United Airlines Making It Even Tougher To Achieve Elite Flier Status

So you think you’re special, huh? Special enough to qualify for United Airlines’ elite frequent-flier status? You should be prepared to spend a minimum of $2,500 per year on tickets or shell out enough money for upgrades, because the airline announced its upping its threshold for the lowest Premier Silver elite status in 2015.

The carrier emailed members of its MileagePlus loyalty programs about the changes, which follow similar tweaks to Delta Air Lines’ program that were announced in January.

Starting next year, fliers on United will have to plunk down $2,500 annually on tickets either with the airline or its partner, or buy upgrades to Economy Plus seating in coach in order to be part of the loyalty program’s lowest tier in 2015. And all that extra cash you spend on fees, charges and taxes? That won’t count toward your base total, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Passengers will still have to fly 25,000 miles or 30 segments in a year on United or its partners for Silver status, and at least four of those 30 segments must be paid flights on United, United Express or Panama’s Copa Airlines in the year.

If you want to go Premier Gold, you’ll have to spend $5,000 and fly 50,000 miles or 60 segments, while the Platinum level has a bar set t $7,500 spent with 75,000 miles or 90 segments.

So what if you reach the money amount but not the mileage amount? You’ll qualify for the status below, as long as you’re spending at least $5,000.

These changes only affect MileagePlus members who live in the U.S. A United spokesman told the WSJ that the changes will allow the airline to offer better access to elite benefits to customers who fly and spend the most, and that most elite members will be just fine staying at the tiers they currently occupy, as they spend above the new minimum levels already.

United Airlines Adds Spending Requirement for Elite Flier Status [Wall Street Journal]