UPDATED: United just changed their upgrade system

September 23, 2019

When I was checking the website about Premier Benefits yesterday, I found references to PlusPoints that we would earn as Premier 1k members.

Digging further into this, it seems United plans to change their Upgrade system. There were information about this on the website that have now been taken down, but it appears that in the future you pay with points for a upgrade, 20 points is the cost for a regional upgrade (US, Canada, Mexico, Carribbean, Guatemala, etc) while 40 points is the costs for a long haul.

Platinum members will receive 40 PlusPoints
1k members will receive 280 PlusPoints (Plus the 40 they received hitting Platinum status)

Here are the known upgrade possibilities today:

Short Haul:

North America, Canada, Central America and some parts of South America are considered “Short Haul”.

20 PlusPoints to upgrade from Economy Class to Domestic First Class

Long Haul: 

20 PlusPoints to uprade from Economy Class to Premium Plus Class
30 PlusPoints to upgrade from Premium Plus Class to Polaris Business Class
40 PlusPoints to upgrade from Economy Class to Polaris Business Class
80 PlusPoints to upgrade from Deep Discount Economy Class to Polaris Business Class

There will also be a called “Skip Waitlist” where you can confirm upgrades even if no award space / upgrade space is available at the time. This is limited to certain routes only, pricing has not yet been announced and needs to be done 30 days prior to travel.

A connecting itinerary will cost as much as the most expensive upgrade.

CLT-IAD-MUC would be CLT-IAD 20 PlusPoints, IAD-MUC 40 PlusPoitns. In this case it if both upgrades clear, you would only be charged 40 Plus Points.

However, in the above example, if only CLT-IAD clears, but not IAD-MUC, you would still be charged 20 PlusPoints. Previously you would have gotten your GPU redeposited into your account if the longhaul segment would not clear.

To avoid this, you are able to request upgrades on specific segments only, however, you cannot change the segments later on. You will also not receive PlusPoints back if your upgrade cleared but you decide to change to another flight.

This is coming early December and all existing GPU and RPU are being transitioned into the new PlusPoints system. PlusPoints will expire as RPU and GPU did previously, but there is no word on possible extensions of the expiration as it was possible before.

As this is a developing story I will update as new information comes in.