United now selling Premium Plus on select domestic flights

Sep 28, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Bad news, United elites: The jig is up. As of Wednesday, October 2, United’s domestic Premium Plus seats will be sold as a separate cabin on flights between Newark and Los Angeles and San Francisco — it’ll no longer be possible for elites to assign these seats for free — meaning you’ll actually need to purchase a Premium Plus fare (in the O, ON, A, R, RN fare classes) in order to sit there. Meanwhile, if you’ve already assigned yourself a Premium Plus seat for flights after Wednesday, you’ve likely been moved to Economy Plus.

Fares appear to start at $413 each way, though they’re priced relative to the lowest economy fare: If economy is more expensive on any given flight, Premium Plus will be, too. The good news is that with this launch, customers will earn additional elite-qualifying credits, accruing Premier Qualifying Miles (PQMs) and Premier Qualifying Segments (PQSs) at a 150% rate. Additionally, customers in a paid Premium Plus fare class have the highest priority for upgrades.

On board, Premium Plus customers will find a seat that’s similar to what you’ll get in domestic first class — essentially a larger recliner, with an HD seat-back entertainment system — but with service that’s more aligned with what United offers in economy. Premium Plus passengers will also get a complimentary meal, though it’s not yet clear whether this will be identical to business class or what’s typically available to transcon Economy Plus flyers.

United's 787-10 Premium Plus cabin. Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
United’s 787-10 Premium Plus cabin. Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Naturally, as is typical for Premium Plus fares in the international market, redemption rates are bonkers. For example, the lowest awards I’m seeing are priced at 40,000 miles each way, compared with 12,500 miles for economy.

Meanwhile, you can book limited saver lie-flat business awards for 35,000 miles each way — in some cases, even on the same day! (Uhh, definitely do that, instead.)

Considering Everyday Awards in business class are available for 50,000 miles on almost every day of the year, I’d definitely spend the extra 10k miles for United’s true Polaris seat, which you’ll find on all flights operated by the 787-10. So, unless the fare is exceptional, or United reduces redemption rates, I’d generally avoid Premium Plus for now.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.