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How To Upgrade Seats On United Airlines (Eligibility & Seating options)

United Airlines lets you avail of many of its services, which also include having the opportunity to upgrade seats on United Airlines when required. You can avail of the services if you happen to change your mind and decide to travel with better comfort to your destination. They have one of the largest fleet sizes and they cover almost the entire world, thus they have one of the most complicated route maps.

In this guide, we will take a look at how you can upgrade your seat on United Airlines flights and make your travel worthwhile.

Different ways to upgrade seats on United Airlines

You can upgrade your United seat in a number of ways. However, note that elite members will be given priority and other benefits than passengers traveling in basic ticket types.

If you are a member of United’s elite program, you will have more chances of getting upgrades to travel in comfort. United’s MileagePlus is one such elite program that allows customers to enjoy several benefits, which include discounted fares and in-flight services etc.

Now, let’s look at the various different ways that you can upgrade your seat on a United flight.

  • MileagePlus upgrade awards
  • Complimentary awards
  • PlusPoints upgrade
  • Star Alliance upgrade awards
  • Instant upgrades

MileagePlus upgrade awards

As mentioned above, having a MileagePlus membership allows you to avail many benefits, including seat upgrades to upper cabin classes. Also, this is the most commonly used method, when customers want to upgrade their seats.

United’s MileagePlus program lets you upgrade seats with the help of rewards points which you earn by traveling frequently with United Airlines or with its partner airlines. So, the more you travel, chances are, the more points you will earn and then use these points to purchase services.

Complimentary awards

If you are a Premier Elite member of United, you can avail of this feature. Using complimentary awards, you can easily upgrade your seat. However, keep in mind that the upgrade will depend on its availability. So, the offer depends on whether the seat will be available for upgrade or not.

PlusPoints upgrade

Another method to upgrade seats on United flights is by using the PlusPoints upgrade. This method of the upgrade, however, is offered to passengers that are members of United’s Premier Elite Platinum status.

Usually, Premier Elite Platinum status members earn PlusPoints rewards each time they fly with United. Thus, these earned reward points can be used for purchasing other services, including seat upgrades.

Star Alliance upgrade awards

United Airlines makes it easy for its customers to avail of benefits in various ways. In fact, United also lets its customers get valued services even when flying with its partner airlines. This is a part of United’s Star Alliance awards program, in which you can also upgrade your seat to an upper cabin class.

United Airlines has partnered with several airline carriers in the U.S. and overseas, thus, forming what is called the Star Alliance network partners.

Instant upgrades

Finally, there is another useful way of having your seat upgraded on United flights. This method is called instant upgrades and is available to all Economy cabin class passengers and Premier elite members as well.

When you book your United ticket, you also earn this upgrade at the time of booking. So, this gives you an opportunity to make use of the perk, especially if you decide you want a higher cabin seat upgrade before your flight’s scheduled departure.

Does it Cost to Upgrade Seats On United Airlines Flights?

This is a very common question that is asked by many people flying with United Airlines, or perhaps, any airline carrier in general.

When you upgrade seats on United Airlines flights, the airline carrier usually calculates the costs deemed necessary which are based on the airfare. This may include several factors, such as the type of ticket purchased, the distance of the flight’s journey, whether the passenger is an elite status member, and many more.

Thus, it is important and also advised to travelers you read their airline’s travel policy before making reservations. Since travel policies may vary from one airline carrier to another, so will their perks and costs for availing of such services.

Do you Get a Refund on Seat Upgrades?

United Airlines also has a certain policy for refunds on seat upgrades. The airline carrier states that if a passenger has upgraded his or her seat, and if the upgraded seat’s price is either equal to or less than the cost of the originally purchased fare, then no refund is given, if the passenger wishes to cancel their seat. However, if you purchase an upgrade that costs more than its original price, you may likely be entitled to a refund, either in part or in full.

You can also find more information on the upgrade cost and refunds by contacting United’s customer service centre.

How to Upgrade your Seat on a United Airlines Flight Reservation

If you have traveled on United Airlines before, you will know that the airline carrier allows its passengers to avail of upgrade services online i.e., via their website. Or, perhaps, you may simply contact United’s reservations desk to assist you with the upgrade you desire.

Keep in mind that United Airlines mandates certain eligibility criteria and of course, may also charge service fees. So, make sure that you go through their travel policy carefully.

Steps to Upgrade Seat on United Airlines

In order to upgrade your seat on a United Airlines flight, follow the steps given below.

1. Go to United’s official website using your computer or smartphone device.

2. Next, click the My Trips option located in the upper right corner of the page.

3. Now, under the Manage My Trips sub-menu, click the Find a Trip option. Here, you will be asked to provide information, such as the passenger’s first and last name and the confirmation number. After entering the required details, click the Search button.

Note: The search result will display your itinerary which you can modify to suit your needs.

4. If you are looking for an upgrade, simply select the desired cabin class and proceed to the checkout page.

Note: Your request for the seat upgrade will depend on its availability.

5. When your upgrade is available and confirmed, your changes will be saved and you will be asked to make the necessary payment (including fees and taxes). Also, an updated e-ticket along with the confirmation will be sent to you via e-mail.

Make sure that you have access to your e-mail address to receive your upgraded ticket.


As seen above, you can avail of seat upgrades through various upgrade options when traveling on United Airlines flights. The option to upgrade your current reservation by paying in fees or your earned awards points makes in making the decision a convenient choice.

Thus, fulfilling your desire for travelling in upgraded cabin classes can become a reality with United Airlines.

Read also: How To Complaint To United Airlines Customer Service

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