United unlikely to offer elite upgrade extensions this year

Oct 14, 2019

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There appears to be another unfortunate casualty of United’s new PlusPoints program — in addition to the reduced earning rate we just learned about as part of the carrier’s changes to elite qualification, kicking in Jan. 1, 2020.

In the past, United has offered Premier 1K and Global Services members an opportunity to extend the expiration date of two Global Premier Upgrade (GPU) certificates, from Jan. 31 until April 30. Members were required to have requalified for the same (or higher) status level for the following year, but — assuming things were all squared away on that front — MileagePlus Service Center agents were able to extend two certificates on the spot. It was an unadvertised, but much-appreciated perk.

You can also use United GPUs to upgrade select ANA and Lufthansa partner flights. Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

Unfortunately, a United spokesperson confirmed that the same will not apply to PlusPoints — once that conversion takes place on Dec. 4, 2019, points originally issued as GPUs in 2018 will expire on Jan.  31, 2020.

Now, I’ll certainly be giving MileagePlus a call (at 800-421-4655) to attempt to extend the equivalent of two GPUs — or 80 PlusPoints — regardless. I’m sure many 1K and Global Services elites will, too, so I wouldn’t give up hope just yet. However, since the policy is to not offer an extension as of now, I’d do your best to redeem your GPUs if at all possible — it’d be quite a shame to have them disappear come Jan. 31, 2020.

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