[Update: Now Confirmed!] Did United Leak An Upcoming Improvement To Their Upgrade System For Top-Tier Elites?

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Update, 9/25: This new program has now been confirmed as written below. It will begin on 12/4/19.

Additionally, you can use 30 PlusPoints to go from Premium Plus class to business and 20 points to go from economy to Premium Plus class on long-haul flights and you can waitlist for both Premium Plus and business class upgrades. On some flights you will also be able to use extra points to confirm an upgrade immediately.

United currently awards their Platinum members 2 regional premier upgrade certificates and their 1K members with 6 global premier upgrade certificates and 2 regional premier upgrade certificates. Additional certificates can be earned through more flying.

FT member Meckl shared a screenshot that implies that United will switch from a certificate based upgrade system to a points based upgrade system called PlusPoints:

The new system would start in December, shortly after United removes their award charts.

Under the new system, Platinum members would get 40 points and 1K members will get 280 points.

You can redeem 20 points for a regional upgrade (like Newark to Los Angeles to Honolulu), you can redeem 40 points for a global upgrade from economy (W fare or higher as it is now) to business class, or 80 points for a global upgrade from discount economy (S, T, L, K, G fares, but not basic economy fares) to business class.

Under the current system, you can’t upgrade from discount economy to business class on a global upgrade, so the new system would allow you to use double points for that upgrade to be used rather than having to buy a more expensive ticket in order to use an upgrade certificate.

The new system would also allow members to optimize their upgrades according to their preference of regional versus global use instead of the fixed system that currently exists.

One drawback noted is if the domestic portion of a global upgrade is cleared, but the international portion doesn’t clear, you would be charged 20 points, which is the cost of a domestic upgrade. Currently you would get back the full global upgrade certificate if only the domestic portion of a global upgrade clears. However you can request to only upgrade the international segment to avoid paying for the domestic upgrade.

But all in all, this seems like a positive move from United and resolves several pain points that their top-tier elites have long complained about.

United may have leaked this to get feedback before its implemented. It remains to be seen if there will be any catches when it’s officially announced, so stay tuned.

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22 Comments On "[Update: Now Confirmed!] Did United Leak An Upcoming Improvement To Their Upgrade System For Top-Tier Elites?"

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Anyway to get any status with United without flying?
Credit card spend?


Marriott status will get you silver


Not anymore


would you be able to sell these upgrade points like people who sell their gpru upgrade certs on ebay? is it more sensible in most cases to buy up to the right fare bucket before paying 20 points or pay 40 points outright from basic econ to business. assuming a scenario that someone has plenty of points and just wants to get the most value out of them?


I’m assuming the points would be able to be used for anyone as it is now with the certificates?


what do you mean that the upgrade has to clear to get the upgrade? if it does not clear for international then you do not clear at all, so how do you get a refund on the current cert based system if you only cleared business for domestic?


Essentially, this new point system allows platinum members to convert two RPUs into one GPU. That’s a real sweet spot.


GPU and RPU goes per seg therefore even if domestic seg doesn’t clear you still will be charged the GPU for the international so why is it a drawback ?


That means more people will apply for the upgrade since they are able to upgrade from the lower fares
Less chance to upgrade seats available more people will compete for those seats


are higher bucket classes fluctuate like basic econ tickets or are they like elal premium always a flat 400 dollars more a way.like im trying to chap if it is worth it to redeem 80 points outright from basic econ to business or to just buy up to the apropriate fare with money?


It’s official now. I just got an email from united about the points plus program and changes coming to premier accounts.


1) I have 2 RPU upgrades did it going to change automatically to plus points
2) by now have GPU so I could be upgraded from any fare to business on international flights and after these changes, I need more than one by value against their 40 plus points as you wrote only from w and higher I’m correct?


I have the united explorermileage plus card. Is there a spend on this card to get higher status? What status does it come with?