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Upgrades overview

Upgrades overview

Members have many ways to upgrade to our premium cabins.

MileagePlus program members can experience added comfort in our premium cabins with the following upgrade types.

Upgrade types

  • MileagePlus Upgrade Awards
    Members can use award miles to upgrade to a premium cabin on any United-, United Express®- or Copa Airlines-operated flight, with minimal fare restrictions.
  • 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.
  • Regional Premier Upgrades
    These one-way, one-cabin upgrades are confirmable as early as time of ticketing on select United- and Copa-operated flights within certain regions.
  • Global Premier Upgrades
    These one-way, one-cabin upgrades are confirmable as early as time of ticketing on all United- and Copa-operated flights worldwide.
  • Star Alliance Upgrade Awards
    Members can use their miles to upgrade on select flights with Star Alliance® network partners.
  • Travelers also have access to the premium cabin experience through United Travel Options.

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.

MileagePlus upgrade regions for United-operated flights Complimentary
Premier Upgrades
Regional
Premier Upgrades
Global
Premier Upgrades
MileagePlus Upgrade Awards
Continental U.S.(except for p.s.® routes) Yes Yes Yes  Yes**
p.s.® routes (select transcontinental routes)
  Yes Yes  Yes
Hawaii(except for routes noted below) Yes Yes Yes  Yes**
Honolulu (HNL) to Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR) or Washington (IAD)
  Yes Yes  Yes 
Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America Yes Yes Yes  Yes**
South America     Yes* Yes
Europe, Middle East, Africa Yes* Yes
Australia, New Zealand Yes* Yes
Asia, Japan Yes* Yes
Oceania Yes Yes Yes  Yes**
Honolulu (HNL) to Guam (GUM)
Yes* Yes

Notes:

  • For regions with a Yes*, Global Premier Upgrades are not available on flights booked in fare classes Z, P, S, T, K, L, G or N.
    • For regions with a Yes**, 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 without fare restrictions.
  • 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. Waitlists are processed based on Premier status of the traveler, then fare class, then time of request.1 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 five days on flights eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades
On certain flights, automatic processing of upgrades, including Complimentary Premier Upgrades, may begin as early as 120 hours (five days) in advance. The confirmation windows for Complimentary Premier Upgrades, by Premier status, are:

Premier status Confirmation (as early as)
United Global Services® 120 hours / 5 days
Premier 1K 96 hours / 4 days
Premier Platinum 72 hours / 3 days
Premier Gold 48 hours / 2 days
Premier Silver Day of departure

The following is the order of priority for upgrades, within five 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: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler, then fare class and then time of request1
  • All remaining Premier members: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler, then fare class and then award travel2

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 PlusSM 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.

 

1Fare class structure 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).

2Complimentary Premier Upgrades on award tickets will be prioritized after the lowest paid fare class.

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