United Announces New PlusPoints Upgrade System

Written by Ashley Ferraro

Beginning on December 4, United MileagePlus will be introducing a new approach to Premier upgrades exclusively for Platinum and 1K members. Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades will soon become PlusPoints, a much more flexible and convenient system to handle upgrades. With PlusPoints in place, members will be able to use points for upgrades on any flight, rather that adhering to previous restrictions. If you aren’t already a Platinum or 1K member, this might be the push you’ve been waiting for.

PointPlus allows you to expand your reach when it comes to upgrades. Now, you can redeem upgrades on domestic or international flights, United Premium Plus or United Polaris business class— you name it. You can even upgrade to United Polaris business from discounted economy fares.

Previously, you’d only be able to use Regional Premier Upgrades for select short-haul flights, while Global Premier Upgrades were available on all flights. Now, for the price of 20 PlusPoints, you can upgrade any short-haul flight from United Economy or United First or United Business. Long-haul flights, meaning those with United Polaris business will still have a variety of upgrades available, but now must be purchased with a fixed amount of PlusPoints.

How do Premier upgrades translate to PlusPoints?

The translation is easy, 1 Regional Premier Upgrade will equal 20 PlusPoints, while 1 Global Premier Upgrade will equal 40 PlusPoints.

You’re probably wondering what’s going to happen to the value of your current upgrade requests. More good news—no request will be more expensive than it was under the previous system. In fact, some requests may even become less expensive. For example, if you made a Global Premier request that would be priced at less than 40 PlusPoints, such as a short-haul flights, your account will immediately be credited for the difference.

If you’ve made a request on an itinerary with no confirmed upgrades, your request will remain, but your PlusPoints will stay available until an upgrade is confirmed. This means you’ll be able to make more upgrade waitlist requests on other trips, increasing your chances of receiving an upgrade.

How will PlusPoints be deducted?

If your trip includes multiple flight segments, you’ll only be charged for the highest-priced upgrade you receive. For example if your trip includes a short-haul upgrade for 20 points and a long-haul upgrade for 40 points, you’ll only be deducted 40 PlusPoints. Or, two 20 point upgrades in a single itinerary will only deduce 20 PlusPoints. This feature is extremely convenient for travelers who normally make connections, but don’t want to lose out on more of their points because of it.

It’s up to you when it comes to how you want to use your PlusPoints. If your itinerary features multiple flight segments, you can request upgrades on individual segments, or the entire duration of travel. That’s the beauty of PlusPoints’ flexibility.

How can you request an upgrade with PlusPoints?

Platinum and 1K MileagePlus members can make PlusPoints upgrade requests at booking through Advanced Search on united.com. They can also submit upgrade requests on existing reservations on United’s website or through the mobile app.

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Written by Ashley Ferraro

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