Airline passengers are frequently looking for ways to improve their flying experience and to save money on travel.
With MileagePlus status, United offers its passengers an elevated travel experience that includes benefits such as preferred seating, waived fees for checked bags, upgrades and other priority travel services.
In order for flyers to achieve the perks, the carrier takes into account the number of flights a passenger takes and the value of tickets purchased.
But frequent travelers who are already a part of the MileagePlus program sometimes have difficulty maintaining their status.
Recently, United passengers have started sharing on social media a way they have discovered to extend their loyalty program status, even after a year in which they haven’t had the opportunity to travel as often.
A United Airlines aircraft is seen flying above the clouds. United’s passengers are finding that they can extend loyalty status by simply inquiring with the airline.
Extending airline status even when you fly less
Many airlines have formal programs that establish methods of retaining or reclaiming program memberships.
“Alaska Airlines (ALK) – Get Free Report has elite ‘leave’ for new parents where they’ll extend your status a year,” wrote travel expert Gary Leff on View From the Wing. “And Delta (DAL) – Get Free Report has ‘reclaim my status,’ an offer of temporary status and a challenge to keep that status.”
In Europe, it is common for loyalty programs to offer family leave options.
“They don’t want to lose a top customer’s business just because of a life event that keeps them off the road for a while,” Leff wrote.
United does not have a formal process for maintaining membership, but a user of X (formerly Twitter) posted a solution that he found to the social media site on Jan. 17.
“Never hurts to ask,” wrote United customer Sheel Mohnot on X. “ChatGPT is your friend. I didn’t qualify for 1K last year so I had ChatGPT write a letter about my loyalty to United, they extended my status by a year.”
Never hurts to ask / ChatGPT is your friend
I didn’t qualify for 1K last year so I had ChatGPT write a letter about my loyalty to United, they extended my status by a year. pic.twitter.com/j2CzLvPlwh
— Sheel Mohnot (@pitdesi) January 17, 2024
Others on the microblogging platform weighed in with their advice and experiences.
“FYI my understanding from chatting with them is that they’ll give you one (non-medical) status extension every X years,” wrote Yuri Sagalov.
FYI my understanding from chatting with them is that they’ll give you one (non medical) status extension every X years
— Yuri Sagalov (@yuris) January 17, 2024
Another United flyer followed the advice to contact the airline and ask.
“Thank you for this!” wrote Sumit Chachra on X. “I called the 1k line and asked for an extension and boom, got the customer service, rep did it in 2 minutes and I have the email confirmation! Now emailing email@example.com to extend plus points that are expiring. LOVE United!”
THANK YOU for this! I called the 1k line and asked for an extension and boom, got the customer service rep did it in 2 minutes and I have the email confirmation! Now emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to extend plus points that are expiring 🤣 LOVE @united !
— Sumit Chachra (@chachra) January 17, 2024
What United requires for elite status
Leff listed the qualifications required for United passengers to achieve elite status.
“Silver: 12 qualifying flights and 4,000 qualifying dollars, or 5,000 qualifying dollars.””Gold: 24 qualifying flights and 8,000 qualifying dollars, or 10,000 qualifying dollars.””Platinum: 36 qualifying flights and 12,000 qualifying dollars, or 15,000 qualifying dollars.””1K: 54 qualifying flights and 18,000 qualifying dollars, or 24,000 qualifying dollars.”
Airlines understand that their passengers that have previously qualified for loyalty programs are valuable customers.
“It’s a lot cheaper for United to keep a customer than to acquire one,” Leff wrote. “You’ve already proven your value and you cannot do this year after year. Without a published policy you aren’t guaranteed a result, but you should certainly ask — and United knows that you’ll appreciate them with your loyalty when they grant your request.”
The bottom line here is apparent: If you take the time to ask, you may well receive travel benefits that you otherwise would not get if you did not inquire.
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