Major Changes to United’s MileagePlus Program for 2016

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United Airlines sent out an email today with some major changes to how you’ll earn Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs) for 2016. When it comes to paid first class, you’ll earn more PQMs in 2016 than before. F and J fares will earn 300% PQMs and A, C, D, Z and P fares will yield a 200% earning bonus.

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United sent the following email to its MileagePlus members:

We’re always working to enhance the MileagePlus® program to give you the best possible experience, on the ground and in the air. Today we have great news to share with you: For all flights taken on or after January 1, 2016, you’ll earn Premier® qualifying miles (PQM) for First or Business tickets* at up to double the current rate. That means you can reach MileagePlus Premier status even faster.

What it means for you

On United® flights, you’ll earn substantially more PQM on full-fare and discounted First or Business tickets, up to 300%. You’ll also earn more PQM on select Star Alliance™ member airlines.

The higher PQM rates go into effect for flights on or after January 1, 2016, regardless of when you purchased your ticket.

Enjoy the enhancements

When you fly in our premium cabins, you’ll enjoy a newly enhanced experience:

  • Our reimagined United First® seats, which will be installed on our Airbus fleet and
    Boeing 737-700 and 757-300 aircraft, provide an elevated level of comfort and convenience.
  • New chef-designed onboard dining menus offer globally inspired dishes with bold flavors.

In addition, starting next summer, whenever you fly with us you’ll be able to enjoy a cup of coffee from illy®, a world-renowned coffee with an authentic Italian heritage. Their dark roasted coffee delivers a beautiful taste and provides an elevated inflight experience.

Thank you for being part of the world’s most rewarding loyalty program.

Bottom Line
The increased PQM rates go into effect January 1, 2016 regardless of when you booked your flights, so there is no need to rebook.
In all honesty, I don’t think there are many people who book full F or J fares, but if you are one of those people you’ll be earning a whole lot more PQMs next year, making Premier status easier to attain.
For instance, if you booked full F or J fares, you’d only need to fly 33,333 miles a year to earn United 1K, assuming you reach the PQD requirements as well. I think more and more airlines are going to a revenue requirement vs. a mileage flown requirement, so I could see why United is making this change.
Feel free to share your thoughts on these new changes below! 
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

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  1. It could be worth paying for a first class ticket in some instances. I will certainly check the fare difference just to be sure I don’t miss out on all those PQMs.

  2. UA’s just aligning itself with AA’s new elite qualifying credit levels. Just as AA responded last year to UA’s enhanced fare-based RDMs for premium fare payers.

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