The Guide to United Platinum Benefits

Among many other perks, the 40 PlusPoints that come with Premier Platinum status can pack incredible value.
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When traveling on the same airline or a group of airlines in the same alliance, frequent flyers can earn status and get rewarded with elite benefits, such as free checked bags, priority airport services and even complimentary upgrades.

United Airlines passengers can qualify for one of the four elite tiers: Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum and Premier 1K. If you’re considering climbing up the status ladder with United and wondering whether Premier Platinum status is worth it, here’s how to earn it and what benefits you can expect once you qualify.

United Premier Platinum perks

United’s MileagePlus program provides those with elite status a variety of benefits intended to make flying simpler and more lucrative. Here’s what you get once you reach Premier Platinum status:

  • A mileage bonus on airfare: Earn 9 MileagePlus miles per dollar spent on flights operated by United.

  • Free checked bags: Check up to three pieces of luggage weighing up to 70 pounds (32 kilograms) each for free.

  • Access to Economy Plus: Select Economy Plus or preferred seats for you and up to eight companions at booking.

  • Group 1 boarding: Board United flights after customers eligible for pre-boarding, such as customers with disabilities, families with young children or active military members.

  • Unlimited upgrades: Complimentary Premier upgrades to first class 72 hours before the flight (excluding basic economy fares).

  • Instant upgrades: Receive a guaranteed upgrade with purchase of Y or B fares.

  • PlusPoints: Earn 40 PlusPoints per year, which allow you to request seat upgrades to higher cabins of service.

  • Priority services: Get access to priority check-in and priority security screening lanes when available.

  • Free flight changes: Change your flight for another within 24 hours of departure at no charge.

  • Discounted United Club membership: Save $50 or 5,000 miles off an annual United Club membership (normally $650 or 85,000 miles).

  • Discounted Clear Plus membership: Save $40 off a Clear Plus annual membership (normally $189).

  • Access to expanded award availability: Get access to more award flights bookable at saver level in economy and premium cabins.

  • No blackout dates for United award flights: Redeem your miles for any United-operated flight, as long as there’s an empty seat.

  • Access to most sold-out flights: Premier Platinum members have the ability to purchase Y fare class flights up to two hours before departure.

  • Access to Premier Priority Desk phone line: Get access to a special phone number when calling customer service.

  • Waived phone booking service fees: Save the $25 booking service fee any time you book a flight over the phone.

  • Star Alliance Gold membership: Receive access to Star Alliance Gold benefits, such as priority airport check-in and boarding, extra baggage allowance and lounge access, when traveling on Star Alliance member-operated flights.

  • Marriott elite status: Get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status.

  • Avis elite status: Get complimentary Avis President’s Club status and earn up to 1,250 bonus miles per rental.

  • Extra perks at VIP Access hotels: Book a VIP Access property through United Hotels and receive extra benefits.

  • Extra amenities on board cruise ships: Receive extra amenities, such as a complimentary bottle of wine and spa credits, when you book a voyage through United Cruises.

How to earn United Premier Platinum status

To qualify or requalify for Premier Platinum status with United, you need to complete the following requirements within a calendar year:

  • Fly at least four segments with United or United Express.

  • Fly at least 36 Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) and earn 12,000 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) or earn 15,000 PQPs.

A PQF is determined by the number of flights you’ve taken with United or United Express. Each flight segment within an itinerary counts separately, so if you have a layover on a one-way trip you’ll receive two PQFs, whereas a nonstop flight would earn you one PQF.

The number of PQPs you'll earn is determined by the cost of your ticket (base fare plus carrier-imposed surcharges), along with certain eligible upgrades you can purchase.

If you hold an eligible co-branded United credit card, you can earn PQPs through spending on the card.

For example, United Quest℠ Card holders can earn 25 PQPs per $500 spent on the card (up to 6,000 PQPs in a calendar year). United Club℠ Infinite Card holders can earn up to 10,000 PQPs in a calendar year at the same earning rate.

You won’t be able to earn Premier Platinum elite status solely by spending on co-branded credit cards, but you can get partway there with credit card spending and partway by flying with United and its partners.

Keep in mind that you can earn PQFs and PQPs not only on paid flights, but also on award flights booked with MileagePlus miles. Each flight segment is worth 1 PQF, and you'll earn 1 PQP per 100 miles redeemed for your itinerary. So, if you redeem 10,000 United miles for a flight, you’ll earn 100 PQPs.

Cards for earning United PQPs
Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card
United℠ Explorer Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Chase United Quest Credit Card
United Quest℠ Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Chase United MileagePlus(R) Club Card Credit Card
United Club℠ Infinite Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $95.

$250.

$525.

Welcome offer

Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Limited-time offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

PQP earn rate

25 PQP for every $500 spent, up to 1,000 PQP in a calendar year.

25 PQP for every $500 spent, up to 6,000 PQP in a calendar year.

25 PQP for every $500 spent, up to 10,000 PQP in a calendar year.

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How much is United Premier Platinum status worth?

How much is United status worth? In general, airline elite status relies pretty heavily on luxury benefits such as priority check-in and faster access to phone agents that don't have a price tag attached to them.

In NerdWallet’s annual analysis of the best airline elite status programs, we sought to determine how much value the major U.S. airline loyalty programs deliver to flyers. Here's how United MileagePlus did.

Silver

Gold

Platinum

1K

Value of tier

$1,743.

$4,868.

$8,982.

$18,963.

Cost to earn

$6,173.

$12,346.

$18,519.

$29,630.

Elite earning rate

28%.

39%.

49%.

64%.

However, value is in the eye of a frequent flyer. Depending on your flight patterns and upgrade frequencies, you might be getting more or less than $8,982 worth of benefits from the Premier Platinum status.

For example, if you fly hub to hub, you have to compete with other United Premier flyers for the same upgrades. On the other hand, passengers who fly on less popular routes might find themselves flying up front more often without top-tier elites vying for the same upgrade spots.

What else you need to know

PlusPoints upgrades can be incredibly valuable. Upon earning status, Platinum members receive 40 PlusPoints, which can be used to confirm upgrades on flights ahead of time.

Although it’s possible to use those 40 PlusPoints to upgrade two domestic flights to first class (they cost 20 PlusPoints apiece), it’s generally a far better value to use these for a long-haul international flight.

It costs as few as 40 PlusPoints to upgrade from an economy class long-haul flight to United's Polaris business class, which features a lie-flat bed, superior food and drink options, and even pajamas.

Even better, there’s no limit to which flights are eligible, which means those 40 PlusPoints could be used on the longest, most expensive flights, where the price difference between economy and business class can be thousands of dollars.

Frequently asked questions

United Premier status expires on Jan. 31 of the year after which you didn’t requalify for status. For example, if you earn Premier Platinum status in 2024, it will be valid for the remainder of 2024, all of 2025 and then through Jan. 31, 2026.

Yes, you can earn Lifetime Premier status by flying at least 1 million miles. Lifetime Premier status doesn’t expire, even if you don’t requalify for it year after year. Here’s how much you need to fly to earn Lifetime status with United:

  • 1 million lifetime miles – Premier Gold.

  • 2 million lifetime miles – Premier Platinum.

  • 3 million lifetime miles – Premier 1K.

  • 4 million lifetime miles – United Global Services.

As a million miler, you also can share your elite benefits with a companion. You can designate a new person every year if you want, but they must share a residence with you.

United Premier Gold members (or higher) get complimentary access to United Clubs when they fly internationally on United or another Star Alliance carrier. This perk is included in Star Alliance Gold benefits, which are available to Premier Gold, Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members.

PlusPoints aren’t the same as MileagePlus miles that are redeemable for award flights. You can use PlusPoints to upgrade a paid flight to a higher class of service. The number of PlusPoints required for an upgrade varies on the purchased ticket class and the destination, but here’s what you can do with 40 PlusPoints:

  • Upgrade four times from Premium Plus to business on short-haul flights.

  • Upgrade twice from economy to first or business class on short flights or twice from economy to Premium Plus on short- or long-haul flights.

  • Upgrade once from Premium Plus to Polaris business class on long-haul flights.

  • Upgrade once from economy to Polaris business class on long-haul flights.

Is United MileagePlus Platinum worth it?

Although it takes work to earn elite status with an airline, it can often be worth it, especially if you travel often. This is the case with United’s Premier Platinum status, which provides a bevy of benefits to those who invest.

Along with perks such as free checked bags, better seating and complimentary elite status with other partners, Platinum members receive 40 PlusPoints, which can be used for incredibly valuable international business class upgrades.

Frequently asked questions

United Premier status expires on Jan. 31 of the year after which you didn’t requalify for status. For example, if you earn Premier Platinum status in 2024, it will be valid for the remainder of 2024, all of 2025 and then through Jan. 31, 2026.

Yes, you can earn Lifetime Premier status by flying at least 1 million miles. Lifetime Premier status doesn’t expire, even if you don’t requalify for it year after year. Here’s how much you need to fly to earn Lifetime status with United:

  • 1 million lifetime miles – Premier Gold.

  • 2 million lifetime miles – Premier Platinum.

  • 3 million lifetime miles – Premier 1K.

  • 4 million lifetime miles – United Global Services.

As a million miler, you also can share your elite benefits with a companion. You can designate a new person every year if you want, but they must share a residence with you.

United Premier Gold members (or higher) get complimentary access to United Clubs when they fly internationally on United or another Star Alliance carrier. This perk is included in Star Alliance Gold benefits, which are available to Premier Gold, Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members.

PlusPoints aren’t the same as MileagePlus miles that are redeemable for award flights. You can use PlusPoints to upgrade a paid flight to a higher class of service. The number of PlusPoints required for an upgrade varies on the purchased ticket class and the destination, but here’s what you can do with 40 PlusPoints:

  • Upgrade four times from Premium Plus to business on short-haul flights.

  • Upgrade twice from economy to first or business class on short flights or twice from economy to Premium Plus on short- or long-haul flights.

  • Upgrade once from Premium Plus to Polaris business class on long-haul flights.

  • Upgrade once from economy to Polaris business class on long-haul flights.

(Top photo courtesy of United Airlines)


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

United Cards from our Partners
Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card

on Chase's website

United℠ Explorer Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-2x

Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays and United® purchases. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases

Miles

Intro offer

60,000

Limited-time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Miles
Chase United Mileage Plus Explorer Business Credit Card

on Chase's website

United℠ Business Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-2x

Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases, dining, at gas stations, office supply stores and on local transit and commuting. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Miles

Intro offer

75000

Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Miles
Chase United Quest Credit Card

on Chase's website

United Quest℠ Card
4.6
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-3x

3 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases. 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, select streaming services & all other travel. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, each year, receive up to a $125 United® purchase credit and up to 10,000 miles in award flight credits (terms apply) and earn up to 6,000 Premier qualifying points.

Miles

Intro offer

70,000

Limited-time offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles and 500 Premier qualifying points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Miles
See more United cards
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