In 2016, I flew 35,000 premier qualifying miles on United; however, I was less than $50 short on the $3,000 spend requirement that is now in place to obtain Premier Silver status.
As a former United 1K, it was quite an adjustment to go from a top-tier elite to just a “member”, but I know that my travel style (aka cheap fares) is just not compatible with United’s new revenue-based MileagePlus loyalty program in the long run; so I stopped pursuing status with the airline all together.
I even made the decision to swap out my United MileagePlus Explorer card that came with benefits that pretty much mimicked United’s Silver status. Another way to get complimentary United Premier Silver status is by being a Marriott or Starwood Platinum member, which I am neither.
With the United MileagePlus Explorer card, I could pay a $95 annual fee and get a checked bag, a better boarding group, and a waiver for the premier qualifying dollars required to obtain status (only up to Platinum status) once I hit $25,000 spend on the card within a calendar year.
I don’t do any manufactured spending, and there are better cards (some with even no-annual fee) to put my everyday-spend on, so I cleaned up my wallet and said goodbye to the card.
Anyway for the last 2 years, I’ve pretty much switched over my flying JetBlue and it’s been a phenomenal experience, but let’s be realistic – I’m Newark-based, so United will always be in the picture.
The good news is that I travel lightly and usually never have to check bags; however, when traveling with kids, I usually like to check bags just to lighten the load I bring onboard the plane- but if there is a fee to do so, I will suck it up and lug the bags with me. Go ahead, call me cheap – that’s how I roll. ;-P.
This morning I received an email from United inviting me to purchase Premier Silver status.
Many members have received similar buy-up offers, varying in price, and I will admit that I was surprised mine was so low, considering that I received a horrible offer in the past.
$199 seems like a bargain for a year of free checked bags, economy plus seating, and the .05% chance of getting a complimentary premier upgrade, but I still said no.
By checking United’s baggage free calculator tool, you can see your checked-baggage cost by logging into your MileagePlus and viewing the bag-fees for your upcoming reservations, or you can check without logging in and selecting the “Any flights” tab.
I have Star Alliance Gold status with Aegean, and there are often many status match offers if you have status with another airline in a different alliance. In the past, obtaining Turkish Airlines Gold status was relatively easy via a status match.
One of the best benefits of having Star Alliance Gold status with another airline while flying United is United Club lounge access, even when flying domestically.
It’s always good to have status and points in other programs and to know how to utilize the benefits to your advantage.
Sure, $199 is a fair price for a year of Premier Silver Status- especially since I didn’t meet the requirements to qualify on my own- but one free checked bag is all I need, and I’m happy with know that I can get that for free with my Aegean Gold status.