Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Consolidated UA PlusPoints Question & Answer Thread

Old Sep 24, 19, 8:33 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: economyplusfan
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:

Weve heard from MileagePlus Premier members that theyre interested in an upgrade program thats 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 wont 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)

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 youll ultimately only pay for the highest upgrade you receive which in this example would be Premium Plus (20 PlusPoints). Keep in mind well deduct the full request price, equal to the highest price upgrade requested, whenever any upgrade clears and youll 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 dont receive the highest-priced PlusPoints upgrade you requested, ... youll 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 GPUs and RPUs 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?

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.

The prior GPU thread is now archived

Print Wikipost

Consolidated UA PlusPoints Question & Answer Thread

Old Sep 24, 19, 8:05 am
Join Date: May 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 720
Hello UA Insider!
uanj likes this.
cranky1K is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:05 am
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: SAN
Programs: UA 1MM/1K, HH Diamond
Posts: 6,759
It seems to me that the gain is flexibility and the loss is ease of future devaluations.

There's no question that allowing points to be used interchangeably between domestic and international upgrades is a major gain. All the 1Ks who never travel internationally effectively now have a raft of additional RPUs, and vice versa. I now kind of wish I had made the stretch to 1K this year (will end up as Plat). Ability to use "half the points" to upgrade to PP is also a nice change.

Of course the implementation of the details will have a big impact on how this scheme works...
narvik likes this.
as219 is online now  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:06 am
Join Date: Dec 2015
Programs: UA Mileage Plus
Posts: 292
Just saw this posted a minute ago, on thepointsguy:
azfanboy is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:11 am
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K 1.8MM
Posts: 5,810
Wait. If all current GPU and RPU get converted on Dec 4 to PlusPoints, I will end up with a TON of points, as I currently have 22 RPUs that would all expire.
Will we just have 3 to 4 weeks to use all our remaining points???
Certainly would be nice if the DID extend them to April!
Not that I was expecting to use the RPUs, but it's a bit of a bummer to have these PlusPoints converted and then watch them all expire. Couldn't they introduce this at the change of the program year instead?
narvik is online now  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:13 am
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Programs: UA 1K 1MM, AA, DL
Posts: 7,213
Originally Posted by UAgeek71
In a vacuum the any fare upgrade benefit is awesome. The W fare and higher waiting game has always been an issue that no one likes. Unfortunately if they start systemwide upgrade space for all levels of Status (not just 1k and GS), the total amount of seats available at any given time will be in higher demand and as a result will likely be much harder to find. I doubt you would see upgradeable space available at booking ever because all levels of status would be able to compete for them at booking. There are a lot more silver/gold/Platinum members by a long shot vs 1k's and GS.

That is the bigger issue that I see right now.
On other hand it reduces the number of GPUs out there by 50% if
people use them that way.
drewguy is online now  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:18 am
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: DFW + MFR
Programs: UA 1K 1.9MM
Posts: 2,796
Originally Posted by villox
I wonder if the whole "Skip the waitlist" is the trojan horse here - regular upgrades will clear less often but people willing to "skip the waitlist" by spending more points will win out. Essentially the PlusPoints equivalent of TOD upgrades on CPU routes.
I'm very curious how many more points it will take. Is that mentioned anywhere - or are they still deciding how much they can screw us for ?

edit to add: I see now on the video there is just an arrow pointing UP. I guess it will depend on the route (and whatever else they want)

Last edited by chavala; Sep 24, 19 at 8:28 am Reason: added
chavala is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:19 am
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Jersey Shore/YYZ
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Plat, Hilton Diamond, Hertz PC
Posts: 12,494
I like this. Especially the discount from Economy to Premplus.
SFO_LOW_CLOUDS likes this.
aacharya is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:21 am
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: New York
Programs: UA GS, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,422
For GS who can apply points to upgrade award tickets, will the old equivalent pricing still apply? (20 for domestic, 40 for long haul).
villox is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:22 am
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: LAS, ZQN
Programs: UA PP (2MM), BA Silver (soft landing)
Posts: 2,104
UA Insider- How great is UA - whomever wrote this should apply to the White House as speech writer!

An over entitled 1K who remembers what was

and "From time to time, United will also allow 1K members the opportunity to use additional PlusPoints to skip the waitlist..." - another great enhancement!

"United is the only global U.S. airline that lets customers request all upgrades without making a phone call." -except if you book a code share with LH which needs to be converted and you have to call in to have it done before you can apply a GPU- which won't exist.

Last edited by zebranz; Sep 24, 19 at 8:27 am Reason: couldn't handle the PR stuff
zebranz is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:23 am
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K 1.8MM
Posts: 5,810
Thanks for posting, much appreciated.
We are all trying to figure out how this will impact our future travels. Time will tell if it's something truly positive though.

On a side note, could you please communicate with whomever is in charge of writing UA's releases to not start off with:

Originally Posted by UA Insider
Weve heard from MileagePlus Premier members that theyre interested in...
This verbiage has become a UA caricature, and is now mostly met with much cynisism.
uanj likes this.
narvik is online now  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:28 am
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: Mileage Plus 1K \\ ConciergeKey
Posts: 497
Do we know how many points is equivalent to 8 upgrades for an intl long haul?

color me cynical but how long until the Points required to upgrade jump up due to dynamically changing point values based on the route?
Rumples is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:28 am
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 13,896
Hi UA Insider ! Do you know if the exclusion of the fare class G from the announcement page was deliberate (Economy G will be non-upgradeable), an accidental oversight, or indicative that the G fare class will be retired or re-purposed next year?
findark is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:28 am
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: MBS/FNT/LAN
Programs: UA 1K, HH Gold, Mariott Gold
Posts: 9,563
I found the video helpful:

MBS MillionMiler likes this.
jhayes_1780 is offline  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:32 am
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K 1.8MM
Posts: 5,810
Originally Posted by jhayes_1780
I found the video helpful:

I found the first 12 seconds so annoying that I stopped watching...
narvik is online now  
Old Sep 24, 19, 8:38 am
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: LAS, ZQN
Programs: UA PP (2MM), BA Silver (soft landing)
Posts: 2,104
I do not waitlist upgrades except under unusual circumstances. I book flights with confirmed GPU space as I am very flexible on travel times and dates. I can't wait to see the "innovative" pricing to "skip waitlist."

"innovative" is the new "enhancement"
uanj and chavala like this.
zebranz is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.