As a noob in the mileage game, I have finally reached my first milestone in the airline industry, Elite Status ranks. Now, I know this isn’t much and there are plenty of you with top tier status in many programs, but this is my first one and I’m actually pretty giddy about it. 🙂
To get this status, you have to fly at least 25k miles with United Airlines, Copa, or any of their Star Alliance partners. Two international trips, one international trip plus a couple of transcontinental flights, or about five transcontinental flights should be enough to get you this low level United Airlines status. And just a reminder for my fellow noob travelers, these are Premier Qualifying Miles (PQM) that you have to earn. Award miles earned from credit card purchases or bonus miles do not count toward elite status. You need your “butt in a seat” miles that are earned from actual travel. You can also earn Premier status from the number of segments you fly on a trip. For example, Los Angeles to New York direct, nets you one segment. Orange County to San Franciso to New York, nets you two segments. For Premier Silver status, you need 30 segments (PQS) or 25k flown miles (PQM) to qualify.
And United has recently announced a new requirement to their premier status qualifications, Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD). Starting in 2014, in addition to the miles or segments flown, you need to spend a minimum amount on United (or United ticketed) Star Alliance flights to qualify for status. For Premier Silver, you need to spend at least $2,500 in flights. There is a waiver to this minimum PQD requirement if you have a co-branded Chase United Airlines credit card and spend at least $25,000 a year. More information about Premier Qualifying Dollars can be found here.
Let’s take a look at what Premier Silver status gets you.
First off, you get this shiny new Mileage Plus Premier Silver luggage tag. It’s nothing fancy and comes with a basic plastic strap. You also get a Star Alliance Silver level membership card.
Star Alliance Silver status gets you:
- Priority reservations waitlisting. You get higher priority for getting on a flight that’s sold out, when seats become available.
- Priority airport standby. You get higher priority when standing by for a flight at the airport.
Premier Silver status also gets you:
- Premier Access priority airport services, including priority check in, security screening, baggage handling and a dedicated phone line.
- Complimentary Premier Upgrades for you and one guest, on the day of your departure, if space is available.
- 25% bonus awards miles on flights.
- Complimentary access to Economy Plus seats at Check-in for you and one guest, if seats are avalable.
- Instant upgrades on full economy, Y or B class fares.
- 500 award miles and PQM minimum accrual.
- One free check bag when flying United Airlines.
- Reduced fees.
Now, those are some good benefits but nothing earth shattering. Sure it will be great to get Economy Plus seats on all my future trips and a sliver of a chance to get upgraded to First Class, but those benefits are not really that worth it.
So what’s my opinion now that I have it? I’d say this is a great benefit if you’re already doing the traveling. I wouldn’t recommend traveling this much just so you can get Premier Silver Status. For United Mileage Plus, you really don’t start seeing the upgrade benefits till you hit at least the Premier Gold status mark. And most of these benefits can be obtained simply by having a United branded credit card. My personal recommendation, if you can make it to Premier Gold, then go for it. If not, you’re probably better off flying any other airline that gives you a cheaper flight and diversifying your mileage accrual.
Information on United’s Premier Gold Status can be found here.