United Announces Changes for MileagePlus Premier Status Members

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United has announced changes for those with MileagePlus Premier® status. Some changes are already in effect, while we will see others in the coming months. The changes already in effect now are positive. But those coming in 2019 are more of a mixed bag that mainly affects United Premier 1K members. Here’s what you need to know about these changes.

Photo Courtesy United Airlines

Boarding

Already effective, Premier 1K members board during pre-boarding, ahead of Group 1. Premier Gold members will now be boarding with Group 1 (previously Premier Gold members boarded with Group 2).

Baggage Allowance

Also already in effect, all Premier members will receive the same standard weight allowance for bags that they check-in (70 lbs). Additionally, all Premier members flying United Business, United First, or United Polaris business class will be allowed up to three bags with a maximum weight of 70 lbs per bag.

Those with Premier Gold status that are flying United Economy between the US and Europe will also have a three bag allowance (max 70 lbs each). Premier Silver members flying between the US and Europe will be able to bring two bags (max 70 lbs each).

Previously, Premier Silver members flying United Economy well allowed only one bag (max 50 lbs). Premier Gold members were allowed two bags (max 50 lbs) when flying United Economy.

United also recently raised their checked baggage fees.

MileagePlus Premier Qualification Requirements

Effective January 1, 2019, MileagePlus Premier Qualification requirements are changing slightly in a couple of ways.

Those who shoot for Premier 1K status will need to meet a Premier qualification dollar (PQD) requirement of $15,000 (up from $12,000). The Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM) earned from P-class fares will be reduced from 200% to 150%.

MileagePlus Premier Upgrades

Starting on January 1, 2019, United is changing the way that Premier 1K members earn additional upgrades. For every 25,000 PQMs or 30 Premier Qualifying Segments (PQS) after qualifying for Premier 1K status, United will add one Global Premier Upgrade (GPU) into your account. After qualifying for Premier 1K status, you can no longer earn additional Regional Premier Upgrades.

Currently, Premier members earn two Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU) for every 25,000 PQMs. Or, they can earn 30 PQS and two Global Premier Upgrades for every 50,000 PQMs or 60 PQS after reaching Premier 1K status. When members reach Platinum status, they will still earn two RPUs and 2 more when reaching Premier 1K status.

The change only affects the way Premier members earn incremental upgrades after already reaching Premier 1K status.

This change is somewhat of a mixed bag since RPUs are no longer going to be possible to earn after qualifying for United 1K status. However, those that fly just 25,000 miles over what is required to earn 1K previously would have earned 2 RPUs but no GPUs. Now, they will be able to earn 1 GPU.

Depending on how you value these upgrade instruments, you could come out ahead with the new program. What do you think about these new changes United is introducing?

Caroline Lupini

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United Announces Changes for MileagePlus Premier Status Members
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