Upgrading an Award Ticket With Miles from Two Accounts

Reader Casey asked,

My friend booked 2 United economy awards for him and myself for 25k each. To upgrade to Business class it is only 15k each. I have 25K and he has 5k. Can we somehow upgrade to Business for both of us using our miles? We can’t figure it out on the website. Thank you!

The miles for an award ticket will need to come entirely from one account.

You can book just one-way from an account, of course, and that’s a good way to draw miles from more than one person when one account has a lot more miles than the other.

It sounds like your friend originally had 55,000 miles and you had 25,000 and what you wanted ideally was two 40,000 mile awards. (I’m taking this as given – you don’t mention where travel is from and to.)

The thing to have done in that case would have been to transfer 15,000 miles from your friend to you. You’d each have 40,000 miles in your accounts.

Transferring points comes at a cost. When there’s no promotion running the cost is:

  • $5.63 per 500 miles, so 15,000 miles transferred would be $168.90
  • Plus a $30 transaction fee.

Now that you already have award tickets you’d need to change those tickets and pay for the transfer.

It’s always best to know what kind of award you want, and strategize to get the miles where they need to be at the outset.

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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