United Airlines Just Announced a Major Change to Its MileagePlus Loyalty Program

It's going to be more difficult to achieve status in 2023.

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Just last month, Delta Air Lines revamped its SkyMiles program after nearly a decade. And while the change brought additional benefits, it also made achieving higher tiers more difficult. Apparently, United Airlines is taking a cue from its competitor. 

United is updating its own loyalty program, making it more difficult to achieve status in 2023. According to Travel + Leisure, the carrier is upping the minimum on its MileagePlus Premiere. Here's the good news. Customers will get automatic premier qualifying points, or PQPs, deposited into their accounts based on their 2023 status earned this year.

"For the past two years, we adjusted our MileagePlus Premier program requirements to reflect the frequency of travel during uncertain times," United wrote in a customer email, according to the outlet. "With travel now in full swing, our standard qualification requirements are returning. But we are giving you a boost and adding new qualifying activities to our 2023 MileagePlus Premier program to make achieving your status goals even easier."

So here's how it'll work. You must fly 12 premier qualifying flights, or PQFs, and earn 4,000 PQPs. Alternatively, you can earn 5,000 PQPs to get Premier Silver. Currently, the tier requires 8 PQFs and 3,000 PQPs or 3,500 PQPs on their own. It's no small change. For Premier Gold, you'll need to fly 24 premier qualifying flights and earn 8,000 PQPs or earn 10,000 PQPs, which is up from the previous 16 PQFs and 6,000 PQPs or 7,000 PQPs. Okay, now I'll stop saying PQP.

"Just like MileagePlus Premier members earn status, we're earning their loyalty by creating a more flexible Premier program," Vice President of Loyalty and Marketing and President of MileagePlus Luc Bondar said. "Whether you're a frequent flyer or traveling long distances a few times per year, the updated 2023 Premier program is designed to maximize earning potential." 

As for that PQP freebie (dammit, I said it again), United is dropping 500 into Premier Silver status accounts, 1,000 PQPs into those with Premier Gold Status, and 1,500 PQPs for those with Premier Platinum status, and 2,500 for Premiere 1k status.

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Megan Schaltegger is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist.