Final Days to Request United Status Match Challenge & Unexpected Problems

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If you are interested in using your current airline status to request a United status match challenge, requests must be submitted by Thursday, March 31.

We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to participate in our Premier® Status Match Challenge promotion, offering top-tier flyers of many other airlines a comparable status in the MileagePlus program. This offer is valid for requests received between January 1, 2016, and March 31, 2016.

Customers who have Star Alliance™ Silver or Gold status are excluded from this offer.

And also be aware that you might run into some problems! Reader Alex reports that neither United’s IT or employees can whether he qualified.

A status match challenge is a way for elites on other airlines to take a “shortcut” to elite status on a new airline. The airline won’t just gift them the status, but they make it easier to transition.

Typically here’s how it works:

  1. You sign up or the airline approves your challenge request
  2. They temporarily grant you the status you’re working towards (silver, gold, platinum, etc)
  3. You fly a certain number of miles or segments within a specified period of time, usually 90 days. I flew to Anchorage via Puerto Rico for a night several years ago to get status on US Airways.
  4. If you meet the requirements you’re granted that status through the next year.

United requires that you fly a certain number of Premier qualifying miles (PQM) or Premier qualifying segments (PQS) on United metal — flights operated by United Airlines, no code shares — within 90 days.

Alex flew to Europe in coach, mostly on United metal, to earn enough miles for his Premier Gold status. Fortunately he managed to pay to upgrade a portion of his trip, including a flight in United domestic first which netted him 150% PQMs. Thanks to that short First Class segment, he hit the 12,500 PQMs needed to qualify, saving him an extra trip before the end of his offer period. It also prompted him to book all future business travel on United (poor soul).

But there was confusion on United’s end as to whether or not he had met the requirements.

United status match challenge progress error

His account showed the 12,659 miles and a check mark. A warning notice at the top of the page indicated he had not qualified.

He tweeted United for help, but they couldn’t access his full record so he wound up calling the Premier desk. As part of the conversation he requested a Premier Gold card and they confirmed they were new cards (implying he had qualified).

The next morning his account showed he’d been downgraded to normal tier. He called back. It took a supervisor but eventually it was confirmed that he had qualifed.

The big lesson here: You need to be familiar with terms and conditions and track your mileage, because not all the representatives are. On the second call they were denying his status because they were calculating based on flown miles and weren’t taking account of his First Class bonus. Fortunately he had been carefully tracking all of this so it didn’t take long to get sorted out, but still rather frustrating.


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