Use your miles to upgrade and fly in a premium cabin.
MileagePlus Upgrade Awards let 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 region of travel, fare class and the Premier® status of the redeeming account at the time when the upgrade is requested. Check pages 4-5 of our Travel Award Destinations chart (PDF) for pricing details.
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 on this page.
The upgrade waitlist clears as upgrade space becomes available. Requests are processed automatically based on the Premier status of the traveler, then fare class, then time of request. If the request includes multiple travelers, then priority is based on the highest Premier status on the reservation. 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.
Upgrade confirmation on the day of 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 until three hours before flight departure, at which point our gate agents will handle all remaining upgrade requests.