There have been a number of unanswered questions about the process by which United will calculate the recently announced spend requirements for their customers to realize elite status in 2014, a/k/a Premier Qualifying Dollars or PQDs. Plenty of speculation has circulated about the possible answers, but until late yesterday it was – if at least slightly informed – still just speculation. Fortunately they’ve (finally) clarified a couple details about the PQD rules.
Most notable, at least to me, are the bits on how tickets purchased with coupons or vouchers will be handled. And, interestingly, there are two answers to that question, depending on what type of credit is used:
Will I earn PQD if I purchase a ticket using a credit, such as an electronic travel certificate, as a form of payment?
Yes. When a ticket is purchased and a dollar-value credit is applied as a form of payment for some or all of the ticket value, the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharge amount quoted before applying the credit will count toward PQD for eligible flights.
Will I earn PQD if I purchase a ticket using a promotional discount code (such a percent-off or dollar-off certificate or offer code)?
Yes. When a promotional discount (such as percent-off or dollar-off) is applied, it adjusts the base fare to reflect a new discounted price. This new base fare is displayed along with any carrier-imposed surcharges, and this discounted amount will count toward PQD on eligible flights.
The company has also made it clear that pretty much nothing other than tickets and Economy Plus purchases will count towards the PQD totals. Change fees, checked bag fees, United Club memberships and various other ancillary charges are all excluded. In many ways this is a strange disconnect. The airlines are raking in billions in ancillary fees and yet United does not count that towards a customer’s contribution to the bottom line. My guess is that it all comes down to systems integration challenges. The tickets and E+ seats all have ticket numbers associated with them such that tracking the spend is rather easily accomplished within United’s systems. The other bits are not assigned ticket numbers and are therefore much harder to keep track of. And so, at least for now, they do not count.
No real surprises with any of the answers here. Yes, there is a distinct difference between the two types of credit and you almost certainly want an electronic travel certificate, not a discount code when given a choice. But the way those were implemented is not surprising.
And now we actually know.
- United Airlines adds spend to elite qualification requirements
- How I qualified for 1K this year, and why I probably never will again
Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.