All of us want to be in first class. Or, even better, business class on long-haul international flights. It can be difficult to understand all the criteria when trying to upgrade your United Airlines flight.

Let’s look at the United upgrade clearing list and some tips for securing those highly sought-after seats.

Who can be upgraded?

Upgrades are not available for everyone who book United flights. Certain fare classes are not eligible, such as basic economy. There are also limitations like upgrade for award tickets.

Fortunately, you can upgrade almost every flight except those in basic economy. As we will discuss, there are many factors that affect how and when you get upgraded.

United upgrade clearing order

United processes your requests in a different order.

  1. Requests to United Global Services This exclusive, invite-only tier has all upgrades cleared first.

  2. PlusPoints and mileage upgrades are available. These can be redeemed for upgrades and are the second in line to clear.

  3. You are an elite status. Your chances of success are greater if you have a higher status.

  4. Class of fare. More expensive fare classes clear first.

  5. Cardholders of the Chase United MileagePlus Club and Presidential Plus cards. Cardholders with high-end credit cards are more successful than those who have lower-end cards.

  6. United Corporate Preferred members This program is only available to those whose company enrolls.

  7. United Chase Cardmembers who spend $25,000 annually You have a greater chance of being upgraded if you spend more.

  8. Make your request. The sooner you ask, the better.

When is the United upgrade waitlist cleared?

Your upgrade will not be granted for eager travelers when you book your flight. Instead, you will be placed on a waiting list.

The airline may sometimes offer an upgrade before you check in for your flight. If you arrive at check-in and don’t receive news about an upgrade, you will be added to the waiting list.


You can make new waitlist requests for MileagePlus Upgrade Awards up to one day (24 hours) prior to departure. However, you can request PlusPoints upgrades from the waitlist closer to departure time, but not before the flight check-in cutoff.

Tips to Upgrade

We all know that not many people will be invited to join United Global Services. These are just a few ways you can increase your chances of getting an upgrade to United.

Earn elite status

Premier Silver members are eligible for complimentary upgrades. These upgrades are free for domestic flights, and you can go from economy to first class on most domestic flights.

Second, Platinum elite members receive an annual allocation of PlusPoints. Members who are Platinum elite earn 40 PlusPoints, while United 1K members earn 32 PlusPoints each year.

These PlusPoints can be used as upgrades on your flights and are valid for both domestic and international routes. It can cost as low as 40 PlusPoints for an upgrade from economy to Polaris business on long-haul international routes.

Third, Premier elite members are eligible for instant upgrades upon purchasing full-fare economy tickets. This applies to Y, B and M fare classes as well as United 1K members.

Get a cobranded credit card

As you can see, those who have a co-branded United credit cards are more privileged than others. This is especially true if they are one of the more costly United cards.

There’s another benefit to having a co-branded credit card: upgrade on award tickets. United doesn’t usually offer upgrades on award ticket, but if you have both an elite card and a United creditcard, this option is available. This applies to companions traveling on the same ticket.

Purchase a higher fare

All airline tickets may not be the same. Each airline sells a certain number of tickets in various fare classes. The ticket will be cheaper if it is in a lower class. United is no exception. It gives priority for those who book in higher fare classes to upgrade.

The order of clearance for economy-class tickets is: Y, B. M. E. U. H, Q. V. W. S. T. L. K and G.

This means that passengers who have purchased tickets with U fare classes will be upgraded prior to those who have booked in W fare classes.

This doesn’t really matter if you have elite status, since it precedes these upgrades. However, it can make a big difference in breaking a tie when it comes time to upgrade.

If two United 1K members book economy tickets for the same flight but one is in B and one is in H, then the first class ticket will go to the member in B.

Also, note that S, T L, K, and G are deep-discount economy tickets. These can be upgraded, but it will cost you 80 PlusPoints.

Book a premium Economy ticket

Last but not least is the option to purchase Premium Plus seats to upgrade to United Polaris.

Priority for upgrade is given to Premium Plus passengers who have purchased premium economy seats. United will only process upgrade requests from economy passengers once they have been cleared.

Get a United upgrade with miles

You can still be elite status if you have United MileagePlus miles but not elite status. United offers miles upgrade awards that have the same priority as PlusPoints and are available in the same way.


United points transferred to Chase Ultimate Rewards(r), at a 1:1 ratio. This makes it simple to accumulate more United miles.

You will be charged a co-pay cash, and the cost of using a mile upgrade award may vary depending on where you fly. These co-pays are not applicable to those who travel in O, Y, or B class fare classes.

Upgraded on United, recapped

There is a certain appeal to flying first. It’s why frequent flyer programs are so popular. To get an upgrade on your flight, make sure you take into account the United clearing order. These tips will help you maximize your chances of success.

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