United Airlines is extending members’ current MileagePlus Premier status through January 2022, among other loyalty program changes in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The airline announced Monday that, at a minimum, all MileagePlus Premier members will retain the status they earned for 2020 through January 2022. What’s more, for the 2021 status year, United is reducing thresholds for premier qualification by 50 percent for each status level.
United is also increasing the maximum number of premier qualifying points that United Explorer and United Club credit cardholders can earn through card spend toward status in 2021. Starting May 1 through December 2020, the airline will offer a promotion that doubles the maximum points for United Explorer credit cardmembers and quadruples the maximum points for United Club cardmembers.
The carrier is giving premier members more opportunities to put their upgrade benefits to use by offering a six-month extension for all PlusPoints set to expire on or before January 31, 2021, and expanding the availability of Skip Waitlist—an upgrade option for Premier 1K members—to more international long-haul flights.
Meanwhile, customers who purchased annual membership and subscription benefits directly from United such as United Club memberships purchased directly from United and purchased subscriptions for Economy Plus, United Wi-Fi and checked bags will have their expiration extended by six months.
In addition, the airline is extending electronic travel certificates and waiving redeposit fees for members who booked travel using their award miles. Moving forward, the certificates will be valid for two years from the time of booking. Finally, United is waiving all redeposit fees for members with flights booked through May 31 and will waive fees for all members who cancel their flights at least 30 days in advance through 2020.
“From the onset of this crisis, we committed to doing what is right and fair for all of our members,” United’s Vice President of Loyalty, Luc Bondar, said in a statement. “Over the years, our members have placed their trust and loyalty in United, and through the various initiatives we’re laying out today, we are reiterating our mutual commitment and loyalty to them. When they are ready to travel with us again, we will be there for them. And in these unprecedented times where it seems like every day brings new challenges, it’s an honor to share positive news that will—I hope—put a smile on the faces of our loyal customers.”
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