All the news this morning about how United Mileage Plus will require more spend to earn elite status in 2020 motivated me to analyze my 2019 flights. I dropped United Mileage Plus in 2014 and joined Aegean Miles+Bonus frequent flyer program. I currently hold Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite membership. This elite level provides Star Alliance Gold member benefits like Business Class airport check-in, Group 1 boarding, United Club airport lounge access in USA and Star Alliance lounge access worldwide when flying on a Star Alliance member airline flight and extra baggage allowance.
A similar elite level in United Mileage Plus Gold elite requires 50,000 PQM + $6,000 PQD. In 2020, United Mileage Plus Gold elite qualification will require 24 PQF and 8,000 PQP or 10,000 PQP.
Comparison of United Airlines Basic Economy flights for elite qualification with Aegean Miles+Bonus vs. United Mileage Plus
In 2019, I spent a total $3,081 to fly 55,198 flight miles on 29 flight segments on 9 different airlines.
Star Alliance member airline flights applied to my Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus account amounted to $2,074.37 in spend for 17 flight segments on 3 Star Alliance member airlines: Aegean, SAS, United. These flights met the requirements for Aegean Miles+Bonus Gold elite with Star Alliance Gold benefits.
My 2019 flights earned 34,542 Tier Miles and award miles in Aegean Miles+Bonus.
To upgrade from Silver to Gold Tier in Aegean Miles+Bonus, all you need to do is
- fly Aegean or Olympic Air at least four times and
- earn 24,000 Tier Miles within 12 months
- or collect a total 48,000 Tier Miles, regardless of which airline you choose to fly with.
- Whichever you do first will get you there.
To retain your Gold Tier, you have a fixed 12-month period from the date of your upgrade or renewal of your tier to
- collect 12,000 Tier Miles, including 4 flights with Aegean and/or Olympic Air,
- or collect a total of 24,000 Tier Miles, regardless of which airline you choose to fly with.
United Mileage Plus Premier Gold qualification is far more costly in 2020 at 10,000 PQP or 8,000 PQP +24 PQF. This is easy to illustrate using the 17 flight segments I flew on Star Alliance airlines in 2019. Aegean and SAS Scandinavian are both considered Mileage Plus partner airlines and earn fewer PQP than Preferred Partner Airlines.
United Mileage Plus PQP is determined by the amount of money spent on tickets.
You’ll receive 1 Premier qualifying point (PQP) for each U.S. dollar you spend. Like before, only the base fare of your flight earns PQP. Taxes and fees don’t count toward your spend requirements. United Mileage Plus Qualification.
- United Airlines Monterey to Barcelona $176 base fare Basic Economy ticket = 176 PQP + 0 PQF.
- United Stockholm-Newark-Washington Dulles-San Francisco-Frankfurt $695 Basic Economy ticket with $600 base fare earns 600 PQP + 0 PQF.
- Aegean Airlines Warsaw-Athens-Chania-Athens-Warsaw $137 ticket earns 50% award miles = 1,159 / 6 = 193 PQP + 4 PQF.
- SAS Oslo-Copenhagen-San Francisco-Copenhagen $510 ticket. 11,314 flight miles earns 50% award miles = 5,657 award miles / 6 = 943 PQP + 3 PQF.
- SAS Copenhagen-Prague $47 ticket. 387 flight miles earns 50% award miles = 194 award miles/6 = 32 PQP + 1 PQF.
- SAS Stockholm – Copenhagen – San Francisco – Copenhagen $477 ticket. 11,296 flight miles earns 50% award miles = 5,648 award miles / 6 = 941 PQP + 3 PQF.
- [Aegean, Olympic and SAS are Mileage Plus partner airlines. PQP is calculated by taking eligible award miles divided by 6.]
2,885 PQP and 11 PQF in Mileage Plus would have been earned from my $2,075 in Star Alliance flights. All my United Airlines flights were Basic Economy flights and do not earn PQF credit.
My 2019 flight pattern would not meet qualification for Mileage Plus Silver at 12 PQF + 4,000 PQP, let alone come anywhere near the 8,000 to 10,000 PQP needed for Star Alliance Gold through United Mileage Plus.
Glad I moved beyond United Mileage Plus several years ago. Aegean Miles+Bonus provides good value for this Star Alliance Gold frequent flyer.