How to request an elite upgrade using United PlusPoints

If you want to upgrade your next United Airlines flight, the best way to do it (aside from paying cash) is with PlusPoints. United debuted PlusPoints in 2019 as a replacement for Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades. As opposed to the previous certificate-based system, PlusPoints are flexible in that you can redeem different amounts for different upgrades, whether you’re looking to sit in Polaris business class, Premium Plus, or domestic first class.

Earning United PlusPoints
Premier Platinum, Premier 1K, and Global Services members earn PlusPoints at different rates. Premier Platinum members earn 40 PlusPoints upon reaching their status, Premier 1K and Global Services members earn 280 PlusPoints upon reaching their status, and 20 PlusPoints are earned for every 3,000 Premier qualifying points earned beyond 18,000 (1K and Global Services only). United MileagePlus members who meet the requirements for Premier Platinum status and subsequently qualify for Premier 1K will earn a total of 320 PlusPoints.

Searching for Upgrade Availability
To look for PlusPoints-eligible upgrade availability, you can log into your United MileagePlus account and click the “Upgrades, certificates, and promotion codes” option. Select “PlusPoints upgrades” from the “Upgrade type” drop-down menu. This will allow you to see flight and upgrade pricing, including whether you’ll receive an instant upgrade or be placed on the waitlist. You can also filter flights based on departure time, stops, connecting airports, and whether or not an upgrade is confirmable at booking.

Redeeming PlusPoints for Domestic Flights
For domestic and regional upgrades, United requires 20 PlusPoints. However, customers purchasing Premium Plus on a domestic premium flight only need to redeem 10 PlusPoints to move up to business class. Unfortunately, domestic confirmed upgrade space can be difficult to come by, especially on transcontinental flights. When upgrades are waitlisted, the points won’t be deducted from your account until the request clears.

Redeeming PlusPoints for International Flights
Redeeming PlusPoints for international upgrades can be a bit more complex. The number of PlusPoints required depends on the fare class and destination. For example, upgrading from economy to Premium Plus requires 20 PlusPoints, while upgrading from Premium Plus to Polaris requires 30 PlusPoints. The number of PlusPoints required for upgrading from economy to Polaris varies based on the fare class.

Canceling a Request
If you need to cancel an upgrade request, you can do so by clicking “Cancel upgrade” on the “My trips” page of your United account.

Skipping the Upgrade Waitlist
United offers a “Skip Waitlist” option that allows you to skip the upgrade waitlist in exchange for more PlusPoints. However, this option is only available on select international flights more than 30 days from departure. Skip Waitlist pricing starts at 70 PlusPoints for Premium Plus and 110 PlusPoints for Polaris.

Upgrading a Partner Flight
To upgrade a non-United flight, you’ll need to visit a dedicated website and read the terms and conditions before processing the upgrade. PlusPoints can only be redeemed on Lufthansa, ANA, and Copa flights, and only certain fares qualify.

In conclusion, United PlusPoints offer a flexible and versatile way to upgrade your United Airlines flight. With different earning rates and the ability to redeem different amounts for different upgrades, PlusPoints provide a valuable way to enhance your travel experience. Whether you’re looking to upgrade domestically or internationally, PlusPoints offer a range of options to suit your needs.

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