Your ultimate guide to earning PQPs with United Airlines cards

United Airlines MileagePlus members with cobranded Chase credit cards have the opportunity to earn Premier qualifying points (PQPs) towards United’s elite status by meeting certain spending requirements on their cards. Recently, United announced some changes to how it credits PQPs from credit card spending. This article will explore the new earning structure for PQPs on MileagePlus credit cards and discuss whether earning PQPs through credit card spending is a better option than spending a significant amount of money on flights.

To qualify for United’s Premier elite status, members need to earn a certain number of PQPs annually. Traditionally, the only way to earn PQPs was through flying or spending a substantial amount of money on United and Star Alliance flights. However, with the cobranded Chase credit cards, members now have the opportunity to earn PQPs through everyday spending.

Effective January 1, United credit cardholders now earn 25 PQPs per $500 spent on many of United’s cobranded cards, up to certain PQP maximums determined by the specific MileagePlus credit cards they have. This is a significant improvement from before when cardholders had to spend at least $12,000 to earn any PQPs through United cards.

However, earning PQPs through credit card spending is not as straightforward as earning Loyalty Points towards American Airlines elite status with a credit card. With American, every $1 spent equals 1 Loyalty Point. In contrast, United is essentially awarding 1 PQP for every $20 spent, but only when cardholders hit increments of $500 in spending. This means that spending $499 won’t earn any PQPs, but spending one more dollar will earn 25 PQPs.

Furthermore, the number of PQPs that can be earned with United credit cards varies significantly. Some cards offer no PQPs, while others offer up to 10,000 PQPs per year. It’s important to note that some of these cards are no longer available to new applicants but still offer a pathway to earning PQPs.

The cards that don’t earn PQPs through credit card spending are the no-annual-fee cards. On the other hand, there are cards that earn up to 1,000 PQPs, up to 3,000 PQPs, up to 6,000 PQPs, and up to 10,000 PQPs. The latter two cards, however, have been closed to new members for years.

Previously, members could earn up to 15,000 PQPs on eligible card spending in a calendar year per MileagePlus account. However, this is no longer the case, and each United MileagePlus credit card now has its own specific cap for earning PQPs. This allows members with multiple United MileagePlus credit cards to distribute their spending across them without being limited by a universal cap.

In addition to the changes in PQP earning, United has also made an enhancement related to its Premier 1K status. Previously, earning PQPs through credit card spending did not count towards Premier 1K status unless members also met the Premier qualifying flight requirement. However, this restriction has been lifted, and all card-earned PQPs now count towards each status level, including the PQP-only requirement for Premier 1K status.

In conclusion, United MileagePlus members can earn PQPs and qualify for Premier status by using select MileagePlus credit cards. However, earning PQPs through these cards requires a significant amount of annual spending. The various United credit cards offer different maximums for PQP earning, so members should consider their spending habits and goals before choosing a card. Additionally, it’s important to remember that to qualify for any level of Premier status, members must take a minimum of four flights on United or United Express in a calendar year.

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