Any United flyers in the house? Those of us with elite status have happy news today, thanks to another extension that United is offering. Let’s take a look.
Those who fly often with United earn PlusPoints, which is the currency you’ll use to confirm upgrades. Depending on your elite status level (Premier Platinum or Premier 1K), you can earn up to 320 PlusPoints per year. These can then be used to snag yourself a seat in United Premium Plus or even United Polaris.
However, the pandemic has (obviously) made traveling more difficult than usual, which means that a lot of these PlusPoints weren’t being used. This is problematic since they’re only valid for a year after you’ve earned them; once they expire they’re gone. For the last 2 years, United has joined other U.S. airlines in extending elite benefits — and now it’s done so again.
United has notified its elite members via email, letting them know that their points will be extended by a further 6 months. The new expiration date will depend on when your PlusPoints were originally set to expire:
|Original Expiration Date ||New Expiration Date|
|July 31, 2022||January 31, 2023|
|January 31, 2023||July 31, 2023|
This is great news if you, like us, have PlusPoints hanging out in your account. You’ll need as few as 20 PlusPoints to upgrade your trips, though the required amount will depend on your flight.
Using Your PlusPoints
Using your PlusPoints is an exercise in flexibility. Although you can always add yourself to the waitlist for an upgrade, it’s far better — if you can — to book a flight with an immediately confirmable upgrade. Take, for example, this flight from Chicago (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA) in August of this year:
As you can see, you can immediately confirm yourself into business class on this flight — in fact, you can do so while booking. The key to finding upgrade space is looking for the fare code PZ. On this flight, there are 9 seats available for upgrade, indicated by the highlighted PZ9 you see in the screenshot.
You’ll also note that there are differing PlusPoints costs to confirm yourself in Polaris class. In this case, it’s obviously worth it to spend $20 more and halve the amount of PlusPoints you’ll need to spend. That’s equal to a full upgrade on a future flight!
For reference, this flight that prices out at $1,081 and 40 PlusPoints would have cost $5,494 in business class:
Hot Tip: Want to use your PlusPoints on partner airlines? Check out our handy guide on how to use United PlusPoints on partner airlines.
United is doing its customers a solid by extending PlusPoints for its customers. Your new expiration date will depend on the original date they were due to expire, so make sure to check your accounts.
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