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Want United Premier status? Stop using a Sapphire Preferred

by on Wed June 19, 2013 • No Comment

United announced changes to the requirements for reaching its Premier elite status levels for travel starting in 2014 (for the 2015 program year).

The nut…you now not only have to earn enough  ‘Premier Qualifying Miles’ by flying to get the status. You must also meet a minimum dollar spending requirement on United flights and partner flights booked via United ticket stock. For example, for Gold status it used to be enough to fly 50,000 miles per year. Now, you have to fly 50,000 miles and spend a total of $5,000 on United flights or partners booked on United ticket stock.

Unitd Premier qualification

There is a loophole though. If you spend $25,000 per year on a United MileagePlus branded credit card you can earn status the way you used to.

In that case, you don’t have to meet a spending requirement on United flights, just keep flying the required number of miles like you have each year. This works to qualify for all levels except 1K.

But a lot of United flyers use the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to earn United miles because it earns 2x points on dining / travel spend and has the ability to transfer points to Southwest, British Airways, Hyatt, and more on top of United. In that case, the spending on that card doesn’t apply to the $25,000 per year exemption. It’s not a United branded card.

So what is the alternative?

If you don’t think you’ll spend enough on United flights to hit the new dollar threshold, but will continue to fly enough, the United MileagePlus Explorer card is decent. When you spend $25,000 on it per year, not only do you eliminate the spending requirement to reach Premier status, but you also get 10,000 bonus miles each year you hit $25,000 in spending on the card. That means you’ve earned 1.4 miles per dollar on that $25,000 in spend. Hard to get that kind of earning with any entry level card.

After you’ve hit $25,000 in spend have at it with your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.


The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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