United made an official announcement on Friday by posting on FlyerTalk that both Regional Premier Upgrades (RPU) and Global Premier Upgrades (GPU’s) would be valid longer.
RPU’s and GPU’s used to expire 12 months after they were earned. This change will make them valid until the end of the next premier year from when they were earned. Upgrades earned in 2012 would expire on January, 2014, and so on.
Under the old United, the system the system wide upgrades (SWU’s) were issued and valid for 12 months from the beginning of the new membership year. If you made 1K in 2008, the system wide upgrades were issued at the beginning of 2009. You could always get an extension for expiry for couple of SWU’s by contacting Mileage Plus.
This is a welcomed development from United, although using these instruments to upgrade doesn’t guarantee the upgrade unless there is upgrade space available at the time of applying the upgrade. Unlike with American where eVips are valid at all fares, you need to buy a higher base fare in order to be part of the upgrade lottery internationally.