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Consolidated UA PlusPoints Question & Answer Thread

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Old Sep 24, 2019, 7:33 am
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Quick Summary

Starting on December 4, 2019 all existing and future upgrade instruments (RPU and GPU) will be changed into PlusPoints. There will be a straight equivalence: each RPU is 20 points and each GPU is 40 points. There will be no actual changes to the earning rates or expiration dates for Premiers, including Million Milers and bonus instruments (now points) for multiples of 25,000 PQM beyond the 1K requirements.

More from United: Upgrade Types: PlusPoints

Earning Rates
Premier Platinum: 40 points
Premier 1K: 320 points (includes the 40 points earned for reaching Platinum)
Premier 1K in 2019, earned for every 25,000 PQM beyond the 100,000-mile minimum (or every 30 PQS in excess of 120): 40 points
Premier 1K in 2020, earned for every 3,000 PQP beyond the 18,000 PQP minimum: 20 points

Upgrade Options
Short-haul flights (all non-Polaris marketed flights), Economy (all fare classes) to Premium Plus, Business, or First: 20 points
Short-haul flights, Premium Plus to Business or First: 10 points
Long-haul flights, Economy (all fare classes) to Premium Plus: 20 points
Long-haul flights, Economy (Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, or W class) to Polaris: 40 points
Long-haul flights, Economy (S, T, L, K, or G class) to Polaris: 80 points
Long-haul flights, Premium Plus (all fare classes) to Polaris: 30 points
Long-haul flights, Economy (Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, or W class) or Premium Plus (all classes) to Polaris ("skip the waitlist"): ?? points (must be Premier 1K or GS and 30+ days in advance, expected to be a dynamic price, details still TBA)
Economy or Premium Economy to Business, or Business to First on LH, NH, or CM: 40 points

Basic Economy (fare class N and -LGT TATL fares in N/S/T/L/K/G classes as of current writing) tickets are never eligible for any upgrade of any kind.


Changes from Current Program

Generally speaking, all current uses of RPUs and GPUs will be the same as before (same inventory requirements, costs, and procedures) except that 20 or 40 points will be used instead of an RPU or GPU. However, there are some additional options and prices:
  • A short-haul (formerly RPU-eligible) upgrade is now 20 points (always) -- there is no concept of using a GPU on a domestic route since there is no concept of a GPU as a distinct instrument. So a 1K could choose to effectively use all 320 points for 16 RPUs.
  • BOG, UIO, HNL-GUM, and HNL-MAJ are now effectively RPU-eligible and require only 20 points.
  • Upgrading from Economy to Premium Economy ("Premium Plus") is now 20 points (from any fare class), which is an RPU-equivalent instead of a GPU-equivalent before.
  • Upgrading from Premium Economy to Business ("Premium Plus" to "Polaris") is now 30 points (from any fare class), which is a new price level and less than the GPU-equivalent before.
  • You may upgrade a previously ineligible deep discount Economy fare (classes S, T, L, K, or G) to Polaris for 80 points (2x GPU equivalent). (Upgrading a W or higher Economy fare is still 40 points, as before.)
  • Premier 1K members will have the opportunity to pay additional points to confirm an upgrade even if the requisite class (PZ/PN) is not available via "SkipWaitlist". This carries a 30-day advance requirement, will be available "from time to time", and further details are TBA.
  • Points are not deducted when you list for the upgrade, only when some part of the upgrade clears. You can request an unlimited number of upgrades in parallel, and remaining (uncleared) requests will be canceled if your points are exhausted.
    • E.g., if you waitlist for PZ (or PN) and for RN, and later RN clears from the waitlist, the full total for PZ will be deducted at that time.
  • Changes to how partial clearance of upgrades works. You have two options:
    • List all segments. If at least one segment clears, you will ultimately be charged for the highest single cost among all cleared segments. Thus, you will "spend an RPU" (20 points) if only a domestic connector to a Polaris-marketed segment clears (previously there was no cost).
    • List only the Polaris-marketed segments (or any subset you wish). You can add more segments back in after the Polaris-marketed segment clears - but this will be considered a new upgrade request (and cost extra points).
  • You can no longer cancel and redeposit a confirmed upgrade, even if your fare class is available (or maybe not - see post, which would imply no change here). If still waitlisted, it can be withdrawn. If withdrawn within 24 hrs of flight you will have to call UA to have ticket cancelled and reissued, as withdrawals can no longer be automatically processed within this window. (You can probably still SDC to another flight and back if your fare class is available and get the points back.)
  • No change to
    • Expiration. Instruments expiring 31-Jan-2020 will become points expiring 31-Jan-2020, and ditto for 31-Jan-2021. (UA Insider separated the 2 GPU extension practice from this announcement)
    • Use of instruments on partners (LH, NH, etc). Points will be deducted at application, like before (unlike UA flights which are changing). (Except CM, which will now be billed as a 40-point upgrade per segment.)
    • Pretty much anything else not covered above.
  • PlusPoints upgrades can be requested all the way until the cut-off time to check in for your flight. Previously, UA only accepted new waitlist requests for Global Premier Upgrades and Regional Premier Upgrades up to 24 hours before departure. Waitlists for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards will continue to be accepted until 24 hours before departure.
UA Insider & other relevant post(s) noted below:

We’ve heard from MileagePlus Premier® members that they’re interested in an upgrade program that’s more customizable and with fewer restrictions. Introducing PlusPoints – flexible points that can be used for upgrades anywhere we fly. Starting in December, the new program gives MileagePlus Platinum® members and above a bank of points that they can use to upgrade on U.S. domestic and international flights where they previously would have used Regional Premier Upgrades (RPUs) and Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs). Complimentary Premier Upgrades won’t change, so you will still get free upgrades on select flights when available.


FAQ with UA Insider (direct quotes in "quotes")

Will Global Services members have the same cost structure (in points) as 1K and Platinum? (link)
Yes.

How will the pricing of "Skip Waitlist" work? (link)
It is expected to be dynamic. "Availability and pricing ... will vary based on a number of factors."

Will 1K members still be able to extend 2 GPUs (or 80 PlusPoints) until April 30 of the following year, subject to re-qualification? (link)
Reports now show that you can extend up to 80 points, but only if you've requalified for 1K/GS and those 80 points were previously 2 GPUs. They know the difference and there are mixed reports of success extending former RPU points (but highly unlikely).

Will it still be possible to optionally list for both Premium Plus and Polaris (on an Economy fare)? (link)
"You will still be able to waitlist for both cabins. However, if you only clear into Premium Plus you’ll ultimately only pay for the highest upgrade you receive which in this example would be Premium Plus (20 PlusPoints). Keep in mind we’ll deduct the full request price, equal to the highest price upgrade requested, whenever any upgrade clears and you’ll receive any difference in PlusPoints due back to you when landing at your destination."

What happens if only part of your itinerary is upgraded? (link)
You will be charged for the upgrade you received: "If you don’t receive the highest-priced PlusPoints upgrade you requested, ... you’ll be due for a credit ... equal to the difference between the PlusPoints request price and the highest-priced PlusPoints upgrade you received."
You will not be able to cancel PlusPoints requests that have received upgrades. (link) Essentially burning 20 points in the event that only the domestic portion of your request clears.

If I don't want to risk a short connection clearing but not the long haul, can I request only the long haul? Can I add the short haul later?
Yes, you can limit the request to a specific segment.
But once a all or a portion or all the request has cleared, you can not change it to add another segment.

Will I get a refund if only the short segment clears but not the long haul / Polaris segment?
No, that is a change from the GPU days (but still true for mileage upgrades). But you will only be charged the amount for the cleared segment(s).

Is {anything else} changing? (link)
No, not really. "Million milers will receive the equivalent of what they receive today in PlusPoints. Classes of availability for upgrades are not changing. PlusPoints can be sponsored to other travelers in the same way GPU’s and RPU’s could be. For Skip Waitlist upgrades, the account holder must also be traveling."

I see PlusPoints for sale on Craigslist or eBay. May I buy them and use them?
We do not recommend this. If UA determines the PlusPoints was sold, you risk having your M+ account terminated and loss of your miles, status, lifetime miles, etc.

Do the fare class restrictions apply to domestic flights?
No, you can use a PlusPoints on any fare on any domestic/ any CPU eligible flight.
For non-CPU flights, the standard 40 PlusPoints is needs for W or higher. For lower fares it takes 80 PlusPoints.

Is there a maximum layover between segments of a journey?
Unclear. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/20453548-post221.html is an example of 38 hours, where the 1K desk applied it on behalf of the customer. What is interesting about this case is that 38 hours is well beyond a layover, which implies that in some cases, one PlusPoints can be used for two journeys on the same ticket even if the two journeys are beyond 12 hours apart (12 hours being the pmUA rule – 4 hours for North American / “domestic” only flights).
Lots of uncertain still exists on this issue.

What is the relative waitlist priority of PlusPoints vs Miles
The use of PlusPoints vs Miles has no impact on the waitlist priority, they have the same priority as a supported upgrade

May I cross two oceans with the same set of PlusPoints?
Yes if the entire journey is on one confirmation number and the max layover rule (above) is met.

My PlusPoints ares still valid/unexpired, but my journey starts after the PlusPoints expires. Can I use them for that journey?
No.

Can I use my PlusPoints for another traveler? Do I have to be traveling with them?
You can use your PlusPoints for another traveler. If on the same PNR, it will be done as you do yourself. When on a common PNR, you can only request upgrades for everyone, not just some -- to do that you need to split the PNR.
If the other traveler is on a separate PNR, you pull up their PNR in your account (via My Trips), you will need their PNR id and their bass name as on the reservation. Then go to the upgrade tab and proceed as if it was your reservation
When on a common PNR, the other travelers will have the same waitlist priority as you (this should continue even if the PNR is split after requesting the upgrade).
When on a separate PNR, they will be prioritized based on their status.

If my status changes, will I lose my PlusPoints?
No, PlusPoints, once granted, are good until they expire. You could conceivably drop to general member and maintain your PlusPoints. When you use the PlusPoints, you'll be prioritized based on your present status.

Archive:Consolidated UA PlusPoints Question & Answer Thread {Archive}


The prior GPU thread is now archived
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Consolidated UA PlusPoints Question & Answer Thread

Old May 16, 2023, 7:17 am
  #196  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: UAL 1k, MM flyer, Marriott Gold, Global Entry
Posts: 48
Question for our PlusPoint experts.
Family trip MCO-IAH-SFO (wide bodies on both segments so hopefully family could enjoy the perk). Applied PlusPoints. Confirmed upgrade MCO-IAH, and close to top of wait list for IAH-SFO (but did not end up clearing).

I seem to remember the points were only taken if the longer segment cleared, but after calling the Mileage Plus desk, they said that rule only applies to International "over the water" itineraries.

How are others using their PlusPoints on domestic itineraries which a connection? It's rare these days that you get confirmed on most (or any) segments ahead of time.
IF i knew we weren't going to get upgraded on the longer segment, I would not have upgraded on the shorter one, but you don't know until you get to the gate.

Mileage Plus was nice enough to refund the points, but they said, just this one time.

Thank you.
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Old May 16, 2023, 7:35 am
  #197  
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Originally Posted by noe94131
Question for our PlusPoint experts.
Family trip MCO-IAH-SFO (wide bodies on both segments so hopefully family could enjoy the perk). Applied PlusPoints. Confirmed upgrade MCO-IAH, and close to top of wait list for IAH-SFO (but did not end up clearing).

I seem to remember the points were only taken if the longer segment cleared, but after calling the Mileage Plus desk, they said that rule only applies to International "over the water" itineraries.
There is no such rule for PlusPoints, domestic or international (and never has been). You are charged the highest number of PlusPoints of any leg that clears.

You’re thinking of the rule for Miles + Copay awards, which is as the agent said — if your request includes any Polaris-marketed segments, and none of those clear, you get a refund even if the shorter legs clear.
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Old May 16, 2023, 12:14 pm
  #198  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
There is no such rule for PlusPoints, domestic or international (and never has been). You are charged the highest number of PlusPoints of any leg that clears.

You’re thinking of the rule for Miles + Copay awards, which is as the agent said — if your request includes any Polaris-marketed segments, and none of those clear, you get a refund even if the shorter legs clear.
The failed Polaris upgrade policy also applied to GPUs, but never PlusPoints as there is a variable lower rate for a domestic upgrade then a international.

There have been some anecdotal reports in past and recently of agents refunding upgrades when a very short segment cleared but the longer did not, as a customer gesture. However there is no written policy or definition of "very short"
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Old May 16, 2023, 12:21 pm
  #199  
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Originally Posted by noe94131
....Mileage Plus was nice enough to refund the points, but they said, just this one time....
You were extremely lucky to get the points back. Sometimes ignorance of rules pays off
.
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Old May 16, 2023, 2:20 pm
  #200  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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Originally Posted by jsloan
There is no such rule for PlusPoints, domestic or international (and never has been). You are charged the highest number of PlusPoints of any leg that clears.

You’re thinking of the rule for Miles + Copay awards, which is as the agent said — if your request includes any Polaris-marketed segments, and none of those clear, you get a refund even if the shorter legs clear.
So let's say you apply 40PPs for a SMF-SFO-LHR trip wanting of course Polaris to LHR. They then clear you on SMF - SFO and don't to LHR, they still grab all 40PPs?! I knew about the Domestic use of PPs and have turned upgrades on short segments all the time (ie. EGE-DEN) fearing the longer segment was unlikely to clear. Seems like a ripoff but not surprised with anything any more. Seems like you should be sent a prompt at check-in stating something to the effect of "it appears that the Polaris segment will not clear do you still wish the domestic upgrade" .
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Old May 16, 2023, 3:03 pm
  #201  
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Originally Posted by nomad420
So let's say you apply 40PPs for a SMF-SFO-LHR trip wanting of course Polaris to LHR. They then clear you on SMF - SFO and don't to LHR, they still grab all 40PPs?! I knew about the Domestic use of PPs and have turned upgrades on short segments all the time (ie. EGE-DEN) fearing the longer segment was unlikely to clear. Seems like a ripoff but not surprised with anything any more. Seems like you should be sent a prompt at check-in stating something to the effect of "it appears that the Polaris segment will not clear do you still wish the domestic upgrade" .
Unlike RPU/GPU, Plus Points are never charged until the upgrade clears (for UA metal upgrades).

If SMF-SFO clears, you will be charged 20 points (the cost for that segment). If SFO-LHR clears, you will be charged a total of 40 points (20 additional if SMF-SFO had already cleared).

It's a best-case world in your favor, except for the major caveat that you cannot make your SMF-SFO upgrade request conditional on whether SFO-LHR clears.
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Old May 16, 2023, 3:10 pm
  #202  
 
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Originally Posted by findark
Unlike RPU/GPU, Plus Points are never charged until the upgrade clears (for UA metal upgrades).

If SMF-SFO clears, you will be charged 20 points (the cost for that segment). If SFO-LHR clears, you will be charged a total of 40 points (20 additional if SMF-SFO had already cleared).

It's a best-case world in your favor, except for the major caveat that you cannot make your SMF-SFO upgrade request conditional on whether SFO-LHR clears.
Oh, OK I get it. You would NOT be charged 40 points for SMF-SFO using my scenario but "only" 20 points. Seems more reasonable now, I miss understood what was being stated above.
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Old May 16, 2023, 3:19 pm
  #203  
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Originally Posted by nomad420
Oh, OK I get it. You would NOT be charged 40 points for SMF-SFO using my scenario but "only" 20 points. Seems more reasonable now, I miss understood what was being stated above.
Right. I think the typical flier wouldn't want to spend even 20 points on SMF-SFO, but it's not as bad as 40.

(With GPUs, you could list the whole thing with a GPU and get a freeroll on the SMF-SFO segment since your GPU always got returned if the Polaris segment failed to clear, so in that sense GPUs were better than Plus Points.)
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Old May 16, 2023, 7:13 pm
  #204  
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Originally Posted by findark
If SMF-SFO clears, you will be charged 20 points (the cost for that segment). If SFO-LHR clears, you will be charged a total of 40 points (20 additional if SMF-SFO had already cleared).
Well, to be precise, if SMF-SFO clears, you will be charged 40 points; then, if SFO-LHR fails to clear, you will be refunded 20 points.

This is intended to keep people from locking themselves out of long-haul upgrades by having too many short-haul upgrades clear at once (because, with PlusPoints, unlike GPUs, you can list for more than you can support, and whichever ones clear first will be honored). Imagine you have 40 PlusPoints left, and you waitlist on SMF-SFO-LHR round-trip. Now say SMF-SFO clears. If they only withdrew 40, and the next segment with PZ space were SFO-SMF, then you’d be locked out of getting either Polaris upgrade, and you will have spent your entire upgrade balance on flights you didn’t care about.
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Old May 19, 2023, 12:52 pm
  #205  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Using PlusPoints to upgrade to Polaris after waitlisting for Premium Plus

So I had this odd experience on a recent flight. I'd requested an upgrade from economy to Premium Plus on an NRT to SFO flight recently using 20 PPs. Since premium plus was full, but Polaris was wide open, I decided to change the upgrade request to business. Interestingly, for several days before the flight I was unable to do this on both the website as well as the app. (When clicking on the upgrade page, no options showed up.) Since I was traveling internationally at that time, I didn't want to call UA's service number to find out what was going on.

Anyway, on the day of the flight, as soon as my inbound flight on NH landed at NRT, I ran to the gate agent for the connecting NRT-SFO flight. She said she could do anything even though there still were seats available in polaris and I would have been high up on the upgrade list. I asked a few times, and the agent did not give me any explanation. She didn't even look at my boarding pass. She simply said there was nothing she could do. Then I went to the United Club at the terminal, and the agent there said only the agent at the gate controlled this list. The net effect is that although I could have been upgraded, I wasn't. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but my PlusPoints are expiring soon & will probably go waste.

The question I have is: have others faced similar issues in changing the upgrade from premium to Polaris before the flight? If so, under what circumstances is this not allowed?
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Old May 19, 2023, 12:55 pm
  #206  
 
Join Date: Feb 2022
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If you couldn't have called, could you have used the messaging option on the website?
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Old May 19, 2023, 1:01 pm
  #207  
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Originally Posted by thebakaronis
....I decided to change the upgrade request to business. ...
You can not change a PlusPoints request. You must cancel (very easily done online or by the app, if no segments have cleared) and then re-request with the desired modification.
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Old May 19, 2023, 1:12 pm
  #208  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
You can not change a PlusPoints request. You must cancel (very easily done online or by the app, if no segments have cleared) and then re-request with the desired modification.
I believe I looked for an option to cancel the upgrade request and either I wasn't looking in the right places, or that option didn't show up. In any case, I didn't know you had to cancel the first upgrade request and re-request, so I probably wasn't paying enough attention. Thanks for pointing this out for future reference.
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Old May 19, 2023, 2:40 pm
  #209  
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Originally Posted by thebakaronis
I believe I looked for an option to cancel the upgrade request and either I wasn't looking in the right places, or that option didn't show up. In any case, ..
Online, go to My United and right middle, were you Available and Requested PlusPoints are , next line is View Upgrades. This takes to a page of all your request PlusPoints Upgrades, and each request as a cancel option. Similar process on the App.

In addition to using Chat, Twitter, FB, .. while traveling, Skype. Google Voice and a variety of internet services allow you to "call" from anywhere in the world from a computer or smart phone and there is also WiFi Calling on most mobile phones. May have to use the non-800 UA number with these free services.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 19, 2023 at 2:46 pm Reason: May have to use the non-800 UA number with these free services.
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Old May 21, 2023, 5:32 pm
  #210  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: IAH, YYC
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 752
sorry if this is a repeat, but i couldnt find the answer in the FAQ. Anybody know if you can apply pluspoints on an NH issued ticket for a flight on UA metal? If so, does it work exactly the same as if there it was on UA stock, or is there anything unusual I should be aware of?
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