United introducing Minimum Spend Requirements

In a not-so-shocking announcement this morning, it appears that United is following Delta's lead and has introduced a minimum spend requirement for 2014.   The requirements by status work out to be:

  • Premier Silver: [25,000 PQM or 30 PQS] and $2,500 PQD
  • Premier Gold: [50,000 PQM or 60 PQS] and $5,000 PQD
  • Premier Platinum: [75,000 PQM or 90 PQS] and $7,500 PQD
  • Premier 1K: [100,000 PQM or 120 PQS] and $10,000 PQD

The numbers seem to be on par with what Delta has.  Unlike Delta though, United is counting partner flights which is a huge differentiator.  Interesting to note, this is only applicable to US based Mileage Plus residents. 

One other note, Silvers, Gold and Platinums who spend at least $25k on a Chase Credit card are waived from the minimum requirement.  1Ks, however are not granted a waiver.

Personally, I'm ecstatic about these changes as it means the long needed thinning of elite ranks may finally come to fruition, which in turn means better upgrades and more benefits for the elite ranks.


UA-NYC June 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

Fozz - has to be 016 ticket stock it looks like. And we know how pricey those codeshares can get.

As of now, there's nothing to link this to better benefits by the way (other than some elite thinning out).

Fozz June 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

@UA-NYC: True, but we know that *A is actively working on attaching revenue to a single flight coupon. Once that is complete, UA can have visibility to all Joint Venture flights, so the 016 requirement is likely a shorter-term issue then not.

Kevin June 18, 2013 at 01:51 pm

Works for me - but... can we still use Expedia to book flights? Or must we now book with UA?

Dwimmerlaik June 18, 2013 at 01:52 pm

There are two questions that immediately come to mind with this new policy. #1: What will UA determine as the criteria for PQD? It won't be the ticket price, as that always includes various taxes and fees, but it could be the base price. #2: Who will be "weeded out" by this policy and who is it targeted towards? As a frequent domestic traveler (ie. I fly nearly every week), I end up making premier status based on PQS and not PQM. Given an average base ticket price of $500 for a domestic round-trip, that's really only 20 trips to hit the $10,000 threshold assuming that they use base ticket price. Obviously, that is far below the required 120 PQS for 1K status (your article says 90 PQS for 1K, but I'm assuming that is a typo as that would be a significant change from the current PQS requirement). Given that I usually pick up 4 PQS per round-trip, that means I would have 80 PQS which doesn't even qualify for Platinum status, let alone 1K status.

So, I repeat, who is this policy targeted towards? Are they targeting the travelers who pick up status based on distance (PQM) traveled (i.e. the Internationals) instead of segments?

Fozz June 18, 2013 at 02:19 pm

I fixed the typo about PQS for 1Ks. That portion was cut-and-pasted from the original post by UA Insider on Flyertalk.

Tom June 18, 2013 at 09:53 pm

Better benefits as an outcome of this? Well one can dream at least... the more likely outcome is that 1K is just harder to get and not more rewarding. I hope I'm wrong but I'd be shocked.

PK June 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

Here's a philosophical way of looking at it: Friends of mine who flew first class 3 decades ago viewed business class as an imposition similar to Fozz viewing what is called "economy plus". They resented mere economy class flying people getting upgrades. Most of the elites here do not buy business class tickets on a regular basis. These guys I know did.

What appears to have happened is that the airlines for decades have been engaging in cuts whereby what was economy 3 decades ago would be considered silver "elite" status today: free pillows, full meals, free drinks, etc. As they cut the benefits, they added additional classes to retain flyers and generate loyalty. As they cut back on economy service further and saw revenue rise but loyalty drop, they created an additional level of "elite" qualification (similar to bronze). Get one of their credit cards.

They didn't do this out of generosity. This is for their bottom line.

Flyers such as myself who no longer fly enough to qualify for elite status avoid the legacy carriers and spirit airlines like the plague. I can't qualify for elite status, the fees annoy me, so I pay a little more for a better carrier and fly ad-hoc. Jetblue or Southwest. In the meantime, my wife insists upon packing two big carryons and schlepping them through security and then checking them in (for free) at the gate the few times I'm on a legacy carrier. I don't think this is helping anyone, I'd prefer to just check and be done with it and enjoy the flight, but that's the game for now.

busybee June 15, 2014 at 07:39 pm

Fozz, Now with rdm tied to spend do you still feel this benefits long haul j class and f customers who credit to united mp? I would disagree and mention that delta can get away with this as they make money and seats are full. Better ways to reward spend ,thin the herd and stop mileage runners. Tier points and bonuses tied to fare basis.