United MileagePlus Updates
United has made a few changes to their elite program MileagePlus. For complete details and FAQs check out the official Updates Page. A few of the changes will go into effect in January while others have already been implemented. United has cited simplification and value to top customers as reasons for their recent changes. There are changes to the boarding and baggage rules as well as the elite qualification requirements.
Premier Status Qualification Changes
Baggage and Boarding Changes
The changes here are nothing major and really only standardize the baggage allowances, increasing the baggage weight to 70 Lbs for all elite members. Also, the boarding groups were re-worked a bit allowing 1k Members to board in Pre-boarding and Gold Members in Group 1.
Changes to the Way Upgrades are Earned
Currently, Premier members earn two Regional Premier Upgrades for every 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS and two Global Premier Upgrades for every 50,000 PQM or 60 PQS after reaching Premier 1K status. In 2019, Premier members will earn one Global Premier Upgrade for every 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS after reaching Premier 1K status, and will no longer earn additional Regional Premier Upgrades.
Airlines making changes to their elite status programs is nothing new. Devaluations are unfortunately a common occurrence. Generally updates to status qualifications are a response to an unanticipated large number of members qualifying for elite status. As programs and elite tiers become oversaturated, elite status benefits are devalued. By increasing requirements and making qualifying a bit more difficult, United is prioritizing it’s more loyal flyers. However, it’s not all bad because lesser members are now entitled to heavier baggage allowances which could save some money.