!United MileagePlus: Merged Program Details

Jul 16, 2012
!United MileagePlus: Merged Program Details
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    The merged United offers a frequent flyer loyalty program called MileagePlus. While the name of the program is the same as the legacy United, the program details are different, and in some cases, significantly different. The legacy program is outlined here.


    Program Nomenclature(top)

    As part of the rollout for the new program, several new names and acronyms have been introduced for benefits and services that have been known by other names in the past. The sections below will call these out where appropriate; among the more meaningful changes, especially from the legacy Continental point of view, is the change from the term, "Elite" to the term, "Premier." No longer will there be Elite Access, but rather Premier Access. Details surrounding each level and its benefits are described below. Program members should understand the nomenclature and any related shorthand as may be used in threads on MilePoint or other forums.

    General Information(top)

    MileagePlus currently offers five tiers of elite status in the program: Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K, and Global Services (GS). Complete information as published by United is available here. This information applies to all elite status tiers unless otherwise noted.

    Qualification Period(top)

    Elite status qualification periods are based on calendar year. A customer must earn the specified level of elite qualification miles (EQM) or elite qualification points (EQP) between January 1 and December 31 of each year in order to qualify for status.

    Status Duration(top)

    Once a customer has reached a specified qualification level, the earned elite status is valid through the rest of that calendar year, the following calendar year, and through the end of January of the year after that.

    Example: A customer qualifies for 1K status on June 17, 2011. That status is good through January 31, 2013.

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades - CPU(top)

    CPU is the system used by United to automatically provide complementary upgrades to elite customers at certain windows prior to departure based on several criteria.

    Flight Eligibility(top)

    CPU eligible flights include those most flights operated by aircraft with a business class and/or first class cabin operated by United or United Express. Flights which are marketed with the BusinessFirst service on a 2-cabin aircraft or flights which are marketed as Premium International Service with 3-cabin aircraft are not eligible for CPUs. The transcontinental Premium Service (p.s.) flights operated JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO is also not eligible for CPU-based upgrades.

    Put another way, the following geographical regions are eligible for CPUs:
    • Mainland U.S. (except p.s. markets JFK-LAX/SFO), Alaska and Canada
      Hawaii (California to/from Hawaii, plus any other market operating with a domestic premium product, such as Chicago-Honolulu)
    • Mexico/Caribbean/Central America
    • Northern South America (except New York-Lima)
    • Southern South America (Copa flights only)
    • Asia/Oceania (except transpacific, Honolulu-Guam, Tokyo-Singapore/Bangkok nonstops)

    Upgrade Processing Hierarchy(top)

    It should be noted that UDUs are processed based on available space in an upgrade fare bucket, namely the RN bucket. The availability of this bucket can vary widely from flight to flight and day to day, just as fares vary widely from flight to flight and day to day.

    The following criteria are used to determine upgrades, in order:

    • Mileage Plus Premier Status
    • Fare Class
    • Date & Time Purchased
    The specific processing order, which is the same both in advance and at the airport, is as follows:
    • Global Services
    • Y -Up instant upgrades that weren’t confirmed in advance (sorted by premier tier)
    • B-Up instant upgrades that weren’t confirmed in advance (sorted by premier tier)
    • M-Up instant upgrades that weren't confirmed in advance for Premier 1Ks
    • Paid upgrades (i.e. GPUs, RPUs and mileage upgrades) sorted by status, fare class, and date of waitlist
    • All remaining premier customers by status, then fare class
    The fare class hierarchy is as shown in the table here.

    If two Premier members of the same status with the same fare class are on the same flight, the date and time of purchase becomes the tie breaker, with the Premier memeber making the earliest purchase receiving the upgrade. (source)

    CPU Windows(top)

    CPU runs at specified windows prior to departure. These windows are based on Premier status:

    • 120 hours before scheduled departure time: Global Services only
    • 96 hours before scheduled departure time: Global Services & 1K only
    • 72 hours before scheduled departure time: Global Services, 1K & Platinum only
    • 48 hours before scheduled departure time: Global Services, 1K, Platinum & Gold only
    • 24 hours before scheduled departure time: All Premier Members
    Once inside the 24-hour window CPUs run in a near-continuous fashion rather than at prescribed sweep points.

    Multiple passengers on a single PNR(top)

    If an elite is on an itinerary with another passenger, the second person on the PNR will be placed on the waitlist for an upgrade at the same time as the elite passenger. If there are more than two persons on a PNR, that PNR is not eligible for CPU. To work around this, elites should split their PNRs from the rest of their party in order to secure the upgrade, when available. United Reservations can handle this request. (source)

    In addition, passengers can designate a companion for upgrades at the airport. This companion will be processed after all the elites at the same tier as the sponsoring member and ahead of elites at the next lower tier.

    Mileage Plus Premier Benefits(top)

    This chart outlines most of the elite benefits for each status tier. The full benefits chart as published by United is available here.

    Earn and use milesSilverGoldPlatinum1K
    Use award miles for travel and more
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Use award miles for upgrades
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Earn miles when for flying and other activities
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Earn award miles with Mileage Plus branded credit cards
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Earn a minimum of 500 miles per flight
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Bonus award miles
    25%

    50%

    75%

    100%
    Best seats for elite membersSilverGoldPlatinum1K
    Complimentary seats in Economy Plus
    At Check In

    At Booking

    At Booking

    At Booking
    Unlimited Domestic Upgrades
    X

    X

    X

    X
    No co-pay for some Mileage Plus Upgrade Awards
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU)
    X

    X
    Global Premier Upgrades (GPU)
    X
    More access and privilegesSilverGoldPlatinum1K
    Priority check-in
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Priority security lines
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Priority boarding
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Priority on upgrade waitlists
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Star Alliance Silver benefits
    X
    Star Alliance Gold benefits
    X

    X

    X
    Priority reservations number
    X

    X

    X
    1K Voice dedicated reservations number
    X
    Unrestricted Standard Award availability
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Exclusive Saver Award inventory in economy
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Exclusive Saver Award inventory in all cabins
    X

    X
    Complimentary benefits and discountsSilverGoldPlatinum1K
    Members-only promotions and discounts
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Discount on United Club membership
    X

    X

    X

    X
    Check one bag for free (50lb max)
    X
    Check three bags for free (70lb each max)
    X

    X

    X
    Same Day Flight Change
    $75

    Free

    Free

    Free
    Global Entry Fee Compensated
    X
    No annual fee on Mileage Plus credit card
    X


    Premier Silver Details(top)

    Premier Silver status is the lowest earned tier in the Mileage Plus program. Qualification requirements are as follows:

    • 25,000 Premier Qualification Miles
    • 30 Premier Qualification Segments
    Premier Silver members can select Economy Plus seats at time of check-in for no charge. This is a change from the legacy United and Continental programs where Premier and Silver elites could select Economy Plus seats at booking. They also receive a 25% bonus on redeemable miles for all qualifying flights, and they earn a minimum of 500 miles for shorter flights. Bonus miles do not qualify for Premier status. Premier Silver members qualify for Star Alliance Silver status.

    Premier Gold Details(top)

    Premier Gold status is the second tier in the Mileage Plus program. Qualification requirements are as follows:

    • 50,000 Premier Qualification Miles
    • 60 Premier Qualification Segments
    Premier Gold members may select Economy Plus seats, including exit rows, at the time of booking for no fee. They also receive a 50% bonus in redeemable miles for all qualifying flights, and they earn a minimum of 500 miles for shorter flights. Bonus miles do not qualify for elite status.

    Gold members qualify for Star Alliance Gold status. As part of the Star Alliance Gold program, Gold members are granted entrance to the United Club at their gateway airport for itineraries that include an international segment. They are also granted to most other Star Alliance Gold lounges for any Star Alliance carrier-operated departure.

    Premier Platinum Details(top)

    Premier Platinum status is the third tier in the Mileage Plus program. Qualification requirements are as follows:

    • 75,000 Premier Qualification Miles
    • 90 Premier Qualification Segments
    Premier Platinum members may select Economy Plus seats, including exit rows, at the time of booking for no fee. They also receive a 75% bonus in redeemable miles for all qualifying flights, and they earn a minimum of 500 miles for shorter flights. Bonus miles do not qualify for elite status.

    Platinum members qualify for Star Alliance Gold status. As part of the Star Alliance Gold program, Platinum members are granted entrance to the United Club at their gateway airport for itineraries that include an international segment. They are also granted to most other Star Alliance Gold lounges for any Star Alliance carrier-operated departure.

    Additionally, Platinum members qualify for two Regional Premier Upgrade certificates (RPU) good for a one class one-way upgrade that can be used on all domestic routes, including p.s. and flights to Hawaii marketed with an international premium cabin configuration. Additional RPUs can be earned, two at a time, for each additional 25,000 PQM or 30 PQS.

    Premier 1K Details(top)

    Premier 1K status is the top earned tier in the Mileage Plus program. Qualification requirements are as follows:

    • 100,000 Premier Qualification Miles
    • 120 Premier Qualification Segments
    Premier 1K members may select Economy Plus seats, including exit rows, at the time of booking for no fee. They also receive a 100% bonus in redeemable miles for all qualifying flights, and they earn a minimum of 500 miles for shorter flights. Bonus miles do not qualify for elite status.

    1K members qualify for Star Alliance Gold status. As part of the Star Alliance Gold program, 1K members are granted entrance to the United Club at their gateway airport for itineraries that include an international segment. They are also granted to most other Star Alliance Gold lounges for any Star Alliance carrier-operated departure.

    Additionally, 1K members qualify for six Global Premier Upgrade certificates (GPU) good for a one class one-way upgrade that can be used on all United and United Express flights. Additional GPUs can be earned, two at a time, for each additional 50,000 PQM or 60 PQS.

    1K members also enjoy a dedicated support line.

    Global Services Details(top)

    Global Services is an invitation only program offered to high revenue customers. The qualifications are unpublished, as are most of the benefits, but anecdotal evidence suggests that benefits and features are greater than those of 1K members. Additionally, Global Services members are granted 1K status regardless of how many PQMs or PQS they have flown in a calendar year.

    Star Alliance Status Equivalency(top)

    This table outlines the mapping of Mileage Plus elite levels to Star Alliance elite level.

    Star Alliance SilverStar Alliance Gold
    Premier Silver
    X
    Premier Gold
    X
    Premier Platinum
    X
    Premier 1K
    X
    Global Services
    X


    Mileage Plus Mileage Earning(top)

    Redeemable and elite qualification mileage earning varies based on operating carrier and fare class purchased.

    Revenue Fare Buckets(top)

    Class of ServicePurchased Fare ClassAward MilesElite Qualification MilesElite Qualification Points
    First Class (3-cabin)
    F, A​

    250%​

    150%​

    1.5​
    First Class (2-cabin)
    F, A​

    175%​

    150%​

    1.5​
    Full Fare Business Class
    J, C, D​

    175%​

    150%​

    1.5​
    Discounted Business Class
    P​

    150%​

    150%​

    1.5​
    Deep Discounted Business Class*
    Z​

    150%​

    150%​

    1.5​
    Full Fare Economy Class
    Y, B​

    125%​

    150%​

    1.5​
    Discounted Economy Class
    M, E, U, H, Q, V, W​

    100%​

    100%​

    1​
    Deep Discounted Economy Class*
    S, T, L, K, G​

    100%​

    100%​

    1​

    *Most fares in the "Deep Discounted" buckets are ineligible for MileagePlus promotions. They are also not eligible for GPU (formerly known as SWU) upgrades on longhaul routes marketed with a premium cabin.
    ** The N fare bucket is currently flagged as unused in the system; it is the only letter as yet unused.

    Award Fare Buckets(top)

    Redeemed CabinPremier StatusSaverPass/Saver Award BucketEasyPass/Standard Award Bucket
    First Class (3-cabin)Premier Platinum/1K/Global Services
    ON​

    FN​
    First Class (3-cabin)Premier Gold/Silver/
    O​

    FN​
    First Class (3-cabin)Chase CC Holder
    O​

    FN​
    First Class (3-cabin)Non-Elite
    O​

    FN​
    First Class (2-cabin)Premier Platinum/1K/Global Services
    IN​

    JN​
    First Class (2-cabin)Premier Gold/Silver/
    I​

    JN​
    First Class (2-cabin)Chase CC Holder
    I​

    JN​
    First Class (2-cabin)Non-Elite
    I​

    ZN​
    Business Class (3-cabin)Premier Platinum/1K/Global Services
    IN​

    JN​
    Business Class (3-cabin)Premier Gold/Silver
    I​

    JN​
    Business Class (3-cabin)Chase CC Holder
    I​

    JN​
    Business Class (3-cabin)Non-Elite
    I​

    ZN​
    Economy ClassPremier Platinum/1K/Global Services
    XN​

    YN​
    Economy ClassPremier Gold/Silver
    XN​

    YN​
    Economy ClassChase CC Holder
    X​

    YN​
    Economy ClassNon-Elite
    X​

    HN​


    Upgrade Fare Buckets(top)

    Redeemed CabinPremier StatusAward Bucket
    Biz to First (3-cabin)All Passengers
    ON​
    Economy to Business (3-cabin)All Levels
    RN​
    Economy to Business (3-cabin)Non-elite
    R​
    Economy to First (2-cabin)*All Levels
    RN​
    Economy to First (2-cabin)Non-elite
    R​

    *This includes Complimentary Premium Upgrades (CPUs) which were formerly known as UDU or EUA.

    Insta-Upgrade Fare Buckets(top)

    Redeemed CabinAward Bucket
    Y-Up
    JN​
    B/M-Up
    PN​


    Partner Airline Earning(top)

    In addition to earning while flying on aircraft operated by United, there are many partner airlines that have various earning levels. To check the earning level for a United partner, visit the Airline Partners page at the United website.