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How to get priority boarding with United Airlines

Settle in sooner and find a place for your carry-on bags.

Priority boarding on United Airlines will you get you on the plane before other passengers. Active US military members or families with children 2 years old or younger are entitled to preboarding. Otherwise, you can earn your spot in the first boarding groups with elite status, by purchasing priority boarding or by using an eligible United credit card with complimentary priority boarding.

How to get United Airlines priority boarding

You can get United priority boarding if you:

  • Purchase a higher fare class. Flying on United Polaris, United First and United Business classes gets you Group 1 boarding.
  • Earn elite status. Premier 1K members get preboarding, Premier Platinum and Gold members board Group 1, and Premier Silver members board with Group 2.
  • Earn elite status with partner airlines. As a member of the Star Alliance, United grants priority boarding to frequent flyers on partner airlines. Once you reach elite status with a partner airline, that status converts to elite status with the alliance. Star Alliance Gold members board with Group 1, while Silver members board with Group 2.
  • Get an eligible United credit card. The United℠ Explorer Card and the United MileagePlus® Club card let you board with Group 2. Companions traveling on your reservation also benefit from this perk.
  • Being an active duty US military member. Carry your military ID to preboard your United flight.
  • Purchase United priority boarding. If you don’t meet any of the conditions to earn United priority boarding, you can buy one starting from $15.

Who gets priority boarding?

A certain hierarchy is laid out to determine who boards the plane first. Check out the table below to find out where you might stand in the line.

  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Customers who need assistance
  • Active members of the US military
  • United Global Services members
  • Families traveling with children 2 years old and younger
  • Premier 1K members
Group 1
  • Premier Platinum members
  • Premier Gold members
  • Star Alliance Gold members
  • Customers seated in premium cabins: United Polaris, United First and United Business
Group 2
  • Premier Silver members
  • Star Alliance Silver members
  • Customers who have purchased Premier Access or Priority Boarding
  • United℠ Explorer Card and United Club cardmembers
Group 3 – 5
  • Economy Plus
  • United Economy
  • Basic Economy

Compare credit cards with United Airlines priority boarding

Only two United credit cards let you board with Group 2 by simply being a card member.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
United℠ Explorer Card
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
2x miles at restaurants, hotels and United and 1.5x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
United Club℠ Infinite Card
75,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
4x miles on United purchases, 2x miles on travel and dining and 1x miles on all other purchases
Get United Club membership with access for you and two guests at any United Club or Star Alliance lounge -- a value of up to $650 annually.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to get United Airlines priority boarding with your credit card

    Using an eligible credit card to snag priority boarding is simple:
  1. Get an eligible United Airlines credit card.
  2. Use your card to purchase United airfare and include your MileagePlus number on your reservation.
  3. You will automatically receive a Group 2 priority boarding.

Bottom line

If you don’t belong in any of the groups entitled to get United priority boarding, you can either purchase one for your flight or you can get an eligible United credit card and get priority boarding on United-operated flights. For more information on the MileagePlus program and its benefits, check out our full United MileagePlus guide.

However, if you prefer a different airline, check out other airline cards that offer priority boarding and compare your options.

Frequently asked questions

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