Last-minute elite status strategies for United Premier status

As the year 2023 comes to a close, time is running out for you to qualify or requalify for airline elite status for the year 2024. If you’re a member of United Airlines MileagePlus and you think you’ll fall short of your status goal, there are a few ideas you can consider to earn the qualifying points and qualifying flights you need before the end of the year.

In 2019, United changed its elite status metrics from Premier Qualifying Miles, Premier Qualifying Segments, and Premier Qualifying Dollars to Premier qualifying flights (PQFs) and Premier qualifying points (PQPs).

To qualify for any status with United, you must fly at least four paid segments on United or United Express in a calendar year. These four paid flights will also count as PQFs, as long as you don’t book in basic economy. Basic economy fares do not earn PQFs.

If you’re traveling on a United-issued standard or basic economy ticket, you can earn 1 PQP per dollar spent on base airfare and carrier-imposed surcharges. You can also earn PQPs on Preferred and Economy Plus seating and paid cabin upgrades.

The status requirements for United’s elite tiers are as follows:

– Premier Silver: 4,000 PQPs + 12 PQFs or 5,000 PQPs
– Premier Gold: 8,000 PQPs + 24 PQFs or 10,000 PQPs
– Premier Platinum: 12,000 PQPs + 36 PQFs or 15,000 PQPs
– Premier 1K: 18,000 PQPs + 54 PQFs or 24,000 PQPs

Here are some ways you can earn more PQPs to reach your status goal:

1. United flights: You can earn PQPs on paid United tickets by selecting fares that have predominantly base airfare and carrier-imposed surcharges. Taxes and fees do not earn PQPs. You can check the PQP and PQF accruals for a flight on

2. Partner flights: United’s Star Alliance partners allow you to earn PQPs based on the length of your flight, the fare class, and the operating airline. Partner itineraries can help you earn lots of PQPs for a fraction of the normal price. Check the PQP accruals for partner flights on

3. MileagePlus credit card spending: Most United credit cards allow you to earn PQPs by charging everyday purchases. However, United cobranded cards have limits to the number of PQPs that can come from credit card spending in a calendar year. Consider getting a United cobranded card to earn PQPs. Some popular options include the United Explorer Card, United Quest Card, and United Club Infinite Card.

4. Buy PQPs: If you have an upcoming reservation with United, you may be prompted to purchase additional PQPs for your trip. This can be a last-minute option if you have no flexibility to take a flight in the final months of the year. However, purchasing PQPs is not always cost-effective compared to earning them through paid flights.

Keep in mind that United will make one-time PQP deposits into elite members’ accounts on Feb. 1, 2023, and Feb. 1, 2024, to assist in maintaining their status. These deposits will be based on the status earned in the previous year. However, they won’t help you close the qualification gap for the current year.

As the year comes to an end, it’s important to assess your mileage balances, calculate your remaining travel, and determine where you stand in terms of qualifying for United’s elite status. Consider these ideas to earn the qualifying points and flights you need before Dec. 31. Good luck!

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