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United Airlines Adds Upgrade Option to Basic Economy Fares

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United Airlines Adds Upgrade Option to Basic Economy Fares

United Airlines Adds Upgrade Option to Basic Economy Fares

United Airlines is improving its basic economy fares. The airline now lets you upgrade them to economy fares. While this will usually turn out to be more expensive than booking economy fares in the first place, it allows passengers to cancel or change their flights and use credits for future travel.

Basic economy fares normally lack advance seat assignments, carry-on bags, and are nonrefundable and nonexchangeable. So passengers going for these lowest fares would just forfeit the value of any unused tickets if their plans changed.

Now, that’s no longer the case. Passengers can pay a nonrefundable upgrade fee to economy, and make changes to their itineraries. Passengers won’t face additional change fees, though they will have to pay fare differences if they change to a more expensive flight. Passengers will also receive all the other benefits of a full economy fare, including a free carry-on, seat assignments, and the option to use frequent flyer upgrades.

This upgrade option for United basic economy fares is limited to domestic tickets and short-haul international flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America, TPG reports.


This new upgrade option gives travelers a way to make changes to their travel plans, even if they booked the cheapest fare available. You can still go ahead and book that basic economy fare with United if you don’t care about the extras that an economy fare gives you. And if your plans change, you can upgrade. It will cost you slightly more, but it’s better than just losing the whole value of your ticket.

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Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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