- All the Airline and Hotel Loyalty Program Changes for 2021
- Accor Live Limitless
- Alaska Mileage Plan
- American AAdvantage
- Best Western Rewards
- Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club
- Choice Privileges
- Delta SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Flying Blue
- Hilton Honors
- Premier status qualification
- Why did we update our program?
- About Premier qualifying flights and Premier qualifying points
- Qualification requirements for Premier status through 2022
- We’re giving you more PQP to help maintain your status
- Earning PQF and PQP on partner flights
- Frequently asked questions
- Qualifying for Premier status through 2022
- United is mortgaging its frequent flyer program to raise billion
- Modest improvement in demand
- Frequent flyer loan is the first of its kind
All the Airline and Hotel Loyalty Program Changes for 2021
As the year comes to a close, airline and hotel companies are having mercy yet again on travelers who were grounded during the pandemic.
Most brands extended status and perks for a year in the spring, but with travel plans slashed, many frequent fliers were unable to use their benefits or even meet the already reduced requirements for additional status due to local rules and regulations.
Luckily, many travel companies are extending another olive branch to members to keep them engaged, perk extensions that have never been seen before. Here’s the latest from airline and hotel brands.
Accor Live Limitless
Accor has extended elite status through December 31, 2021, and it has also extended reward points expiration for Silver tier members and higher through April 30, 2021.
In addition, status in the new year will be easier to attain since status points and nights earned during the second half of 2020 will count toward elite qualification in the new year.
Platinum and Diamond members with unused suite upgrade awards now have until the end of 2021 to use them thanks to a 12-month extension.
Members can keep their current status through the end of 2021, and mileage expiration has been paused through March 31, 2021.
Alaska Mileage Plan
With the airline joining the Oneworld alliance on March 31, 2021, Mileage Plan members are already benefiting from perks with its North American partner American Airlines. Reciprocal elite status perks, including complimentary upgrades and preferred seating and check-in benefits, are already in full swing.
In addition, Mileage Plan members will have status extended through the end of 2021, and earning status in the new year will be easier as elite-qualifying miles earned during the first four months of 2020 are getting rolled over to 2021.
The airline has lowered requirements for achieving elite status next year; existing elite status has already been extended through January 31, 2022. Members can start accruing points and miles toward 2022 status early.
All flight activity between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021, will count toward 2022 elite status.
In addition, those that spend at least $30,000 on an American co-branded credit card won’t need to meet the “elite qualifying dollar” requirement to reach status up to the Platinum Pro level.
For those that reach Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum, there are new “choice rewards” bonus miles or systemwide upgrades for reaching additional thresholds.
Through a new partnership, American elite members can also enjoy perks first class upgrades and preferred seating when flying Alaska Airlines.
In addition, the airline has paused the expiration of any AAdvantage miles through June 30, 2021.
Best Western Rewards
Best Western has extended status for members through January 31, 2022. This means that your current status remains the same, unless you earned a higher level this year.
It’s also running a promotion for a free night voucher for guests that make two stays between now and January 31, 2021, at properties in the U.S., Canada, or the Caribbean.
The free night stay must be redeemed by March 31, 2021. Be sure to register for the promotion first.
Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club
Elite status set to expire between April 2020 and March 2021 has been extended for 12 months. Mid-tier benefits ( lounge passes, upgrade certificates, and Gold Companion Card nominations) set to expire in the same time period received a similar extension.
Elite status has been extended through the end of 2021; new members can participate in an elite status match offer. Lower thresholds for elite status earned in 2021 will make frequent-flier benefits easier to achieve. In addition, elite members can enjoy a pause on points expiration through the end of 2021.
Delta always carries Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) earned over the threshold to the next year (a huge benefit for elite members), but this year it is rolling over all MQMs from 2020 into 2021. It also has extended 2020 Medallion Status an additional year through January 31, 2022. Select Delta SkyMiles American Express Card benefits and Delta Sky Club Memberships have also been extended.
Members with status set to expire between September 2020 and August 2021 will have status extended for another year. Those who had status extended earlier in 2020 are getting an additional 12-month extension from that original extension date. Miles that were to expire by April 2020 were extended until March 31, 2021.
The thresholds for earning new tier status and upgrades have been lowered by 80 percent through June 2021.
Members below 80 percent have status extended through that date and members that achieve the threshold to retain or upgrade do so for another 12 months.
The airline also eased up its mileage expiration policy; miles only expire after 18 months of inactivity. It’s easy to keep miles active by buying, earning, redeeming, or transferring miles.
Elite status for current members of Flying Blue (the program for Air France, KLM, and a few other airlines) is being extended for another 12 months through February 2022. Miles will no longer expire between now and December 31, 2021.
Members can continue to enjoy their current status through March 31, 2022, thanks to an additional year’s extension from the program. It will be easier to earn status, too, thanks to lower thresholds to attain it in 2021. Also lowered are the requirements for “milestone bonuses” that delivered extra points for staying a certain number of nights during the calendar year.
Premier status qualification
Our approach to Premier® status qualification is designed to ensure that our program is valuable for all Premier members, whether you travel hundreds of miles each week, or a few thousand miles multiple times a year. Now, you'll earn Premier qualifying credit just two factors: the value of the tickets you’ve purchased, and the number of flights you’ve taken.
A minimum of 4 flights on United or United Express is always required to achieve Premier status
Why did we update our program?
Measuring Premier qualification the dollars you spend and number of flights you take rewards customers equally. We updated the program to ensure our most loyal members get the best value from their benefits.
We also wanted to get rid of factors fare class multipliers, which made it harder to track your qualifying activity.
Read on to delve into the details of Premier qualification.
About Premier qualifying flights and Premier qualifying points
With Premier qualifying flights (PQF), every flight you take gets you closer to status. And by a flight, we mean a takeoff and landing — no more fare class multipliers and confusing segment math.
Basic Economy tickets will be eligible to earn Premier qualifying points, but will not accrue PQF. Award tickets also do not accrue PQF.
You’ll receive 1 Premier qualifying point (PQP) for each U.S. dollar you spend. Only the base fare of your flight earns PQP. Taxes and fees don’t count toward your spend requirements.
The following purchases earn PQP:
- Base fare + surcharge
- Economy Plus® seating or subscriptions
- Preferred seat purchases
- MileagePlus Upgrade Award co-pays
- Paid upgrades on flights operated by United and United Express
- Flights ticketed and operated by our Star AllianceTM partners
Qualification requirements for Premier status through 2022
We lowered our requirements for all Premier levels so it’s easier to qualify through 2022. In addition to flying a minimum of 4 flight segments on United or United Express, here’s what else you’ll need to qualify for each Premier status level beginning on January 1, 2021, for status through the 2022 program year1:
|Premier Silver||8 PQF and 3,000 PQP||3,500 PQP|
|Premier Gold||16 PQF and 6,000 PQP||7,000 PQP|
|Premier Platinum||24 PQF and 9,000 PQP||10,000 PQP|
|Premier 1K®||36 PQF and 13,500 PQP||15,000 PQP|
We’re giving you more PQP to help maintain your status
We’re going to automatically give PQP to Premier members at the beginning of 2021 the 2021 Premier status you hold at the end of 2020 in order to give you a jump-start on earning status through 2022.
We’re offering a bonus PQP promotion for the very first time and all MileagePlus members are eligible. From January 1 through March 31, 2021, MileagePlus members and current Premier members can earn bonus PQP for the first three PQP-eligible trips you take with United. And the more trips you take, the more PQP you’ll earn, which means you’ll reach Premier status even sooner.
Learn more about this special offer
Earning PQF and PQP on partner flights
Previously, if you flew on a Star AllianceTM partner airline and your flight was not ticketed by United, you couldn’t earn Premier qualifying dollars.
Today, you’ll receive spend credit on these flights in the form of Premier qualifying points.
Your PQP will be equal to award miles* earned divided by 5 if you’re flying on a preferred partner; for other MileagePlus partner airlines, it will be award miles earned divided by 6.
For Star Alliance airlines as well as Air Dolomiti, Azul Brazilian Airlines, Eurowings, Edelweiss, Juneyao Airlines and Olympic Air:
|Preferred partner PQP||Award miles divided by 5|
|MileagePlus partner PQP||Award miles divided by 6|
For example, if you earned 360 award miles for your flight, you’ll receive 72 PQP if you flew with a preferred partner, and 60 PQP if you flew with a MileagePlus partner.
The maximum PQP that can be earned per flight on tickets issued and operated by Star Alliance partners and select MileagePlus partner airlines are as follows:
You’ll earn PQF on partner airlines as well, except when flying on light fares, basic fares, and award tickets. Learn more about earning with partner airlines.
While we no longer waive the spend requirement for members with international addresses, we have expanded the ability to earn spend credit for these members, which makes qualification consistent for all of our members.
For the 2021 program year, we’re making changes to the way some of our cards earn PQP and qualify for Premier status. Now you can apply PQP earned from your United MileagePlus credit card toward Premier 1K status, when the PQF requirement is met. Learn more
Frequently asked questions
Premier qualifying points are a metric we have for awarding Premier status for 2022, which is earned 2021 flight activity. For each U.S. dollar you spend on United flights or flight tickets issued by United (base fare plus carrier-imposed surcharges), you’ll earn one PQP.
You can also earn PQP for certain ancillary purchases, such as paid upgrades, Economy Plus®, preferred seating, and MileagePlus Upgrade Award co-pays. You can now earn PQP on flights ticketed and operated by Star Alliance airlines and certain MileagePlus partner airlines.
Premier qualifying flights are similar to Premier qualifying segments, but we’ve removed fare class multipliers. A takeoff and landing is equal to 1 PQF. Mileage, or distance flown, will no longer factor into qualification for Premier status.
However, our Million Miler program, which awards lifetime status to our longest-tenured fliers, is still lifetime miles flown. There are two possible paths to attain Premier status in the new program. You can either qualify for status through a combination of PQP and PQF, or meet a higher PQP goal.
If your ticket was issued by United, the ticket number will begin with 016. You can find the ticket number in your email confirmation. These changes do not impact the way you qualify for Million Miler status, which is the actual distance you fly.
As a special promotion in 2021, we’re making it easier to earn extra PlusPoints after you reach Premier 1K status. Once you reach 1K status and earn 15,000 PQP you’ll receive an additional 20 PlusPoints for every 2,000 PQP you earn thereafter, instead of every 3,000 PQP.*
You’ll continue to track your qualification progress through mystatus.united.com and through My Account on united.com and in the United mobile app.
Qualifying for Premier status through 2022
The 2021 requirements are a reduction from the standard Premier status qualification levels we originally announced for the 2020 program year. In April 2020, we reduced the standard Premier status requirements by 50% for 2020 activity due to interruptions caused by COVID-19.
We recognize that while many members are returning to travel, most members aren’t necessarily flying as much as they used to.
For this reason, we updated Premier status requirements for status through 2022, introduced our first ever bonus PQP promotion to help you jump-start your journey toward status, will automatically deposit PQP in Premier accounts the 2021 Premier status you hold at the end of 2020, and we will allow PQP earned from your MileagePlus co-branded credit card to count toward 1K status. Best of all, the MileagePlus program is simpler than some other frequent flyer programs because there’s no distance requirement for Premier status, meaning every flight gets you closer to status, no matter how far you fly.
If your status was extended through the 2021 program year, flight activity during 2021 will determine if you have status during the 2022 program year and will help you maintain status after January 31, 2022.
In addition to the normal travel you’ll do in 2021, the easiest way to qualify for status in 2021 through the 2022 program year is to take advantage of our PQP bonus offer and take at least three eligible trips between January 1 and March 31, 2021.
For details on what qualifies as an eligible trip, see terms and conditions. We want all members to benefit from this promotion which is why you’re automatically eligible for this offer without registration and regardless of when you booked your trips.
If you’re not flying as much, you can take comfort in the fact that PQP earned from your eligible co-branded MileagePlus credit card will count toward Premier status all the way up to 1K status.
Members must still fly a minimum of four United flights to be eligible for status, and members using PQP earned from their eligible credit card toward 1K status must also satisfy the PQF requirement for 1K.
United is mortgaging its frequent flyer program to raise $5 billion
New York (CNN Business)United Airlines is mortgaging its Mileage Plus frequent flyer program, its latest effort to raise the cash it needs to weather the Covid-19 crisis.
The term loan will come from Goldman Sachs (GS), Barclays (BCS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), and it will take seven years to repay. The interest rate was not disclosed.
United says between this and an additional $4.
5 billion in federal loans for which it expects to be eligible, it estimates it will have $17 billion in cash on hand by the end of September, roughly three times the normal cash it carries.
US air travel is down about 80% compared with a year ago in the most recent estimates, but that indicates some modest rebound in demand for air travel from earlier this spring, when United and other carriers reported air travel demand was “virtually zero.”
Demand bottomed out on April 14, when only 87,500 people passed through TSA checkpoints at US airports. By comparison, that number topped more than 500,000 a day this past Thursday, Friday and Sunday — levels not seen since late March
United (UAL) estimates the value of its Mileage Plus program as a standalone business at $20 billion. It gets revenue from partners who pay the airline to award miles to their own customers, such as credit card issues and hotels. It had sales of $5.3 billion last year, about 12% of United's overall revenue.
While those sales are down during the current crisis with overall drop in travel and consumer spending, they have held up better than the airline's passenger revenue — which has nearly evaporated.
United said the loan should not have any effect on its 100 million Mileage Plus members, nor will it reduce the airline's control over the terms of the program.
Modest improvement in demand
Meanwhile, United is still planning for only a modest improvement in demand for air travel with its July flight schedule down 75% from a year ago. That's an improvement from the airline's 85% reduction in June — but it's a much lighter schedule than that of rival American Airlines (AAL), which expects to fly 55% of its year-ago capacity in July.
United plans to resume more than 140 routes it had suspended this spring. And it is filling about 60% of the available seats on domestic flights with paying passengers in June, up from 39% in May and only 13% in April.
Filling that many more seats makes it more difficult to have the empty seats needed for social distancing. United said it will notify passengers when it expects a flight to be more than 70% full and will allow those passengers to rebook. But its executives admit it needs to do more to give passengers assurances that it is safe to fly.
United has a touchless check-in procedure. Flight attendants pass out sanitizing wipes, and passengers, who are requested to wear masks, board from the rear of the plane to the front to limit contact among them.
There's more behind the scenes. Employees are checked for fevers when they start a shift. Common surfaces seats and tray tables are wiped down. The entire aircraft is sprayed to disinfect it — a process that takes about 10 minutes for a 787 jet.
“We're trying to do everything we can to instill confidence in the travel experience,” the manager of United's Dulles hub, Omar Idrism, said.
But even with 60% of the seats filled, it's far below what is needed for the airline to be profitable. Last year, United filled 84% of the seats with paying passengers throughout the course of the year.
Because of cheaper fares and fewer seats sold, United expects passenger revenue will be down even more in July — off between 82% and 88%. But that too is an improvement from the second quarter so far. United began the current period with a 98% drop in revenue in April and expects June's decline to be 90%.
Frequent flyer loan is the first of its kind
While this isn't the first time an airline has monetized the value of its frequent flyer program, the details of this United deal are different, the airline's executives told journalists on a conference call.
Previous frequent flyer-linked deals involved less favorable terms — airlines giving up some measure of control over their operations, or discounting prepaid miles purchases which raised billions but limited the cash flow for the airline in the future. What makes this loan unique is that neither was the case this time.
“We expect many of our competitors to imitate it,” said a United senior executive on the call, who spoke on the condition of not being identified by name. “There are many examples of United to be first to take aggressive steps [to deal with the crisis], and this is another example of that.”
In the early days of the pandemic cases in the United States, United was the first US airline to pull back its domestic schedule because of the drop in demand. It was also the first airline to raise additional cash through the sale of additional shares of stock, a move that rivals made soon after.
United said it believes these kinds of loans could become a common way for airlines to raise cash from its frequent flyer programs in the future, even beyond the current crisis.
“Even in the best of times this is a facility we'll have some interest in using,” said the United executive.
— CNN's Pete Muntean contributed to this report
“,”author”:”Chris Isidore and Gregory Wallace, CNN Business”,”date_published”:”2020-06-15T12:34:54.000Z”,”lead_image_url”:”https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200615081959-united-airlines-0610-super-tease.jpg”,”dek”:null,”next_page_url”:null,”url”:”https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/15/business/united-airlines-frequent-flyer-loan/index.html”,”domain”:”www.cnn.com”,”excerpt”:”United Airlines is mortgaging its Mileage Plus frequent flyer program, its latest effort to raise the cash it needs to weather the Covid-19 crisis.”,”word_count”:910,”direction”:”ltr”,”total_pages”:1,”rendered_pages”:1}