Tip: Extend Expiring United Upgrades Through April 2017
Hands down, the most valuable United elite benefit is the six Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) you'll receive when earning United Premier 1K or Global Services status. United issues two more for every additional 50,000 Premier-Qualifying Miles earned — if you travel a lot for business on premium fares, you can easily end up with more upgrades than you can reasonably use in a calendar year.
If you were issued upgrades valid through 2016, they must be used by January 31, 2017 — though there is an exception. Just as it did last year, the airline will allow customers who earned Premier 1K (or Global Services) status again for 2017 to extend the expiration date of two GPUs through April 30, 2017, giving you an additional three months to redeem.
United Global Premier Upgrades can be used to move up one cabin — from economy to Polaris business, or from business to Polaris first on three-cabin planes. They can also be used to upgrade domestic and regional flights. GPUs aren't just limited to United-operated travel — you can also apply them to ANA and Lufthansa flights. While there are some restrictions to note, these certificates can offer tremendous value.
I called the MileagePlus Service Center at 800-421-4655 to extend my upgrades — the new expiration date appeared in my account instantly. I’d suggest contacting MileagePlus before January 31 to make your request, however there is a chance you may be able to recover your upgrades even after they expire. After your GPUs are extended, they’ll automatically be pulled first (ahead of upgrades expiring in 2018) when you apply them to a reservation.
Have you extended your United GPUs?