UAL Launches Simplified Upgrade System
United Airlines’ new PlusPoints program marks a boost in benefit options for MileagePlus Premier members
September 23, 2019
United Airlines announced PlusPoints Tuesday to the delight of Mileage Plus Premier Premier Platinum and 1K members as it creates more opportunities – and more last minute chances – for frequent flyers to be upgraded on flights.
Top tier members will receive a bank of points that they can use to upgrade on all flights across United’s global network, where they previously would have used Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU) or Global Premier Upgrades (GPU). With PlusPoints, members will be able to access all upgrades through united.com or United’s mobile app, two features that make managing upgrades easier and are unique to United — the only global U.S. airline that lets members request all upgrades without making a phone call.
“We’re making it even easier for our Premier members to use upgrades when and how they want,” said Vice President of Loyalty and President of MileagePlus Luc Bondar. “The new PlusPoints program increases the overall number of upgrade opportunities for top tier Premier members, expands the fare classes where they can be used, and lets members request upgrades on multiple flights all at once. We already make it easy for members to manage all of their upgrades online, and the move to PlusPoints is yet another way we are making MileagePlus the best loyalty program in the industry.”
How PlusPoints Works
The new PlusPoints program goes into effect December 4, when United will replace Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades with new points system.
Each RPU will be worth 20 PlusPoints and each GPU will be worth 40 PlusPoints. That means members that are using one RPU today to upgrade from Economy to United First on domestic U.S. and North American flights will then use 20 PlusPoints from their banks. A member using one GPU today to upgrade from Economy to United Polaris business class on international long-haul flights will use 40 PlusPoints.
Flexibility and Last Minute Requests
PlusPoints gives members more flexibility to decide how to use their upgrades and creates more opportunities for them to be upgraded. Starting in December, members can use their points to join upgrade waitlists on multiple trips, and points won’t be deducted from their accounts until upgrades are confirmed. Spreading upgrade requests across multiple trips makes it more likely that one or more of their trips will be upgraded. Members will still be able to confirm upgrades at booking if space is available.
PlusPoints also makes upgrading to and from premium economy more flexible. Upgrading from Economy to United Premium Plus and from United Premium Plus to United Polaris business class will be possible for less than the value of one GPU.
Fewer Restrictions, More Choices
PlusPoints offers members new options to request upgrades and gives them the ability to customize their travel experience. While RPUs were restricted to upgrades in select regions, PlusPoints can be used for any United flight. Additionally, Premier Platinum members will now receive enough PlusPoints to upgrade from Economy to United Polaris business class, while Premier 1K members will be able to upgrade from discounted Economy fares to Polaris. From time to time, United may also allow 1K members the opportunity to use additional PlusPoints to skip the waitlist and receive a confirmed upgrade at booking when traveling on select international long-haul flights, even when upgrade fare classes are closed.
Importantly, PlusPoints does not replace or change United’s Complimentary Premier Upgrades benefit. All Premier members will continue to be placed on upgrade waitlists for flights operated by United and United Express when available.
More information: MileagePlusPoints