United has announced that elite members of Mileage Plus can now upgrade to First or Business without using miles, certificates or money, provided they book a full-fare economy-class ticket.
The new policy allows elite members who buy a full-fare economy electronic ticket (most Y or B class fares) for travel within the U.S., Canada, Hawaii, Caribbean and Central America to upgrade one class of service, free of charge, without using miles or certificates. Upgrade clearance will be based on elite status (100 hours for 1K, 72 hours for Premier Executive and 48 hours for Premier) and is subject to availability.
For more information or to book a flight, customers can call (800) 356-8900.
We applaud the move by Mileage Plus, though we do offer this word of caution: Unless a generous offer like this is balanced against other portions of the program, including the ease with which one can achieve elite status, the end result could be fewer seats for more (frustrated) elite members.