United Announces Introduction of Plus Points

Polaris business class seating on United's 787 (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Craig Fischer)

Chicago-based United Airlines has announced the introduction of PlusPoints, an upgraded benefit for the carrier’s premier customers.

Beginning December 4, PlusPoints will replace Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU) and Global Premier Upgrades (GPU) which are used to upgrade a passenger from economy to a premier cabin. The introduction of the new points will allow customers to redeem 20 PlusPoints for one RPU and 40 PlusPoints for one GPU. Each premier customer’s RPU and GPU will also be converted to PlusPoints.

In addition, PlusPoints will give customers additional flexibility in determining the use of their upgrades and can join upgrade lists for multiple flights in their itineraries. PlusPoints will also remain in the customer’s account and will not be deducted until their upgrades actually go through.

PlusPoints also allow customers to request upgrades in any region, whereas before, RPUs were selected to specific regions.

Premier Platinum customers will receive enough PlusPoints to upgrade from Economy to Polaris business class and Premier 1K customers will be able to upgrade from discounted economy seats to Polaris. United also hopes to allow Premier 1K members to bypass the upgrade list and receive a confirmed upgrade at the time of booking using PlusPoints.

PlusPoints can also be used on fellow Star Alliance carriers, such as ANA and Lufthansa.

It is worth noting that PlusPoints are just an additional benefit and will not replace the carrier’s Complimentary Premier Upgrade benefit. The carrier has stated that all Premier customers will still be placed on upgrade lists for all flights.

“We’re making it even easier for our Premier members to use upgrades when and how they want,” said Luc Bondar, Vice President of Loyalty and President of MileagePlus in a press release. “The new PlusPoints program increases the overall number of upgrade opportunities for top tier Premier members, expands the fare classes where they can be used, and lets members request upgrades on multiple flights all at once. We already make it easy for members to manage all of their upgrades online, and the move to PlusPoints is yet another way we are making MileagePlus the best loyalty program in the industry.”

Once PlusPoints go into effect, Platinum customers will receive 40 PlusPoints and 1K members will receive an additional 280 on top of the 40 PlusPoints. However, PlusPoints will still follow the same expiration policy as GPUs and RPUs, expiring in January one year after they have been earned.

Akhil Dewan

An “AvGeek” for most of his life, Akhil has always been drawn to aviation. If there is an opportunity to read about an airline, fly on a new airplane, or talk to anyone about aviation, he is on it. Akhil has been on over 20 different kinds of aircraft, his favorite being the MD-80. Additionally, he has visited 5 continents and plans to knock out the remaining two (Africa and Antarctica) soon. Based in Dallas, Akhil graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Management Information Systems and currently works in consulting. His dream is to become an airline executive.
Akhil Dewan