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MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

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



The price of an upgrade is based on region of travel, fare class and the Premier® status of the redeeming account at the time when the upgrade is requested. Upgrades from some discounted booking codes will require both miles and a co-pay. Check pages 4-5 of our Travel Award Destinations chart (PDF) or use our interactive award chart for pricing details.

Miles and co-pay collection and refunds policy

Your miles and co-pay are due at the time when you request an upgrade, even if you are waitlisted. We will automatically refund any miles, co-pay and taxes you paid if none of your flights are upgraded. In most instances, the MileagePlus Upgrade Award will be considered used if any segment of your travel is upgraded. However, if your travel includes requested upgrades to United Polaris business class or United Polaris first class, and none of the 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, we will fully redeposit your miles and co-pay. When applicable, these refunds will occur automatically seven to 10 days after travel.

Co-pay pricing and payment

  • Co-pay amounts vary based on the regions of travel, the fare class purchased and the Premier status.
    • 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 fare classes may require lower co-pays.
    • The co-pay is waived for Premier members traveling in certain regions. Please see the “Co-pay exemptions” section below for details.
  • Mileage deduction and applicable co-pays for all MileagePlus Upgrade Awards will be assessed at the time of request.
  • Credit and debit cards are accepted as forms of payment.
  • If we cannot process your payment using the payment method provided, we will contact you for a valid credit or debit card number.

Co-pay exemptions

  • There is no co-pay for full-fare United Economy or United Business tickets for travel in any region.
  • A co-pay will not apply for Premier members traveling on the following routes:
    • Within the U.S. (excluding Hawaii, Guam and premium transcontinental routes*) and Canada
    • From the U.S. and Canada to Hawaii (except between Hawaii and the following airports: Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Houston Intercontinental, New York/Newark or Washington Dulles)
    • From the U.S. (excluding Hawaii and Guam) and Canada to Mexico, Central America or the Caribbean
    • Within Oceania (except between Honolulu and Guam)
  • Non-Premier members traveling on the routes listed above are also exempt from the co-pay when sponsored using miles from a Premier member's MileagePlus account.

*Premium transcontinental routes include flights between New York/Newark and Los Angeles or San Francisco, as well as flights between Boston and San Francisco. As of May 31, 2017: For flights departing on or after July 1, 2017, the co-pay exemption will no longer apply for flights between Boston and San Francisco.

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