United Airlines Premier Qualifying Dollars Requirement Starts Today

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Like all good United-loyal miles and points addicts, the first thing I did in 2014 (after turning on cartoons, wishing my family Happy New Year, and drinking coffee) was to log into United.com and check out how my account looks with the new “Premier Qualifying Dollars” requirement tracker.  As you likely know, beginning today, if you have a United States home address and want to qualify for elite status with United for 2015, you have to not only fly enough, but spend enough with the airline to get it.  Your loyalty to the airline don’t mean a thing if you ain’t showing them the money.  If United elite status does not matter at all to you, then neither will the Premier Qualifying Dollar requirement.

Premier Qualifying Dollar Basics:

As a refresher, Premier qualifying dollars (PQD) are dollars spent on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa Airlines; flights operated by a Star Alliance or MileagePlus partner airline and issued on a United ticket (ticket number starts with 016); and Economy Plus purchases.   You earn PQD for the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges on eligible flights (such as fuel surcharges). Certain specialty tickets, including but not limited to unpublished, consolidator, group/tour and opaque fares, do not earn PQD.

Premier Silver: [25,000 PQM (Premier Qualifying Miles) or 30 PQS (Premier Qualifying Segments)] and $2,500 PQD
Premier Gold: [50,000 PQM or 60 PQS] and $5,000 PQD
Premier Platinum: [75,000 PQM or 90 PQS] and $7,500 PQD
Premier 1K: [100,000 PQM or 90 PQS] and $10,000 PQD

United Premier Qualifying Dollars

A minimum of at least four paid flights operated by United, United Express, or Copa Airlines will be needed to qualify for any Premier status.

How to Get Around the PQD Requirement:

  • In 2014, the PQD requirement is waived for Premier Silver, Premier Gold and Premier Platinum qualification if you meet one of the following criteria:
    • You spend at least $25,000 in Net Purchases in 2014 on a MileagePlus co-branded credit card issued by Chase Bank
    • You hold a United MileagePlus Presidential Plus℠ Card (which is no longer available to new applicants)
  • The PQD waiver does not apply for Premier 1K qualification.
  • If you use a military or diplomatic address (APO, DPO or FPO), you are exempt from the PQD requirement for all Premier levels, including Premier 1K.
  • If you live outside the United States

Waiver for four-segment minimum

  • If you hold a MileagePlus Presidential Plus Card or a United MileagePlus Club Card, you are exempt from the four-segment minimum as long as you are the primary Cardmember and your Credit Card account is in good standing at the time of qualification.

My PQD Says $0 Even Though I Have Bought 2014 Tickets:

Right now everyone’s PQD total will say $0 even though you may have bought tickets for 2013 travel already.  That is because you will not get the PQD credited until you actually travel on the ticket.  This is the same way you don’t get the miles posted until you actually fly the flights.  However, if you want to project if your spending will be enough to hit the PQD thresholds, then it does seem to mean you will need to keep track of what you have spent, just like you have to project forward with how many miles you will fly for the year.  This will be a little tricky though as you will have to pay attention to base fare and carrier imposed surcharges as opposed to taxes, as well as ticket numbers with partner flights, etc.

United Premier Qualifying Dollars Tracker Mommy Points

My Strategy:

I flew enough miles to hit top 1k status with United on December 31, 2013 with literally 100 miles to spare.  In other words, I just barely qualified without the PQD requirement.  I don’t think I would hit 1k in 2014 even without the PQD requirement, so I will focus on putting spending on my co-branded Chase United card to get a waiver from the PQD requirement.  $25,000 in annual spending to get the PQD wavier via using the co-branded card through the Platinum level is a ton of spending, but there are lots of ways to get that accomplished.  As the year goes on I’ll see where I stand with Premier Qualifying Miles and Dollars and adjust accordingly, if needed.

I am already booked to about 40,000 Premier Qualifying Miles for 2014, and the year just started.  I’m sure I will at least hit 50,000 elite qualifying miles to attain Gold status, and I very well may hit the 75,000 to achieve Platinum. I’m not going to stress about it at this point.  I’m just going to buy what I need, and fly where I need, and I’ll wait until we are further into the year to see how the numbers are looking before potentially doing anything differently.  I have had Platinum status for over a year, and my experience with it was pretty solid.

Where to Find More Info:

You can head to United.com for more info or keep an eye on this Flyertalk thread that I’m sure will be filled with first-hand reports as some of the first flights of 2014 start to post over the next several days.  My first paid flight on United in 2014 isn’t until the end of the month, so I won’t have any first-hand info on how this all looks until then.

How is this new PQD requirement impacting your 2014 United travel and spending strategy?

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.



  1. Happy New Year! All I can say is you waited until you had coffee?! I checked before coffee! :). Hubby and I are United1K (requalified for 2014). We’re hoping to make Premier Gold this year. This is the year to burn, not earn miles! I have 3 major mileage burning trips planned.

    • Denise, ha ha. Well, my husband made the coffee for me, so naturally I happily drank it first. 😉 I will also be doing some big burning in 2014. Enjoy!

  2. This is likely a problem for me, even though I fly nearly 200k miles each year. Sometimes my clients use there own travel agent. I can encourage some of them to book Star Alliance airlines but getting them to book through UA might not be possible.Ii shall see how it goes but UA strategy might mean that I focus on price, timetable and comfort over specific airline.

  3. A big burn year here too I have several premium cabin trips booked mostly on star partners. Frankly I don’t see the point of giving then 5 figures of $$ for 1K when United sells your upgrade for tens of dollars to those with no status. They think they can have it both ways and the only thing high spend fliers can do is fly another airline.

  4. “I am already booked to about 40,000 Premier Qualifying Miles for 2014, and the year just started.”

    How many PQD’s did these 40,000 PQM’s cost you?

  5. Am thinking I’m going to start using my Chase UA Explorer card for day care ($19K next year) and then some other bills. If I hit the $25K in spend, I actually earn 1.4 UA miles per dollar spent (because of the 10k mile bonus at $25K), which is pretty good. Then, if I don’t hit PQD minimums, I’m still good to go (I’m only a Silver, and would like to hit Gold).

    For what it’s worth, I did the calcs for my flights this year and what the PQD would have been. I had 33,929 PQMs this past year, with $2,823 of PQD spend. That was only 8.3 cents/PQM, which doesn’t meet the new $.10/PQM threshold.

  6. Hi, one thing I am wondering about PQD’s: Does anyone know if tickets purchased with a United travel certificate/voucher qualify for PQD’s?

  7. I have the same question as Erin: “Does anyone know if tickets purchased with a United travel certificate/voucher qualify for PQDs?” I suspect that the PQDs accrue from the # of dollars from your credit card that were applied to the base fare, and thus the answer is “no”, but it would be nice to have real answer (rather than a guess). Thank you!

  8. I’m a former 1K, now a lowly Silver in at least part due to this PQD requirement. That, and I just didn’t fly as much last year as in previous years. Sadly I keep watching people turn left when boarding, and while I turn right I think to myself “this isn’t where I belong…!” Sad, I know. Any word on possible return of the Presidential Plus (or like) card? I can’t believe I missed that deal – guess in my happier 1K days I figured I didn’t need it. Now I know better & it’s too late’. I’d give my left walnut to sign up now!

  9. One thing that has come up in this is that when I buy flights from a travel agent, those are often listed as “bulk” tickets without a real price attached (the price paid to the airline is basically hidden). United treats those as $0 PQD even if they were more expensive. This means, IMO, that a lot of folks who specifically choose United through their work policies but which must use their employer’s travel agent in doing so, might be left out in the cold in the future. It’s an ugly outcome that many are already realizing that they will be experiencing.

  10. Mark V, the PQD requirement doesn’t take effect until next year. Your 2014 status earned from 2013 miles doesn’t have a PQD requirement. It’s not really possible that your current silver status is due to PQD requirements.

    I have the United Presidential Plus card. I applied for it in 2012 a few months before Continental did its final merge into United. I’m really glad I got that card — those flexible PQMs I earn have come in handy every year, and now the PQD waiver up to Platinum status will be even more handy. I also like that it’s a World Elite card — which means that in my many trips to Israel I have the one type of card that still provides free CDW and theft coverage for car rentals in Israel.

  11. If I’ve spent the 25K to meet the pqd waiver which I’ve just done last month do I qualify for silver? Doesn’t say I do, if not what else do I need to do to qualify? Thanks in advance

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