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MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

Use your miles to upgrade and fly in a premium cabin.



MileagePlus Upgrade Awards let MileagePlus members use miles to request an upgrade to United Global FirstSM, United First®, United BusinessFirst® or United Business® on most paid tickets on United-operated flights, as well as request upgrades to the premium cabin on Copa-operated flights. Requesting a MileagePlus Upgrade Award for some discounted booking codes requires both miles and a co-pay.

Some of the benefits of upgrading to the premium cabin are:

  • Free standard checked bag allowance*
  • Extra comfortable, extra spacious seats
  • Priority check-in, security line access, boarding and baggage handling*
  • Complimentary alcoholic beverages

You can request an upgrade when purchasing a ticket or after you’ve purchased your ticket. To request an upgrade when purchasing a ticket, either call the United Customer Contact Center or select the "MileagePlus Upgrade Award" option on the Advanced Search page on united.com. After you’ve purchased your ticket, you can request a MileagePlus Upgrade Award by calling the United Customer Contact Center, going to the Manage Reservations page, or talking to a United check-in counter representative or gate agent at the airport within 24 hours of departure.

The price of an upgrade is based on your region of travel, fare class and Premier® status. Check pages 4-5 of our Travel Award Destinations chart (PDF) for pricing details.

*Select benefits are only available if your upgrade is confirmed prior to check-in.

Award availability

You may receive confirmation of your MileagePlus Upgrade Award as early as the time of your request. However, these awards are subject to capacity control and may not always be immediately available.

Upgrade availability can change as conditions change, so we encourage you to request an upgrade even if one is not currently available. Mileage payment and any applicable co-pay will be due at the time of your request, and if an upgrade is not immediately available, you will be placed on a waitlist. If upgrade seats open up, we will make them available to customers on the upgrade waitlist. If none of your flights are upgraded, then we will automatically refund the miles, co-pay and any taxes you paid.

Learn more about the details of our refunds policy in the “Pricing” tab.

Confirmation priority

The upgrade waitlist clears as upgrade space becomes available. Requests are processed automatically based on the Premier status of the redeeming account, then fare class, then time of request. New waitlist requests for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards can be made until 24 hours prior to departure. For more details on upgrade priority, refer to the “Upgrade Confirmation Priority” section on the Upgrades Overview page.

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