Earning United Premier Status Will Be Much Harder in 2023

You've heard it before: you'll have to fly and spend more than last year

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United Airlines flyers, brace yourselves. Earning status next year might be a bit harder than this year.

United just announced its Premium status thresholds for flights flown and dollars spent, raising them across the board. Given the high demand for air travel right now, that's not surprising. (In fact, Delta recently raised its elite status thresholds, too.)

Let's take a look at what's on the table. In 2019, United overhauled its Premier program with two paths for frequent flyers to qualify for status. The first is a traditional combination of flights flown (Premier qualifying flights or PQFs) and dollars spent on flights and upgrades (Premier qualifying points or PQPs). The second is just PQPs but at a higher threshold.

In 2023, here's what the earnings thresholds look like:

2023 Earning Thresholds
Premier Status PQF + PQP PQP Only 
 Premier Silver 12 PQF + 4,000 PQP  5,000 PQP
 Premier Gold 24 PQF + 8,000 PQP  10,000 PQP
 Premier Platinum 36 PQF + 12,000 PQP  15,000 PQP
 Premier 1K 54 PQF + 18,000 PQP  24,000 PQP

And for context, here's what the thresholds were in 2022:

2022 Earning Thresholds
Premier Status PQF + PQP PQP Only 
 Premier Silver 8 PQF + 3,000 PQP  3,500 PQP
 Premier Gold 16 PQF + 6,000 PQP  7,000 PQP
 Premier Platinum 24 PQF + 9,000 PQP  10,000 PQP
 Premier 1K 36 PQF + 13,500 PQP  15,000 PQP

That's a big difference, but the 2023 thresholds aren't unprecedented—they're identical to the 2020 thresholds set before the pandemic. The 2022 thresholds were actually lowered to make achieving status easier during a time when people were flying less. But now that demand has returned, so have the higher thresholds.

It's not all bad news for United loyalists, though. The airline also announced several positive changes.

For instance, United will now grant PQFs and PQPs for flights booked with MileagePlus miles; you'll earn 1 PQF per flight and 1 PQP per 100 miles redeemed. (Again, United is following Delta with this update.)

United has also created a bonus program for existing Premier status members, giving them a headstart on PQPs based on their current status levels, as listed in the chart below.

Premier Status  Starting PQP
Premier Silver  500 PQP
Premier Gold  1,000 PQP
Premier Platinum  1,500 PQP
Premier 1K  2,500 PQP

On top of the status changes, United also eliminated its award redeposit fees. That means if you book a flight with MileagePlus miles, you can cancel the ticket and receive a full refund of those miles for free (previously, it cost up to $125 for an award redeposit). You can also change award bookings for free.

So while the thresholds are up overall, which is sure to ruffle some feathers, some positive changes in the mix will make it slightly easier to earn United Premier status next year. For the full breakdown of the status updates, visit United.com.

Article Sources
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  1. United. "Welcome to the 2023 MileagePlus Premier Program." November 8, 2022.