MileagePlus, United Airlines‘ frequent flyer program, has been offering a status challenge for quite some time now. And also in 2019, you can get the change to speed up your journey to elite status. You will receive your frequent flyer status for a period of 90 days. That’s the time that you’ll get to earn a certain amount of miles or fly qualifying segments only with United or United Express. If you manage to achieve your goal, you will be granted your new Mileage Plus status until January 2020 or even 2021.
Mileage Plus is running the challenge for their Premier Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers. From Premier Gold upwards you will also obtain Star Alliance Gold privileges such as free access to frequent flyer lounges and additional luggage allowance.
Here are the requirements that you’ll have to meet in order to complete the challenge successfully:
- Premier Silver: 7,000 PQM or 8 PQS
- Premier Gold: 12,500 PQM or 15 PQS
- Premier Platinum: 18,000 PQM or 22 PQS
PQM = Premier qualifying miles; PQS = Premier qualifying segments
Keep in mind, that only miles for flights operated by United Airlines and United Express will count towards your challenge! Same goes for the segments you can collect.
Also, United will decide which tier (Silver, Gold, or Platinum) you can obtain through the match. If you can’t meet the requirements for your challenge, there is no soft-landing! E.g., if you are matched to United Premier Gold and you only earn 7,000 PQM during the challenge period, you won’t be granted Silver status.
While you are in your qualification period, no physical card will be provided. Even, if you’re matched to Platinum (Silver and Gold members will generally not receive physical cards). But there are other ways to take advantage of your new member benefits:
- Enter your United frequent flyer number during the booking process. Now your new status should be visible on your boarding card.
- Download the United app to your smartphone. There you will have the option to view a virtual card. But it will should marked with the term ‘trail status’ which can lead to a discussion with the staff that checks if you’re eligible to enter the lounge.
To be accepted for the status challenge, you will need to provide proof of elite status with another airline. This airline must not be a member of Star Alliance! Use this form to send a photo of your frequent flyer card or a screenshot of your online account together with your MileagePlus number and other details to United Airlines.
You can adjust the start date of your challenge by 14 days. Processing your application will take between 7 and 14 days. But we’ve seen replies after only 2 days. So it could be way faster.
According to the terms and conditions, it is possible to request the status match challenge until December 31st, 2019. Since you can only take on this challenge once every 5 years, you should have a good plan and know that you’ll be able to meet the criteria!
If you earn your new Premier status before July 1st, 2019 it will be valid until January 1st, 2020. The MileagePlus status is valid through January 2021 for members who earn Premier status through the promotion on or after July 1, 2019.
As soon as you successfully completed the challenge, you will receive your Welcome Kit in the mail. Unfortunately, only Premier Platinum member and above will get physical cards. Silver and Gold members can try to request one through the MileagePlus customer support.
Once your challenge is over and you managed to earn enough miles or fly the required segments, you’ll benefit from your new Mileage Plus status.
Premier Silver (2P)
- Star Alliance Silver: Priority standby and reservations waitlist
- Economy Plus seat selection at the time of check-in for yourself and one companion
- Complimentary Premier Upgrades (confirmed on the day of departure)
- Premier Mileage Bonus:
- 7x the airfare on flights with a United ticket number
- Up to 25% bonus on other Star Alliance flights
- Priority services such as Check-in, boarding, and luggage
- One additional piece of luggage
Premier Gold (1P)
All benefits that the silver tier includes and …
- Star Alliance Gold: Lounge access, priority services, additional luggage
- Lounge access on flights with Eurowings
- Economy Plus seat selection at the time of booking for yourself and one companion
- Complimentary Premier Upgrades (confirmed 48 hours before departure)
- Free same-day flight changes
- Bonvoy Gold status included
- Premier Mileage Bonus:
- 8x the airfare on flights with a United ticket number
- Up to 50% bonus on other Star Alliance flights
- Access to United Clubs with a ticket for an international flight on the same day
- Two additional pieces of checked luggage (32kg each)
Premier Platinum (PP)
All benefits of Premier Gold and …
- Economy Plus seat selection at the time of check-in for yourself and 8 companions
- Complimentary Premier Upgrades (confirmed 72 hours before departure)
- Two Regional Premier Upgrades (can be used within North America)
- Premier Mileage Bonus:
- 9x the airfare on flights with a United ticket number
- Up to 75% on other Star Alliance flights
- Three additional pieces of checked luggage (32kg each)
- Discounted United Club membership
Access to the United Clubs is only granted to travelers that have an international flight on the same day. If your flying from Honolulu to San Francisco, you can’t visit the lounge. But if you have a connection flight from San Francisco to Europe on that day, you’re eligible for lounge access.
This rule might seem like a real bummer. And it can be if you’re flying domestic a lot. But it only concerns access to United Clubs. All other Star Alliance lounges are exempt from this regulation.
If you’re traveling to the USA a lot, MileagePlus will be one of the most interesting frequent flyer programs within Star Alliance. Especially if you’re flying United, you can take advantage of the complimentary upgrades to First Class. Note that these are only given away if seats are available and that higher statuses will get higher priority. Also, the super generous luggage allowance is excellent. But not valid on flights with other airlines.
The fact that United will credit you with 100% tier miles for flights in booking class K (typically the lowest booking class) makes MileagePlus attractive. Higher booking classes, such as P are rewarded with up to 200% of the actual distance traveled. Also a very sweet earning rate!
A downside is the restricted access to United clubs on domestic flights. Not that there is much that you’d miss out on. Free drinks, as well as some cheese crackers, is more or less everything you’ll get. But visiting a lounge is always nicer than sitting somewhere on a bench in front of the gate.
If you’re not someone that travels to the USA regularly, you might want to have a look at other options for a fast track to Star Alliance Gold: