It’s 2014. Are You Tracking Your United Premier Qualifying Dollars?

2014 is a less than brave new world in the airline industry.  If you haven’t been paying attention, Delta and United have instituted spending requirements to achieve elite status on an annual basis along with the existing mile/segment requirements.  Since my first United Premier Qualifying Dollars (PQD) posted this week, I figured I would spend a few minutes discussing it to make sure readers were keeping an eye on things.

Since the original announcement by United, they’ve dedicated a page on their website to the new updates.  There are a few ways to get around the PQD requirement, as listed on their website:

Waiver for 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:The PQD waiver does not apply for Premier 1K qualification.
    • You spend at least $25,000 in Net Purchases in 2014 on a MileagePlus co-branded credit card issued by Chase Bank USA, N.A.  
      OR
    • You hold a United MileagePlus Presidential Plus℠ Card.1
  • 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.  

My understanding is that if you live outside of the US you also receive a waiver though it’s not clearly detailed above.

If you don’t qualify for one of these waivers then you’ll need to have a minimum spending level on United fares as well as a few other categories that qualify as PQDs.  There are guidelines on what earns PQDs.  They are:

You earn PQD on most:

  • Flights operated by United, United Express or Copa Airlines
  • Flights operated by a Star Alliance or a MileagePlus partner airline and issued on a United ticket (ticket number starting with “016”)
  • Economy Plus purchases

Also not listed here, but some e-certificates/travel vouchers issued by United will give PQD credit when purchasing a ticket from United.

With all that said, what does a PQD look like?  Here’s what the front page of United.bomb looks like when I’m logged in after one flight this year.

United Premier

 

When I take a look at my account detail for this flight, I see:

United Premier

 

I don’t see a fare breakdown by segment and this was a round-trip, 3-segment flight.  $234 is certainly within the parameters of what my outbound flight should cost based on the total fare, but I’ll have to wait until the second half credits to my account (likely Monday).

That will make tracking a bit harder for some folks.  I generally check my flights a day or two after I fly to make sure they posted correctly.  Unless I’m missing a trick someone else has, I’ll need to look after all segments of a trip post to add up the PQDs and make sure they mesh.  I don’t blame United specifically for making this more difficult, but it likely will take a bit more time to feed and water my United account to make sure everything is correct.

I’ve been participating in this thread on Milepoint where folks have been contributing data points along the way as to what you should expect.  I’m cautiously optimistic my first flight’s PQDs posted correctly, but we’ll have to wait and see.  There are still plenty of ways for United to get it wrong.

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