United Airlines’ frequent flyer program, MileagePlus, is known to be among the most attractive programs in the Star Alliance. The benefits for frequent travelers are by far more extensive than those of Lufthansa’s Senator status, to name an example. Now they’ll be even better!
Starting December, customers that own a platinum status, or higher, will no longer receive GPUs (Global Premier Upgrades) and RPUs (Regional Premier Upgrades). Instead, they’ll get PlusPoints, with which you can upgrade your cabin class. This new system is more flexible and gives you more chances to upgrade your flight even from the lowest booking classes. The best thing: With a 1K-status you’ll even get 8 long-haul upgrades from economy to business, instead of the current 6! Let’s look at this in detail:
Upgrade-Vouchers starting at Platinum
United Airlines’ program has four status levels:
- Silver: 25,000 PQMs (status miles) in a calender year
- Gold: 50,000 PQMs in a calendar year
- Platinum: 75,000 PQMs in a calendar year
- 1K: 100,000 PQMs in a calendar year
Even though (unlike at the European airlines) all customers – so even silver members – get free upgrades (based on availability) on short-haul flights without needing a voucher, you’ll have to use a voucher to upgrade your flight on a long-haul flight or to get a guaranteed upgrade on one of those short-haul flights:
Until now, platinum members used to get 2 RPUs. 1K members used to get 4 RPUs and 6 GPUs. From December 4th, 2019, this will cease to be the case.
Still earning miles on a different program? Check if MileagePlus might be more attractive for you! Cheap economy flights at many airlines will get you 100% status miles at United, instead of the usual 25%. Also, United’s upgrade policy is far more generous than other airlines’.
PlusPoints instead of RPU & GPU
GPU and RPU will be replaced by PlusPoints from December 4th, 2019:
- Platinum members: 40 PlusPoints (instead of 2 RPUs)
- 1K members: Another 280 Plus, so a total of 320 PlusPoints
Upgrading from a “normal” economy booking class into business class costs 40 points. That means that 1K members could upgrade a total of 8 long-haul flights (instead of 6). A new addition to the program is that you can also use 80 points to upgrade from one of the “Discounted Economy” classes (K, S, T, L, and G). Such transatlantic flights are often available for only €300-400! As a platinum member you also now have the chance to upgrade a long-haul flight with your 40 points.
Basic Economy flights (without luggage) still can’t be upgraded!
Upgrading Lufthansa and ANA flights is still restricted to certain booking classes, as before.
It is also possible to upgrade short-haul flights into the “Domestic First Class” for 20 points. This replaces the RPU.
Downside & Conclusion
These changes sound too good to be true. We can’t find the downside! Nevertheless, we fear that United MileagePlus might use this new points-system at some point to devalue the program. A business upgrade for 50 instead of 40 points is easier to communicate to members, than telling them that they’ll only get 5 upgrade vouchers instead of 6. For now, however, such a devaluation is still in the far future – until then you should take advantage of this!