Seat Upgrade On United Airlines

United Airlines Seat Upgrade

Feel like a king or queen and enhance your travel experience with the United Airlines seat upgrade. This airline offers the easiest seat upgrade facility to its valuable passengers. No matter what seat you choose, the airline will make your way of seat upgrade easier. 

However, you can get to use the seat upgrade amenity only if you acquire the MileagePlus® status level. It means that you have to be a member of this airline’s frequent flyer program. If you are a non-member, then you can enroll yourself in the United MileagePlus status. Or can purchase a premium cabin seat in your initial booking. 

What are the Types of United Seat Upgrade?

Although, we cannot guarantee you an upgraded seat on this airline, it will surely help you to understand the United Airlines seat upgrade policy and procedure for sure. 

United has various types of seat upgrades. These upgrading options will help you to get an upgraded seat very smoothly. 

1. MileagePlus Upgrade Awards

United MileagePlus Upgrade Awards allow you to use your miles to upgrade your basic economy class ticket to a premium cabin seat, for instance, United Polaris® business class or United First® class. You can easily request a seat upgrade award during booking your flight reservation or even after booking.

Some details about this upgrade type are; 

United Airlines offers two types of Upgrade Awards, one is Regional Premier Upgrades (RPUs) and second is Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs). RPUs can be used to upgrade select United flights within specific regions, while GPUs can be used to upgrade flights on United’s long-haul international routes.

The number of miles required for a MileagePlus Upgrade Award depends on the following factors:

  • The fare class of your original ticket
  • The route you’re traveling
  • The seat type you’re upgrading to
  • Your Premier status

2. Complimentary Premier Upgrades

Complimentary Premier Upgrades are available to MileagePlus members with Premier elite status. Premier status is achieved based on the number of Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs) or Premier Qualifying Segments (PQSs) earned during a calendar year, along with meeting a minimum spend requirement (Premier Qualifying Dollars or PQDs).

This upgrade is granted on a waitlist basis. This means that if there are more eligible passengers than available upgrade seats, your upgrade request will be placed on a waitlist. If an upgraded seat becomes available, you will be automatically upgraded, based on your Premier status and the date and time of your request.

3. PlusPoints

PlusPoints are for United Premier Platinum and 1K elite members. They can use it to upgrade their seats to a better cabin. Eligible elites can use these points to upgrade their own flights or other travelers, even if they are not flying with them.

4. Star Alliance Upgrade Awards

Star Alliance Upgrade Awards are for United MileagePlus members. These awards help them to use their miles to upgrade their flight seats on any of the 26 Star Alliance member airlines. All the MileagePlus members can use these awards, regardless of their elite status.

5. Instant Upgrade

Instant upgrades are available to select United Premier members who purchase Y or B full-fare economy tickets on select flights. If there is upgrade inventory available, these members will be automatically upgraded to the next cabin at the time of booking.

Note: To know more details, you can visit the official website of United Airlines.

Eligibility for Seat Upgrade 

Before you proceed further to upgrade your United seat, take a look at the table and check if you are eligible for a seat upgradation or not. 

Upgrade TypesMemberPremier SilverPremier GoldPremier PlatinumPremier 1K
MileagePlus Upgrade AwardsYes YesYesYesYes
Complimentary Premier UpgradesNoYesYesYesYes
PlusPointsNoNoNo40 points only if you meet the requirements for Platinum+280 points only if you meet the requirements for 1K
Star Alliance Upgrade AwardsYesYesYesYesYes

Check out if your region has seat upgrades or not and if it does then what upgrade rewards are available. 

United States

  • Continental U.S. routes have MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, Complimentary Premier Upgrades, and PlusPoints Upgrades available. 
  • Flights between New York (EWR/JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) or New York (EWR/JFK) and San Francisco (SFO) are known as Premium transcontinental routes. These routes do not have Complimentary Premier Upgrades. 


  • West Coast Hawaii Flights between Hawaii and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) have MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, Complimentary Premier Upgrades, and PlusPoints Upgrades available. 
  • Long Haul Hawaii flights between Hawaii and Houston (IAH), Newark (EWR), Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), or Washington (IAD) and Honolulu (HNL) to Guam (GUM) do not have access to Complimentary Premier Upgrades.

Other Regions 

  • Alaska, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Guam, and Micronesia have all the upgrades. 
  • South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Japan, and Tahiti do not have Complimentary Premier Upgrades.

Check Availability of Seat Upgrade

In order to use the seat upgrade option, the first thing that you will have to do is to check the availability of the seats. To do so, you have 3 ways, that are; 

  • Use United’s Expert Mode: When you are searching for the available flights on United’s official website, you can enable Expert Mode to see more details about the flight, which includes seat upgrade availability. To do this, you will have to click the “Advanced Search” link and check the box next to “MileagePlus Upgrade Award.”
  • Check the flight’s fare class: The fare class of your ticket and your status will determine whether you are eligible for an upgrade. For example, if you’re flying on a basic economy fare, you won’t be able to upgrade. To check the fare class of your ticket, log in to your United MileagePlus account and view your reservation.
  • Call United Reservations: If you are not sure if upgrade space is available, you can always call United Reservations and ask. The customer service representative will be able to check the availability of upgrade space for your specific flight.

United Airlines Seat Upgrade Priority

When your seat upgrade procedure will be completed solely depends on the level of elite status you have with the airline and what award or points you are using. 

Check the priority list given below, to find your position.

1. The first priority will be given to the Premier status members; 

  • United Global Services
  • Premier 1K
  • Premier Platinum 
  • Premier Gold
  • Premier Silver

2. After them, the second priority will be served to the fare classes, which are Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, and G.

3. The second last prioritized passengers are those using PlusPoints upgrades, MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, or Complimentary Premier upgrades.

4. The last category will be determined by their date and timing request for an upgrade. 

Ways to Request a Seat Upgrade

To upgrade your seat, you can use any of the 3 ways mentioned below; 

Seat Upgrade on United Airlines Online 

Upgrade your United seat by following the below-given steps; 

  • Go to the United Airlines website and sign in to your MileagePlus account.
  • Click on the “Manage My Trips” tab.
  • Select the trip that you want to upgrade.
  • Click on the “Upgrade Reservation” link.
  • Add your points and save the changes.

Upgrade your Seat Via Calling the Representative 

Call the United customer care service. Tell them that you want to upgrade your seat using MileagePlus Upgrade Awards, or PlusPoints. Then the representative will ask for your MileagePlus number and confirmation code for your flight. After that, the representative will confirm your upgrade and provide you with a confirmation number.

Seat Upgrade at the Airport

You can also upgrade your seat at the check-in counter or boarding gate of United Airlines if you are within 24 hours of departure. Just provide them with your flight details and they will help you to upgrade your seat (if available).


Can I request a United MileagePlus upgrade award on any ticket?

No, you cannot utilize MileagePlus Upgrade Awards when traveling on award tickets, discounted promotional tickets, or with Basic Economy tickets. Even tickets purchased with Money + Miles are also restrained upgrades using MileagePlus Upgrade Awards.

Are United Star Alliance upgrade awards guaranteed?

No, United cannot guarantee the Star Alliance upgrade awards as it will be dependent on each airline’s upgrade availability and non-availability. There are chances that even after meeting all the requirements still, you will not be able to get an upgraded seat.

Can I get my United Complimentary Premier upgrade any earlier?

Yes. You may be eligible for instant upgrades as early as the time of booking only if you are a Premier member traveling on a full-price economy Y- and B-class flight within the eligible regions. However, it will depend on the upgrade availability. Members of Premier 1K® are additionally qualified for immediate upgrades when booking M-class tickets.

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