Star Alliance Upgrade Awards

With Star AllianceTM you can travel to more than 160 countries and earn awards on partner flights. Use award miles for upgrades such as lounge access and inflight amenities.

Request upgrade award

Upgrade awards are valid for one nonstop flight. The mileage amount required for your Star Alliance Upgrade Award is based on your origin and destination, as well as your cabin of service. Upgrades are not guaranteed and depend on airline availability.

Upgrade service classes:

Economy to Business (on airlines with only two cabin classes)
Economy to First (on airlines with only two cabin classes)
Business to First (on airlines with only three cabin classes)

Not eligible on:

SAS – Domestic Scandinavian flights and flights to and from Finland
ANA – Domestic flights in Japan and flights operated by Air Japan
Singapore Airlines – all A350, A380 and 777-300ER aircraft flights and D class

* Upgradeable booking classes include Business classes C and D and Economy classes Y and B, as well as the additional fare classes listed on the carriers below.

Partner airline
Partner airlineUpgradeable fare classes
Air Canada

Upgradeable fare classes

O class
Air China

Upgradeable fare classes

J and G class
Air New Zealand

Upgradeable fare classes

E, U and O class
ANA

Upgradeable fare classes

J, Z, E, G, M and U class
Austrian

Upgradeable fare classes

G, E, M and U class
Copa Airlines

Upgradeable fare classes

M, H, Q, K, V, U, S, O, W, E, L, T and A class
Brussels Airlines

Upgradeable fare classes

G and E class
Ethiopian Airlines

Upgradeable fare classes

G and S class
EVA Airways

Upgradeable fare classes

K class
Lufthansa

Upgradeable fare classes

J, E, G, M and U class
SAS

Upgradeable fare classes

S class
Shenzhen Airlines

Upgradeable fare classes

M and H class
Singapore Airlines

Upgradeable fare classes

S, Z, J and U class
South African Airways

Upgradeable fare classes

M class (domestic only)
Swiss International Airlines

Upgradeable fare classes

J, M and U class

Participating airlines

Star Alliance Upgrade Awards are valid on the following airlines:

Keep in mind

If you join the waitlist for an ANA upgrade, we’ll automatically deduct the miles you need from your account. If you don’t get the upgrade, we’ll give the miles back after your trip.

If you want to make a change in your ANA reservation with a waitlisted upgrade that’s not directly through United, you’ll need to cancel the upgrade with United before making a new request.

Keep in mind

If you join the waitlist for an ANA upgrade, we’ll automatically deduct the miles you need from your account. If you don’t get the upgrade, we’ll give the miles back after your trip.

If you want to make a change in your ANA reservation with a waitlisted upgrade that’s not directly through United, you’ll need to cancel the upgrade with United before making a new request.

Traveler pro tips

We have a few tips to help you use your upgrade award:

  • Award flights need to be booked at least 24 hours prior to departure.
  • You can book an award flight up to 331 days before departure on most carriers.
  • You may redeem miles for up to four people who are traveling on the same itinerary.
  • You do not need to be traveling with the passengers or share the same last name to request upgrade awards.
  • Contact the airline you are traveling with to check if lap infants are permitted to travel in premium cabin.

Traveler pro tips

We have a few tips to help you use your upgrade award:

  • Award flights need to be booked at least 24 hours prior to departure.
  • You can book an award flight up to 331 days before departure on most carriers.
  • You may redeem miles for up to four people who are traveling on the same itinerary.
  • You do not need to be traveling with the passengers or share the same last name to request upgrade awards.
  • Contact the airline you are traveling with to check if lap infants are permitted to travel in premium cabin.

Star Alliance Upgrade Awards FAQ

MileagePlus® members can choose to join the waitlist for a Star Alliance Upgrade Award on eligible ANA flights. If an upgrade seat becomes available up to 24 hours before the flight, waitlisted travelers will be confirmed automatically and notified of their new cabin of service.

  • Requests for upgrades can be made after you have purchased your ticket. Upgrades may be requested until 24 hours prior to departure. Your MileagePlus account number and password are required to complete the request.
  • Upgrades are valid only on participating Star Alliance carriers. Codeshare flights not eligible.
  • Upgrade awards may not be requested when you travel on industry discount, agency discount, deeply discounted promotional tickets, award tickets using miles, or tickets purchased on websites where you don’t know the exact flight itinerary or airline until after you’ve paid for the ticket.
  • Some carriers may impose blackout periods where upgrades are not permitted.
  • Upgrade awards may only be requested for up to four passengers per reservation.
  • Miles are deducted from your MileagePlus account automatically at time of reservation.
  • Required mileage is per person.
  • Each individual segment requires a separate Star Alliance Upgrade Award. For example, if you are flying on an eligible fare from Madrid to Frankfurt to London, two awards are required.
  • Double upgrades from Economy to First are not permitted on three-cabin aircraft.
  • Standby is not permitted.
  • Waitlisting is not permitted, except on eligible ANA flights.
  • An upgrade may be confirmed as early as time of ticketing if a seat is available.
  • Mileage accrual is based on the original ticketed booking class, not the upgraded class of service.
  • Requests for seat assignments, special meals and amenities should be made directly with the operating carrier.
  • The number of miles required to upgrade is based on when the request is submitted and is subject to change.
  • If you wish to make changes or cancel your Star Alliance Upgrade Award request, please contact the operating carrier.
  • If a segment of your Star Alliance itinerary is canceled, the upgrade request will also be automatically canceled. Miles will be automatically redeposited 24 to 48 hours after the cancellation.
  • Star Alliance Upgrade Awards are not available through general selling agents.
  • Learn more about awards fees.