Each level will earn the following PQP deposits to help get them on track to re-qualify for status through 2022:
Status level for 2021
United is also offering its most rewarding Premier qualification bonus offer ever with the first ever bonus PQP promotion. On the first three PQP-earning trips next year taken between Jan. 1 through Mar. 31, members without Premier status will earn 50 percent bonus PQP and Premier members will earn 100 percent bonus PQP.
In addition to earning bonus PQP on flights, PQP earned from eligible MileagePlus credit cards – including the MileagePlus Explorer card – will now count toward Premier 1K® status if the PQF requirement is met. Previously, PQP earned from card spend were only eligible for up to Premier Platinum status. Eligible MileagePlus credits cards also continue to lead the market with one of the fastest ways toward earning Premier status credit, starting with spend at $12,000 each year.
More Opportunity for More Members
To give Premier members more flexibility to use their upgrades, United is extending all PlusPoints that are set to expire on or after Jan. 1, 2021 by an additional six months, which includes all PlusPoints earned from 2019 and 2020 activity. Additionally, as a promotion in 2021, United is giving Premier 1K members who meet the new requirements more opportunities to receive additional upgrades by reducing the milestone for earning extra PlusPoints. After earning Premier 1K status and 15,000 PQP, members will earn 20 PlusPoints for every additional 2,000 PQP in 2021 versus every 3,000 PQP in 2020 – United is the only global U.S. airline that allows members to earn unlimited upgrades after reaching its highest published status tier.
In 2021, all Premier members will also be able to confirm changes to their itineraries when making changes for travel on the same day when a new flight with the same fare class is open. United is the only U.S. airline to offer this benefit to all Premier members, in addition to allowing all customers to list for standby on a different flight to the same destination on the same day for free.
Airlines need to make drastic moves if they wish to keep their elite member numbers intact in 2021 or extend everyone by an additional year.
The travel sector will be depressed for most of 2021 until the world has this Covid-19 pandemic under control or it has run its course.