United Airlines Premier Elite Status Guide [Silver, Gold, Platinum, 1K]

Airline elite status is important to have if you want free upgrades to first class or Economy Plus, free extra checked bag, and better customer service.

United has five Premier levels: Silver, Gold, Platinum, 1K, and their secret invite-only Global Services level.

This post will cover everything you need to know about Premier status including the benefits of each level, PlusPoints, Complimentary Upgrades, status matches, the Million Miler program.

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    United Premier Elite Status

    The Basics of Earning Premier Status

    United created a new way to earn elite status in 2019. United previously calculated Premier levels based on miles flown, segments, and dollars spent on United.

    Now, United measures elite status based on Premier Qualifying Flights (segments) and Premier Qualifying Points (dollars). 

    Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs)

    Premier Qualifying Flights  or PQFs equals the number of segments flown on United Airlines or their partners.

    For example, a direct flight from New York to Los Angeles earns only one PQF, but if you connected in Chicago, you would earn two PQFs (New York – Chicago; Chicago – Los Angeles).

    Additionally, a minimum of four segments each year must be flown on United or United Express. 

    This prevents people from earning Premier status by only flying partner airlines.

    Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs)

    Premier Qualifying Points or PQPs equals the amount of money you spend with United or their partner airlines.

    One PQP equals one U.S. Dollar, and you can earn PQPs on the following purchases:

    • Base fare + surcharges
    • Economy Plus seating or subscriptions
    • Preferred seat purchases
    • MileagePlus Upgrade Award co-pays
    • Paid upgrades on flights operated by United and United Express
    • Flights ticketed and operated by our Star Alliance partners

    You will not earn PQPs for:

    • Government-imposed taxes and fees (e.g., the 7.5% Federal Transportation Tax on flights within the U.S.)
    • Tickets booked via Priceline’s Express Deals or Hotwire’s Hot Rate.
    • Tickets booked with miles or points.
    You can now also now earn PQPs from specialty tickets such bulk or group tickets.

    To calculate your PQPs on specialty tickets, you need to calculate the award miles you would earn and divide by 5.

    To calculate the award miles earn, you need to find the flight distance and your fare class:

    • L, C, D, Z, P = 100% base miles + 50% fare class bonus
    • Y, B, M, O, A, R = 100% base miles
    • E, U, H, W, V, W = 75% base miles
    • S, T = 50% base miles
    • L, K, G = 25% base miles 

    For example, a “T” fare ticket earns 50% base miles, so a 1,000-mile flight would earn you 500 award miles. You would then earn 100 PQPs since 500 award miles divided by 5 is 100.

    Earning PQPs on Partner Airlines

    United Airlines awards PQPs for flights with partner airlines based on the following formula:

    • Preferred Partners = Divide award miles by 5
    • MileagePlus Partners = Divide award miles by 6
    • Air Canada
    • Air China
    • Air Dolomiti
    • Air New Zealand
    • All Nippon Airways
    • Austrian Airlines
    • Avianca
    • Azul Brazilian Airlines
    • Brussels Airlines
    • Copa Airlines
    • Edelweiss
    • Eurowings
    • Lufthansa
    • SWISS International Airlines
    • Aegean Airlines
    • Air India
    • Asiana Airlines
    • Croatia Airlines
    • EgyptAir
    • Ethiopian Airlines
    • EVA Air
    • Juneyao Air
    • LOT Polish Airlines
    • Olympic Air
    • SAS
    • Shenzhen Airlines
    • Singapore Airlines
    • South African Airways
    • TAP Air Portugal
    • Thai Airways International
    • Turkish Airlines

    You won’t earn PQP on the following airlines:

    • Aer Lingus
    • Aeromar
    • Boutique Air
    • Cape Air
    • Hawaiian Airlines 
    • Vistara
    • Silver Airways

    You also won’t earn PQP on international basic economy tickets on:

    • Air Canada
    • Austrian
    • Brussels Airlines
    • Lufthansa
    • SWISS

    You can find the number of award miles using United’s partner-earning charts or plug in your routing and fare code into the Where to Credit tool.

    For example, if you earned 1,000 award miles from a flight on a partner, you would earn:

    • Preferred Partners = 200 PQPs 
    • MileagePlus Partners = 167 PQPs

    There is also a maximum number of PQPs you can earn with a partner flight:

    • Preferred Partners = 1,500 for first/business, and 750 for economy/premium economy.
    • MileagePlus Partners = 1,000 for first/business, and 500 for economy/premium economy.

    This formula only applies if your ticket is not issued by United. 

    If United issues your partner ticket, you earn PQP based on your pre-tax dollars spent on the ticket, just like a United ticket.

    Basic Economy Restrictions

    There are several disadvantages of booking a Basic Economy ticket for Premier members.

    Basic Economy tickets don’t earn Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs), but those segments will still count towards your four-segment minimum on United or United Express flights to earn status.

    Although you don’t earn PQFs, United still awards Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) on Basic Economy tickets since you are still spending money with United.

    Premier elite members also don’t enjoy certain benefits when booking Basic Economy tickets, including:

    • EconomyPlus seating.
    • Complimentary upgrades.
    • PlusPoints upgrades.
    • Paid upgrades.
    • Same-day flight changes or standby.

    Premier members still enjoy priority boarding and free checked bags with Basic Economy.

    COVID-19 Updates

    Due to COVID-19, United has introduced the following changes for the 2021 Premier status year:

    • United will automatically add 25% of the PQP requirement for current Premier members by February 1, 2021. This equals 875 PQP for Silver, 1,750 PQP for Gold, 2,500 PQP for Platinum, and 3,750 PQP for 1K. 
    • United is awarding bonus PQPs for travel between January 1 and March 31, 2021 for your first three trips. Current elite members earn a 100% bonus with a minimum of 300 bonus PQPs and a maximum of 1,500 PQPs per trip. Non-elites enjoy a 50% bonus with a minimum of 150 bonus PQPs and maximum of 1,000 bonus PQPs per trip.
    • Premier 1K members will earn additional PlusPoints in 2021 at a discounted rate of 20 PlusPoints for every 2,000 PQPs after 15,000 PQPs.
    • United is extending PlusPoints expiring on or after January 1, 2021, by an additional six months.

    United Premier Silver Elite Status

    The lowest tier elite status is Premier Silver. 

    How to Earn Premier Silver Status

    The requirements to earn United Premier Silver elite status in 2021 is either:

    • 3,000 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) + 8 Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) OR
    • 3,500 PQPs

    The normal requirement for Premier Silver status was:

    • 4,000 PQPs + 12 PQFs OR
    • 5,000 PQPs

    You can also earn United Premier Silver status by holding Marriott Titanium or Ambassador elite status by linking your accounts.

    United Premier Silver Benefits

    There are a lot of great benefits for reaching the initial Silver elite tier including potential upgrades, free checked bags, priority boarding, and Hertz Five Star status.

    40% Mileage Bonus

    Premier Silver members earn 7 United miles (40% bonus) for every dollar spent on a ticket booked through United on United or one of their partners.

    A $500 ticket would net Silver members 3,500 United miles ($500 x 7). 

    If the ticket is not booked through United, the miles you receive depends on the distance, partner, and fare class.

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Silver members get Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as the day of departure

    But Silver members are the lowest priority for upgrades, so don’t expect many upgrades to first class when you fly. 

    United First Class
    Photo: United

    Access to Economy Plus at Check-In

    Silver members get free upgrades to Economy Plus seating at check-in, which gets you access to seats with up to 6 extra inches of legroom.

    Silver members can also upgrade one travel companion on the same reservation to Economy Plus.

    Preferred Seating at Booking

    Silver members can book “Preferred Seats” at booking, which are standard economy seats near the front of the aircraft in the first few rows behind Economy Plus.

    This benefit also applies for up to eight travel companions on the same reservation.

    United Preferred Seating

    Upgrades on Award Tickets for Cardholders

    All Premier members who hold a United credit card are eligible for upgrades on award tickets. 

    If members don’t have a United credit card, they are not eligible.

    Eligible cards include the Chase United Explorer, United Business, United Club, and United Gateway.

    Instant Upgrades (Y or B Fares)

    All Premier members can get instant upgrades to the premium cabin when booking Y or B class fares. 

    To find Y or B class fares, click the “Advanced search” on the United homepage, and enter “Y, B” in the “Fare class” option.

    United Advance Search

    Y and B fares are very expensive. For example, the Y and B fare for New York to Los Angeles is more than twice the price of a business class fare. ($1,075 vs. $489) and seven times more expensive than the economy fare.

    However, Y and B fares are fully refundable tickets designed for business travelers, so your company may allow you to book that fare class. 

    United Y or B Fares

    Premier (Priority) Access

    Premier members enjoy special Premier Access privileges to make travel easier including:

    • Priority check-in
    • Priority security screening
    • Priority boarding
    • Priority baggage handling

    You can find a list of priority security screening airport locations in United’s FAQ section.

    However, the TSA PreCheck line is typically faster than the priority security line.

    Free Checked Bags

    Premier Silver members get one free checked bag up to 70 lbs (or 32 kgs) when traveling in economy.

    But Premier Silver members traveling in a premium cabin get three free checked bags up to 70 lbs.

    Group 2 Boarding

    Premier Silver members board in Group 2, which is the same boarding group as United credit card members such as the United Explorer.

    United Airlines Boarding

    Free Same Day Flight Changes

    Starting January 1, 2021, all Premier elite members enjoy free same-day flight changes if the same fare class is available.

    A few requirements for same day flight changes are:

    • Your departure and arrival airport must stay the same, but you can change the routing (e.g. New York – Chicago – Denver, instead of New York – Houston – Denver). 
    • You can only request a same-day change 24 hours before your original flight, and the new flight must be leaving within 24 hours of your orginial flight. 
    • You must be flying on a United or United Express flight booked through United (with a number starting with “016”).
    • You didn’t book a basic economy, bulk, group, or consolidator ticket.
    • You made your change more than 60 minutes before departure if you checked your bags.

    Access to Most Sold-Out Flights

    Premier members can get confirmed reservations on most sold-out flights.

    Silver and Gold members must book a Y-Class ticket at least 24 hours before departure. 

    Premier Platinum members can wait until 2 hours before departure to book a Y-Class ticket, and Premier 1K members can wait until 1.5 hours before departure to book a Y or B Class ticket.

    Y-Class tickets are the most expensive economy tickets, and Premier members must call the Premier phone line (1-800-864-8331) to take advantage of this benefit.

    Discounted CLEAR Membership

    United Premier Silver, Gold, and Platinum members get a discounted CLEAR membership for $109 per year. (Premier 1K members get a CLEAR membership for free.)

    CLEAR offers expedited airport security and allows you to use your eyes or face to verify your identity instead of a physical ID. 

    United credit cardmembers also get the same discount of $109 per year.

    Eligible cards include the Chase United Explorer, United Business, United Club, and United Gateway.

    CLEAR Airport Security
    Photo: CLEAR

    Better Economy Award Availability

    All Premier members get access to more economy award space so that you can book redeem United miles for flights at the “Saver” level.

    But this is also the same increased award space given to United credit card members (United Explorer, United Business, United Club, and United Gateway).

    Priority Award Waitlisting

    Sometimes the award flight you want is not available at the “Saver” level.

    Premier members may waitlist for United First, United Business, or United Polaris business class on flights operated by United and United Express.

    As additional award seats become available, they will be allocated to Premier members first according to Premier status.

    Standby for International Awards

    Premier members who booked a premium cabin award on United that included some segments in economy, may request standby for the higher cabin at the airport within two hours of departure.

    Hertz Five Star Status

    Hertz Five Star elite status gets you:

    •  Upgrades if available
    • A 25% points bonus
    • A free additional driver
    • The ability to pick your car at Hertz Ultimate Choice airport locations.

    You can link your United Premier account to Hertz easily through this online portal.

    Rental Car Insurance
    Photo: Hertz

    Star Alliance Silver Status

    Premier Silver members get Star Alliance Silver status, which is not very valuable.

    All Star Alliance Silver gets you is priority reservations waitlisting and priority airport standby.

    The higher Premier levels get the more valuable Star Alliance Gold status.

    Star Alliance Silver

    Other Benefits

    There are a few other benefits of Premier elite status including:

    United Premier Gold Status

    United’s next elite tier is Premier Gold. The biggest benefits of Gold status is the ability to book Economy Plus seats at booking, Star Alliance Gold, and Marriott Gold elite status.

    How to Earn United Premier Gold

    The requirements to earn United Premier Gold elite status in 2021 is either:

    • 6,000 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) + 16 Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) OR
    • 7,000 PQPs

    The normal requirement for Premier Gold status was either:

    • 8,000 PQPs + 24 PQFs OR
    • 10,000 PQPs

    You can also earn lifetime Premier Gold status by flying one million miles on United Airlines.

    United Premier Gold Benefits

    Premier Gold members enjoy the benefits below, plus the benefits above, including:

    • Preferred seating for you and up to 8 travel companions.
    • Free same-day flight changes.
    • Instant upgrades on Y or B class fares.
    • Better award availability in economy.
    • Priority award waitlisting.
    • Premier Priority phone line.
    • Discounted CLEAR Membership ($109/year).
    • Hertz Five Star Status.
    • Access to most sold out flights.

    60% Mileage Bonus

    Premier Gold members earn 8 United miles (60% bonus) for every dollar spent on a ticket booked through United on United or one of their partners.

    A $500 ticket would net Gold members 4,000 United miles ($500 x 8). 

    If the ticket is not booked through United, the miles you receive depends on the distance, partner, and fare class.

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Gold Premier members get Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as 48 hours before departure. 

    Economy Plus at Booking

    Gold members get free upgrades to Economy Plus seating at booking, which gets you access to seats with up to 6 extra inches of legroom.

    Gold members can also upgrade one travel companion on the same reservation to Economy Plus.

    United Economy Plus Seating
    Photo: United

    Free Checked Bags

    Premier Gold members get two free checked bags up to 70 lbs (or 32 kgs) when traveling in economy.

    But Premier Gold members traveling in a premium cabin get three free checked bags up to 70 lbs.

    Group 1 Boarding

    Premier Gold and Platinum members get to board in Group 1, which is also reserved for Star Alliance Gold members and customers in United Polaris or First Class.

    The only people who board before Group 1 is the pre-boarding group consisting of Premier 1K members, Global Services, active military, and families with children 2 or younger.

    Marriott Gold Elite Status

    Premier Gold members and higher enjoy Marriott Gold elite status, which gets you:

    • A 25% points bonus
    • Late checkout
    • Welcome amenity of points
    • Enhanced internet
    • Enhanced room upgrade
    Marriott Resort
    Photo: Marriott

    Star Alliance Gold

    The benefits of Star Alliance Gold are:

    • Airport lounge access.
    • Extra baggage allowance (you get a free checked bag, except within Europe on certain fares).
    • Gold Track at select airports (priority security and immigration).
    • Priority Boarding (board with first and business class).
    • Priority baggage handling.
    • Priority airport check-in.
    • Priority airport standby.
    • Priority reservations waitlisting.

    There are a few rules for airport lounge access:

    • United Star Alliance Gold members don’t have access to the United Club, unless they are flying on another Star Alliance airline. For example, you would have access if you were flying Lufthansa, but not if you were flying United.
    • United Star Alliance Gold members do have access to other Star Alliance lounges when flying United or another Star Alliance airline. For example, United Star Alliance Gold members flying United Airlines could access the Turkish or Lufthansa lounges in Washington D.C. (IAD), but couldn’t access the United Club.
    • You can bring one guest who is traveling on any Star Alliance flight departing the same airport on the same day.

    You can find a list of eligible lounges using the Star Alliance Lounge Finder.

    United Premier Platinum Status

    United’s middle tier elite status is Premier Platinum, which gets you Economy Plus at booking for you and eight companions, more frequent upgrades, and Hertz President’s Circle status.

    How to Earn United Premier Platinum Status

    The requirements to earn United Premier Platinum elite status in 2021 is either:

    • 9,000 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) + 24 Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) OR
    • 10,000 PQPs

    The normal requirement for Premier Platinum status was:

    • 12,000 PQPs + 36 PQFs OR
    • 15,000 PQPs
    You can also earn lifetime Premier Platinum status by flying two million miles on United Airlines.

    United Premier Platinum Benefits

    Premier Platinum members get all of the benefits below plus the benefits above, including:

    • Premier Access
    • Group 1 Boarding
    • Preferred seating for you and up to 8 travel companions.
    • Marriott Gold elite status.
    • Free same-day flight changes.
    • Instant upgrades on Y or B class fares.
    • Better award availability in economy.
    • Priority award waitlisting.
    • Premier Priority phone line.
    • Discounted CLEAR Membership ($109/year).
    • Access to most sold out flights.

    80% Mileage Bonus

    Premier Platinum members earn 9 United miles (80% bonus) for every dollar spent on a ticket booked through United on United or one of their partners.

    A $500 ticket would net Platinum members 4,500 United miles ($500 x 9). 

    If the ticket is not booked through United, the miles you receive depends on the distance, partner, and fare class.

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Platinum Premier members get Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as 72 hours before departure. 

    Economy Plus at Booking + 8 Companions

    Platinum members get free upgrades to Economy Plus seating at booking, which gets you access to seats with up to 6 extra inches of legroom.

    Platinum members can also upgrade up to eight travel companions on the same reservation to Economy Plus.

    40 PlusPoints

    Members earn 40 PlusPoints upon earning Premier Platinum status.

    PlusPoints helps elite members guarantee upgrades in advance on certain flights.  

    40 PlusPoints is enough for an upgrade from an economy ticket to Polaris Business on a long-haul flight.

    Three Free Checked Bags

    Premier Platinum and 1K members get three free checked bags in both economy, business class, and first class.

    United Club Discount

    Premier Platinum members enjoy a $50 annual discount on a United Club membership, which is $600 or 80,000 miles per year.

    But Platinum members can save $75 by holding the Chase United Club credit card ($525 annual fee vs. $600 membership) instead of purchasing the annual membership from United.

    United Club
    Photo: United

    Hertz President's Circle Status

    One of the great benefits of Premier Platinum and 1K status is Hertz President’s Circle status.

    The benefits of President’s Circle are:

    • A 50% points bonus
    • Guaranteed upgrades
    • Ability to choose a car from the President’s Circle aisle at Hertz Ultimate Choice airport locations. 

    You can link your Hertz and United account easily online to get your President’s Circle status.

    Hertz Car
    Photo: Hertz

    More Award Space for Premium Cabins

    In addition to more award availability for economy, Premier Platinum and 1K members enjoy additional award space for premium cabins.

    Waived Phone Booking Service Fee

    Premier Platinum and 1K members can avoid the $25 phone booking service fee when calling to make a paid or award reservation.

    United Premier 1K Elite Status

    United top-tier status is Premier 1K, which has some great additional benefits such as 280 PlusPoints, a 120% mileage bonus, a free drink and menu item in economy.

    How to Earn United Premier 1K Status

    The requirements to earn United Premier 1K elite status in 2021 is either:

    • 13,500 Premier Qualifying Points (PQPs) + 36 Premier Qualifying Flights (PQFs) OR
    • 15,000 PQPs

    The normal requirement for Premier 1K status was:

    • 18,000 PQPs + 54 PQFs OR
    • 24,000 PQPs
    You can also earn lifetime Premier 1K status by flying three million miles on United Airlines.

    United Premier 1K Benefits

    United Premier 1K members get all the below benefits plus the benefits above, including:

    • Three free checked bags.
    • EconomyPlus or Preferred Seating at booking for you and eight companions.
    • Marriott Gold elite status.
    • Hertz President’s Circle elite status.
    • United Club Discount ($100).
    • Free same-day flight changes.
    • Premier Access.
    • Group 1 Boarding.
    • Better award availability in economy and premium cabin.
    • Priority award waitlisting.
    • Premier Priority phone line.
    • Waived phone booking service fees.

    120% Mileage Bonus

    Premier 1K members earn 11 United miles (120% bonus) for every dollar spent on a ticket booked through United on United or one of their partners.

    A $500 ticket would net Platinum members 5,500 United miles ($500 x 11). 

    If the ticket is not booked through United, the miles you receive depends on the distance, partner, and fare class.

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    1K Premier members get Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as 96 hours before departure. 

    280 PlusPoints

    Members earn 280 PlusPoints upon earning Premier 1K status, in addition to the 40 PlusPoints for reaching Platinum for a total of 320.

    PlusPoints helps elite members guarantee upgrades in advance on certain flights.  

    320 PlusPoints is enough for eight upgrades from an economy ticket to Polaris Business on a long-haul flight. 

    Or four upgrades from discounted economy (fare classes S, T, L, K, and G) to Polaris Business on a long-haul flight.

    Premier 1K members will earn additional PlusPoints in 2021 at a discounted rate of 20 PlusPoints for every 2,000 PQPs after 15,000 PQPs.

    United Polaris Business Class 1
    Photo: United Airlines

    One Free Drink and Snack in Economy

    1K members enjoy a free alcoholic beverage and one free Choice Menu item when traveling in economy on United or United Express.

    Before ordering, you should show your membership card or boarding pass (showing 1K status) to the flight attendant.

    The only exception is that half-bottles of premium wines (375 mL) are not included.

    Complimentary CLEAR Membership

    1K members save $109 per year with a free CLEAR membership, which helps save time at airport security. 

    CLEAR also offers security checkpoints at 25+ sports stadiums in the United States.

    United Global Services Status

    United Global Services is an invite-only elite status for their ultra-elite members.

    Global Services members get the best upgrades, a team of United employees that monitors their flights, special lounge access, and potential Mercedes Benz transfers at United hubs.

    How to Get United Global Services Status

    There is no exact formula to get an invite, but you typically need to spend $50,000+ per year with United Airlines for several years to qualify.

    Essentially, you want to be a very profitable customer for United for several years.  

    A few ways to improve your chances are:

    – Fly almost exclusively on United– United makes a lot more profit when you fly on United than if you were to fly a partner airline and credit your miles to United.  You can still fly partners, but try to book a partner flight on United.com.

    – Buy business class tickets– United wants to invite their most profitable customers to Global Services, and United makes a lot more profit from selling business class seats than economy seats.

    – Live in a smaller market– It will be much harder to get an invite if you live in a city like New York or San Francisco, where United has large corporate contracts. But you’re chances are much better if you live in a non-hub city. 

    Be a top-tier employee at a large company-United Airlines also awards Global Services status to top-tier employees of corporations with large corporate contracts such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Roche.

    Alternatively, you could earn Global Services status by flying 4 million miles on United.

    United Global Services

    United Global Services Benefits

    United Global Services members get all the benefits below, plus the benefits above, including:

    • 120% mileage bonus (11 United miles per dollar).
    • Economy Plus and Preferred Seating at booking for the member and up to eight travel companions.
    • Complimentary alcoholic drink and menu item in economy.
    • Complimentary CLEAR Membership.
    • Marriott Gold elite status.
    • Hertz President’s Circle elite status.
    • Three free checked bags.
    • Free same day flight changes.
    • Additional award space in economy and premium cabin.
    • Waived phone booking service fee.

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Global Services members get the best access to Complimentary Premier Upgrades as early as 120 hours (five days) before departure.

    Instant Upgrades on M Class Tickets

    Global Services members who book an “M” class fare are instantly upgraded to the premium class at booking.

    “M” fare class is still fairly expensive. We tested it on the New York to Los Angeles route and found it was more expensive than buying first class directly.

    M-Fare Class United

    Mercedes Benz Transfers

    Global Services members with tight connections at select airports, typically United’s hubs, may get a Mercedes Benz transfer between flights.

    These transfers cannot be requested in advance. 

    The Global Services team should monitor your flights and determine if a transfer is needed. 

    If a transfer is arranged, a Global Services representative will wait by the cabin door holding a sign with the member’s name.

    United Mercedes Benz Transfers Global Services
    Photo: United

    Special Lounge Access

    Global Services members have special lounge access to the arrivals lounge at San Francisco, London-Heathrow (T2), Frankfurt (Lufthansa), and Zurich (SWISS). 

    However, guests are not allowed in these lounges.

    280 PlusPoints

    Global Services members now earn 280 PlusPoints, 40 of which came from reaching Premier Platinum.

    Global Services members also earn an additional 20 PlusPoints for every additional 3,000 PQPs. 

    Special Premium Saver Award Space

    United Airlines can create extra saver award space for Global Services members if T fare class tickets for economy class and PZ fare class tickets are available for business class.

    Companion Saver Award With a Cash Ticket

    United will create “Saver” level award space for a companion of a Global Services member when the member books a cash ticket on that flight in the same class of service.

    Dedicated Global Services Line

    Global Services members get access to a team of agents that only handle Global Services customers to ensure that their request is fulfilled quickly.

    Private Check-In

    Global Services members may access a private check-in area in Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), and San Francisco (SFO). 

    Early Boarding

    Global Services members board in the pre-boarding process, behind (1) unaccompanied minors, (2) customers with disabilities, and (3) active miltiary.

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPUs)

    One of the best perks of United elite status is Complimentary Premier Upgrades

    Eligible Flights

    • Within the Continental US (excluding premium, transcontinental services).
    • Hawaii from Los Angeles or San Francisco
    • Flights to/from Alaska, Canada, Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean.
    • Travel within Oceania (except Tahiti).

    When Upgrades are Available

    Premier members are eligible for upgrades starting in time periods before departure:

    • Global Services = 120 hours/ 5 days before departure
    • Premier 1K = 96 hours/4 days before departure
    • Premier Platinum = 72 hours/3 days before departure
    • Premier Gold = 48 hours/2 days before departure
    • Premier Silver = day of departure

    Upgrade Waitlist Priority

    Many times upgrades will not be available when the upgrade period starts, so passengers are placed on a waitlist to see if an upgrade becomes available before departure.

    The waitlist priority is:

    1. United Airlines Pilots deadheading*
    2. Global Services
    3. Premier 1K
    4. Premier Platinum
    5. Premier Gold
    6. Premier Silver
    [* Deadheading is when a pilot is traveling to a destination to be repositioned as part of an on-duty assignment. It is different than commuting or personal travel.]
     

    In the event of a tie, United will go down this list until there is no longer a tie:

    1. Fare class (highest to lowest): Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G, Award Tickets. 
    2. Chase United MileagePlus Club or Presidential Plus cardholders.
    3. United Corporate Preferred Participants.
    4. Chase United MileagePlus cardholders with $25,000 in annual spending.
    5. Time of request.

    United PlusPoints

    United replaced the previous system of Regional Premier Upgrades and Global Premier Upgrades with PlusPoints in 2019.

    The new PlusPoints system gives Premier members more flexibility on guaranteeing an upgrade.

    Premier members earn PlusPoints at the following rate:

    • 40 PlusPoints upon reaching Premier Platinum.
    • 280 PlusPoints upon reaching Premier 1K or Global Services.
    • 20 PlusPoints for each subsequent 2,000 PQPs after 15,000 PQPs (normally every 3,000 PQPs, but reduced for 2021 due to COVID-19).

    However, once you receive a confirmed upgrade, your PlusPoints will not be refunded if you change or cancel your flight.

    PlusPoints also expire on January 31st after one year of full validity (e.g., PlusPoints earned in 2021 expire on January 31, 2023).

    Using PlusPoints for Short-Haul Flights

    You can redeem your United PlusPoints at the following rates for short-haul flights:

    United PlusPoints Short-haul flights

    Short-haul flights are flights:

    • Within the U.S. including Alaska, Hawaii and premium transcontinental service, but without United Polaris Business.
    • Between the U.S. and Canada, Bogota, Central America, Caribbean, Mexico and Quito.
    • Between Guam and Honolulu including island hopper service.
    • Solely within Asia.

    Using PlusPoints for Long-Haul Flights

    You can redeem your United PlusPoints at the following rates for long-haul flights:

    PlusPoints United Long-Haul

    Long-haul flights are flights with United Polaris business and include flights between the U.S. and:

    • Africa
    • Asia
    • Australia
    • Europe
    • The Middle East
    • New Zealand
    • South America
    • Tahiti

    Eligible fare classes for upgrades on long-haul flights include:

    • Discounted Economy to United Polaris business: Fare classes S, T, L, K, and G
    • Economy to United Polaris business: Fare classes Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, and W
    • United Premium Plus to United Polaris business: Fare classes O, A, and R
    • Economy to United Premium Plus: Fare classes Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, and G

    Short + Long Haul Upgrades

    You can request PlusPoints upgrades on both short-haul and long-haul flights on the same trip for the cost of the long-haul upgrade.

    For example, if you requested an upgrade from economy to Polaris on a trip between Dallas and Chicago (normally 20 PlusPoints) and then from Chicago to London (normally 40 PlusPoints), you could request an upgrade on the Dallas-Chicago-London trip for only 40 PlusPoints.

    But if the upgrade for Chicago to London fails to clear, United will refund you the 20 PlusPoints.

    Using PlusPoints only on short regional flights is not ideal, but United requires you to request upgrades for the entire trip to get the PlusPoints discount for multiple legs.

    For example, if you only requested an upgrade from Chicago to London and it cleared, you would have to pay an additional 20 PlusPoints if you wanted to upgrade the Dallas to Chicago flight.

    Using PlusPoints on Partner Airlines

    Premier members can also use PlusPoints on flights operated by All Nippon Airways (ANA), Lufthansa, and Copa to secured upgrades for only 40 PlusPoints.

    ANA

    • Economy to ANA Business Class for 40 PlusPoints for fare classes G, E, Y, and B.
    • Business Class to ANA First Class for 40 PlusPoints for fare classes J, C, and D.

    Copa

    • Economy to Copa Business Class for 40 PlusPoints for fare classes A, B, E, H, K, L, M, O, Q, S, T, U, V, W, and Y.

    Lufthansa

    • Economy to Lufthansa Business Class for 40 PlusPoints for fare classes G, E, Y, B, M, U, H, and Q.
    • Business to Lufthansa First Class for 40 PlusPoints for fare classes J, C, and D.

    You can request an upgrade via this online form once your ticket is issued.

    Upgrades for ANA can be requested between 365 days and 24 hours before departure.

    Upgrades for Lufthansa can be requested between 331 days and 10 hours before departure.

    You can also request to be waitlisted for upgrades on ANA and Lufthansa.

    Skip Waitlist

    Premier 1K members also have the option to “Skip Waitlist” to skip the upgrade waitlist and confirm an upgrade on international flights.

    The cost to Skip Waitlist is very high:

    • Economy to Premium Plus = 70 PlusPoints
    • Economy to Polaris = 140 PlusPoints

    A few other restrictions on Skip Waitlist are:

    • Not available within 30 days of departure.
    • You must book W class or higher for Polaris.
    • Domestic flights are not eligible.
    • PlusPoints aren’t refunded if you change your flights.
    • You can only use PlusPoints to Skip Waitlist on your own flights.

    United Million Miler Program

    United rewards its long-term frequent flyers with elite status for life with their Million Miler Program. 

    Lifetime Premier Status

    You can earn Lifetime Premier status by hitting one of these four levels:

    • 1 Million Miles = Premier Gold
    • 2 Million Miles = Premier Platinum
    • 3 Million Miles = Premier 1K
    • 4 Million Miles = Global Services

    How to Earn Million Miler?

    One actual mile flown equals one mile towards Million Miler status.

    Requirements for miles to count:

    1. Must be a flight on United or United Express.
    2. Must be a paid ticket issued by United Airlines.

    Miles that don’t count:

    • Award flights.
    • Flights on partner airlines.
    You can also easily try your Million Miler status in your United Premier account by looking at your “Lifetime flight miles.”
    United Million Miler

    Sharing Your Premier Status

    Once you earn Million Miler status, you can share your current Premier status with someone who resides at your home address. 

    For example, if you have Lifetime Premier Gold, but currently have Premier 1K status, you can share your 1K status with someone like your spouse or child. 

    Elite Status Match to United

    United allows you to match another airline’s elite status to United. 

    You will be given an equivalent Premier elite status, which you can keep for 120 days.

    If you meet certain requirements (below), you can keep your elite status for the following year.

    You can also complete a status match to United once every five years.

    Eligible Airlines for Status Match

    Alaska Airlines

    American Airlines

    • AAdvantage Gold = Premier Silver
    • AAdvantage Platinum = Premier Gold
    • AAdvantage Platinum Pro = Premier Platinum

    Delta Air Lines

    • Medallion Silver = Premier Silver
    • Medallion Gold = Premier Gold
    • Medallion Platinum = Premier Platinum

    Southwest Airlines

    • A-List = Premier Silver
    • A-List Preferred = Premier Gold
    • Companion Pass = Premier Gold

    United Airlines will match elite status from many other airlines, including:

    • Aer Lingus
    • AeroMexico
    • Aeroflot
    • Aerolineas Argentinas
    • Air France
    • Alitalia
    • American Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Czech Airlines
    • Cathay Pacific
    • China Airlines
    • China Eastern
    • China Southern
    • Delta Air Lines
    • El Al
    • Emirates
    • Etihad
    • Finnair
    • Frontier Airlines
    • GOL
    • Hawaiian Airlines
    • Iberia
    • IcelandAir
    • Japan Airlines
    • Jet Airways
    • JetBlue
    • KLM
    • Kenya Airlines
    • Korean Airlines
    • LATAM
    • Malaysia Airlines
    • Qantas
    • Qatar Airways
    • Royal Jordanian
    • S7
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • Virgin Australia

    However, you cannot match your status from another Star Alliance airline because members already have some elite status benefits on United via Star Alliance Silver or Gold.

    The airlines in the Star Alliance include:

    Star Alliance Star Alliance Airlines
    Aegan Airlines Aegean Air Canada Air Canada
    Air China Air China Air India Air India
    Air New Zealand Air New Zealand ANA ANA
    Asiana Airlines Asiana Airlines Austrian Airlines Austrian Airlines
    Avianca Avianca Brussels Brussels Airlines
    Copa Copa Airlines Croatia Airlines Croatia Airlines
    EgyptAir EgyptAir Ethiopian Ethiopian
    EVA Air EVA Air LOT Polish LOT Polish
    Lufthansa Lufthansa SAS SAS
    Shenzhen Shenzhen Singapore Airlines Singapore Airlines
    South African Airways South African SWISS Airlines SWISS
    TAP Portugal TAP Portugal Thai Airways logo Thai Airways
    Turkish Airlines logo Turkish Airlines United Airlines logo United Airlines

    Requirements to Keep Status

    To keep your new United elite status, you need to complete the following requirements within 120 days:

    Premier Silver = Fly 4 PQF and earn 1,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express.

    Premier Gold = Fly 6 PQF and earn 2,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express.

    Premier Platinum = Fly 10 PQF and earn 3,000 PQP on flights operated by United or United Express.

    • Upon reaching these requirements, Premier Platinum members also earn 20 PlusPoints instead of the 40 PlusPoints normally earned by reaching Platinum.

    How to Submit a Status Match

    You will need to fill out this form to match your other airline elite status to United Airlines.

    You will need your:

    • United MileagePlus account number.
    • A valid email address on your MileagePlus account.
    • A copy of your most recent mileage summary or 2020 membership card for the frequent flyer program you are matching from. The card must state your name, status, and expiration date.

    It will then take 7-14 business days for United Airlines to process your request and upgrade your account.

    The Verdict

    United’s Premier elite status program is one of my favorites due to their partnerships with Hertz, Marriott, and CLEAR, and the ability to use PlusPoints for business class on United, ANA, and Lufthansa.