Reader Question: Is It Possible To Earn United Elite Status Solely From Their Credit Cards?

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Earlier today I wrote about United’s new elite status requirements, which will mean you’ll need to spend more to earn United status. You’ll want to read that post first in order to understand the jargon in this post.

Brian asked in a comment if you can earn status from credit card spending.

Currently, you can waive the PQD spend requirements on United flights by spending $25K on United credit cards. You still need to fly on United to earn elite status, but you don’t need to meet the minimum spending requirements.

That goes away on 1/1/20.

In its place you can now earn 500 PQPs for spending $12K annually or 1,000 PQPs for spending $24K annually on United cards.

This applies to the:

The United TravelBank card won’t earn PQPs.

While each of those cards is capped at 1,000 annual PQPs, you can stack together PQPs earned from all of your cards.

Note that if you are combining PQPs earned from credit cards and flights, the highest status you can earn it Platinum.

Similar to other Chase cards, it is also possible to have multiple of the same United card even though Chase won’t approve you for a card if you currently have it. For example if you currently have a United Explorer Consumer, Explorer Business, Club Consumer, and Club Business, you could upgrade the Explorer Consumer to another Club Consumer and then apply for an Explorer Consumer. Or you could downgrade the Club Consumer to another Explorer Consumer and then apply for a Club Consumer. That’s how I got multiple Chase Freedom cards by downgrading them from other cards like Chase Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card® Card.

Of course all of these cards are subject to 5/24 rules and you can’t convert non-United cards into United cards, so it won’t be easy to rack up United cards quickly.

Here is how many PQPs you need for status:


While United is removing the need to fly a certain amount of miles to earn status, you will still need to fly on 4 paid flight segments to earn status.

So if you happen to have 5 United cards and spend $24,000 on each, you would earn 5,000 PQPs. But unfortunately you would still have to fly on 4 paid United flight segments (1 round-trip with connecting flights or 2 round-trips with nonstop flights) in order to earn elite status.

Of course if you still have the grandfathered United Select or Platinum cards you can also earn 500 PQPs annually for every $12K spend, but these cards can earn up to 3,000 PQPs annually and they can be applied to any status, including 1K.

And if you still have the grandfathered United Presidential Plus card you can also earn 500 PQPs annually for every $12K spend, but these cards can earn up to 10,000 PQPs annually and they can be applied to any status, including 1K.

Will you still spend on United credit cards to earn PQPs after the PQD waiver is eliminated?

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43 Comments On "Reader Question: Is It Possible To Earn United Elite Status Solely From Their Credit Cards?"

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I going to cancel my UA Chase card now once I hit the waiver for next year….
No longer a reason to pay the fee or place spend there.



I was at a disadvantage flying to Asia via Air Canada a few times a year as I never flew United directly (so I didn’t get status). Does this mean now I can get status on United by JUST flying Air Canada?

Thank you!


You can also upgrade from the Travel Bank card


Did I get this right?
If I only have one United card there is no way to earn status?


Finally pays off that I kept my Pres+ card!

Barry Schwartz

So that “United Presidential Plus card” – you cannot earn more than 10,000 PQPs annually? If you spent 120k annually, you still only get 10,000 PQPs annually?

El Capitan

With all the devaluations at United is there anything that makes United a better program than Delta?


Are you sure you get PQP for random spend on Select cards? I have the Select and I currently get max $5000 EQD per year but only for UA spend, and then is dollar for dollar. I know nothing about PQD for $12k generic spend

Sam hendi

If I’m looking to get an airline credit card what do you recommend?


Do I need to spend the $24k annually to earn 1K for “my” travel, or can I pay travel of family members as well. Will it qualify?


I’m slow to comprehend as usual.
Do you think this will considerably thin the Premier members at plat & 1k?


Does the travel bank work anymore?


So here in Israel – Bank Leumi was offering a credit for startups with a number of benefits. One of them being Premier Gold status with UA for 16 months, no purchases needed.
I took it and even though all my travel (4 time a year Israel-US was on Star Alliance Business) was with Chase UR points – it was great for various benefits and getting into First Class and Senator lounges.
Unfortunately, it eventually expired….


I have at the moment 544,000 FPQM, will I be able to use them over the next few years @ 10,000 PQP per year, or they will all expire next year ?

Mr. Knowitall

I have 48,000 spirit points that I got through signing up for one of their credit cards. I’m converting it into 6 round trip tickets


Hi currently have ihg card delta gold and chase freedon unlimited
What would you recommend me to apply for I fly few times a year to London and Florida and sometimes to Israel?


I have been a United 1K or Global Services for 14 years. I now fly exclusively EWR-TLV 11 or 12 times a year. I will finish 2019 with 131,000 PQM and $16,000 PQD.
Despite being a MillionMiler with over 1,750,000 Lifetime Miles, i have no chance of reaching 1K without increasing spending on tickets by 50%!! This is insane. I can continue with United a couple more years to reach 2 Million Miles and Platinum for life and be a fee agent. Or just forget status and by the cheapest extra legroom tickets on Delta or even El Al and call it a day.


I have 17000 flex miles on my Presidents plus card. Should i use it this year to push from gold to platinum or save it for the future new deal?

Gerald Engelhart

If you have an israeli address you are exempt from the United spend requirement
I reach 100k status and do not come near the spending requirement by having my official address in Israel


I have a Presidential Plus card, that earns me Platinum Status each and every year. In 2019 I earned 80k PQM and I currently have 88k Flex miles and 45k lifetime miles. I have very few if any flights, as they don’t count when you purchase tickets on miles, In addition, I am not sure that I receive them when I purchase with my AMEX Centurion Card and get 50% back when I pay with points.

While I do understand that now they are allowing you to go up to 1K status, I am not clear what i need to do or if I can earn status without actually paying for United fares with my United cards

Can you explain?


Please clarify – it seems that one can attain 1K status thru spend on credit cards only (plus 4 flight segments) as long as one has multiple UA credit cards and they in total combined charging reach 24k PQP’s. Correct? I have the grandfathered Presidential Plus which will give me 10k PQP’s. I only need to get a few other UA cards to obtain another 14k PQP’s I believe (I put a lot of company charges on the cards). Thanks