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What’s United Airways elite standing price in 2023?

Editor’s word: This can be a recurring submit, repeatedly up to date with new info.


When choosing an airline to earn most (or all) of what you are promoting, many components come into play.

Charge waivers, upgrades, lounge entry and different priceless perks can flip a hectic journey expertise right into a clean one, however have you ever crunched the numbers to see in case your present service makes probably the most sense on your journey patterns and your pockets?

On this information, we’ll dive deep into one of many main U.S. carriers to establish how nicely it rewards loyal flyers by evaluating crucial advantages offered at every elite standing stage. We’ll put a selected worth on every profit.

So, in the event you’re contemplating pursuing Premier standing with United, how rewarding can the MileagePlus program be? Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Methodology

ARISTIDE ECONOMOPOULOS/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Earlier than we get to the main points of the United elite standing tiers, listed below are a few disclaimers.

First, it’s vital to notice that these mathematical analyses symbolize only one means of calculating the worth you’d get from a given elite standing stage.

Everybody has their very own means of valuing the varied advantages of loyalty applications; some could all the time pay for enterprise class and thus not want complimentary upgrades, whereas others could journey completely within the U.S. and don’t care about free lounge entry on worldwide itineraries. Be happy to regulate my numbers to make them extra related to your valuation.

Second, these numbers are based mostly on the advantages you’d take pleasure in after reaching the given standing stage and persevering with to qualify every year. In the event you’re ranging from scratch, these values are skewed for the reason that first a number of flights you are taking will present no advantages. I’ve offered some evaluation for these in that place towards the tip of the submit.

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This brings me to the third and closing, important a part of this evaluation: the underlying assumptions I’m making. To hit a worth for advantages, I’ve to imagine a specific amount of flying and a corresponding quantity of spending.

It’s price declaring that United modified the way it awards standing a couple of years in the past. Distance flown is not an element, besides within the case of lifetime standing. As a substitute, you could fly a sure variety of segments (often called Premier qualifying flights, or PQFs) and spend a sure sum of money (to earn Premier qualifying factors, or PQPs), or you’ll be able to simply spend a sure sum of money (to earn PQPs).

For the sake of this evaluation, I’m making the next assumptions:

  • You attain United Premier standing by way of the mix metric (PQFs plus PQPs).
  • You earn 10% extra PQPs than the minimal required for the given standing stage.
  • You full at the very least the minimal variety of PQFs to earn the given standing stage.
  • No less than 4 of your PQFs are operated by United or United Categorical (a prerequisite for incomes any stage of United Premier standing).

Remember to modify these numbers based mostly in your given journey patterns. Those that journey in paid first or enterprise class internationally will probably spend considerably extra and thus earn extra PQPs throughout fewer PQFs. On the identical time, some home highway warriors buying low-fare financial system tickets may have dozens of PQFs to attain entry-level Premier Silver standing.

Two closing bits of data: For this evaluation, I’m valuing any bonus miles earned based mostly on TPG’s most up-to-date valuations, which peg United miles at 1.21 cents apiece. As well as, I’m rounding all the particular person profit valuations to the closest $5.

With all that mentioned, let’s hit the pleasant skies.

Associated: United’s best-kept elite standing secret: Easy methods to earn PQPs sooner with associate flights

United Premier standing tiers

United presents 4 standing tiers moreover its unpublished ultra-exclusive tier, World Companies.

Premier Silver Premier Gold Premier Platinum Premier 1K
{Qualifications} 4,000 PQPs + 12 PQFs or 5,000 PQPs. 8,000 PQPs + 24 PQFs or 10,000 PQPs. 12,000 PQPs + 36 PQFs or 15,000 PQPs. 18,000 PQPs + 54 PQFs or 24,000 PQPs.
Star Alliance standing Silver. Gold. Gold. Gold.
Premier mileage bonus 40%. 60%. 80%. 120%.
Precedence check-in, safety and boarding
Free checked 70-pound luggage One bag. Two luggage. Three luggage. Three luggage.
Most popular seating for as much as 9 vacationers
Economic system Plus seating At check-in (as much as two vacationers). At reserving (as much as two vacationers). At reserving (as much as 9 vacationers). At reserving (as much as 9 vacationers).
First-class upgrades on the time of reserving Y and B fares. Y and B fares. Y and B fares. Y, B and M fares.
Clear membership $109. $109. $109. Complimentary.
First-class upgrades on choose routes as early as Day of departure. 48 hours earlier than departure. 72 hours earlier than departure. 96 hours.

Highest waitlist precedence.

PlusPoints 40. 280 (along with the 40 when you meet Platinum necessities).
One free drink and one snack in financial system
Boarding group 2. 1. 1. Preboard.
United Membership membership low cost $50. $100.
Higher award availability in financial system
Higher award availability in choose premium cabins

This raises the query of how a lot every United Premier standing tier is price. Right here’s our evaluation:

United Premier Silver: $475

United Premier Silver flyers take pleasure in complimentary Economic system Plus entry, although not till check-in. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

The bottom tier in United’s program is Premier Silver standing, which requires at the very least 12 PQFs plus 4,000 PQPs, or simply 5,000 PQPs. For this evaluation, I’ll base my numbers on incomes 4,500 PQPs (whole spending of $4,500) plus taking at the very least 12 PQFs to make sure you fulfill the hybrid qualification standards.

Profit particulars Worth
Complimentary entry to Economic system Plus/most well-liked seats Premier Silver members can choose Economic system Plus seats for themselves and one companion (solely out there at check-in) and choose most well-liked seats for them and as much as eight companions (on the time of reserving). Economic system Plus seats can be found on most United-operated flights and supply extra legroom close to the entrance of the coach cabin. Nonetheless, they don’t present extra advantages (such as you’d get with Delta’s Consolation+), in order that they’re most much like Alaska Premium-class seats — however Economic system Plus seats don’t embody free drinks, so I’ll worth this perk a bit decrease. $50.
Complimentary Premier upgrades You’ll even be eligible for complimentary upgrades to first-class as a Premier Silver traveler, which applies to home flights and flights to Hawaii (from the West Coast solely), Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. These sometimes received’t clear till the day of departure, and also you’ll be prioritized behind all different elite members. Complimentary Premier upgrades additionally don’t apply to award tickets until you even have a cobranded card just like the United Explorer Card, so I’ll peg this perk just under the worth we assigned to the comparable profit on Delta. Sadly, with lengthy waitlists, many Premier Silver members are unlikely to obtain any complimentary upgrades. $100.
Mileage bonus United makes use of a revenue-based scheme for awarding miles, and Premier Silver flyers will earn 7 miles per greenback spent, 2 greater than a non-status member; $4,500 in spending equates to roughly 9,000 extra miles, price $108.90. $110.
Precedence check-in, safety, baggage dealing with and Group 2 boarding Not like American and Delta, United gives its lowest-tier elite members with precedence safety and baggage dealing with (along with most well-liked check-in and boarding). Because of this, I’ll bump the worth a bit in comparison with these carriers. $50.
Precedence cellphone line This could be a good perk to have in case of a major difficulty however sometimes isn’t probably the most priceless profit on the market. $25.
Waived baggage payment Premier Silver members can test a bag free of charge when touring in financial system class, saving as much as $60 per round-trip flight. That is much like the profit supplied to holders of the Explorer Card (although you’ll must buy the ticket utilizing the cardboard for that perk to use). As of September 2018, nevertheless, the burden restrict was elevated from 50 kilos to 70 kilos, so I’ll peg this on the identical worth we assigned to Delta Silver Medallions. $50.
Award journey advantages A technique United stands out from the opposite carriers is the gathering of advantages it presents Premier members with regards to award tickets. Even Premier Silver vacationers take pleasure in precedence waitlisting for award flights, can stand by if their ticketed class of service isn’t out there on a number of legs and can acquire entry to “higher” availability of United Saver awards in financial system class. $75.
Star Alliance Silver standing Premier Silver vacationers shall be designated as Star Alliance Silver when flying on a Star Alliance service. Nonetheless, this solely consists of precedence waitlisting and precedence standby, neither of which is price a lot. $5.
Avis advantages Lastly, Silver members will take pleasure in perks with Avis due to the corporate’s partnership with United — together with automated Most popular Plus standing within the Avis Most popular Rewards program and an extra 500 United miles per rental. This might be fairly priceless in the event you often hire from Avis, however I’ll peg this at a conservative $10 for Premier Silver vacationers. $10.
Complete worth $475.

Associated: Your final information to United Airways companions

United Premier Gold: $1,520

A United Airways home first-class meal. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

The second tier in United’s program is Premier Gold standing, which requires at the very least 24 PQFs plus 8,000 PQPs, or simply 10,000 PQPs. For this evaluation, I’ll base my numbers on incomes 9,000 PQPs (whole spending of $9,000) plus taking at the very least 24 PQFs to make sure you fulfill the hybrid qualification standards.

Profit particulars Worth
Complimentary entry to Economic system Plus/most well-liked seats Premier Gold members can even entry Economic system Plus seats for them and a journey companion plus most well-liked seats with as much as eight companions. The massive distinction from Silver is that each of those perks can be found at reserving. Given the extra flying and earlier availability, I’ll bump this to $250. $250.
Complimentary Premier upgrades Once more, it is tougher to get upgrades as a mid-tier United elite member these days. Nonetheless, as a Gold member, you are eligible for complimentary upgrades to first-class on paid home and short-haul worldwide flights. These shall be prioritized forward of Silver vacationers and can begin clearing 48 hours earlier than departure however aren’t relevant on award tickets with out a United bank card. I’ll increase the worth as a result of extra journey and better precedence, however do not pursue Premier Gold standing just for this profit. $200.
Mileage bonus Below United’s revenue-based accrual scheme, Premier Golds will earn 8 miles per greenback spent (3 greater than non-status flyers). Spending $9,000 will provide you with 27,000 further miles, price $326.70. $325.
Precedence check-in, safety, baggage dealing with and Group 1 boarding Similar profit besides with Group 1 boarding and extra frequent utilization. $125.
Precedence cellphone line Similar profit and extra frequent utilization, although you’ll additionally probably have extra educated brokers than Silver members. $50.
Waived baggage payment Premier Gold members can test two luggage weighing as much as 70 kilos apiece on home United flights when touring in financial system, an honest step up from Silver vacationers. $100.
Award journey advantages Premier Gold vacationers have the identical award journey advantages as Premier Silvers, together with higher availability of financial system awards on the Saver stage. Nonetheless, you most likely wouldn’t use them twice as often, so I’m simply bumping the worth barely. $100.
Star Alliance Gold standing United Premier Gold members shall be acknowledged as Star Alliance Gold vacationers when flying on any Star Alliance service. This gives many advantages above Star Alliance Silver standing, together with precedence check-in, further baggage allowances, precedence safety/immigration (the place out there) and precedence boarding. Nonetheless, probably the most priceless perk is lounge entry, which is included once you’re ticketed on any Star Alliance flight (the lone exception is touring on home United flights, the place you received’t have entry to United Golf equipment however will be capable to get into Star Alliance lounges within the U.S.). Which means you might get right into a Senator Lounge on a Lufthansa flight inside Germany, a United Membership on a United flight from the U.S. to the Caribbean or a Turkish Airways lounge on a United-operated home flight. This can be a good step up from comparable standing tiers on American and Delta. $250.
Marriott Gold standing One other profit supplied to Premier Gold members is Gold standing with Marriott Bonvoy, due to the RewardsPlus partnership launched in 2013. Sadly, this isn’t equal to the Gold Elite standing you beforehand loved with the legacy Marriott program. Nonetheless, it nonetheless consists of perks like bonus factors and upgrades to most well-liked rooms after you hyperlink your United and Marriott accounts. The true worth of this profit depends upon how often you keep at Marriott properties, so I’ll assume a conservative $100. Be happy to regulate this if in case you have extra frequent Marriott stays. $100.
Avis advantages Like Premier Silver flyers, Gold members will take pleasure in Avis Most popular Plus standing plus 500 extra bonus miles when in comparison with a non-status holder. With the extra journey, I’ll double the worth of this perk to $20. $20.
Complete worth $1,520.

Associated: Why you most likely shouldn’t purchase up for United standing

United Premier Platinum: $2,700

Premier Platinum members can use their 40 PlusPoints for a round-trip worldwide improve from financial system to Premium Plus. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

The third tier within the MileagePlus program is Premier Platinum standing, which requires at the very least 36 PQFs plus 12,000 PQPs, or simply 15,000 PQPs. For this evaluation, I’ll base my numbers on incomes 13,500 PQPs (whole spending of $13,500) plus taking at the very least 36 PQFs to make sure you fulfill the hybrid qualification standards.

Profit particulars Worth
Complimentary entry to Economic system Plus/most well-liked seats Premier Platinums can even entry Economic system Plus and most well-liked seats at reserving, extending to as much as eight companions, even when they’re on separate reservations. You’ll must name United if you wish to organize for Economic system Plus or most well-liked seating on your companions in the event that they’re on a separate reservation. $250.
Complimentary Premier upgrades As a Platinum member, you will have larger improve precedence, however do not anticipate upgrades on all of your flights with Platinum standing. Upgrades might clear as early as three days earlier than departure. Given the extra flying and better chance of clearing, I’m bumping this to $400. $400.
40 PlusPoints You will obtain 40 PlusPoints as a Platinum member. That is sufficient for a single improve from some financial system fares to United Polaris. Alternatively, you might use these for 2 regional upgrades to first-class or two upgrades from any commonplace economy-class fares to Premium Plus. You need to use PlusPoints to improve a buddy or member of the family, even once you aren’t touring collectively. $400.
Mileage bonus Premier Platinum members will earn 9 miles per greenback spent, a bonus of 4 miles over the incomes charge for normal members; $13,500 in spending will get you an additional 54,000 miles, price $653.40. $655.
Precedence check-in, safety, baggage dealing with and Group 1 boarding Similar profit, extra frequent utilization. $190.
Precedence cellphone line Similar profit, extra frequent utilization and extra educated brokers. $90.
Waived baggage payment Premier Platinum members can test three luggage of 70 kilos every free of charge when touring in financial system on United, although most flyers most likely received’t make the most of the total extent of this profit. $150.
Award journey advantages As a Premier Platinum member, you’ll have entry to the identical award journey perks listed above for Silvers and Golds. Nonetheless, you’ll additionally see higher availability for United Saver awards in premium cabins. $125.
Cellphone service cost waiver Along with the discounted or waived charges above, you’ll additionally keep away from the $25 direct ticketing cost when making a reservation over the cellphone. Nonetheless, I’ve often been capable of get this waived with out elite standing once I couldn’t guide a ticket on-line. I’ll assume that you simply make the most of this as soon as per 12 months. $25.
Star Alliance Gold standing Similar profit, extra frequent utilization. $275.
Marriott Gold standing Platinum members will even be capable to hyperlink their United and Marriott accounts to earn Gold standing with Marriott Bonvoy, however this worth depends upon how often you keep at these manufacturers. $100.
Avis advantages As a Platinum traveler, you’ll take pleasure in automated Avis President’s Membership standing within the Avis Most popular Rewards program and luxuriate in 750 extra miles over a non-status flyer. Because of this, I’ll double the worth of those perks in comparison with Premier Gold. $40.
Complete worth $2,700

Associated: 9 journeys TPG staffers have booked with factors and miles for journey in 2023

United Premier 1K: $7,455

Premier 1K members can use their 320 PlusPoints for eight single upgrades from financial system class in a W or larger fare to Polaris enterprise class. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

The ultimate tier within the MileagePlus program is Premier 1K standing, which requires at the very least 54 PQFs plus 18,000 PQPs, or simply 24,000 PQPs. For this evaluation, I’ll base my numbers on incomes 20,000 PQPs (whole spending of $20,000) plus taking at the very least 54 PQFs to make sure you fulfill the hybrid qualification standards.

Profit particulars Worth
Complimentary entry to Economic system Plus/most well-liked seats Similar profit, extra frequent utilization. $625.
Complimentary Premier upgrades Premier 1K members benefit from the highest improve precedence (other than World Companies vacationers, who’re probably touring in paid first-class anyway). They are going to start clearing into first-class as early as 4 days earlier than departure. Nonetheless, as a Premier 1K member, I seldom obtain complimentary Premier upgrades, so I am lowering the worth of this profit in comparison with earlier years. $500.
280 PlusPoints Premier 1K members earn 280 PlusPoints when qualifying for standing. You’d additionally take dwelling 40 for reaching Premier Platinum, and for each extra 3,000 PQPs, you’ll take pleasure in one other 20 PlusPoints.

Because of this, a Premier 1K member with the above journey exercise (20,000 PQPs and 54-plus PQFs) may have a complete of 320 PlusPoints. This is able to be price $3,200 based mostly on the above valuation for Platinums, however I’ll add $50 due to the added Skip Waitlist characteristic.

$3,250.
Mileage bonus Premier 1K members earn 11 miles per greenback spent, 6 miles greater than common members. By spending $20,000, you’ll take dwelling an additional 120,000 miles, price $1,452. $1,450.
Precedence check-in, safety, baggage dealing with and Group 1 boarding Similar profit, extra frequent utilization. Premier 1K members are additionally invited to preboard. $300.
Complimentary snack and drink in financial system In 2016, United introduced that Premier 1K and World Companies vacationers would take pleasure in a free drink and snack merchandise in the event that they didn’t rating the improve to first-class.

Snack bins and Bistro on Board objects value round $10 every, and you may anticipate to pay $5 for an alcoholic drink. This profit can save $15 per flight, however because you may not apply it to every flight, I’ll worth it at $5 per flight.

$270.
Precedence cellphone line Similar profit, extra frequent utilization and extra educated brokers. $120.
Waived baggage payment Similar profit, extra frequent utilization. $200.
Award journey advantages Similar profit, identical restricted utilization. $175.
Cellphone service cost waiver Similar profit, identical restricted utilization. $25.
Star Alliance Gold standing Similar profit, extra frequent utilization. $300.
Marriott Gold standing Similar profit. $100.
Avis advantages Similar profit. $40.
Complimentary Clear membership In mid-2019, United introduced a partnership with Clear, the favored expedited safety program that has expanded to greater than 40 cities (in each airports and occasion venues). The U.S. membership usually prices $189 per 12 months, however non-status United members pays $119. The yearly worth for United bank card holders and lower-tier elite members drops to $109, however Premier 1K vacationers can take pleasure in a complimentary membership. Provided that that is at the moment out there at United’s U.S. hubs, I’ll worth this profit at $100. $100.
Complete worth $7,455.

Associated: United PlusPoints upgrades: Why it is best to rethink spending extra factors to skip the waitlist

What if I’m ranging from scratch?

United Polaris lounge in San Francisco Worldwide Airport. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

These numbers are based mostly on the advantages you’d take pleasure in by spending a full 12 months with the given standing. Nonetheless, suppose you’re ranging from scratch. In that case, the calculations change into a bit extra difficult because you received’t begin to take pleasure in any advantages till you hit the PQF and PQP (or simply PQP) necessities to earn Premier Silver standing.

To assist modify the evaluation for these people, I’ve taken the above valuations and transformed them to a worth per PQP, as follows:

  • United Premier Silver: $475 / 4,500 PQPs = 10.56 cents per PQP.
  • United Premier Gold: $1,520 / 9,000 PQPs = 16.89 cents per PQP.
  • United Premier Platinum: $2,700 / 13,500 PQPs = 20 cents per PQP.
  • United Premier 1K: $7,455 / 20,000 PQPs = 37.28 cents per PQP.

Associated: Shedding elite standing this month? Maintain advantages with these airline standing matches and challenges

Is it price pursuing United Airways standing?

United Premier Gold and better members take pleasure in particular perks when touring on associate airways like Lufthansa. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

So, given these values, is it price pursuing elite standing (or the following tier of elite standing) with United?

Like every evaluation we undertake right here at TPG, there isn’t a straightforward reply to this, because it relies upon totally in your state of affairs. Nonetheless, listed below are a couple of overarching questions that may provide help to arrive at a call:

How a lot will you journey sooner or later?

In the event you earn United elite standing in 2023, it’s legitimate by way of Jan. 31, 2025. It’s important to consider how a lot you’ll be touring sooner or later. In the event you push arduous to earn Premier 1K, the dear perks outlined above solely apply once you journey.

What’s the incremental worth of 1 tier over one other?

A lot of you might wind up inside putting distance of the following tier, so think about whether or not the advantages are price pushing for it. There’s no sense in going out of your means for perks that don’t matter to you.

How nicely does United’s route map match your typical journey patterns?

It is not price pursuing standing when you’ll be able to’t take pleasure in the advantages. Remember to think about United’s service from your property airport(s) and the way straightforward it’s to get to your required vacation spot.

How delicate are you to cost and comfort?

There are lots of trade-offs on this interest, and probably the most frequent is deciding whether or not to make use of your most well-liked airline or lodge chain when it’s not probably the most handy or least expensive.

Would you guide a one-stop United flight if Alaska had a less expensive nonstop possibility? If the reply isn’t any, it will not be price going out of your technique to earn United elite standing (or any elite standing, for that matter).

Might you take pleasure in elite-like perks with a bank card?

The ultimate consideration includes journey rewards bank cards. Many airline cobranded playing cards supply perks to cardholders that may mirror what you’d take pleasure in as an elite member.

For instance, the United Explorer Card features a free checked bag, precedence boarding and two one-time United Membership passes. The United Membership Infinite Card gives a complimentary United Membership membership and two free checked bag charges (amongst different perks).

In the event you will pay a flat annual payment for certainly one of these playing cards and acquire entry to perks that matter to you with out going out of your technique to earn elite standing, which may be a greater possibility.

These questions are additionally not straightforward to reply, as many alternative components come into play with every of them. Nonetheless, evaluating your state of affairs is worth it as you identify if United elite standing is for you.

Associated: 6 issues you could learn about United Airways MileagePlus

Backside line

As somebody who has been a Premier 1K member for about half a dozen consecutive years, I’ve grown to be very conversant in the ins and outs of United’s sought-after Premier standing.

Premier perks could make the journey expertise much less hectic and (dare I say?) even pleasing. Each traveler has their very own set of advantages that make it worthwhile to pursue elite standing, and it is gotten noticeably tougher to obtain complimentary upgrades and redeem PlusPoints for Polaris flights.

In the event you’re available in the market for a brand new most well-liked service in 2023 and have United in your shortlist, we hope this submit has given you some nice info that can assist you resolve.

Extra reporting by Andrew Kunesh and Nick Ewen.

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