United Airlines is extending Premier elite status for a few select flyers.
The Chicago-based carrier announced on Tuesday that it would extend existing Premier status for travelers who’ve been affected by the airline’s suspension of flights to Tel Aviv, Israel, an airline spokesperson told TPG.
The extended status will match your existing tier and will be valid through Jan. 31, 2025 — with no additional flying required. Furthermore, if you are a Premier Platinum or Premier 1K member, you’ll also receive a deposit of 40 or 320 PlusPoints, respectively, once the status extension is processed by the system in January.
Emails to affected members are being sent on Tuesday, so if you’re a frequent flyer to Tel Aviv or one based in Israel, be on the lookout for a message from United.
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United shared that the criteria that it’s using to determine who is eligible for a status extension include those based in Israel, as well as travelers who frequent one of the carrier’s four routes between the U.S. and Israel.
United is the largest of the U.S. airlines serving Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), and before the Israel-Hamas war broke out, it served the city from Chicago, Newark, San Francisco and Washington. It offered up to four daily flights between the U.S. and Israel, Cirium schedules show, making United the second-largest carrier in the market behind Israeli flag carrier El Al.
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El Al is the only airline currently flying between the U.S. and Israel, after American, Delta and United indefinitely suspended their flights in October following the attack on Israel. While El Al continues to operate flights to the U.S., there’s no telling yet when the U.S. airlines might return to the market. (United says that it will return to Tel Aviv “when conditions allow our [flights] to resume.”)
Given United’s strength in the market, it seemingly makes sense for the carrier to extend elite status. The airline has plenty of Israel-based Premiers who prefer to fly with the airline over its competitors, and the status extension should help United buy some goodwill even if its jets won’t be operating to Tel Aviv in the coming days and weeks.
It remains to be seen if American Airlines or Delta Air Lines will match United’s move, but if either airline is going to make a move, I’d expect Delta will be first.
That’s because Delta is the second-largest U.S. airline in Tel Aviv, operating three routes to the city from Atlanta, Boston and New York. American, on the other hand, just operates one daily flight between New York and Tel Aviv.