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Consolidated UA PlusPoints Question & Answer Thread {Archive}

Old Dec 31, 2023, 1:02 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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)

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?

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 {Archive}

Old Sep 24, 2019, 5:52 am
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Westchester NY
Programs: UA GS 4+ MM
Posts: 373
Consolidated UA PlusPoints Question & Answer Thread {Archive}

Points Plus Details Released, including a video and an FAQ section.

dkc715 is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 5:54 am
Join Date: Jan 2016
Programs: UA 1K; *G, AA Plat
Posts: 1,700
Check mileageplusupdates.com
it's live!

From time to time, our 1K members will be able to use additional PlusPoints to receive a confirmed upgrade when traveling on select international long-haul flights.

When Skip Waitlist is available, you’ll be able to either request an upgrade on our standard waitlist using fewer PlusPoints, or use additional PlusPoints to skip the waitlist and confirm your upgrade right then and there, even if upgrade inventory is closed.

Skip Waitlist availability on international long-haul flights will vary; to be eligible, you must be traveling on an eligible fare*, and be requesting your upgrade at least 30 days from departure. See additional terms and conditions

*Eligible fare classes include O, A, and R (for United Premium Plus to United Polaris business); Fare classes Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W (for Economy to United Polaris business); Fare classes Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, (for Economy to United Premium Plus).
laxmillenial is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 5:59 am
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 3,359
A big downgrade for those travelling on CM in LATAM is the upgrades will now count as GPUs instead of RPU. Unsure how often people travel to LATAM on CM but something to consider.

Safe Travels,

FlyerTalker70 is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 5:59 am
Join Date: Jan 2016
Programs: UA 1K; *G, AA Plat
Posts: 1,700
The biggest thing that stands out for me is:

Can I cancel a confirmed upgrade request?

You will not be able to cancel PlusPoints requests that have received upgrades.
laxmillenial is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:00 am
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Canada, USA, Europe
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 31,452
Now live on https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...s/premier.html as well
LondonElite is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:14 am
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According to the FAQ, you can waitlist an upgrade within 24 hours using points now. You can also be left with an unusable amount of points—e.g., 10 points.
slippahs is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:28 am
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K 1.8MM
Posts: 6,337
Looks like PlusPoints WILL be earned past achieving 1K status:

Additional 40 PlusPoints for every 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS

" ... Currently we do not have a product priced at 10 PlusPoints, so you would need to earn additional PlusPoints either by reaching 1K status or by continuing to fly after earning Premier 1K."
narvik is online now  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:29 am
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SFO
Posts: 4,911
It’s a win for those that get PP can now get into Polaris for 25% off (30 pts versus 40 pts) and only 20pts from Econ to Instead of 40pts equivalent before. But I’m confused on the whole skip waitlist thingy.....
myperks is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:29 am
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1K 1.5MM, HH Diamond
Posts: 232
I wonder if I can have 80 points (2 GPU) extended to April ?
BlackBear05 is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:29 am
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: MFR
Programs: UA 1K 1.9MM, Hilton Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 2,879
“When Skip Waitlist is available, you’ll be able to........use additional PlusPoints to skip the waitlist and confirm your upgrade right then and there, even if upgrade inventory is closed.”

OK, this is great.
chavala is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:32 am
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: SJC / DPS
Programs: AS G75K, UA Silver
Posts: 1,757
From reading the FAQs, what’s interesting is you can request as many upgrades as you want (irrespective of balance). Plus points are only deducted once an upgrade clears.

wonder if this will have an effect on the number of upgrade requests out there and PZ space..
pushmyredbutton is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:34 am
Join Date: May 2010
Location: AVP & PEK
Programs: UA 1K 1.8MM
Posts: 6,337
Originally Posted by pushmyredbutton

wonder if this will have an effect on the number of upgrade requests out there and PZ space..

It has to, right?
That was my immediate thought when I read that.
narvik is online now  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:34 am
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: London
Programs: UA GS
Posts: 2,438
Found one devaluation already: if you waitlist a connecting short to long haul itinerary and only the short haul clears, you only get 20 points back, as if you’d waitlisted an RPU-equivalent. Previously you got the entire GPU redeposited.
villox is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:35 am
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: CLE,OH
Programs: UA 1K 3MM, AA Plat, F9 Elite, the later two thanks to Jeff $, HHdia, Mgold, WynDia, Choicepl, IHGDia
Posts: 1,405
Too bad they sill expire, would have been nice if they did not.
coplatua1k is offline  
Old Sep 24, 2019, 6:37 am
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 3,359
Thank goodness the latest enhancement didn't touch PQDs **knocks on wood**
FlyerTalker70 is offline  

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