I'm not at platinum status yet, but what are the benefits to having mileage plus silver premier (if I have the name right) status? From what I understand 1 checked bag is allowed on all flights and there is a mention of complimentary upgrades if available, but how does it work exactly? I have generally flown economy, what would the upgrade be to and how often does it happen? Are there other benefits?
Yes you are to get one free checked bag that weighs not more than 50lbs and will be able to use the Premier Access lines when you check that free bag or use a kiosk to print a boarding pass. You also will be able to use the Premier Access line at security which may save you some time depending on the airport. When departing from a UA HUB often times the Premier Access line is longer than the regular security line because there are so many Premier flyers who live in that city.
The Complimentary access to EconPlus seats when you check-in online or via the UA App up to 24 hours before departure. When you check-in for the flight always go to the "View/Change Seat" tab and see what seats are available in EconPlus and then make your selection IF any are available, so there is your "If Available" caveat. EconPlus will give you a little more legroom than regular Economy seats.
The Complimentary Upgrade to First Class as a Silver Premier can only be issued on the day of departure, so right after midnight on the day of your flight log into your account and again use the "View/Change Seats" tab and see if any First Class Upgrades are left and if there are seats available snag one of them. If you do not the Complimentary Upgrade you may be able to buy the upgrade so look around the page and see if that is showing as at times it is not easy to find.
How often it happens depends again on the city of departure and aircraft type. If departing from a UA HUB location the upgrades to First Class can be few and far between, yet some Insiders claim to get them frequently. Aircraft that you're flying can help as well for if you are flying on a 20 seat First Class bird like the B739's your chances increase some over the 8 seat A319's. Just become familiar with what the UA fleet seating is and try to pick your airplane if able by the number of seats in First Class and hope they don't make an aircraft change as they have been known to do.
Hope some of this helps and I trust other Insiders who are more familiar with the Silver Premier and their experiences will chime in as I'm sure they will.
Best of luck.
I Agree that iahflyr described it pretty good.
i am Platinum with United and I can tell you it is not easy getting upgrades if only being silver. It depends on where you fly to but if New York, LA, San Francisco, Houston or denver is among your connecting cities or destinations, you can forget about it. Last time I was #17 on the upgrade standby list at departure from LAX (meaning that all others already have been upgraded). I seldom got upgrades when I was gold but being platinum I get upgraded about 20% of my flights.
THe fact that you can get a economy plus seat at check in is quite nice and they are almost always available,(though your chances of getting a middle seat increases, but it's your choice).
MOst important is that you earn more miles per dollar spent when being silver (vs just a member). you will earn 7 miles per dollar spent on the ticket (vs 5 as a regular member without premier status) so that gives you 40% more miles. That Can Add up over time.
IAHFLYR gave a pretty thorough description. I've been able to get upgrades to EcomonyPlus on virtually every flight. First Class upgrades are much harder to come by, though not impossible. I will say that UA Silver isn't worth enough to keep me loyal. If I can get a better deal on AA or DL out of my home airport, I'll grab that and earn miles on Alaska though their partnership arrangements. More often than not, UA has worse fares and times and the minimal benefit from being Silver doesn't make up for that. Still, when I am able to take advantage of the status, I do use it.
One other perk available is being granted automatic FiveStar status with Hertz. It doesn't offer many benefits, but since it's a freebie for being UA Silver, you might look into whether it makes any sense for you.