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United adds spending requirement for elite status

Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 1:15 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO – United Airlines is making it a little harder to get a higher frequent-flier status.

That status used to require flying 25,000 miles per year. Now, United is adding a requirement for at least $2,500 in spending, too, to qualify for status in its MileagePlus program.

Most frequent fliers would spend that much anyway if they are earning 25,000 miles. But those who buy discounted tickets might be affected.

Travelers like to get so-called "elite" status because of seat upgrades and other perks.

The change takes effect next year for travelers trying to earn status in 2015. Taxes and bag fees won't count toward the spending total.

United Continental Holdings Inc. announced the change Tuesday. It matches a change made by Delta Air Lines Inc. in January.

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