United to Launch New Upgrade Program for Loyalty Members

United Airlines Editorial

United Airlines is set to launch a new benefit for its Premier Platinum and 1K loyalty members. Called PlusPoints, the new program will allow members in those tiers to have a bank of points that they can use to upgrade on all flights across United’s global network. 

Previously, these members would have used Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU) or Global Premier Upgrades (GPU), United said. With PlusPoints, members will be able to access all upgrades through united.com or the airline’s mobile app. 

In a written statement United Vice President of Loyalty and President of MileagePlus Luc Bondar said that the new PlusPoints program increases the number of upgrade opportunities for top tier members, expands the fare classes where they can be used and lets members request upgrades on multiple flights at once. 

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On December 4, United will replace Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades with PlusPoints. Each RPU will be worth 20 PlusPoints and each GPU will be worth 40 PlusPoints. Members using one RPU today to upgrade from Economy to United First on domestic U.S. and North American flights will use 20 PlusPoints from their banks. A member using one GPU today to upgrade from Economy to United Polaris business class on international long-haul flights will use 40 PlusPoints.

Starting in December, members can use their points to join upgrade waitlists on multiple trips, and points won't be deducted from their accounts until upgrades are confirmed. Spreading upgrade requests across multiple trips makes it more likely that one or more of their trips will be upgraded, the airline said. Members will still be able to confirm upgrades at booking if space is available.

PlusPoints also makes upgrading to and from premium economy more flexible, United said. Upgrading from Economy to United Premium Plus and from United Premium Plus to United Polaris business class will be possible for less than the value of one GPU.

While RPUs were restricted to upgrades in select regions, PlusPoints can be used for any United flight. Additionally, Premier Platinum members will now receive enough PlusPoints to upgrade from Economy to United Polaris business class, while Premier 1K members will be able to upgrade from discounted Economy fares to Polaris. From time to time, United may also allow 1K members the opportunity to use additional PlusPoints to skip the waitlist and receive a confirmed upgrade at booking when traveling on select international long-haul flights, even when upgrade fare classes are closed.

United noted that the PlusPoints program does not replace or change United's Complimentary Premier Upgrades benefit. In recognition of their loyalty, all Premier members will continue to be placed on upgrade waitlists for flights operated by United and United Express when available. 

For more information on PlusPoints visit http://mileageplusupdates.com/.

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