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I noticed a thread on Flyertalk that shares the new elite status challenge requirements for 2013 (though the page does say it is subject to vary by month). You do have to have equivalent status on a non-Star Alliance airline to qualify for this challenge, so this isn’t a shortcut way to go from no status with anyone, to elite status with United, but it can be a good way to leverage what you already have if you want to shift some flying to United.
If you meet the criteria to participate in the Premier status match offer, your account will be upgraded for 90 days to Premier Silver, Premier Gold or Premier Platinum status based on the level you hold in your current frequent flyer program. During that time you have to earn a certain number of elite (premier) qualifying miles or segments to keep the status. You can’t officially challenge for 1K.
Here were the old flight requirements:
Premier Silver Fly 10,000 flight miles or 15 flight segments on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Silver status
Premier Gold Fly 17,500 flight miles or 22 flight segments on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Gold status
Premier Platinum Fly 25,000 flight miles or 30 flight segments on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Platinum status
Here are the new flight requirements:
Premier Silver Fly 7,000 PQM or 8 PQS on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Silver status
Premier Gold Fly 12,500 PQM or 15 PQS on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Gold status
Premier Platinum Fly 18,000 PQM or 22 PQS on flights operated by United, United Express or Copa to retain Premier Platinum status
As you can see, not only were the miles and segments required lowered across the board, but the wording was changed from “flight miles” to premier qualifying miles so class of service bonuses and such do apply. You can get all the details about how the challenge works and how to request a challenge by heading to United’s site. Of course the lower challenge requirements are great for those who are trying to get United elite status via this method, and perhaps aren’t as great for United elites who feel their are already too many elites for the airline to handle.
If you want to wait, those who challenge after July 1 will have their status valid for a full year and a half, but the requirements can change before July so weigh the risks accordingly.