United Airlines Premier Elite Status Guide

United Airlines has five different “Premier” elite status levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, 1k, and Global Services. 

Each elite status levels comes with different benefits. The higher up the elite ladder you go by flying or spending more money with United, the better the benefits United will bestow upon you.

United updated their elite status for 2020. Distance is no longer a factor at all, but now the money you spend with United is a major factor.

Now you must fly a combination of:

  • Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs)- You have to fly a certain number of segments, so if you fly one-way from Boston to Los Angeles via Chicago, that is equal to 2 PQFs. However, Basic Economy tickets do not qualify for PQFs.
  • Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs)- You have to spend a certain amount of money. In most situations, one PQP is equal to one pre-tax dollar.
United also introduced PlusPoints in 2020, which replaces Regional and Global Premier Upgrades. For more on this change check out the video below.

United Airlines Premier Elite Status Levels

Premier Silver- Either 12 PQFs plus 4,000 PQPs, or only 5,000 PQPs. You can also earn Premier Silver if you have Titanium or Ambassador Marriott elite status by linking your accounts.

Premier Gold- Either 24 PQFs plus 8,000 PQPs, or only 10,000 PQPs.

Premier Platinum- Either 36 PQFs plus 12,000 PQPs, or only 15,000 PQPs.

Premier 1K- Either 54 PQFs plus 18,000 PQPs, or only 24,000 PQPs.

Global Services- Global Services is United’s invite only elite status for their ultra-elite members. Generally, you need to spend at least $50,000 per year on United for several years. Alternatively, you could earn Global Services elite status by flying 4 million lifetime miles on United. 

Million Miler Program- United’s Million Miler Program offers you and one companion elite status for the rest of your lifetime. The levels are: one million miles (Premier Gold), Two Million (Premier Platinum), Three Million (Premier 1K), and Four Million (United Global Services). Lifetime miles are based on flight distance of United and United Express flights, so there is no bonus for booking a higher fare class. Basic Economy tickets do not earn lifetime miles. Additionally, you can change your designated companion each year as long as you make the change before November 30th so that the change will be reflected on January 1 of the upcoming year.

How to Status Match Your Elite Status From Another Airline

United offers a status match challenge. You need elite status with another airline and the ability to fly a certain number of flights depending on your status level within 90 days. You can also email premiermatch@united.com with your proof of status, United number, full name, and mailing address. You may be able to match from 30+ airlines, but below are the ones that are most likely to work:

  • Alaska Airlines- MVP Gold 75k = United Platinum
  • American Airlines- Gold = United Silver; Platinum = United Gold; Platinum Pro = United Platinum
  • Delta Airlines- Silver = United Silver; Gold = United Gold; Platinum = United Platinum
  • JetBlue- Mosaic = United Silver
  • Marriott- Marriott Platinum Premier = United Gold (status match page)
  • Southwest- A-List = United Silver; A-List Preferred = United Gold
  • British Airways-  Gold = United Platinum
  • Qantas- Gold = United Gold
  • Virgin Australia-  Gold = United Gold; Platinum = United Platinum 

United Premier Elite Status Benefits

Below are the benefits for each status level. All five elite levels share the following basic benefits: 

  • Priority Check-in.
  • Priority Security.
  • Priority Boarding.
  • Priority Baggage.
  • Priority Access to Most Sold-Out Flights.
  • Priority Customer Service Phone Line.
  • Minimum 500 PQM accrual per one-way trip.
  • Instant upgrades on Y or B-class full-fare economy tickets (very expensive economy tickets). 
  • Eligible for award ticket upgrades if you have one of the United credit cards. 
  • Access to better United Saver awards in economy.

United Premier Silver Benefits

Mileage Bonus- Silver members earn United miles at 7 x fare price (e.g., $1,000 ticket would earn 7,000 United points).

Economy Plus at Check-In- Silver members are entitled to Economy Plus at check-in including one companion. Economy Plus offers extra legroom, but no free drinks like American Airline’s Main Cabin Extra.

Preferred Seats at Booking- Silver members can reserve preferred seats at booking for themselves and up to eight companions. Preferred seats don’t have any extra perks or legroom, they are usually just closer to the front of the plane.  

24-Hour Complimentary Premier Upgrades- Silver members are eligible for Premier upgrades to first-class as early as 24 hours before departure. However, you will be prioritized behind higher elite members.

Free Checked Bag on United Airlines: One free checked bag up to 70 pounds (2 free bags if flying to Europe; 3 free bags if flying anywhere in the premium cabin).

Discounted Award Travel Fees- Silver members pay slightly less award travel fees to change their flights: $50 award changes 61 days before departure or $100 within 60 days. Plus, the cheaper fee of $50 to book award travel within 21 days.

Star Alliance Silver- This benefit only has small amount of value for priority standby and reservations waitlisting. 

Hertz 5-Star Status- Silver members get Hertz 5 Star Elite Status (mid-tier). At airports with Hertz Ultimate Choice, this allows you to grab any car in the 5-Star aisle when you book an intermediate car or higher.

United Premier Gold Benefits

Mileage Bonus- Gold members earn United miles at 8 x fare price (e.g., $1,000 ticket would earn 8,000 United miles).

Economy Plus and Preferred Seats at Booking- Gold member are entitled to Economy Plus or preferred seats at booking including up to eight companions. Economy Plus offers extra legroom, but no free drinks like American Airline’s Main Cabin Extra.

48-Hour Complimentary Premier Upgrades- Silver members are eligible for Premier Complimentary Premier Upgrades to first-class as early as 48-hours before departure. 

Two Free Checked Bags on United- Gold Members get two free checked bags up to 70 LBs (three free bags when flying to Europe or flying anywhere in a premium cabin).

Free Same-Day Flight Changes- Gold members avoid the $75 fee for same day flight changes.

Discounted Award Travel Fees- Gold members only pay a $25 fee for booking an award within 21 days. Gold members can also change an award within 61 days before departure for $25 or $75 within 60 days of departure.

Star Alliance Gold- Star Alliance Gold is one of the main reasons why a Premier Silver would want to work hard to obtain Premier Gold. Star Alliance Gold allows you to access Star Alliance lounges (excluding United Club) when traveling on United or a Star Alliance partner anywhere in the world. You also get priority check-in, extra free checked bags, priority security, and priority boarding.

Marriott Gold Elite Status- Gold members enjoy Marriott Gold Elite Status, which earns you more Marriott points during stays and upgrades to preferred rooms after you link your accounts.

Hertz 5-Star Status- Silver members get Hertz 5 Star Elite Status (mid-tier). At airports with Hertz Ultimate Choice, this allows you to grab any car in the 5-Star aisle when you book an intermediate car or higher.

United Premier Platinum Benefits

Mileage Bonus: Platinum members earn United points at 9 x fare price (e.g., $1,000 ticket would earn 9,000 United miles).

72-Hour Complimentary Premier Upgrades: Platinum members earn Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as 3 days (72 hours) before departure.

Economy Plus and Preferred Seats at Booking- Platinum member are entitled to Economy Plus or preferred seats at booking including up to eight companions. Economy Plus offers extra legroom, but no free drinks like American Airline’s Main Cabin Extra.

40 PlusPoints- Platinum members now earn 40 PlusPoints instead of 2 Regional Premier Upgrades.

3 Free Checked Bags- Platinum members can check three free bags up to 70 pounds. 

Free Same-Day Flight Changes- Platinum members avoid the $75 fee for same day flight changes.

Better Premium Saver Award Space-Platinum members have access to better premium cabin saver award space. (Gold and Silver only have access to better economy saver space).

Discounted or No Award Travel Fees- Platinum members don’t pay a $25 fee for booking an award within 21 days (typically $75). Platinum members can also change an award within 61 days before departure for free or $50 within 60 days of departure.

No Phone Booking Fee- Platinum members are not charged the typical $25 direct ticketing charge when making a reservation over the phone.

Star Alliance Gold-  Star Alliance Gold allows you to access Star Alliance lounges (excluding United Club) when traveling on United or a Star Alliance partner anywhere in the world. You also get priority check-in, extra free checked bags, priority security, and priority boarding.

Marriott Gold Elite Status- Platinum members enjoy Marriott Gold Elite Status, which earns you more Marriott points during stays and upgrades to preferred rooms after you link your accounts.

Hertz President Circle Status- Platinum members get Hertz President Circle elite status. I really like this elite status because you get access to the President Circle aisle when booking an intermediate car or higher at airports with Ultimate Choice. 

United Premier 1K Benefits

Mileage Bonus: 1K members earns United miles at 11 x fare price (e.g., $1,000 ticket would earn 11,000 United miles).

96-Hour Complimentary Premier Upgrades: 1K members earn Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as 4 days (96 hours) before departure.

Economy Plus and Preferred Seats at Booking- 1K member are entitled to Economy Plus or preferred seats at booking including up to eight companions. Economy Plus offers extra legroom, but no free drinks like American Airline’s Main Cabin Extra.

280 PlusPoints- 1K members now earn 280 PlusPoints, 40 of which came from reaching Premier Platinum. 1K members also earn an additional 20 PlusPoints for every additional 3,000 PQPs. 

Complimentary Drink and Snack in Economy- 1K members enjoy a free drink and “choice Menu” food item in economy if you don’t get upgraded to first class. (You may want to remind flight attendants of this benefit when you order)

3 Free Checked Bags- 1K members can check three free bags up to 70 pounds. 

Free Same-Day Flight Changes- 1K members avoid the $75 fee for same day flight changes.

Better Premium Saver Award Space-1K members have access to better premium cabin saver award space. (Gold and Silver only have access to better economy saver space).

No Award Travel Fees- 1K members don’t pay a $25 fee for booking an award within 21 days (typically $75). 1K members can also make changes to awards for free.

No Phone Booking Fee- 1K members are not charged the typical $25 direct ticketing charge when making a reservation over the phone.

Star Alliance Gold-  Star Alliance Gold allows you to access Star Alliance lounges (excluding United Club) when traveling on United or a Star Alliance partner anywhere in the world. You also get priority check-in, extra free checked bags, priority security, and priority boarding.

Marriott Gold Elite Status- 1K members enjoy Marriott Gold Elite Status, which earns you more Marriott points during stays and upgrades to preferred rooms after you link your accounts.

Hertz President Circle Status- 1K members get Hertz President Circle elite status. I really like this elite status because you get access to the President Circle aisle when booking an intermediate car or higher at airports with Ultimate Choice. 

Free CLEAR Membership- 1K members get a free CLEAR membership, which helps you get through security faster at airports and stadiums.

United Global Services Benefits

Mileage Bonus: Global Services members earn United Miles at 11 x fare price (e.g., $1,000 ticket would earn 11,000 United points).

120-Hour Complimentary Premier Upgrades: Global Services members earn Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as 5 days (120 hours) before departure.

280 PlusPoints- Global Services members now earn 280 PlusPoints, 40 of which came from reaching Premier Platinum. Global Services members also earn an additional 20 PlusPoints for every additional 3,000 PQPs. 

Instant Upgrades on M Class- If a Global Services member books an “M” fare class economy ticket, they are eligible for first-class at booking.

Mercedes-Benz Transfers- Global Services members with tight connections at certain airports (typically United hubs) can get an escort to their next flight in a Mercedes-Benz. Unfortunately, this cannot be selected in advance. United will monitor your flights and send the Mercedes-Benz as needed.

Special Lounge Access- Global Services members have special lounge access to the arrivals lounge at San Francisco, London-Heathrow (T2), Frankfurt (Lufthansa), and Zurich (SWISS). Unfortunately, guests are not allowed.

Economy Plus and Preferred Seats at Booking- Global Services members are entitled to Economy Plus or preferred seats at booking including up to eight companions. Economy Plus offers extra legroom, but no free drinks like American Airline’s Main Cabin Extra.

Complimentary Drink and Snack in Economy- Global Services members enjoy a free drink and “choice Menu” food item in economy class if you don’t get upgraded to first class. (You may want to remind flight attendants of this benefit when you order)

3 Free Checked Bags- Global Services members can check three free bags up to 70 pounds. 

Free Same-Day Flight Changes- Global Services members avoid the $75 fee for same-day flight changes.

Best Premium Saver Award Space-United Airlines can create extra saver award space for Global Services members if T fare class tickets for economy class and PZ fare class tickets are available for business class.

Dedicated Global Services Line- Global Services members get access to a team of agents that only handle Global Services customers to ensure that your request is fulfilled quickly.

No Award Travel Fees- Global Services members don’t pay a $25 fee for booking an award within 21 days (typically $75). 1K members can also make changes to awards for free.

No Phone Booking Fee- Global Services members are not charged the typical $25 direct ticketing charge when making a reservation over the phone.

Star Alliance Gold-  Star Alliance Gold allows you to access Star Alliance lounges (excluding United Club) when traveling on United or a Star Alliance partner anywhere in the world. You also get priority check-in, extra free checked bags, priority security, and priority boarding.

Marriott Gold Elite Status- Global Services members enjoy Marriott Gold Elite Status, which earns you more Marriott points during stays and upgrades to preferred rooms after you link your accounts.

Hertz President Circle Status- Global Services members get Hertz President Circle elite status. I really like this elite status because you get access to the President Circle aisle when booking an intermediate car or higher at airports with Ultimate Choice. 

Free CLEAR Membership- Global Services members get a free CLEAR membership, which helps you get through security faster at airports and stadiums.

Complimentary Upgrades and PlusPoints

Complimentary Premier Upgrades- These are upgrades on a space-available basis (or instant for certain fare classes). These are only applicable in the: Continental U.S. (excluding EWR to LAX/SFO or BOS to SFO), West Coast to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, and Oceania (except Tahiti).

PointsPlus Redemptions on United:

  • Economy to domestic first/regional business: 20 PlusPoints
  • Economy to Premium Plus: 20 PlusPoints
  • Economy to Polaris (fare classes Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W): 40 PlusPoints
  • Economy to Polaris (fare classes S, T, L, K, G): 80 PlusPoints
  • Premium Plus to Polaris: 30 PlusPoints
PointsPlus “Skip Waitlist” on United- United introduced “Skip Waitlist” redemptions for PlusPoints on long-haul international flights in which members can confirm an upgrade even when standard upgrade availability is not available. However, this option is nonrefundable and you must book at least 30 days in advance. 
The cost of Skip Waitlist upgrades are:
  • Economy to Premium Plus: 70 PlusPoints
  • Economy to Polaris: 140 PlusPoints
PointsPlus Redemptions on Partners- You can also redeem your PointsPlus on partners: 
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA)
    • Economy to ANA business (fare classes G, E, Y, B): 40 PlusPoints
    • Business to ANA first (fare classes J, C, D): 40 PlusPoints
  • Copa
    • Economy to Copa business: 40 PlusPoints
  • Lufthansa
    • Economy to Lufthansa business (fare classes G, E, Y, B, M, U, H, Q): 40 PlusPoints
    • Business to Lufthansa first (fare classes J, C, D): 40 PlusPoints

MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

Any member (including non-elite) can use United points to upgrade to a premium cabin on any United, United Express, and Copa Airlines flight.  There is a co-pay on many routes (points plus cash), but this co-pay is waived for elite members flying in the continental U.S. (excluding EWR to LAX/SFO or BOS to SFO), West Coast to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, and Oceania (except Tahiti).

Award Ticket Upgrades

Premier elite members who also hold a United credit card are eligible for Premier Upgrades on award tickets. Those cards are the United MileagePlus: Explorer, Explorer Business, Club, Club business, Presidential Plus, and Presidential Plus Business. 

United Elite Status Miles Bonus Calculator

The higher your Premier Elite Status, the more points you earn when you fly. You can click inside the blue box to customize based on your flight price. 

Additional Information

Earning Elite Credits on United and Partner Airlines

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