The new United Airlines upgrade & award fare buckets

Now that United Airlines converted to Shares and the old upgrade and award fare buckets no longer exist, I thought it might be helpful to summarize the new ones as shown in the below chart. The new alphabet soup has gotten a touch more complex depending on your elite status, so I’ve broken out the correct buckets by level.

The first “Upgrade” category covers burning your miles (+co-pay) or using a confirmable instrument (RPU/GPU), but also includes Complimentary Premier Upgrades where applicable from coach to the next cabin. The “Y/B/M Upgrade” section refers to the instant-upgrade program when buying full-fare coach tickets (or M-fares for 1K and Global Services members) in CPU markets (most domestic markets plus a few intra-Asia).

This is the new system in theory at the moment, as I have yet to attempt to book an award in one of the two-character buckets ending with –N. My reservation to Australia that was converted from Apollo shows my upgrade to business as simply being in the R-cabin, though we as customers might only see the first character online after a reservation is booked.

To view a flight’s allocation of inventory, simply click into the “Fare classes” link that appears on the right-hand side of a flight search when you go to make a reservation.

R.I.P. XF/NF/XC/NC…

 

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  1. I booked through UA’s new system over the phone a regular business class seat on UA (was available to aeroplan and ana as well), however they called it ON class, and they wanted the easypass amount of miles….

    :’-(

  2. Great website, and thanks for this really useful information! One question: Are YBM upgrades generally available for international flights on United? On Flyertalk etc it looks like the answer is “No” — most people seem to say these upgrades are only for the flights eligible for UCUs. However I am looking to book a flight from SFO > LHR, and on the United website I see several such flights which indicate PN9, which according to your chart means availability for B-upgrades. Does this mean B-upgrades are possible after all on these fights? Or is it just possible with a co-pay? Thanks for any help.

    • @Seth: Thanks! Yep, the Flyertalkers are correct The YBM upgrades are domestic-only – I’ve updated the post text to clarify it as a domestic perk.

  3. r u kidding… do i need a collage degree in bullshit to understand this… what good r these miles if u can not use them? if u do it by phone u get charged an extra $25… what a scam!!!!!

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