Update, 8/7: United has not yet responded to my inquiry about qualifying with PQPs from credit card spending, however they have now added a bullet point to the Fly to the Finish promo terms stating that “Only United and United Express flights qualify for this offer.”
Presumably that’s United admitting they goofed in writing the original promo terms and that partner airline flights and credit card earnings are excluded from this promotion.
In June, American announced 2 very simple paths to renew elite status through 1/31/23. Spending $15K on AA credit cards between 7/15-11/15 or spending $2,000 on flights between 9/1-12/31. The caveat is that members won’t earn perks like systemwide upgrades via this short-cut to status retention.
United then extended their unpublished top-tier Global Services status, which was quickly matched by American and Delta’s unpublished status tiers.
Delta then gave in by extending the status of all their elite members, with the caveat that members who requalify get higher upgrade priority and perks like systemwide upgrades. They also are rolling over all elite qualifying miles earned in 2020 and 2021 into 2022.
Clearly United had to respond, but would they follow American’s path or Delta’s?
As you’d expect from the airline that brought us PQPs and PQFs, they chose a much more complicated option.
United already slashed the PQP and PQF requirements for 2021, but will now make things even easier to earn via a flight challenge.
Non-elites and elites who already requalified can earn a “Breakout Bonus“ of PQPs on their next 3 trips, including up to 1 award trip:
Elite members who didn’t requalify yet can register here for the “Fly to the Finish” promo. They can requalify for status through 1/31/23 by meeting the following PQF+PQP or PQP only requirements from 8/6-11/30:
This is my offer as a 1K:
Flights booked before 8/6 still count for this promo.
If you qualify via the PQP only method you don’t need to meet the normal 4 flight segment minimum to earn status.
United will award upgrade PlusPoints to elites who requalify via the Fly to the Finish promo.
Members who didn’t requalify and fail to requalify with Fly to the Finish can still fall back on the Breakout Bonus promo.
You can also earn 1 PQF for every $4,000 spend across your United cards, up to 2 PQFs. Members who flew with a corporate account since 2019 also get bonus PQPs towards the Fly to the Finish promo that varies based on your status.
There are a ton of complicated nuances to all of this including the potential to take advantage of both promos, so be sure to read United’s convoluted terms, to which you’ll likely have even more questions than when you started.
The Fly to the Finish promo doesn’t mention anything about where the PQP-only requirement must be earned from. Is it only from United flights? Any flights? Any source including purchasing PQPs or credit card earnings? My reading of it is that any source should count, so PQPs earned from your credit card between 8/6-11/30 should help you requalify for status. In other words a Silver member needs 700 PQPs, a Gold member needs 1,400 PQPs, a Platinum member needs 2,000 PQPs and a 1K member needs 3,000 PQPs to requalify.
The Chase United Quest Card, Chase United Club Infinite Card Card, and Chase United Club Card earn 500 PQPs for spending $12,000, 1,000 PQPs for spending $24,000, 1,500 PQPs for spending $36,000, 2,000 PQPs for spending $48,000, 2,500 PQPs for spending $60,000, or 3,000 PQPs for spending $72,000 in a calendar year.
In other words it seems that you should be able to spend your way back to requalifying for status.
You can earn up to 5,000 PQPs across all cards per United MileagePlus account per calendar year unless you have the grandfathered Presidential Plus card which is excluded from that cap.
I’ve reached out to United to confirm if credit card spending will indeed count for the Fly to the Finish promo and will update this post when they respond.
United is just trying to maximize revenue here, but kudos to American and Delta for keeping it simple. You shouldn’t need a PhD in miles to figure out an airline promotion. Did the group of people who were recently laid off from running El Al’s Matmid program get jobs with United?