I have a confession. When I first joined his TPG team in 2018, I was loyal as a fox — at least when it came to airline loyalty his program.

In fact, I rarely flew the same airline more than once or twice a year, so I rarely bothered to add a frequent flyer number to my booking.

Fortunately, I have come to my senses.

Now, not only do we believe there is value in earning miles on every flight, even if we don’t reach elite status, we also pledge allegiance to Star Alliance. In particular, united airlines.

As of this writing, I have 83 Premier qualifying points, 1 Premier qualifying flight, and one final act of passion by achievement. The highest elite status in United’s MileagePlus program, Premier 1K. And next week, I plan to fill the gap with a short domestic trip to visit friends.

It’s getting easier and easier to stick to one airline, but I live just 20 minutes from one of United’s biggest hubs. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) — went out of its way to claim top-tier status again this year. Here’s how I’ve achieved elite status at United and set myself up for another successful year ahead.

spent more than necessary

Earlier this year, I paid for a higher fare class to earn more PQP on Turkish Airlines flights. Jakub Porzykki/NURPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

There’s nothing I love more than airline tickets, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate certain comforts enough that I’m compelled to automatically book the cheapest airline ticket I can find. , I never thought I would be the one who would choose to spend more money on tickets in order to earn more points.

For example, during the summer I booked a flight to Turkey with Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines. But before confirming my booking, I checked the revenue charts for United Airlines flights operated by Turkey. I just realized that the W class fares I was thinking of are not eligible for earnings (read: zero). So, after consulting with a colleague, I decided to pay about $500 more. This fare, while still in Economy, was eligible for his 100% of the earned mileage.

Google Spreadsheet

Ultimately, I had to reschedule that trip.

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By purchasing a higher Economy fare class, you will earn the maximum amount of PQP (500) per segment on flights between Istanbul and Newark, in addition to some extra points for intra-Turkey flights between Bodrum and Istanbul. did.

With a total of 1,096 PQPs and four segments, this trip encourages you to read the bylaws before booking partner flights, especially if you plan to rely on alliances to achieve status with the airline. It was an important reminder.

Of course, even the most well-researched plans can go awry.

Related: United Elite Status Secrets: How to Earn PQP Faster on Partner Flights

asked for help

Things don’t always go according to plan — especially on mileage runs.Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images

Hands get sticky when you ask for help.

But in addition to my peers who probably should have earned 1K status purely on PQF (in this case, Premier qualifying benefits), I spent a good deal of time with United this year when earnings were a problem. communication.

Working with a Star Alliance partner is a great way to achieve elite status with United, but it’s not always a seamless process.

The final segment of the aforementioned Turkish Airlines battle did not occur automatically. I spent months emailing customer support trying to get credit for that flight. Finally, about 6 months after the trip, after multiple emails and a few phone calls, United was successful. But I had to be persistent and persistent.

Similarly, I Recent SAS flights If two legs of a multi-city itinerary did not occur. That issue was resolved much more quickly, but it required an email and a chat with United’s messaging service.

When every point and every segment counts, it’s important to seek help and defend yourself. So travelers should also keep an eye on their account balance. If you’re not paying attention, you may not realize you’re missing segments or hard-earned points.

Related: How to earn miles with the United MileagePlus program

purchased an upgrade

Unfortunately, upgrading my SAS ticket to business class did not earn me any PQP.Melanie Lieberman/The Point Guy

This was technically a failed attempt to earn more PQP, but the strategy still has merit.

i recently Bid on upgrades at SAS, hopefully when my ticket is reissued it will be coded as a higher fare class and earn more PQP. (My K class discount economy ticket was eligible for 50% mileage accrual.) As you can imagine, this didn’t work.

However, in the past, we have been able to earn more PQP by upgrading United-operated flights.Last year I left economy premium plus Earn more points on flights to London.

Buying an upgrade after booking a standard economy fare is often cheaper than booking a premium class outright, so it’s a good way to earn a better class of service and extra points. However, if you want to earn more PQP, make sure you’re only doing this on United-operated flights.

Related: Last-minute strategies to earn United Premier Elite status

lost my way

Last year I flew from Arizona to New York and flew back to Arizona two days later to win two more segments. This year, I was barely persuaded by my colleagues to scrap the daunting itinerary of traveling from Australia, through the West Coast, to the East Coast, and back to the West Coast the next day.

I’m starting to regret that decision now that my segment hasn’t hit 1K.

Stopovers and extra legs didn’t play a big part in my strategy this year, but they’re always on my mind and could be an easy way for travelers to bridge the gap to elite status. one Top Strategies for Achieving Elite Status is to add a takeoff and a landing to a direct flight. This can sometimes be done free of charge with same day flight changes.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to United Airlines Partners

got a new credit card

Of all the things I did to win $1,000, applying for a co-branded United card was easily the smartest.This year we opened united club infinite card, currently offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.In addition to the increased mileage, I was primarily attracted to the card’s lounge benefits granted to cardholders United Club access and choose star alliance Lounges on United Airlines and its partner flights.

point guy

However, United Club Infinite cardholders may also earn up to 4,000 PQP per calendar year. 500 PQP for every $12,000 spent on the card.

If it wasn’t for the 500 PQP I earned on my credit cards this year, I could have missed out on $1,000 by a disastrous margin.

While it is not possible to purchase full United status, points earned on the card can qualify for 1K if the traveler also meets PQF requirements. All of this makes the hefty $525 annual fee easy to swallow. And a complimentary Bloody Mary from United Club.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Earning Elite Status With The United Card

Booked an additional trip

I know what you’re thinking.It’s almost 2023 and I’m still not 1K hits.

Don’t worry, friends. We have booked our last trip before the end of the year. Call it a trip to celebrate the New Year with friends in North Carolina, or your baby’s first mileage run. Both are true.

I’ll be on my last flight of the year on December 30th and, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’ll reach 1K status with 32 hours and 49 minutes left. (You’ll have plenty of time to book a backup flight if things go wrong.)

That last flight resulted in 1 segment and 246 PQP, and we have to go back on January 2nd to 2023 to collect points for the first segment and that year.

Related: 6 things to know about United Airlines MileagePlus


Could we have gone faster or cheaper this year? Absolutely. But with the promise of free snacks and drinks even on economy class flights, hitting 1K was a top travel priority this year.

Next year, unfortunately United Implementing elite status requirements It was meant to be introduced before the pandemic suspended travel. For 1,000 passengers, that’s a balance of 2,500 points from the jump. Even travelers who reach entry-level Silver status can get started right away with 500 PQP. United will also begin awarding his PQF and PQP on award flights.

In 2023, the 1K requirement will leap from a combination of 36 PQF and 13,500 PQP (or a requirement of only 15,000 PQP) to 54 PQF and 18,000 PQP (or a whopping 24,000 PQP only). As such, travelers must be travel savvy to cross the finish line, as loyalty to one airline is rarely enough to achieve top-notch status.

Utilizing these PQP and PQF earning strategies throughout the year is an integral part of achieving status. I’m already considering counting on the United card for all my big purchases next year.

See you next year at pre-boarding.