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Global Premier Upgrades

There's a new, electronic process for requesting upgrades on Lufthansa-operated flights. As of December 10, 2014, paper certificates may not be accepted at some airports. All airports will stop accepting paper certificates on February 1, 2015. Certificates issued for flights on or after December 10, 2014, should be re-deposited. Learn more below.

Global Premier® Upgrades are one-way, one-cabin upgrades, confirmable as early as time of ticketing on all United-, United Express®- and Copa Airlines-operated flights systemwide.1

Premier members will earn six Global Premier Upgrades upon meeting all qualification requirements of Premier 1K® status. An additional two Global Premier Upgrades will be awarded for each 50,000 Premier qualifying miles or 60 Premier qualifying segments earned thereafter during the same calendar year that Premier 1K was reached. Learn more about Premier status.

Global Premier Upgrades will be deposited at the time they are earned, and will be valid through the end of the following Premier program year.

Eligible flights

Global Premier Upgrades are available on all United-, United Express- and Copa Airlines-operated flights systemwide.1

These upgrades can be used on paid, published fares for upgrades from United Economy®, United Business® or United BusinessFirst® to the next higher cabin. Fare classes Z, P, S, T, L, K, G and N may only be upgraded on flights to select regions. See the upgrade regions chart for full details on upgrade eligibility and fare restrictions.

How to request

Once the traveler′s ticket has been issued, members can redeem Global Premier Upgrades by viewing the reservation on united.com and selecting the Upgrade Reservation link. Global Premier Upgrades may also be redeemed by calling the United Customer Contact Center.

Confirmation priority

Global Premier Upgrades may be confirmed as early as time of ticketing or time of request. If upgrade space is not available at the time when the upgrade is requested, members will be placed on a waitlist. The waitlist will clear automatically by Premier status, then fare class, then time of request.2 New waitlist requests for Global Premier Upgrades can be made until 24 hours prior to departure.

Learn more about upgrade confirmation priority

Sponsoring another member

Premier members may request an upgrade for any other traveler using a Global Premier Upgrade, even if they are not traveling on the same reservation. In order to sponsor a Global Premier Upgrade for another traveler, the sponsoring member will need to sign in to united.com using their own account, then search for the reservation using the traveling member′s confirmation number and last name. The sponsoring member can then redeem the Global Premier Upgrade by selecting the Upgrade Reservation link. Waitlist confirmation priority is based on the Premier status of the redeeming account.3

Terms of use on United-, United Express- and Copa Airlines-operated flights1

  • Each Global Premier Upgrade is valid for a single one-way, one-cabin upgrade.
  • Global Premier Upgrades are earned based on flights taken between January 1 and December 31 of the same calendar year.
  • Members must fly at least four flights on United, United Express or Copa Airlines during a calendar year in order to be eligible to earn Global Premier Upgrades.1
  • Global Premier Upgrades will be deposited at the time when they are earned, and will be valid for travel through the end of the following Program year. For example, a Global Premier Upgrade earned in June 2013 will be valid for travel through January 2015.
  • Global Premier Upgrades in certain types of sales accounts may have different expiration policies.
  • Global Premier Upgrades may be redeemed at united.com or by calling the United Customer Contact Center.
  • Global Premier Upgrades are valid on United-, United Express- or Copa Airlines-operated flights.1
  • Stopovers require multiple upgrade products. A stopover for a single, one-way trip within the U.S. or between the U.S. and Canada is defined as longer than 4 hours in the connecting city. A stopover for a single, one-way trip to or from all other destinations is defined as longer than 24 hours in the connecting city.
  • New waitlist requests for Global Premier Upgrades will be accepted until 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Global Premier Upgrades are fully transferable and may be used for travel with or without the earning Premier member.
  • In the case of redeposit or cancellation, the Global Premier Upgrade will be returned to the account from which it was redeemed.
  • In most cases, the Global Premier Upgrade will be considered used if any segment of an itinerary is upgraded or flown. However, for travel which includes segments in United BusinessFirst or United Global First, the Global Premier Upgrade will be re-deposited if the United BusinessFirst or United Global First segment(s) could not be upgraded.
  • Global Premier Upgrades are subject to capacity controls, which may limit the number of seats available for upgrade.
  • Award tickets, flights that have already been upgraded, and certain fares such as industry discount, Hotwire and priceline.com fares, are not eligible for Global Premier Upgrades.
  • The number of MileagePlus award miles, Premier qualifying miles and Premier qualifying segments earned is based on the fare class of the ticket originally purchased, not the upgraded class.
  • Other restrictions may apply. Terms and other information are subject to change without notice.

Upgrading on Lufthansa-operated flights

Global Premier Upgrades on Lufthansa-operated flights are valid for one-segment, one-cabin upgrades on any multi-cabin international flight operated by Lufthansa. You may request Global Premier Upgrades as early as time of ticketing in order to upgrade from Lufthansa Economy or Business Class to the next higher cabin. Upgrades are subject to availability and valid for paid, published fares only. The following Lufthansa fare classes are not eligible for Global Premier Upgrades: L, T, X, I, R, N, S, W, Z, P, K, O, ID, AD, IP and V. Please see the terms and conditions below for specific eligibility rules.

How to request

Once the ticket with a Lufthansa-operated segment has been issued, requests can be made online through the Global Premier Upgrade on Lufthansa request page or by calling the United Customer Contact Center. You can make requests beginning 331 days before departure until up to 10 hours before departure.

If you are requesting online, you may request Global Premier Upgrades for up to four people traveling on the same reservation. You will need one Global Premier Upgrade for each traveler. (If the reservation has more than four travelers, you will need to call Lufthansa.) You do not need to be traveling with the passengers to request the upgrades and you can request upgrades for travelers with a different last name than yours. While you can only request upgrades for one segment at a time, you may upgrade more than one eligible segment on the itinerary.

How to request for codeshare flights

If you are traveling on a Lufthansa-operated codeshare flight** with a United flight number, upgrades may be available and can be requested by calling 1-877-726-7282 within the U.S. and Canada, elsewhere call your local United Customer Contact Center. Codeshare flights with another carrier's flight number are not eligible for an upgrade.

Confirmation, waitlist and cancellation

If upgrade space is available at the time of the request and the requester chooses to confirm the upgrade, United will automatically deduct Global Premier Upgrades from the requester's MileagePlus account.

If upgrade space is not available at the time of the request, travelers may have the option to be placed on the Lufthansa upgrade waitlist. United will automatically deduct Global Premier Upgrades from the requester's MileagePlus account when travelers are added to the waitlist. The waitlist will clear automatically as upgrade space becomes available on the flight.

If a waitlisted traveler is confirmed in the higher cabin, the Lufthansa reservation will reflect the upgraded class and United will send a notification to the email address provided at the time of the request. Unconfirmed upgrades will expire from the waitlist 10 hours prior to departure and United will send a notification email. United will also send a notification email if a confirmed upgrade is canceled. Global Premier Upgrades will be automatically re-deposited to the account from which they were withdrawn 24 to 48 hours after the expiration or cancellation. To make any changes to your upgrade or inquire about your reservation, call Lufthansa at 1-800-645-3880 within the U.S. or visit lufthansa.com for local contact information.

Former paper certificate process

As of December 10, 2014, Lufthansa may not accept paper upgrade certificates at some airports. To ensure eligibility for an upgrade, MileagePlus members should return unused paper certificates to the MileagePlus Service Center by mailing them to the return address printed on the certificate. The Global Premier Upgrades will then be re-deposited into the MileagePlus account from which they were withdrawn. Please note that this process can take several business days, so you will need to mail in your paper certificates well in advance of planned travel. We will re-deposit the certificates with the original expiration date and you can use them to request Global Premier Upgrades online. All airports will stop accepting paper certificates on February 1, 2015; MileagePlus members can continue to return valid, non-expired, unused certificates for re-deposit after this date.

General conditions on Lufthansa-operated flights
  1. Valid carrier: This upgrade may only be used on multi-cabin international Lufthansa flights and is subject to availability. This upgrade is not valid on flights operated by other airlines. Upgrades for codeshare flights** marketed by United but operated by Lufthansa (“LH”) may be available and can only be requested by calling 1-877-726-7282 within the U.S. and Canada, elsewhere call your local United Customer Contact Center.
  2. Valid routing: This upgrade is valid for international Lufthansa-operated flights. Stopovers are not permitted. United will not issue upgrades for Lufthansa-operated flights to U.S. embargoed travel destinations.
  3. Upgradeable fare classes: This upgrade is subject to availability. The following Lufthansa fare classes are not eligible for upgrade: L, T, X, I, R, N, S, W, Z, P, K, O, ID, AD, IP and V. Lufthansa reserves the right to change the eligible fare classes at any time without notice.
  4. Non-upgradeable tickets: The upgrade may not be used on any MileagePlus award ticket, Miles & More award ticket or any other frequent flyer award ticket or industry discount ticket (ID, AD and IP fares). Some Internet sites, such as Priceline.com and Hotwire.com, issue tickets that are not upgradeable.
  5. MileagePlus mileage accrual: Travelers will earn MileagePlus miles based on the fare class purchased, not the upgraded fare class.
  6. Ticketing: Tickets must be issued in the eligible purchased Lufthansa Economy or Lufthansa Business Class fare. Ticket will not be reissued using this upgrade certificate.
  7. Lufthansa upgrade request: When traveling on Lufthansa, an upgrade request may be made on united.com or through the United Customer Contact Center once the ticket with an upgrade-eligible Lufthansa flight segment is issued. Requests may be made from 331 days to 10 hours prior to departure. Standby upgrades on the day of departure are not allowed for electronic upgrade requests. When space is not available at the time of the request, an option to add the travelers to Lufthansa's waitlist may exist. United will automatically deduct Global Premier Upgrades from the requester's MileagePlus account at the time of upgrade confirmation or when travelers are added to the waitlist.
  8. Upgrade processing: Upgrades are subject to availability and Lufthansa will process upgrade requests and waitlists based on the availability of capacity-controlled seating. Confirmed upgrades will reflect the higher cabin on the Lufthansa reservation. Unconfirmed upgrades will expire from the waitlist 10 hours prior to flight departure. Global Premier Upgrades will be automatically re-deposited to the account from which they were withdrawn 24 to 48 hours after the cancellation or expiration.
  9. Upgrade rules: Multiple Global Premier Upgrades may not be combined to obtain a two-cabin upgrade. For flights that stop en route, upgrades are only permitted when the upgraded seating is available on all portions of the flight. Each Global Premier Upgrade may be used for one traveler and one eligible flight segment. Multi-traveler reservations require all travelers be upgraded; partial upgrades are not permitted.
  10. Changes/Refunds: The rules of the fare purchased determine the changes or refunds that are allowed. Check with Lufthansa or a travel professional. Changes to a segment that is on the waitlist will result in a waitlist cancellation and re-deposit of the Global Premier Upgrade to the account from which it was withdrawn. If the date of a flight segment with a confirmed upgrade is changed, the upgrade may be re-confirmed in the higher cabin only if space is available. If space is not available, the Global Premier Upgrade will be re-deposited. All other changes to the upgraded segment will result in a re-deposit and a new request may be submitted. If your reservation contains multiple flight segments, changes to or cancellations of other flight segments will not affect the confirmed upgrade or waitlist status.
  11. The terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

**Codeshare flights are marketed and sold by one airline, under their own airline code and flight number, but operated by another airline. The operating airline is specified on your reservation. If the airline code listed before the flight number on your reservation is different than the operating airline, then you are traveling on a codeshare flight (for example, Flight UA8826 operated by Lufthansa).

Former paper certificate process conditions
  1. Paper certificates cannot be requested on or after December 10, 2014.
  2. Paper certificates may not be accepted by Lufthansa at all airports on or after December 10, 2014. All airports will stop accepting paper certificates on February 1, 2015. MileagePlus members should re-deposit their paper certificates by mailing them to the return address printed on the certificate. Please note that this process can take several business days, so you will need to mail in your paper certificates well in advance of planned travel. The Global Premier Upgrades will be re-deposited into the MileagePlus account from which they were withdrawn and can be used to request Global Premier Upgrades on Lufthansa flights online.
  3. Valid carrier: This upgrade certificate may be used only on Lufthansa flights (only on multi-cabin aircraft) and not on flights operated by other airlines. Upgrade requests for flights marketed by other airlines but operated by Lufthansa (“LH”) are also allowed on a standby basis on the day of departure, subject to availability.
  4. Valid routing: This certificate is valid for international Lufthansa-operated flights for standby upgrade on day of travel only. Stopovers are not permitted. The specific Lufthansa flight segment must be printed on the certificate.
  5. Upgradeable booking classes: This upgrade may be used on standby basis, subject to upgrade availability, on the day of travel on any eligible Lufthansa flight in accordance with the terms and conditions of this certificate except when booked in LH booking classes L, T, X, I, R, N, S, W, Z, P, K, O, ID, AD, IP and V. Lufthansa reserves the right to change the eligible fare classes at any time without notice.
  6. Non-upgradeable tickets: The upgrade may not be used with any MileagePlus award ticket, Miles & More award ticket, or any other frequent flyer award ticket as well as industry discount tickets (ID, AD and IP fares). Some Internet sites, such as Priceline.com and Hotwire.com, issue tickets that are not upgradeable.
  7. MileagePlus accrual: The MileagePlus miles earned will be based upon the class of service purchased, not the upgraded class of service.
  8. Ticketing: Tickets must be issued in the eligible purchased Lufthansa Economy or Lufthansa Business class fare. Ticket will not be reissued using this upgrade certificate. When traveling on Lufthansa, this upgrade certificate must be presented at the airport on the day of departure and surrendered to a Lufthansa agent upon upgrade confirmation.
  9. Lufthansa upgrade request: When traveling on Lufthansa, a standby upgrade may be requested at the time of check-in. Prior to traveling on Lufthansa, request an exchange of a global premier e-upgrade for a paper certificate to use on Lufthansa. The upgrade class will be confirmed at check-in, if available, and a seat assignment may be requested. The upgraded First/Business booking class may not always be available on all flights or on all days of the week while traveling. Lufthansa check-in deadlines apply.
  10. Upgrade processing: This upgrade may be requested at time of check-in on Lufthansa and will be processed based on the availability of capacity-controlled seating and meals. Upgrades are subject to availability.
  11. Upgrade rules: Multiple certificates may not be combined to obtain a two-cabin upgrade. For flights that stop en route, the upgrade is only permitted when the upgraded seating is available on all portions of the flight. The named Traveler bearing this certificate must match the name of the ticket holder requesting the upgrade. This certificate must be used on the requested Flight Segment, Flight Number and Confirmation Number. If Lufthansa is unable to locate the Confirmation Number, the certificate will remain valid so long as the Traveler Name and Flight Segment match that of the ticket holder. Changes to the itinerary, including schedule changes, that modify the Flight Number but retain the same Traveler Name and Flight Segment will also remain valid. In the event of irregular operations or schedule changes, the Lufthansa agent has discretion to accept a certificate that does not match the specified Flight Segment.
  12. Changes/Refunds: The rules of the fare purchased determine the changes or refunds that are allowed. Check with Lufthansa or a travel professional.
  13. Other important notes: The upgrade certificate may only be used to upgrade one person. Certificate has no cash value and may not be altered or duplicated. Lost, stolen, expired or destroyed certificates will not be replaced. Expiration will not be extended. The sale or barter of this certificate is strictly prohibited. The certificate is null and void if sold or bartered. Other restrictions may apply. Terms and conditions may change without notice.
  14. Validity period: This upgrade certificate is valid for travel on the Flight Segment, Flight Number and Confirmation Number specified. Adjustments to the itinerary after the certificate was requested that modify the flight number but retain the same Traveler Name and Flight Segment are acceptable. Irregular operations or schedule changes may impact the Flight Segment and/or Flight Number, in which case the Lufthansa agent has discretion to make a determination of the certificate's validity. If the certificate is not redeemed on the travel for which the certificate was originally issued, the certificate must be mailed back to the MileagePlus Service Center for redeposit or reissuance on future travel.
  15. Unused certificates: An unused upgrade certificate may be re-deposited in the member's MileagePlus account prior to the original expiration date of the original upgrade. The upgrade certificate must be mailed to the MileagePlus Service Center. The re-deposited upgrade will have the expiration date of the original upgrade.
  16. The terms and conditions are subject to change without notice.

1Some MileagePlus benefits on Copa Airlines flights will change on July 1, 2015, as Copa Airlines will launch its own loyalty program in July 2015. Learn more>

2Fare class structure for Global Premier Upgrades, in priority order, is: J, C, D, Z, P (for upgrades from United Business to United First® or United BusinessFirst to United Global FirstSM on three-cabin aircraft) and Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G, N (for upgrades from United Economy to the next higher class of service on all aircraft). Note that on some flights, Global Premier Upgrades are not available for fare classes Z, P, S, T, L, K, G and N.

3Travelers who request a Global Premier Upgrade on or after April 15, 2015, and are placed on a waitlist will be prioritized according to the Premier status of the traveler. If the request includes multiple travelers, then priority will be based on the highest Premier status on the reservation.

4Outstanding certificates issued before March 1, 2013, will be honored in their original form. In order to use any re-issued certificates, you must follow the details outlined above.

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