Home > MileagePlus program > Use award miles > Upgrades overview > MileagePlus Upgrade Awards
Use your miles to upgrade and fly in a premium cabin.
MileagePlus® Upgrade Awards let you use your miles to upgrade into United Global FirstSM, United First®, United BusinessFirst® or United Business® on most paid tickets. Upgrades from some discounted booking codes will require both miles and a co-pay.
MileagePlus Upgrade Awards can be used on any United- or Copa-operated flight, with minimal fare restrictions.
MileagePlus Upgrade Awards may be confirmed as early as the time of upgrade request submission. On United-operated flights, if upgrade space is not available at the time of request, members can be placed on a waitlist.
Learn about co-pay
If you request a MileagePlus® Upgrade Award on certain United flights, you may have to supplement the miles for the upgrade with a co-pay.
Rules for Premier member co-pay exemption
- Premier members will not be a charged a co-pay on routes within the US-49 and Canada and from the US-49 and Canada to Hawaii (except between HNL and EWR/IAD/IAH), Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean or Northern South America (except between EWR/IAH* and LIM). Premier members will also not be charged a co-pay for flights within Intra-Asia (except between NRT and BKK/SIN) and non-stop flights to/from GUM (except between HNL and GUM).
- Non-Premier members are exempt from the co-pay when sponsored using miles from a Premier member's MileagePlus account.
*Flights between Houston (IAH) and Lima (LIM) will be ineligible for Premier member co-pay exemption for MUA requests made on or after February 6, 2013.
Co-pay pricing and payment
- Co-pay amounts vary based on the regions of travel and the booking codes of the fares purchased.
- For full-fare United Economy or United Business tickets, there is no co-pay when traveling in any region.
- For discounted tickets, there is a co-pay. However, higher booking codes may require lower co-pays.
- Check our Travel Award Destinations charts to look up your co-pay by region of travel and booking code.
- Mileage deduction and applicable co-pays for all MileagePlus Upgrade Awards will be assessed at the time of request.
- If you request an upgrade using a MileagePlus Upgrade Award, and none of your travel segments are upgraded, then your miles and co-pay will be fully redeposited. In most instances, a MileagePlus Upgrade Award will be considered used if any segment of your travel is upgraded. However, if your travel includes requested upgrades to United BusinessFirst and/or United Global First, and none of the United BusinessFirst or United Global First segments are upgraded, then your MileagePlus Upgrade Award will not be considered used, even if you are upgraded to United First or United Business on another segment. In these instances, your miles and co-pay will be fully redeposited. When applicable, these refunds will occur automatically seven to 10 days after the trip.
- Credit and debit cards are accepted as forms of payment.
- Payment information is collected at time of upgrade request.
- If we cannot process your payment using the payment method provided, we will contact you for a valid credit or debit card number.
- How to book, request or sponsor a MileagePlus Upgrade Award
There are two ways to book a MileagePlus Upgrade Award:
Method 1: While booking your flight
On United.com sign into the MileagePlus account you want to use to request the MileagePlus Upgrade Award. While searching for flights, you can specify if you want upgrade availability displayed in the results by following these steps:
- On the main United.com page under the flight search pane, click on the “Advanced Search” link.
- After entering your flight search criteria on the advanced flight search page, select “MileagePlus Upgrade Award” and select “Price” under the “Search By” option found in the “How would you like your flight results displayed?” section. Click search.
- Select the direction you want to upgrade and continue.
If a MileagePlus Upgrade Award is available, you can proceed with booking the upgrade at the time of booking your flight. If a flight does not have availability, you can continue to book that flight and later request the upgrade through Method 2. You will be placed on a waitlist that will be cleared as and when upgrades become available.
Method 2: After booking your flight
There are three ways in which you can request your MileagePlus Upgrade Award after you have booked your flight.
Option 1: Request using the MileagePlus account you entered at the time of booking your flight.
- Log into your MileagePlus account (associated with your booking) on United.com.
- Select the “Change/View Existing Reservations” option under the “Reservations” tab. Look for your reservation and select “View”. Click the “Redeem Upgrade” option under your reservation.
- Then click the “Redeem Awards to Upgrade” tab, select the flight you want to upgrade, and choose your preferred upgrade. Click the “Upgrade” button and continue to complete your upgrade request.
Option 2: If you did not enter a MileagePlus account at the time of booking, want to get sponsored by another MileagePlus member or want to sponsor another traveler
- Select the “Change/View Existing Reservations” option under the “Reservations” tab on united.com. Enter the Confirmation Number and last name associated with the flight and click “Find”.
- Click the “Redeem Upgrade” option under the reservation.
- Then click the “Redeem Awards to Upgrade” tab and select the flights you would like to upgrade. Click the “Upgrade” button after the flight selection.
- You will then be prompted to enter the MileagePlus account information for the account you want to use to make the upgrade request. After entering this information please continue to complete your request.
Option 3: If you want to make a MileagePlus Upgrade Award request by phone after you have booked a flight.
If you are not a Premier member, call 1 800-UNITED1 to make the request. Premier members can call their status specific phone numbers to make the request. For an existing booking, there is no fee to make the upgrade request by phone.
- MileagePlus Upgrade Award rules
Learn more about award fees