Upgrades overview

Members have many ways to upgrade.

MileagePlus program members can experience added comfort and convenience with the following upgrade types.

Upgrade types

Complimentary Premier Upgrades

MileagePlus Premier® members have access to upgrades on a space-available basis on select United-operated flights. Premier members are also eligible for instant upgrades as early as time of ticketing on select Economy tickets.

Learn more about Complimentary Premier Upgrades

MileagePlus upgrade regions and eligible fares

See below for information regarding upgrade availability and eligible fares on flights across our worldwide network. MileagePlus Upgrade Awards can be used on any United-, United Express- or Copa-operated flight, with no fare restrictions except for tickets containing a Basic Economy fare and Economy (first bag charge/no changes allowed) fares.

MileagePlus upgrade regions and eligible fares
MileagePlus upgrade regions for United-operated flights Complimentary Premier Upgrades Regional Premier Upgrades Global Premier Upgrades MileagePlus Upgrade Awards
Continental U.S. (except for premium transcontinental routes)*** Available Available Available Available**
Premium transcontinental routes Flights between Newark (EWR) and Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO), and Boston (BOS) and San Francisco (SFO)*** Not available Available Available Available
West Coast Hawaii
Flights between Hawaii and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO)
Available Available Available Available**
Long Haul Hawaii
Flights between Hawaii and Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), or Washington (IAD)
Not available Available Available Available
Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America Available Available Available Available**
South America Not available Not available Available* Available
Europe, Middle East, Africa Not available Not available Available* Available
Australia, New Zealand Not available Not available Available* Available
Asia, Japan Not available Not available Available* Available
Oceania (except Tahiti) Available Available Available Available**
Honolulu (HNL) to Guam (GUM) Not available Not available Available* Available
Tahiti Not available Not available Available* Available

MileagePlus upgrade regions and eligible fares

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available**

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available**

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available**

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available*
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available*
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available*
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available*
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available**

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available*
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Regional Premier Upgrades

    Not available
  • Global Premier Upgrades

    Available*
  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

    Available

Notes:

  • For regions with a Available*, Global Premier Upgrades are not available on flights booked in fare classes S, T, K, L, G or N. Basic Economy fares and Economy (first bag charge/no changes allowed) fares are not eligible for any type of upgrade.
    • United® Premium Plus: For members traveling on upgrade-eligible fares, there will be no fare class restriction for members who purchase a United Economy seat and request a move to a United® Premium Plus seat, and no fare class restriction for members who purchase a United® Premium Plus seat and request an upgrade to the United Polaris® business class cabin.
  • For regions with a Available**, the co-pay is waived for Premier members.
  • All multi-cabin flights operated by Copa Airlines are eligible for Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades.
  • Instant upgrades for all Premier members on Y and B full-fare Economy tickets and for Premier 1K® members on M fares are available on all flights that are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades.

Regions and route exceptions are subject to change at any time. Upgrades are subject to capacity controls, which may limit the number of seats available.

Upgrade confirmation priority

Instant upgrades at time of ticketing

Premier members traveling on full-fare economy Y and discount full-fare economy B fares are eligible for an instant upgrade at time of ticketing on select flights. Premier 1K members traveling on M fares are also eligible. Instant upgrades are subject to capacity controls.

Waitlist priority on all flights

If upgrade space is not available when requesting a MileagePlus Upgrade Award, Regional Premier Upgrade or Global Premier Upgrade, travelers may be placed on a waitlist. Travelers placed on a waitlist are prioritized according to the Premier status of the traveler. If the request includes multiple travelers, then priority is based on the highest Premier status on the reservation.

Effective December 12, 2018, upgrade waitlists are processed in the following priority order:

  1. Premier status of the traveler
  2. Fare class1
  3. Chase United MileagePlus Club cardholders and Presidential Plus cardholders
  4. United Corporate Preferred participant
  5. Chase United MileagePlus cardholders with $25,000 annual spend2
  6. Time of request

Upgrade confirmation priority on flights with United® Premium Plus

On aircraft with United® Premium Plus, we’ll first process United Polaris business class or United Business waitlists for all members who have purchased United® Premium Plus seats, using the priority order listed above. We’ll then process waitlists for members with United Economy seats, using the same priority order.

New waitlist requests for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, Regional Premier Upgrades, and Global Premier Upgrades can be made until 24 hours prior to departure.

Priority within four days on flights eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades

On certain flights, automatic processing of upgrades, including Complimentary Premier Upgrades, may begin as early as 96 hours (four days) in advance. The confirmation windows for Complimentary Premier Upgrades, by published Premier status, are:

Confirmation windows for Complimentary Premier Upgrades
Premier status Confirmation (as early as)
Premier 1K® 96 hours / 4 days
Premier Platinum 72 hours / 3 days
Premier Gold 48 hours / 2 days
Premier Silver Day of departure

Confirmation windows for Complimentary Premier Upgrades

Confirmation (as early as)

96 hours / 4 days

Confirmation (as early as)

72 hours / 3 days

Confirmation (as early as)

48 hours / 2 days

Confirmation (as early as)

Day of departure
The following is the order of priority for upgrades, within four days of departure, on flights that are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades:
  • Premier 1K members on eligible Y-, B- and M-class fares: Premier 1K instant upgrades that weren't confirmed in advance are prioritized by fare class
  • All travelers on waitlisted Global Premier Upgrades, Regional Premier Upgrades and MileagePlus Upgrade Awards: Sorted in waitlist priority order
  • All remaining Premier members: Sorted in waitlist priority order

Priority within 24 hours

New waitlist requests for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades can be made until 24 hours prior to departure. If we haven't confirmed your upgrade by the time you check in for your flight, you will be added to the Upgrades list at check-in, so there's nothing that you need to do after submitting your original request. Our upgrade systems process requests, per the priority listed above, until three hours before flight departure, at which point our gate agents will handle all remaining upgrade requests. Learn more about the upgrade standby list.

Sponsoring upgrades and companion policy

A MileagePlus member may request an upgrade for another traveler using a MileagePlus Upgrade Award, a Global Premier Upgrade or a Regional Premier Upgrade, even if they are not traveling on the same reservation.

Waitlist confirmation priority is based on the Premier status of the traveler. If the request includes multiple travelers, then priority is based on the highest Premier status on the reservation.

In addition, one companion traveling on the same reservation as a Premier member is eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades on select flights, and may be confirmed with the same priority as the Premier member, even on the day of departure. This benefit does not apply to companions traveling on award tickets.

Upgrading award tickets

Premier members who are primary cardholders for certain Chase-issued MileagePlus credit cards are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades when traveling on award tickets on United-operated flights. The following credit cards qualify for this benefit:

  • United MileagePlus Explorer Card
  • United MileagePlus Explorer Business Card
  • United MileagePlus Club Card
  • United MileagePlus Club Business Card
  • United MileagePlus Presidential Plus℠ Card
  • United MileagePlus Presidential Plus Business Card

Complimentary Premier Upgrades on award tickets will be prioritized as indicated in the "Upgrade Confirmation Priority" section above, and prioritized after the lowest paid fare class within each Premier level. This benefit does not apply to companions traveling on award tickets.

Footnotes

  • Fare class structure in priority order is O, A, R (for upgrades from United® Premium Plus seats to the United Polaris business class cabin) and Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G (for upgrades from United Economy® to the next higher class of service on all aircraft). Complimentary Premier Upgrades on award tickets will be prioritized after the lowest paid fare class.
  • Primary Chase United MileagePlus Cardholders with $25,000 annual spend who have met the Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) waiver will receive upgrade priority through the end of the program year they received the waiver for. For example, if you spend $25,000 on your MileagePlus card in 2018 and book a flight departing in 2019, you will have higher upgrade priority based on your card spend.

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MileagePlus rules: The accrual of miles and Premier® qualifying credits, redemption of awards and provision of benefits through the United MileagePlus program, including the Premier Program, are subject to change and are subject to the rules of the MileagePlus program.

See the complete rules and details of the MileagePlus program