In the US airline industry, we typically have a copycat situation where Delta makes a move that many frequent flyers do not like and United follows shortly after. It always takes American Airlines a little longer but they get there too. Today, we have a great version of this where United issued a welcome statement shortly after Delta did that will make United elite travelers pretty happy.
United Airlines Status Now Good Into 2022
United Airlines is also pretending that 2020 does not exist – at least for those flyers that are content with the status they hold. In a nice twist, they are lowering the elite requirements a bit so that flyers that are eventually able to fly and want to earn a different elite status can do that easier.
United Airlines Elite Status Extension and Lower Thresholds
Here’s the first part from them:
The big news: If you have current 2020 Premier status, it will be extended to January 31, 2022. At a minimum, you will enjoy the same published status next year that you have today, up to Premier 1K®.
Great news indeed! So, congrats all your United elites as you now have United elite status for almost 2 full years without even stepping on a plane this year. But, for those of you who will be ascending back into the sky sometime this year, you can get further on the elite ladder easier than before.
Here was the path to United elite status as announced late last year.
Here is what United is doing as of now (keep in mind that we are 1/4 of the way through the elite qualifying year but they have cut the requirements by 1/2).
You will still need to fly 4 United segments regardless of the path you choose. United will also be releasing more information shortly on how they are making it easier to reach the PQP goal through credit card spending as well. According to United, “At the same time that we’re decreasing the published program’s PQP requirements, via a promotion from May 1 – December 31, 2020, we’re doubling (for United Explorer cards) or quadrupling (for United Club cards) the maximum number of PQP that Cardmembers can earn from card spending during 2020 to help achieve a higher level of status than you already have. More details to come later.”
To take a quick look at it, if all things stayed the same, the effort outlined in this post would now mean you could obtain Premier 1K for the rest of 2020 and 2021 by taking 4 roundtrips to Singapore in Premium Economy at a cost of just around $4,600. Plus, you would still need the 4 United flights at some point. But, that is not bad at all for someone that values top-tier status with an airline.
At the same time, one of the things I had valued the most when I held Premier 1K had been the waiving of award redeposit fees. Well, United is waiving them for all travelers this year (read this post to see how that will work) so I would not value it as much as I had before.
Other United Airlines Moves
1K® and Platinum members, we’re increasing your ability to upgrade by extending PlusPoints expiration dates by six months and expanding Skip Waitlist.
- This means a six-month extension of any PlusPoints set to expire on or before January 31, 2021.
- Last year we introduced Skip Waitlist on select flights as a benefit to 1K members, giving you more opportunities to confirm an upgrade request at the time of booking. This benefit will now be available for the rest of 2020 in a significantly expanded selection of long-haul international regions and will have expanded availability in 2021 as well.
We’re extending all annual membership and subscription benefits by six months.
- We want to make sure your benefits are still there when you’re ready to start flying again. That’s why we’re extending purchased United Club℠ memberships and purchased subscriptions for Economy Plus®, United Wi-Fi℠ and checked bags by six months. You should see this reflected in your MileagePlus account soon.
All electronic travel certificates now have 24 months to be used.
- If your travel plans have been disrupted, and you have an electronic travel certificate from us for the value of your ticket, you now have two years from the date it was issued to book a new flight, as well as up to an additional 11 months to travel. This includes all currently valid and all new electronic travel certificates issued on or after April 1, 2020.
They close it all with this – Finally, we’ll be making it easier to earn status in 2021 for the 2022 program year. We recognize that getting back to travel will occur at a different pace for different members. Keep an eye out for changes we will make to help you earn status in 2021 for 2022, as we’ll share details later this year.
While United has taken a lot of heat for some decisions they have made (including from me on the blog), this was actually a well-thought out adjustment in light of the coronavirus outbreak. While not everyone will be happy, it shows that they recognize that things can not go on as business-as-usual. I am eager to see what the new developments are for the 2022 program year as well.
It may even make me try to earn some United status again – especially since I got an extension on my Aegean status for 6 months.