Priority boarding with United credit cards – how it really works

by on Tue July 16, 2013 • 4 Comments

Info-Graphic-Jan-BoardingGroups-Vertical-finalUnited likes to show off the Priority Boarding feature of its credit cards in its prolific ‘You’re In’  TV ads and descriptions of benefits.

However be aware United recently changed its boarding procedures and as a result we’ve been getting a lot of questions from people with the United and Continental credit cards on how their priority boarding works. The reality is you’re not going to be the very first to board the plane, but will have the ability to board before most flyers.

United now uses 6 zones for boarding flights and the United MileagePlus® Explorer, United MileagePlus® Club, Presidential Plus, and United Awards card holders board in Group 2.

Here are the details of how these Zones fit in the grand scheme of boarding…

  • Pre-Boarding: Customers with disabilities, then Global Services and uniformed military personnel
  • Group 1: Global Services, Premier 1K, Premier Platinum, premium cabins
  • Group 2: Premier Gold, Star Gold, Premier Silver, Star Silver, MileagePlus Presidential Plus and Club cardholders, MileagePlus Explorer and Awards cardholders
  • Groups 3-5: General boarding – Window seats (Group 3), Middle seats (Group 4), Aisle seats (Group 5).

So, when you’re at the gate, wait patiently for your Group number, in Group 2 there should be plenty of overhead bin space available unless it’s a very, very business traveler heavy flight.

Also remember — you need to input your MileagePlus® frequent flyer number when making your reservation for the benefit to show up. Waving your credit card at the gate agent isn’t going to help. The only way they can verify it’s valid is to have the Group number printed on the boarding pass.

If it’s not showing up on your boarding pass properly, please contact Chase to get the right folks at United involved. There were glitches in United’s computer system that were showing the wrong boarding zone, but those have mostly been resolved.


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4 thoughts on Priority boarding with United credit cards – how it really works

  1. Steven C.

    With priority boarding I used to be able to get to check in on the shorter line at security… today I was informed that priority check-in was reserved for premier access only. Did this policy change? Or has TSA been getting it wrong for 3 years?

    1. MileCards

      @Steven – Unfortunately you used to get the Priority Access due to a glitch in United’s system that had the boarding benefit tied to the Priority Access designation on the boarding pass. But looks like they’ve fixed that.


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