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What is United Airlines Elite Status Worth in 2022?

What is United Airlines Elite Status Worth in 2022?

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By our estimates, the highest tier of United elite status is worth around $13,000 and the lowest status level is worth around $1,400.

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Quick facts:

  • Value of elite status: United elite status is worth between $1,477 and $13,024 depending on the level.
  • Qualifying flights: Earn between 8 PQF + 3,000 PQP and 36 PQF + 13,500 PQP or 3,500 PQP and 15,000 PQP to achieve your desired level of United elite status.
  • Available destinations: United is part of the Star Alliance, which is the largest airline alliance on earth. Members have access not only to United flight destinations but to all their partnering destinations as well.

Is United Premier elite status worth it?

Moderate United travelers qualifying for United Premier Silver or Gold status will surely benefit from holding elite status.

However, if your flights are generally taken across two or three domestic airlines, a travel rewards credit card could provide better benefits for you than chasing the lower levels of United elite status. You can also open a United Airlines credit card to enjoy United-specific perks, as these cards can provide some of the same benefits as elite status.

United elite status requirements are significantly lower now than ever before.

For heavy international travelers and those who already take more than 24 trips with United a year, United Platinum and 1K® Premier status provide benefits that make your loyalty worthwhile. United is part of the largest airline alliance — the Star Alliance. United Premier members have the chance to earn more miles and enjoy more perks on international flights than members of American Airlines' and Delta Air Lines' loyalty programs.

Based on our status valuations and your travel patterns, it may be worth chasing elite status with these lowered thresholds. Although travel is limited right now, working toward United Premier status can elevate your travel experience into 2022.

How much are United miles worth?

We estimate United miles to be worth 1.2 cents per mile.

To calculate the value of United miles, use the following equation:

Cash price (including taxes and fees) ÷ Number of miles required = miles value for that specific flight

Be sure to move your decimal two places to the right to get the number of cents per mile.

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What is United elite status worth?

United elite status is worth between $1,477 and $13,024 depending on the level.

Premier Silver: $1,477

Value:

  • Priority check-in, security and boarding: $120
  • Complimentary checked bag: $140
  • Three complimentary checked bags in premium cabin: $460
  • Space-available upgrade to Economy Plus at check-in: $240
  • Complimentary preferred seating at booking: $80
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades on the day of departure: $180
  • Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: $72
  • Discounted award ticket change and cancellation fees: $25
  • Discounted CLEAR Membership: $10
  • Other benefits (extra benefits when booking a VIP Access property with United Hotels, United Cruises onboard amenities offer, etc): $150

Premier Gold: $3,807

Value:

  • Priority check-in, security and boarding: $320
  • Complimentary checked bag: $640
  • Three complimentary checked bags in premium cabin: $460
  • Complimentary access to Economy Plus or preferred seating at booking: $960
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades up to 48 hours before departure: $360
  • Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: $216
  • Discounted award ticket change and cancellation fees: $50
  • Discounted CLEAR membership: $10
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: $491
  • Other benefits: $300

Premier Platinum: $6,118

Value:

  • Priority check-in, security and boarding: $480
  • Complimentary checked bag: $1,260
  • Complimentary access to Economy Plus or preferred seating at booking: $1,440
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades up to 72 hours before departure: $1,080
  • Earn 40 PlusPoints: $375
  • Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: $432
  • Waived phone booking service fees: $25
  • Discounted award ticket change and cancellation fees, 30 or fewer days from departure: $75
  • Discounted United Club annual membership: $50
  • Discounted CLEAR Membership: $10
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: $491
  • Other benefits (better award availability in Economy, better award availability in select premium cabins, etc): $400

Premier 1K: $13,024

Value:

  • Priority check-in, security and boarding: $900
  • Complimentary checked bag: $2,040
  • Complimentary access to Economy Plus or preferred seating at booking: $2,160
  • Complimentary Premier upgrades up to 96 hours before departure: $2,430
  • Earn 280 PlusPoints: $3,000
  • Receive one free drink and snack in Economy: $162
  • Waived phone booking service fees: $25
  • Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: $972
  • Waived award ticket change and cancellation fees — anytime before departure: $225
  • Discounted United Club annual membership: $100
  • Complimentary CLEAR Membership: $119
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: $491
  • Other benefits (better award availability in Economy, better award availability in select premium cabins, etc): $400

How we calculate the value of each status level:

  • We assume for each level, members have flown the lowest possible amount of PQFs and earned the lowest amount of PQPs or earned the lowest amount of PQPs alone in order to achieve status.
  • To reach our estimates, we value United miles at 1.2 cents each.

Fast track to 2022 elite status

United has made it easier than ever to qualify for elite status in 2022. While you'll still need to fly a minimum of four flight segments on United or United Express to earn elite status, all other requirements have been reduced for 2022.

United Premier status levels

There are four levels of United Premier status. As you can expect, the qualification requirements increase as you go up each level. To see if elite status on United Airlines is worth it, we take a look at the benefits provided to all Premier members as well as the benefits specific to each tier.

Elite status
Qualifications for 2022 Premier status
Estimated value
Premier SilverFly eight PQFs and earn 3,000 PQPs or earn 3,500 PQPs$1,477
Premier GoldFly 16 PQFs and earn 6,000 PQPs or earn 7,000 PQPs$3,807
Premier PlatinumFly 24 PQFs and earn 9,000 PQPs or earn 10,000 PQPs$6,118
Premier 1K®Fly 36 PQFs and earn 13,500 PQPs or earn 15,000 PQPs$13,024

Members at every Premier status level have access to benefits like free checked baggage and priority boarding. However, top-tier travel benefits like Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status and complimentary premier upgrades as early as 48 hours only kick in at the top-tier Gold and Platinum levels.

United Premier Silver qualification requirements

Earning in 2021 for 2022 Premier Silver
Fly eight PQFs and earn 3,000 PQPs or earn 3,500 PQPs

United Premier Silver benefits

Premier Silver status is the entry-level tier with a basic offering of elite benefits. To calculate the value, we based these numbers on the qualification requirements for 2022 Premier Silver status: eight PQFs and 3,000 PQPs. Therefore, we assume that Premier Silver members take eight flight segments and spend $3,000 on flights in one year.

Some of the most notable features of Premier Silver status include:

  • A free checked bag
  • Complimentary preferred seating at booking

However, there's no discount for United Club membership or complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. In fact, many of the Premier Silver benefits can be achieved through owning a co-branded airline credit card, requiring significantly less flying and spending. Depending on your travel habits, the United Premier Silver status can offer less or more value than estimated.

Premier Silver benefits
Estimated value
Calculation
Priority check-in, security and boarding: Enjoy priority check-in, security screening (when available) and Group 2 priority boarding with Premier Silver status.$120Priority boarding starts at $15. $15 x 8 = $120
Complimentary checked bag: Check one bag up to 70 pounds for free on every flight.$140Your first checked bag costs $35. We assume that you check a bag on half your flights. $35 x 4 = $140
Three complimentary checked bags in premium cabin: Check up to three bags up to 70 pounds for free on premium cabin flights.$460The first bag is $35, the second bag is $45, and the third bag is $150, totaling $230 for three checked bags. We assume you check three bags on two of your annual flights.

$230 x 2 = $460

Space-available upgrade to Economy Plus at check-in: Economy Plus seats offer extra legroom and are offered on all United and most United Express flights. You'll enjoy a space-available upgrade to Economy Plus for you and one companion upon check-in.$240We estimate that each Economy Plus upgrade costs roughly $60, and we assume that you would get upgraded on half your flights. $60 x 4 = $240
Complimentary preferred seating at booking: Preferred seating includes the first few rows of United Economy seats, giving you access to earlier in-flight service and the ability to exit the plane faster. You can select preferred seating for you and up to eight travel companions when booking your flight.$80Each preferred economy seat costs about $10. $10 x 8 = $80
Complimentary Premier upgrades on the day of departure: You can receive complimentary upgrades to first class on select flights.$180Premier Silver members are the last elite status members to get upgraded. We estimate Premier upgrades to be worth around $90 each, but this benefit's value will change depending on the flight. We assume that you get upgraded on two flight segments per year: $90 x 2 = $180
Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: While MileagePlus members earn 5X miles on United flights, Premier Silver members earn 7X miles on United flights.$72We value each United MileagePlus mile to be worth 1.2 cents each. Premier Silver members earn an additional 2X miles or about 2.4 cents per dollar spent. $3,000 x $0.024 = $72
Discounted award ticket change and cancellation fees: It is free to change or cancel award tickets 31 or more days from departure, Premier Silver members. To change or cancel award tickets 30 or fewer days from departure, Premier Silver members must pay a $100 fee.$25MileagePlus members have to pay $125 for change fees and cancellation fees. This results in a $25 discount for Premier Silver members. We assume that you make one award change or cancellation per year.
Discounted CLEAR Membership: Premier Silver members can get an annual CLEAR membership for $109.$10Annual CLEAR memberships cost $119 for MileagePlus members, resulting in a $10 discount for Premier Silver members.
Award booking benefits, such as:
  • Better award availability in Economy
  • No blackout dates for award flights on United and United Express flights
  • Priority award waitlisting
  • Standby for international flights
  • Premier Priority Desk phone line
$150These benefits are harder to calculate as the value will depend on whether you take advantage of these offers. Therefore, we conservatively estimated the following benefits to be collectively worth $150.
Other benefits, such as:
  • Extra benefits when booking a VIP Access property with United Hotels
  • United Cruises onboard amenities offer
  • TPC Network golf course benefits
  • Mercedes-Benz incentives
  • Complimentary access to Timeshifter® - The Jet Lag App®
TOTAL$1,477

United Premier Gold qualification requirements

To reach the next level of Premier status, these are the qualifications you must meet to achieve Premier Gold:

Earning in 2021 for 2022 Premier Gold
Fly 16 PQFs and earn 6,000 PQPs or earn 7,000 PQPs

United Premier Gold benefits

Premier Gold status provides substantially better benefits than Silver, with almost triple the estimated value. We based these calculations on the qualification requirements for 2022 Premier Gold status: 16 PQFs and 6,000 PQPs. Therefore, we assume that Premier Gold members take 16 flight segments and spend $6,000 in one year.

Premier Gold members receive:

  • Complimentary access to Economy Plus at booking
  • Free same-day flight changes
  • Confirmation for complimentary seat upgrades at least 48 hours in advance and more

In addition, Gold members will automatically receive Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status, which increases award points for hotel stays and offers space-available room upgrades, along with Star Alliance Gold status, which grants lounge access and other benefits on international Star Alliance flights.

Premier Gold benefits
Estimated value
Calculation
Priority check-in, security and boarding: Enjoy priority check-in, security screening (when available) and group 1 priority boarding with Premier Gold status.$320Priority boarding starts at $15. Since Gold status gets you group 1 boarding, we estimated this benefit to be worth $20. $20 x 16 = $320
Complimentary checked bag: Check two bags up to 70 pounds for free on every Economy flight.$640United charges $35 for your first checked bag and $45 for your second checked bag. We assume that you bring two checked bags on half of your flights. $80 x 8 = $640
Three complimentary checked bags in premium cabin: Check up to three bags up to 70 pounds for free on premium cabin flights.$460The first bag is $35, the second bag is $45, and the third bag is $150, totaling $230 for three checked bags. We assume you check three bags on two of your annual flights.

$230 x 2 = $460

Complimentary access to Economy Plus or preferred seating at booking: Economy Plus seats offer extra legroom and are offered on all United and most United Express flights. Preferred seating includes the first few rows of United Economy seats, giving you access to earlier in-flight service and the ability to exit the plane faster. You'll enjoy a space-available upgrade to Economy Plus for you and one companion upon check-in, or you can select preferred seating for you and up to eight travel companions when booking your flight.$960We estimate that each Economy Plus upgrade costs roughly $60. $60 x 16 = $960
Complimentary Premier upgrades up to 48 hours before departure: You can receive complimentary upgrades to first class on select flights.$360Premier Gold members are the second to last elite status members to get upgraded. We estimate these Premier upgrades to be worth around $90, but this benefit's value will increase on long-haul or international flights. We assume that you get upgraded on four flight segments per year: $90 x 4 = $360
Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: While MileagePlus members earn 5X miles on United flights, Premier Silver members earn 8X miles on United flights.$216We value each United MileagePlus mile to be worth 1.2 cents each. Premier Silver members earn an additional 3X miles or about 3.6 cents per dollar spent. $6,000 x $0.036 = $216
Discounted award ticket change and cancellation fees: It is free to change or cancel award tickets 31 or more days from departure, Premier Silver members. To change or cancel award tickets 30 or fewer days from departure, Premier Silver members must pay a $75 fee.$50MileagePlus members have to pay $125 for change fees and cancellation fees. This results in a $50 discount for Premier Gold members. We assume that you make one award change or cancellation per year.
Discounted CLEAR membership: Premier Gold members can get an annual CLEAR membership for $109.$10Annual CLEAR memberships cost $119 for MileagePlus members, resulting in a $10 discount for Premier Gold members.
Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: Earn 25% more points on stays, enhanced room upgrades (upon availability), 2 p.m. late checkout and more.$491We value Marriott Gold Elite status at $491 (See our valuation)
Award booking benefits, such as:
  • Better award availability in Economy
  • No blackout dates for award flights on United and United Express flights
  • Priority award waitlisting
  • Standby for international flights
  • Premier Priority Desk phone line

Complimentary Star Alliance Gold status:
  • Priority reservations waitlisting
  • Priority airport standby
  • Priority airport check-in
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Gold Track (Priority security and immigration)
  • Airport lounge access
  • Priority boarding
$300These benefits are harder to calculate, as the value will depend on whether you take advantage of these offers. Therefore, we conservatively estimated the following benefits to be collectively worth $300.
Other benefits, such as:
  • Extra benefits when booking a VIP Access property with United Hotels
  • United Cruises onboard amenities offer
  • TPC Network golf course benefits
  • Mercedes-Benz incentives
  • Complimentary access to Timeshifter® - The Jet Lag App®
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Premier Platinum qualification requirements

To meet the second-highest United elite status, these are the Premier Platinum qualifications:

Earning in 2021 for 2022 Premier Platinum
Fly 24 PQFs and earn 9,000 PQPs or earn 10,000 PQPs

Premier Platinum benefits

At the Premier Platinum level, status holders are awarded with great seat upgrade eligibility, free baggage options and fee discounts. To calculate the value of Premier Platinum, we based these numbers on the qualification requirements for 2022: 24 PQFs and 9,000 PQPs, or 24 flight segments and $9,000 spent in one year.

Premier Platinum members are second in line for seat upgrades — behind only 1K® members — and receive confirmation for their upgrades as early as three days before their flight. This makes receiving seat upgrades on packed flights much more of a possibility than flyers with lower status levels.

Premier Platinum status also offers other key benefits:

  • A variety of fee discounts and group travel perks
  • Free checked bags
  • Free same-day flight changes
  • A $50 discount on United Club membership
  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold and Star Alliance Gold status
Premier Platinum
What it's worth
How we calculated
Priority check-in, security and boarding: Enjoy priority check-in, security screening (when available) and group 1 priority boarding with Premier Platinum status.$480Priority boarding starts at $15. Since Platinum Status gets you group 1 boarding, we estimated this benefit to be worth $20. $20 x 24 = $480
Complimentary checked bag: Receive three free checked bags up to 70 pounds on every flight.$1,260United charges $35 for your first checked bag and $45 for your second checked bag. If you're checking a third bag, this baggage fee will depend on your destination — starting at $150. While most people won't bring three checked bags when flying, we made a rough estimate for this benefit. We assume that you bring two checked bags on half of your flight segments and three checked bags on two flight segments per year. $80 x 12 = $960 $150 x 2 = $300
Complimentary access to Economy Plus or preferred seating at booking: Economy Plus seats offer extra legroom and are offered on all United and most United Express flights. Preferred seating includes the first few rows of United Economy seats, giving you access to earlier in-flight service and the ability to exit the plane faster. You'll enjoy a space-available upgrade to Economy Plus for you and one companion upon check-in, or you can select preferred seating for you and up to eight travel companions when booking your flight.$1,440Each Economy Plus upgrade costs roughly $60. $60 x 24 = $1,440
Complimentary Premier upgrades up to 72 hours before departure: You can receive complimentary upgrades to first class on select flights.$1,080Premier Platinum members are prioritized just under Premier 1K® members to get upgraded to first class. We estimate these Premier upgrades to be worth around $90, but this benefit's value will increase on long-haul or international flights. We assume that you get upgraded on half of flight segments: $90 x 12 = $1,080
Earn 40 PlusPoints: PlusPoints are flexible and can be used for upgrades on both domestic and international flights. 40 PlusPoints are enough for one upgrade from economy to United Polaris business class on long-haul flights.$375These PlusPoints will change in value depending on how you use them. We assume that you use them for one upgrade from economy to business class on a long-haul flight, with an estimated worth of $375 per upgrade.
Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: While MileagePlus members earn 5X miles on United flights, Premier Platinum members earn 9X miles on United flights.$432We value each United MileagePlus mile to be worth 1.2 cents each. Premier Silver members earn an additional 4X miles or about 4.8 cents per dollar spent. $9,000 x $0.048 = $432
Waived phone booking service fees: If booking travel reservations over the phone, phone booking service fees are waived for Premier Platinum members.$25Phone booking service fees typically cost $25 per reservation. We assume that you use this benefit once a year.
Discounted award ticket change and cancellation fees, 30 or fewer days from departure: To change or cancel award tickets 30 or fewer days from departure, Premier Platinum members must pay a $50 fee.$75MileagePlus members without status have to pay $125, resulting in a $75 discount. We assume that you change or cancel one award ticket 30 or fewer days from departure.
Discounted United Club annual membership: Premier Platinum members receive a $50 discount on an annual United Club membership for a total cost of $600 per year.$50For MileagePlus, Premier Silver and Premier Gold members, the United Club annual membership costs $650 per year. This results in a $50 discount for Premier Platinum members.
Discounted CLEAR Membership: Premier Platinum members can get an annual CLEAR membership for $109.$10Annual CLEAR memberships cost $119 for MileagePlus members, resulting in a discount of $10 for Premier Platinum members.
Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: Earn 25% more points on stays, enhanced room upgrades (upon availability), 2 p.m. late checkout and more.$491We value Marriott Gold Elite status at $491 (See our valuation)
Award booking benefits:
  • Better award availability in Economy
  • Better award availability in select premium cabins
  • No blackout dates for award flights on United and United Express flights
  • Priority award waitlisting
  • Standby for international flights
  • Premier Priority Desk phone line
$400These benefits are harder to calculate, as the value will depend on whether you take advantage of these offers. Therefore, we conservatively estimated the following benefits to be around $400.
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Premier 1K® qualification requirements

To reach Premier 1K®, the highest elite status that United has to offer, these are the qualifications you must meet:

Earning in 2021 for 2022 Premier 1K®
Fly 36 PQFs and earn 13,500 PQPs or earn 15,000 PQPs

United Premier 1K® benefits

Premier 1K® status is only achievable for only a small number of United flyers, but the benefits are nothing short of extraordinary. To calculate the value of Premier 1K®, we based these numbers on the qualification requirements for 2022: 36 PQFs and 13,500 PQPs, or 36 flight segments and $13,500 spent in one year.

The major difference between Premier 1K® and Premier Platinum is that 1K® members receive seat upgrades on discount coach fares and international flights. Since 1K® is the top-tier priority level, this benefit essentially ensures that 1K® members receive seat upgrades on every flight they book. As such, confirmation for upgrades is also given as soon as 96 hours (four days) in advance. Those who meet the spending minimum of $15,000 per year on flights, 1K® status all but guarantees a business- or first-class seat on any United itinerary.

Premier 1K® Benefits
What it's worth
How we calculated
Priority check-in, security and boarding: Enjoy priority check-in, security screening (when available) and pre-boarding$900Priority boarding starts at $15. Since Premier 1K® gets you pre-boarding, we roughly estimate this benefit to be worth $25. $25 x 36 = $900
Complimentary checked bag: Receive three free checked bags up to 70 pounds on every flight.$2,040United charges $35 for your first checked bag and $45 for your second checked bag. If you're checking a third bag, this baggage fee will depend on your destination — starting at $150. While most people won't bring three checked bags when flying, we made a rough estimate for this benefit. We assume that you bring two checked bags on half of your flight segments and three checked bags on four flight segments per year. $80 x 18 = $1,440 $150 x 4 = $600
Complimentary access to Economy Plus or preferred seating at booking: Economy Plus seats offer extra legroom and are offered on all United and most United Express flights. Preferred seating includes the first few rows of United Economy seats, giving you access to earlier in-flight service and the ability to exit the plane faster. You'll enjoy a space-available upgrade to Economy Plus for you and one companion upon check-in, or you can select preferred seating for you and up to eight travel companions when booking your flight.$2,160Each Economy Plus upgrade costs roughly $60. $60 x 36 = $2,160
Complimentary Premier upgrades up to 96 hours before departure: You can receive complimentary upgrades to first class on select flights.$2,430We estimate these Premier upgrades to be worth around $90, but this benefit's value will increase on long-haul or international flights. We assume that you get upgraded on 75% of your flight segments. $90 x 27 = $2,430
Earn 280 PlusPoints: PlusPoints are flexible and can be used for upgrades on both domestic and international flights. 280 PlusPoints are enough for eight upgrades from economy to United Polaris business class on long-haul flights.$3,000These PlusPoints will change in value depending on how you use them. We assume that you use them for eight upgrades from economy to business class on a long-haul flight, estimated at $375 per upgrade. $375 x 8 = $3,000
Receive one free drink and snack in economy. When flying economy, receive one drink and one snack for free.$162Even though most Platinum 1K® members won't fly economy most of the time, we assume that you use this benefit on 25% of your flights when upgrades aren't available. Each snack costs $5, while alcohol costs between $8 and $18. We will value drinks at an average of $13. $18 x 9 = $162
Waived phone booking service fees. To book travel reservations over the phone, phone booking service fees are waived for Premier 1K® members.$25Phone booking service fees typically cost $25 per reservation. We assume that you use this benefit once a year.
Earn additional award miles per dollar on flights: While MileagePlus members earn 5X miles on United flights, Premier 1K® members earn 11X miles on United flights.$972We value each United MileagePlus mile to be worth 1.2 cents each. Premier Silver members earn an additional 6X miles or about 7.2 cents per dollar spent. $13,500 x $0.072 = $972
Waived award ticket change and cancellation fees — anytime before departure. Premier 1K® members can change or cancel their award tickets anytime before departure, completely free of charge.$225MileagePlus members without status have to pay $100-$125 ($112.50 on average) to change or cancel an award ticket. We assume that you cancel or change two award tickets.
Discounted United Club annual membership: Premier 1K® members receive a $100 discount on an annual United Club membership for a total cost of $550 per year.$100For MileagePlus members, Premier Silver and Premier Gold members, the United Club annual membership costs $650 per year. This results in a $100 discount for Premier 1K® members.
Complimentary CLEAR Membership: Premier 1K® members can get an annual CLEAR membership for free.$119Annual CLEAR memberships cost $119 for MileagePlus members.
Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status: Earn 25% more points on stays, enhanced room upgrades (upon availability), 2 p.m. late checkout and more.$491We value Marriott Gold Elite status at $491 (See our valuation)
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United Premier Access: What is it?

Whether you're a Silver or a 1K® member, all United Premier members have access to Premier Access benefits. When flying on United and United Express, you'll enjoy these exclusive benefits to make your airport experience simpler:

  • Designated check-in lanes: United Premier members will have designated airport check-in lines, separate from regular check-in.
  • Exclusive security lanes: When available, United Premier members can access a designated security lane.
  • Priority boarding: United Premier members will be the first to board the aircraft.
  • Priority baggage handling: United Premier members will receive their luggage first at the baggage claim.

These Premier Access benefits are only available to Premier status members, travelers in United first, business class or Polaris business class, Star Alliance Gold members and MileagePlus Club and Presidential Plus credit cardholders.

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United elite status requirements

With any of the United Premier levels, there are two ways to achieve elite status. You'll need to earn a combination of Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) and Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) or earn a higher threshold of PQPs.

Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs)

PQFs are earned by flying — you'll earn 1 PQF per qualifying flight segment. This means that a one-way flight equates to 1 PQF, while a round-trip flight equates to 2 PQFs. You can earn PQFs from the following flights:

  • United and United Express
  • Star Alliance™ partner airlines and connecting partners
  • Air Dolomiti, Azul Brazilian Airlines, Edelweiss, Eurowings and Olympic Air

There are a couple of restrictions to be aware of:

  • Basic economy tickets are ineligible to earn PQFs.
  • A minimum of four segments flown on United or United Express-operated flights is required to qualify for any elite status level.

PQPs (Premier Qualifying Points)

PQPs are earned from the monetary value of the flights. You'll earn PQPs on the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges on flights. On United-issued tickets, you'll earn 1 PQP for every $1 of base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges. Unlike PQFs, you can earn PQPs on basic economy tickets.

Note that on partner tickets, you'll earn fewer PQPs with a maximum number of PQPs you can earn total. On MileagePlus partners, you'll earn award miles divided by 5. On Preferred Partners, you'll earn award miles divided by 6.

Preferred partner
MileagePlus partner
Partners
  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • Air Dolomiti
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Azul Brazilian Airlines
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Edelweiss
  • Eurowings
  • Eurowings Discover
  • Lufthansa
  • SWISS International Airlines
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air India
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • Juneyao Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Olympic Air
  • SAS
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Thai Airways International
  • Turkish Airlines
First or business maximum PQPs earned1,5001,000
Economy or premium economy maximum PQPs earned750500

Besides flights, you can also earn PQPs with the following purchases:

  • Base fare + surcharge
  • Economy Plus® seating or Economy Plus subscriptions
  • Preferred seating purchases
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Award co-pays
  • Paid upgrades on flights operated by United and United Express

Keep in mind that award tickets do not earn PQFs or PQPs. It's important to note that United's MileagePlus award miles program is different from the PQP system. Both programs reward you for flying, but MileagePlus miles are calculated based on money spent and do not factor into Premier status eligibility. In contrast, PQPs are only used to track your elite status eligibility.

United Airlines credit card benefits

If you're unable to reach the spending thresholds for United Premier status, consider applying for a United co-branded credit card instead. With four card options, from a no-annual-fee to a $525 annual fee option, these credit cards are much more reasonable offerings than achieving elite status for most travelers. Each card will earn users MileagePlus miles and comes with comparable elite status benefits to save you money on expenses, such as free checked bags.

Card
Sign-up bonus
Spending rewards
United benefits
United Club access
On Chase's Secure Website
United Gateway℠ Card
Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases, then 17.24% - 24.24% Variable APR. Learn more.2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, at gas stations and on local transit and commuting. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.25% statement credit on United in-flight purchases made with the cardNone
On Chase's Secure Website
United℠ Explorer Card
Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United® purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases25% statement credit on United in-flight purchases made with the card Free first checked bag Priority boardingTwo one-time passes after account opening and each cardmember year
On Chase's Secure Website
United Club℠ Infinite Card
Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining and 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.25% statement credit on United in-flight purchases made with the card Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit Free first and second checked bagsYes
On Chase's Secure Website
United℠ Business Card
Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, dining, at gas stations, office supply stores and local transit and commuting. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.$100 United® travel credit after 7 United® flight purchases of $100 or more each anniversary year. Priority boarding, Free first checked bagTwo one-time passes after account opening and each cardmember year

How to become a MileagePlus member

Becoming a MileagePlus member with United is easy and completely free to join. Simply head to their website where you'll fill out some personal and contact information, accept the terms and enroll. From there, you'll be able to start earning miles every time you fly with United and their partnering airlines.

Methodology

Because we estimate United Airlines miles to be worth 1.2 cents each, we've used this value to establish our estimates.

From there, we were able to determine United Airlines elite status to be worth between $1,477 and $13,024 depending on the status level. To arrive at these conclusions, we have assumed the following:

For each level, members have flown the lowest possible amount of PQFs and earned the lowest amount of PQPs or earned the lowest amount of PQPs alone in order to achieve status.

To reach our estimates, we tallied up our determined value for each benefit included in every status level to come up with an overall value per status level.

{"backgroundColor":"gray","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch3 id=\"Methodology\"\u003EMethodology\u003C\/h3\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EBecause we estimate United Airlines miles to be worth \u003Cstrong\u003E1.2 cents\u003C\/strong\u003E each, we've used this value to establish our estimates.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EFrom there, we were able to determine United Airlines elite status to be worth between $1,477 and $13,024 depending on the status level. To arrive at these conclusions, we have assumed the following:\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003EFor each level, members have flown the lowest possible amount of PQFs and earned the lowest amount of PQPs or earned the lowest amount of PQPs alone in order to achieve status.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003ETo reach our estimates, we tallied up our determined value for each benefit included in every status level to come up with an overall value per status level.\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E","padding":"double"}

United Airlines elite status FAQS

How much is United 1K worth?

Because we value United Airlines miles at 1.2 cents apiece, we estimate United 1K status is worth about $13,024

Does United Airlines offer status match?

Yes, United Airlines does offer status match with other airlines' reward programs. You can find more information about status match at United.com.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.