United Extends the Useful Life of Top Elite Confirmed Upgrades

United has announced that the confirmed domestic and international upgrade instruments they give to their 1K members will be valid longer — instead of 1 year from date of issue, they will last through the end of the next elite membership year.

I wanted to let you know that over the course of the next couple weeks, we’ll be making a change that will give those of you who earn Global Premier Upgrades (GPU) and Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU) more time to use them. Specifically:

  • Newly-earned GPUs and RPUs will be valid longer. Starting later this month, when newly earned GPUs and RPUs are deposited into your account, they will be valid through the end of the following Premier program year instead of just one year from the date of issue. So, for example, all GPUs and RPUs earned in 2012 will be valid through January 31, 2014; those earned in 2013 will be valid through January 31, 2015 and so on.

  • Unused GPUs and RPUs earned in 2012 will also be extended. For those of you who currently have GPUs or RPUs in your account that were earned based on 2012 travel, these will also automatically be extended and will be valid through the end of the next Premier program year (January 31, 2014). This includes GPUs and RPUs that are waitlisted or redeposited. Upon redeposit, the extended validity date will be reflected.

These validity changes will take effect by the end of this month, and in the meantime, no action will be required on your part.

Previously some folks would try to push off requalifying for elite status because they would get upgrades that would expire earlier if they didn’t. Now the earlier you make status, the longer you’ll have to use those instruments. This change will be made to apply retroactively to upgrade instruments earned from 2012 travel.

This is a return to the pre-merger United policy for expiration of thee upgrade instruments.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This would hurt does who qualify at the end of the year as their GPU and RPU will have a shorter shelf-life as they will expire shortly after they are earend

  2. @Dov previously it was 12 months. So if you qualified in December 2012, they would expire December 2013. Now they would expire January 2014. Late qualifiers aren’t hurt, early qualifiers are helped.

  3. @DOV – How will it hurt them? The change is to the end of the NEXT program year, not current. My reading is that a person who earned their upgrades in Dec 1, 2012 would move from a Dec 1, 2013 expiration date to a Dec 31, 2013 date. That’s not a huge help, but it definitely doesn’t make things worse.

  4. @Gary– this is actually better than the PMUA policy, as CR1’s (now RPU’s) used to expire after 12 months. (Though it’s still worse in the sense that 1K’s only earn them after 75k EQM’s as opposed to 2 every quarter with 10k EQM’s)

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