HomeAirline LoyaltyUnited Announces Reduced Elite Thresholds For 2021 & Extends PlusPoints Expirations

United Announces Reduced Elite Thresholds For 2021 & Extends PlusPoints Expirations

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United Airlines has today announced that it is making it easier to earn status in 2021. Technically, we already knew that United was going to do this because the airline mentioned that it was considering this earlier this year, but now it’s official and we know what the reduced thresholds will look like.

Back in April, United Airlines reduced the elite status thresholds for 2020. They look like this:a table with numbers and letters

For anyone looking to earn, maintain, or improve elite status in 2021, these are the new thresholds:

a table with numbers and symbols

But that’s not where things end.

In addition to reducing the thresholds needed to earn status in 2021, United Airlines says that it is introducing “first-of-its-kind” promotions to make earning status even easier.

Promotion 1 – Bonus PQP Based on Elite Status

By 1 February 2021, United will deposit 25% of the 2021 PQP requirements in Premier members’ accounts based on their 2021 Premier status level. So, if you currently hold Premier Platinum elite status, for example, United will deposit 2,500 PQP into your account to make your progress to elite status that much easier.

Promotion 2 – Bonus PQP On Flights

United says that it will credit MileagePlus members with bonus PQP for their first three trips flown in 2021 (taken between 1 January and 31 March). MileagePlus members will earn the following bonus PQP:

  • Base level members – 50% bonus
  • All elite status holders (i.e Silver members and upwards) – 100% bonus

Premier members will receive a minimum of 300 bonus PQP per trip for their first three PQP-eligible trips but no single trip will receive a PQP bonus of more than 1,500 PQP.

Non-elite MileagePlus members will receive a minimum of 150 bonus PQP per trip for their first three PQP-eligible trips but no single trip will receive a PQP bonus of more than 1,000 PQP.

Promotion 3 – Co-Branded Credit Card Earnings Now Count Towards 1K Status

United has said that 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. Up until now, any PQP earned from credit card spending only counted towards Platinum status at best.

PlusPoints Expirations Extended + 1K Bonus

All PlusPoints that are due to expire on or after 1 January 2021 will have their expiration dates extended by 6 months. This includes all PlusPoints earned from activity in 2019 and 2020.

United is also giving Premier 1K elites a greater chance to earn additional upgrades by reducing the PlusPoints earning target. After earning Premier 1K status and 15,000 PQP, members will earn 20 PlusPoints for every additional 2,000 PQP in 2021 as opposed to every 3,000 PQP in 2020.

Bottom Line

United has just made earning MileagePlus status a lot easier in 2021 as it fires another salvo in what I expect to be an ever-growing rush by all major airlines to keep their frequent fliers from looking for pastures greener. Essentially, If you’re already a United loyalist the airline has just made it a lot easier for you to decide not to defect to another airline…and that’s the whole point of this exercise.

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  1. Probably should mention that the promotion 2 has a max cap per trip. They do offer a min bonus per trip as well.

    • Thanks for the heads up – the information United emailed me didn’t mention any min/max PQPs (post now updated).

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