united airlines seat upgrade

United Airlines offers a variety of ways to upgrade your seat or to a premium cabin. We’ll take you through the ins and outs of United Airlines seat upgrade revealing the various options available, the costs involved, and the exciting benefits you can reap.

united airlines seat upgrade

What are the options for a United seat upgrade?

Here are the diverse upgrade possibilities that United Airlines extends to its valued passengers:

  • MileagePlus upgrade awards – Utilize miles to upgrade on United or Copa Airlines-operated flights
  • United Complimentary Premier upgrades – Premier elite members enjoy United Airlines free seat upgrade on select United-operated domestic flights.
  • PlusPoints upgrades – Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members can purchase upgrades using earned PlusPoints.
  • Star Alliance upgrade awards – You can United upgrade with miles to on designated flights within the Star Alliance network.
  • Instant upgrade – Instant upgrades are granted at ticketing for certain fare types, enhancing the journey for Premier members and Premier 1K members.

How does the United Airlines upgrade chart work?

United Airlines has a special chart that helps people choose comfier seats when they’re flying. 

It’s like a big colorful United seat map that shows the different seats on the plane. The seats that are higher up on the chart usually have more space and are more comfortable.

This is where you identify whether your request for United Airlines seat upgrade would be successful or not. 

How United Airlines seat upgrade priority is determined?

The top rank determine the priority approval of the United Airlines upgrade from Economy to Business or higher class, here is the list of United Airlines upgrade priority in the following order –

  1. Global Services members receive first consideration 
  2. Passengers who booked flights with PlusPoints or MileagePlus miles
  • United Premier 1K
  • United Premier Platinum
  • United Premier Gold
  • United Premier Silver
  1. Chase United MileagePlus Club and Presidential Plus cardholders
  2. Corporate Preferred participants
  3. United Chase cardholders with $25,000 in annual spending
  4. Fare Class – In this case, the priority would be given to the passengers who booked a flight in Premium Economy or Economy Plus. 

Note – If your upgrade is not confirmed by the time you complete the United Airlines check-in, you’ll automatically be added to the upgrade list.

United Premium Plus Upgrade priorities

For flights that are part of the United Premium Plus program, when passengers want to upgrade, United Airlines seat upgrades are available based on these preferences –

  • Waitlists for United Polaris business class or United Business are processed first.
  • Second preference would be given to United Economy passengers.

Keep these key time frames in mind for making new waitlist requests – 

Upgrade TypeWhen to RequestTiming
MileagePlus Upgrade AwardsUp to 24 hours before departureBefore the day of the flight
PlusPoints UpgradesBefore flight check-in cutoffAnytime before check-in time

Can you get United upgrade with miles?

The airline allows you to upgrade your flight using United Mileageplus Frequent Flyer miles. You can request a United Airlines seat upgrade at the time of booking or for an existing reservation. 

Here’s how you can upgrade your flight during the booking process using miles and cash – 

  • Begin by visiting the United official website and select the Advanced Search option. This helps you locate fares eligible for United upgrades with miles and cash.
United airlines miles uograde
  • After inputting your departure, destination, and travel dates, navigate to the Upgrades, certificates, and promotion codes section. From the drop-down box, choose MileagePlus Upgrade Awards.
united miles upgrade
  • Browse through the upgrade options based on availability. You might find choices to upgrade solely with miles or opt for cash if you’re not a Premier elite member. Upgrade possibilities range from economy to business and business to first class.
united airlines upgrade using miles

Suppose an economy seat costs 1,217 USD. For a business class upgrade, you’d need 25,000 miles along with a 125 USD as United seat upgrade fee each way per passenger.

How to Upgrade an Existing Reservation with Miles?

If you’ve already booked your ticket and wish to upgrade your seat to the higher class of service, follow these steps – 

  • Online  – Log in to your MileagePlus account and access your existing reservation. Click on Redeem to explore your options. Here, you can choose to purchase an upgrade to a premium cabin, utilize PlusPoints (if available), or use miles and cash for the upgrade.
  • Contact United –  You can reach out to United Airlines by phone to request an upgrade for your existing reservation.
  • Airport Upgrade – At the airport, inquire about the possibility of upgrading your ticket to a premium cabin.

How to use PlusPoints for an upgrade on United Airlines?

Passengers can request United Airlines PlusPoint upgrade when they reach Premier Platinum and Premier 1K status. PlusPoints can only be used to upgrade the premium cabins.

The terms and conditions include –

  • PlusPoints are earned based on flights taken within the calendar year (January 1 to December 31).
  • A minimum of 4 flights with United or United Express during a calendar year is required to be eligible for PlusPoint accumulation.
  • PlusPoints are deposited upon earning and remain valid for travel through the end of the following program year.
  • PlusPoints can be redeemed through united.com, the United mobile app, or by contacting the United Customer Contact Center.
  • They are applicable for United- and United Express-operated flights.
  • Each PlusPoint allows a one-way upgrade to a premium seat.
  • Stopovers of specific durations require additional PlusPoints.

How do you earn PlusPoints?

Here’s how these points are earned can help travelers make the most of their premier status – 

  • Upon achieving Premier Platinum status, you’ll receive an immediate boost of 40 PlusPoints.
  • Reaching Premier 1K status brings an even greater reward of 280 additional PlusPoints.
  • For every 3,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP) earned beyond 18,000, you’ll receive an extra 20 PlusPoints.

How to request PlusPoint upgrade United?

Follow these steps – 

  • Begin by entering your trip details, and when prompted, select “PlusPoints” as the preferred upgrade type.
  • Customize your search by deciding whether you want to see flights with or without available upgrades.
  • At the checkout page you will be presented with both ticket prices and PlusPoints upgrade pricing

For an existing reservation, you can request a PlusPoints upgrade through the “My Trips” section on the United Airlines website or app. Navigate to the specific flight that you like to change, and select the “Upgrade” option.

How many PlusPoints are required for an upgrade?

PlusPoints needed for an upgrade vary based on destination, ticket type, and desired seat.  Below is the overview – 

PlusPointsUpgrade FromUpgrade ToAvailable on
10United Premium PlusUnited BusinessShort-haul flights
20United EconomyUnited First/BusinessShort-haul flights
20United EconomyUnited Premium PlusShort-haul flights
20United EconomyUnited Premium PlusLong-haul flights
30United Premium PlusUnited Polaris business classLong-haul flights
40United EconomyUnited Polaris business classLong-haul flights
80Discounted economyUnited Polaris business classAll flights

How to upgrade from Basic Economy to Economy?

For the United Airlines upgrade from basic economy to economy, here are the key points to remember – 

  • United Airlines generally don’t permit upgrades from Basic Economy once the flight is ticketed.
  • When using United’s website to search for your preferred flights, keep an eye out for the “Basic Economy” drop-down box. This feature can provide you with valuable information about the United Airlines Upgrade cost of regular Economy for a round-trip.
  • United Airlines presents in-flight upgrade opportunities through pop-ups or prompts. These notifications can be a convenient way to discover the cost of upgrading and the benefits associated with it.
  • It’s worth noting that upgrading to Economy or Economy Plus can sometimes be more economical than paying for a single checked bag separately. Assessing the United Airlines checked baggage fee comparison can help you make an informed decision.

What’s involved in upgrading from Economy to Business on United Airlines?

Here are the key steps to consider when requesting United Airlines upgrade from Economy to Business – 

  • United Upgrade Eligibility – Check if your ticket is eligible for an upgrade. Not all tickets can be upgraded to Business Class.
  • Upgrade options – Business Class upgrades are subject to availability, and it varies with factors like fare type, frequent flyer status, and seat availability to determine United upgrade eligibility.
  • United Airlines upgrade with miles – United Airlines offers various methods to secure an upgrade, including using MileagePlus miles, PlusPoints (if you’re a Premier member), or purchasing a confirmed upgrade. Premier members only are eligible for United upgrade with miles.
  • United Airlines upgrade with cash – Log in to your MileagePlus account or the United Airlines website to check upgrade availability.

Once the upgrade is confirmed and payment is processed, your itinerary and boarding pass will reflect the Business Class upgrade.

How to request United Airlines upgrade to Economy Plus?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to request an upgrade from Economy to Economy Plus – 

  • Begin by booking your flight on the United Airlines website or app. Make sure you select an Economy ticket.
  • If you have a MileagePlus account with United Airlines, log in to your account. This will allow you to manage your reservation and explore upgrade options.
  • Use your confirmation number and last name to retrieve your reservation in the United Airlines Manage Booking section
  • Look for options to upgrade to Economy Plus. United Airlines will display the available seats and United Airlines upgrade cost
  • Select the upgrade option that suits you best. 
  • Proceed to the payment section and complete the payment for the United Airlines upgrade to Economy Plus. 

Benefits of Economy Plus upgrade – 

  • Increased legroom compared to standard Economy seats. 
  • Better seat recline, and adjustable headrests.
  • Economy Plus passengers enjoy priority boarding
  • Access to dedicated overhead bin space
  • Additional amenities such as upgraded in-flight entertainment options, and premium dining choices.
  • Easy access to power outlets or USB ports
  • Ideal for taller passengers

Is a first-class upgrade available on United Airlines?

United Airlines does offer first-class upgrades for eligible passengers. Here’s everything you need to know about United Airlines first class upgrade.

United upgrade eligibility criteria –

  • Passengers with MileagePlus Premier elite status
  • Passengers who hold Economy or Business Class tickets

How to request

The process for United Airlines seat upgrade to first-class includes – 

  • MileagePlus Premier members are automatically considered for complimentary upgrades when available.
  • Passengers can inquire about paid first-class upgrades during the booking process, at the airport, or through the United Airlines website or app.

Are there promo codes for seat upgrades on United Airlines?

You can unlock savings with the promo code United Airlines seat upgrade by following these simple steps –

  • Start by navigating to the United homepage and selecting the “Advanced Search” option.
  • Within the search options, locate the “Promotions and Certificates” section.
  • Enter the code to initiate the discount on the United Airlines seat upgrade request.
  • Pick your desired flight that aligns with your travel plans and preferences.
  • If you click on ‘Cost Breakdown’ it reveals not only the cost savings but also confirms the successful application of the promo code.
United Airlines seat upgrade promo code

What is United complimentary premier upgrades?

United Airlines provide free seat upgrade to the Premier status members – 

  • Premier Silver
  • Premier Gold
  • Premier Platinum
  • Premier 1K

However, the United seat upgrade for the Premier members is only available for the following routes

  • Continental U.S
  • West Coast Hawaii Flights between Hawaii and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO)
  • Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America
  • Guam, Micronesia

How to get a free Economy Plus upgrade on United Airlines?

Following passengers are eligible for United Airlines free upgrade to economy plus –

MileagePlus Premier status level: The primary factor influencing complimentary upgrades is your MileagePlus Premier status level. The United Airlines free seat upgrade is processed in a priority order based on the MileagePlus Premier status level. Hence, the priority would be given in the following order – 

  • Premier Silver
  • Premier Gold
  • Premier Platinum
  • Premier 1K

Higher Fare Classes: Passengers who have purchased higher fare classes within Economy might have a better chance of securing Economy Plus upgrade, such as –

Fare typeSilverGoldPlatinum1K
Y- and B-class faresAvailableAvailableAvailableAvailable
M-class faresNot availableNot availableNot availableAvailable

Chase-issued Credit Cards: Passengers are eligible for the United Airlines complimentary upgrades for free if they are a MileagePlus member with Premier Status and hold any of the following Chase-issued MileagePlus credit cards –

  • United Explorer Card
  • United Business Card
  • United Club Card
  • United Club Business Card
  • United℠ Presidential Plus Card
  • United Presidential Plus Business Card
  • United Quest Card

Here are the timeframes if you’ve been upgraded for free based on your Premier status level – 

MileagePlus Premier levelConfirmation (as early as)
1K96 hours / 4 days
Platinum72 hours / 3 days
Gold48 hours / 2 days
SilverDay of departure

What are United Airlines global upgrades?

United Global Services is an exclusive elite status within the United MileagePlus program. It is an invitation-only tier that caters to the airline’s most valued and frequent flyer passengers.

How to qualify for the United Airlines global upgrades program?

While the exact criteria for obtaining Global Services remain undisclosed, it’s generally extended to top-spending passengers

  • Members who have the potential to spend substantial amounts on full-fare tickets
  • Airlines offer global upgrades to passengers who spend upwards of $50,000 annually in United airfare.
  • Corporate travelers with influential roles may be considered for the same.

There are exceptional benefits to this program. It includes – 

  • Global Services members enjoy premier upgrade priority. This priority is particularly beneficial for securing upgrades on economy class seats during long-haul flights.

Is a honeymoon upgrade available on United Airlines?

The Airlines doesn’t explicitly offer a “United Airlines honeymoon upgrade program” as a separate or predefined category of upgrade. But passengers are still eligible for United Airlines seat upgrade based on the following requirements – 

  • Do not book Economy Basic fare. Always book the flight at a higher fare.
  • If you have MileagePlus miles, you can use them to upgrade your seats. 
  • Passengers holding any of the Chase MileagePlus credit cards
  • Passengers who opt for a flexible fare that offers free United Airlines cancellation.

Are there military upgrades offered by United Airlines?

United Airlines seat upgrade program explicitly does not offer upgrades for the US Military. However

  • The airline recognizes the sacrifices and dedication of military personnel and extends a gesture of gratitude by offering the possibility of a free upgrade.

Here’s how you can secure United Airlines Military upgrade – 

  • Military personnel can choose to wear their military uniform which serves as a visual recognition of their commitment.
  • Alternatively, servicemen and women can check in using their valid military identification.

Can you get a refund for a United Airlines seat upgrade?

Here’s everything you need to know about obtaining United Airlines upgrade refund – 

  • If your MileagePlus Upgrade Award request remains unfulfilled for all travel segments, United Airlines will automatically redeposit your miles and cash.
  • An exception applies when your travel includes requested upgrades to United Polaris business class, but none of the international premium segments are upgraded. In this case, your MileagePlus Upgrade Award won’t be considered used, and United will fully redeposit your miles and cash.
  • Refunds will be processed within 7 to 10 days after passengers make the refund request.
  • If you’re moved to a United Premium Plus seat despite requesting an upgrade to the United Polaris business class cabin, United Airlines will refund the price difference.
  • If the seat change results in a downgrade, the airline will automatically refund you.
  • In instances where an automatic refund isn’t processed, you can easily request a refund using the refund request form.
  • United Airlines business class upgrade cost are generally nonrefundable.
  • If your flight faces last-minute aircraft changes or disruptions, you can apply for a refund of your upgrade fees.

What is the United Airlines Upgrade Cost?

For travel starting on or after January 1, 2023, the following United Airlines Business Class upgrade cost would be applicable Mileage Plus members – 

Service FeesGeneral MemberPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1K
Fee to book award travel by phone$25$25$25No feeNo fee
Fee to change award travel No feeNo feeNo feeNo feeNo fee
Fee to change award travel – Redeposit miles after no show$125$125$125$125$125

What is the United Airlines business class upgrade cost?

You can purchase an upgrade up to 9999 USD per passenger during booking or at the United Airlines check-in.

United Airlines seat upgrades ensure that your travel experience remains extraordinary from takeoff to landing. The airlines unveiled the benefits that MileagePlus members enjoy, ranging from added legroom to priority boarding, lounge access, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

How to upgrade on United Airlines?

To upgrade on United Airlines, you can use PlusPoints if you’re a Premier member. During booking, select “PlusPoints” as your upgrade type.

Can I upgrade my seat on United Airlines using PlusPoints?

Yes, you can upgrade your seat on United Airlines using PlusPoints if you’re a Premier member. 

Can I use United Miles to upgrade on Singapore Airlines?

No, United miles cannot be used to upgrade on Singapore Airlines.

Can I use United Miles to upgrade on Turkish Airlines?

United Airlines doesn’t have a partnership that allows using United miles to upgrade on Turkish Airlines. 

Can you bid for an upgrade on United Airlines?

The airline does not support United Airlines bid for upgrades anymore. 

How much does it cost to upgrade on United Airlines?

The cost of upgrading on United Airlines varies based on factors like the route, cabin class, and availability. 

How to get a free upgrade on United Airlines?

Free upgrades on United Airlines are generally offered to Premier members based on their elite status. 

How to upgrade to business class on United Airlines?

To upgrade to business class on United Airlines, you can use PlusPoints if you’re a Premier member. 

How to upgrade to first class on United Airlines?

Upgrading to first class on United Airlines can be done using PlusPoints if you’re a Premier member.


Nancy James DP

Nancy James

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I am an aviation and travel enthusiast. Join me as I take you on a journey through the skies and share insights and interesting details about air travel. Here's you'll find me sharing the most captivating flight experiences and travel stories.

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