What Is United Airlines Global Services Status?

What Is United Airlines Global Services Status?

28

There’s a lot of intrigue surrounding airline invitation-only elite status. I’ve written about American Concierge Key status and Delta 360 status, and in this post I wanted to take a look at United Global Services status. What is the status, how do you earn it, what are the benefits, and how many members are there? I’ll share everything I know…

What is United Global Services status?

Global Services is United Airlines’ invitation-only elite status. Aside from lifetime status (which I’ll cover below), there are no published ways to earn this exclusive tier. Most members have to qualify for Global Services status year after year.

In addition to offering the highest priority for just about everything at United, Global Services status also offers better “soft” treatment with the airline.

Global Services is United’s invitation-only elite tier

How do you earn United Global Services status?

There’s only one published way to earn Global Services, and that’s through United’s Million Miler program. If you earn four million lifetime miles with United MileagePlus then you get lifetime Global Services status, and you can even share that with a companion.

Admittedly this is a very high threshold, so you’d have to be loyal to United for a long time to earn that (for example, you’d need to fly 100,000 miles per year for 40 years). I’d guess that only a small minority of Global Services members have earned status this way.

The much more common way to earn Global Services status is through an invitation, using unpublished criteria:

  • Some of United Airlines’ biggest spenders can be invited to Global Services; the requirements vary based on the market you fly out of, but generally expect that you won’t be invited if you don’t spend $50,000+ per year with the airline
  • United Global Services status is sometimes gifted to those who have a lot of influence over the travel of others, or those who sign a corporate contract with United
  • United Global Services is sometimes given to celebrities and other “important” people, where United wants to make sure they have a good experience when they travel with the airline.

Note that if someone earns Global Services status and is also at least a one million miler, they can nominate a companion to also be Global Services for as long as they have status (this is different than four million miler status, where you and a companion get the status for life).

Global Services status requires lots of spending

What are the benefits of United Global Services status?

Perks for United Airlines Global Services members include the following:

  • The highest upgrade priority for United flights, as complimentary upgrades start clearing 120 hours out (compared to 96 hours out for Premier 1K members)
  • The highest priority for standby, sold out flights, waitlisted upgrades, award flights, and more
  • Access to special upgrade inventory when using upgrade certificates, which other members don’t have access to
  • Access to special Global Services check-in facilities at major hubs
  • Priority boarding ahead of first class
  • Special treatment in the event of irregular operations, with first priority for rebooking
  • Mercedes-Benz tarmac transfers at major hubs with a tight connection, though this isn’t guaranteed
  • A dedicated 24/7 Global Services hotline and email address for flight assistance
  • United Club access, even when just traveling domestically (though no guests are allowed)
  • Access to the United arrivals lounge in London, Lufthansa arrivals lounge in Frankfurt, and SWISS arrivals lounge in Zurich, when arriving same day on United (though some of these lounges are temporarily closed)

I find it interesting that Global Services members don’t get access to United’s Polaris Lounges. Admittedly most Global Services members are probably traveling in business class on long haul flights anyway, but still…

Global Services members may receive tarmac transfers

How many United Global Services members are there?

Airline elite status can be a bit of a you-know-what measuring contest, and people are always curious about how many members there are in a particular elite tier. Since Global Services is primarily invitation-only, the airline is also tight-lipped about how many Global Services members there are. All we can do is speculate… and there’s a lot of speculation out there.

For example, when this question was asked on Quora, someone recently deduced that there were 20 million MileagePlus elite members, 40,000 Premier 1K members, and 2,000 Global Services members. All of those numbers seem way off to me. I’d guess there are way fewer elite members, way more Premier 1K members, and way more Global Services members.

This is purely speculation on my part, but I would guess that there are somewhere around 15,000-25,000 Global Services members. For context, I had speculated that there were around 15,000 American Concierge Key members (and we know for a fact that there are at least 11,300 members, or at least were in 2019), so why do I think there are more United Global Services members?

  • In general United is a more global airline than American (just look at United’s pre-pandemic network out of SFO and EWR), and it’s much easier to earn Global Services flying long haul than short haul; heck, pre-pandemic, Apple bought 50 business class seats per day on United between San Francisco and Shanghai
  • Global Services members who have any sort of lifetime status can nominate someone else to be Global Services, so that also increases the number of members significantly

If anyone has any theories or thoughts they’d like to share, I’d love to hear it (and if anyone has any inside info they want to share anonymously, that would be great too). It’s possible I’m totally off, but I’m just sharing my best educated guess.

I’d guess there are 15,000+ Global Services members

What is United Chairman’s Circle status?

If you think United is tight-lipped about Global Services status, then wait until you hear about Chairman’s Circle. This is an extra-special invitation-only status that is typically given to people who have contracts that include at least $5 million in annual spending on United. Only one person at the company gets it.

At least that’s how it used to be, and the details here are very limited. I’d guess the number of members there is in the dozens…

Bottom line

Global Services is United Airlines’ invitation-only elite status. You can earn it either by being very loyal to United over the course of your life, controlling major travel contracts and having a lot of influence, or by spending a lot on United (think $50,000+).

Global Services comes with top priority for everything at United, and on top of that you can expect that the “soft” treatment will be much better as well.

To United Global Services members, what has your experience been with the status? And anyone want to guess how many members there are?

Conversations (28)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Sun, sand and beach Guest

    I’ve been GS for 15+ years. Ever since they introduced it. I know I got it some years because of my position in the company and our spend with them but most years I earned it and spend my own money too. I have no hesitation in buying Polaris for personal travel. I recently moved into lifetime status with 4 million miles. What’s best is the joy my wife experiences by having it too even...

    I’ve been GS for 15+ years. Ever since they introduced it. I know I got it some years because of my position in the company and our spend with them but most years I earned it and spend my own money too. I have no hesitation in buying Polaris for personal travel. I recently moved into lifetime status with 4 million miles. What’s best is the joy my wife experiences by having it too even when just travelling alone. The downside? Inconsistency! Especially post Covid. Leas thanks for being GS. Less recognition. Less personal attention especially at EWR where I honestly think they resent GS people. Also, I usually buy my tickets but with 1600+ plus points I rarely can use them to upgrade an economy ticket. I don’t know how people get 120 hour clearances etc. Finally, forget feedback. UAL Exec suite is oblivious to it especially the awful awful food in Polaris post Covid. Each new CEO (and there have been many) seem to specialise getting further away from listening to customers. I wonder about their Board level accountability. All I all, you want this service if you have to use EWR to initiate a trip or connect. Then it’s worth it’s weight in gold but only if you call them. Forget asking for an agent.

  2. Michael Guest

    Does anyone know about limitations on who can fly using the pre-paid funds in a PassPlus account. For example, is it only employees of the company that bought it, or do United not really care? I own my company and would like to be able to put down $50k for Passplus and get G.S.; then, use the funds for family travel (reimbursed to the company, of course) occasionally as well as employees traveling for business.

  3. Sun Park Guest

    Post Covid???
    There are more people hospitalized with Covid now than at any other time before

    1. JA Guest

      One of the best GS perks is being able to upgrade mileage award tickets, which is unique to GS. Regularly waste tons of plus points now since 1K can’t upgrade award tickets.

  4. Jill Guest

    @DCS
    Will you ever get Global Services with United?

  5. Carl Guest

    You can get Global Services by pre-paying for at least $50,000 worth of flights for a 12-14 month period through the PassPlus program. $45,000 in prepaid flights gets you 1K instantly. No brainer to spend $5,000 more to get GS. This is how I got nominated.

    1. Nimwin Guest

      Is the spend just for yourself? How about that of your spouses?

      What happens if you don’t use all $50k,year? Roll-over or 100% loss?

  6. SWh Guest

    Have had GS for past two years. Have never gotten the car transfer. I have had a few <30 min connections in DEN and ORD too. I know a few friends with GS as well and no one I know has ever gotten the car transfer service.

  7. Will Guest

    I earned it in 2019 and it’s been extended ever since due to COVID. It’s cool but not life changing. Honestly my favorite part is walking on the plane ahead of the 1Ks haha.

    I spent $50k the year I earned it. Home airport was NRT (expat situation).

  8. Sarthak Guest

    Another cool thing I learned about Global Services recently from a friend was just how many in Apple have it.

    Apple’s revenue surpasses many countries’ GDPs (to your point about buying 50 seats/day on SFO-PVG). So they have very few guardrails around fare classes before people buy tickets for Shanghai/Shenzhen via HKG from SFO. A lot of them as a result just buy $13k tickets on the most expensive itineraries possible to make it...

    Another cool thing I learned about Global Services recently from a friend was just how many in Apple have it.

    Apple’s revenue surpasses many countries’ GDPs (to your point about buying 50 seats/day on SFO-PVG). So they have very few guardrails around fare classes before people buy tickets for Shanghai/Shenzhen via HKG from SFO. A lot of them as a result just buy $13k tickets on the most expensive itineraries possible to make it a ‘GS run’ if you will. Most of them make trips once a quarter to their factory in China so it’s a pretty common thing in Apple Operations to have Global services this way.

    PS obviously most of this is pre pandemic.

  9. Ryan Guest

    They invite the top 1%ish of United spenders each year.

    Additionally, if you sign a corporate contract with United and deposit $50k or more, you will be awarded Global Services. The money has to be all prepaid and deposited at the start of the year. Just spending $50,000 throughout the year will not get Global Services.

    I just created a corporate account for my company, and they were pretty upfront and open about what it takes to get Global Services.

    1. Carl Guest

      If you purchase your PassPlus after June, you can get GS for almost two program years. FYI

    2. Nim Guest

      What’s the significance of purchasing “after June?”

      Can you use the $50k prepaid for travel to include that of you spouse?

  10. Michael H. Guest

    I was GS from 2004 to 2017. By that time, I had flown 3 million miles over the last 25 years and now have lifetime 1K status, along with my wife. Global Services is a wonderful premier service and one that I came to regularly rely on. Wonderful for predictable upgrades and special check-ins. I did get the opportunity to get picked up by a Land Rover on the tarmac about 8 times which was...

    I was GS from 2004 to 2017. By that time, I had flown 3 million miles over the last 25 years and now have lifetime 1K status, along with my wife. Global Services is a wonderful premier service and one that I came to regularly rely on. Wonderful for predictable upgrades and special check-ins. I did get the opportunity to get picked up by a Land Rover on the tarmac about 8 times which was pretty cool. My flying dried up when COVID hit, so flights cross country are now only once a quarter as opposed to every week. Life goes on.
    And the numbers I heard were 4,000 Globals and 40,000 1 K's about 5 years ago.
    Here's to United's continued success. I am a believer!

  11. Lester Z Guest

    I've heard you have to spend $80K to get a Global Services invitation. Perhaps that number has been lowered in light of the ongoing pandemic.

  12. Peter Fox Guest

    SK-Eurobonus has a similar status within their own system. It is named Eurobonus Pandion - Pandion is the Greek name for an eagle (top of the skies). Eurobonus has (had) around 5,5 million members prior to the Pandemic and was aligned with Air Canada registered this to a daughter company, planning to sell it in a way of raising of cash. Due to a 4X campaign, given the restrictions people are flying around just to...

    SK-Eurobonus has a similar status within their own system. It is named Eurobonus Pandion - Pandion is the Greek name for an eagle (top of the skies). Eurobonus has (had) around 5,5 million members prior to the Pandemic and was aligned with Air Canada registered this to a daughter company, planning to sell it in a way of raising of cash. Due to a 4X campaign, given the restrictions people are flying around just to achieve Star Alliance Gold. Fastest way of making EuroBonus point these days are grocery shopping.

    EuroBonus Pandion was offered to their 2000 best customer in terms of spending on SK-metal. Other Star Alliance not counting towards the spend.

    1. Jill Guest

      I was a global service for about 3 years. My job changed and I stopped flying internationally and lost it. My whole family weeps as we pass by the special entrance at Ohare, lol.

  13. anon_M Guest

    I have been GS for the past ~10 years. GS must have a ton of members. I am often on overseas flights to big markets (LHR, FRA) where there are 15-20 GS members on a high-J 767. Totally anecdotal but it feels like totally different from my flights as a CK on AA or as a 360 on DL. Funny because 360 is so much of a worse program and yet it feels like there...

    I have been GS for the past ~10 years. GS must have a ton of members. I am often on overseas flights to big markets (LHR, FRA) where there are 15-20 GS members on a high-J 767. Totally anecdotal but it feels like totally different from my flights as a CK on AA or as a 360 on DL. Funny because 360 is so much of a worse program and yet it feels like there are far fewer members.

    I agree no lounge access for GS is pretty silly.

    As an aside, some of the info in this article is dated. Arrivals lounge access at LHR is totally theoretical since that lounge hasn't reopened post-COVID. It was closed as of the second-last week of December 2021 when I was there last.

    1. Scott Guest

      GS can always access the United Club on int'l itineraries even in Y.

  14. Justin Guest

    I enjoy these descriptions of invitation-only status tiers. Are you planning on writing articles about non-US airlines' invitation-only programs as well? I thought JAL, BA, SAS, Finnair, Qantas, Emirates and others had these sorts of things too.

  15. Bob Guest

    What is United Global Services status?

    - it's when you sell your soul to your job

    1. Jimbo Guest

      Exactly. I don't understand why business travelers are considered to have "earned" status, when they're really just corporate slaves whose flights have been paid for by their companies. I would estimate that 90%+ of Premier Gold and above members have earned 90%+ of their PQPs on business trips. If they ever travel for pleasure, they would pay with award miles and not earn PQPs. I'd consider it slightly cooler if it's your own company that...

      Exactly. I don't understand why business travelers are considered to have "earned" status, when they're really just corporate slaves whose flights have been paid for by their companies. I would estimate that 90%+ of Premier Gold and above members have earned 90%+ of their PQPs on business trips. If they ever travel for pleasure, they would pay with award miles and not earn PQPs. I'd consider it slightly cooler if it's your own company that you're traveling for, or if you are one of the 0.0001% of travel bloggers who can make a living off of traveling.

    2. David Guest

      Jimbo - we business travelers spend a lot of time traveling on our own time - early mornings, evenings and weekends. Many times I have flown for business and have had significant delays which eat up my personal time.

      Don't get me wrong - I love travelling for business, it's what I do and for me the perks outweigh the downside. But while you are home every night, we are either in a hotel room or flying somewhere.

    3. Jimbo Guest

      Doesn't this reinforce my point? You're eating up your personal time, at the demands of your boss, and your company is really the one "earning" status for you, because they are footing the bill. United couldn't care less about how inconvenient your flights are, as long as your company continues to pay. But I guess you're earning cred with your boss for your travel burdens.

      While you are in a company-paid hotel or company-paid flight...

      Doesn't this reinforce my point? You're eating up your personal time, at the demands of your boss, and your company is really the one "earning" status for you, because they are footing the bill. United couldn't care less about how inconvenient your flights are, as long as your company continues to pay. But I guess you're earning cred with your boss for your travel burdens.

      While you are in a company-paid hotel or company-paid flight every night, I'm working remotely from a random Airbnb or flight that I paid for out of my own pocket, as a Premier 1K with 0% of my PQPs paid by my company. That's what I consider status "earned". It also makes me a slave to United ;).

    4. Duke Bolter Guest

      I have my own company-never purchased biz or FC ticket. Flew a bunch (China, India (usually via SIN), Vietnam, UK, Ireland.

      Made 4 million about 4 years ago (PVG to ORD) and the pilot marked a map for me his take of the point I made the grade. Very nice.
      Both my wife (when alone) have been sported around on the tramack in a Mercedes. I think I have notice that the folks I...

      I have my own company-never purchased biz or FC ticket. Flew a bunch (China, India (usually via SIN), Vietnam, UK, Ireland.

      Made 4 million about 4 years ago (PVG to ORD) and the pilot marked a map for me his take of the point I made the grade. Very nice.
      Both my wife (when alone) have been sported around on the tramack in a Mercedes. I think I have notice that the folks I upgrade (with my PlusPoints) seem to have GS priority, also very nice.
      Very Happy with UAL and GS. Also so with my wife. Some rough spots now and then but that it is what loyalty is. Also, I know no better.

  16. Scott Schultz Guest

    When I started the expat life for my job, my company pays for business class. I wasn't flying a lot, but I had enough to make Gold on United my first year. Then after that I made Platinum the next. Then spent a couple of years as a 1K. I was invited to Global Services the following year. I was no where near 50k in spending. It was likely more like $20-25k. It might have...

    When I started the expat life for my job, my company pays for business class. I wasn't flying a lot, but I had enough to make Gold on United my first year. Then after that I made Platinum the next. Then spent a couple of years as a 1K. I was invited to Global Services the following year. I was no where near 50k in spending. It was likely more like $20-25k. It might have helped that I had a couple of United branded credit cards as well?? It just sucked that we were living in Germany at the time and not really able to take full advantage. So every time we flew Lufthansa, I was just SA Gold. We were able to use it to get upgraded from economy to business on a trip to San Fran and Hawaii and it helped when our award flight from Sydney to Beijing, back to Munich was canceled months in advance. There was no business award space left, so the Global Services agent created space and was able to get us back to Munich through Los Angeles instead.I have since switched to BA and got Silver status and OW Sapphire for now. When that runs out, we'll just play the field and see who has the cheapest business class fares (it's been Delta/Skyteam the last few times) when crossing the pond as we live in the UK now.

  17. Jason Guest

    I have a relative in NYC - my mother's cousin - who is a global services fanatic. She runs her own consulting company, mostly doing executive level career coaching, and has earned global services herself every year for at least the last 10 years. She loves it. What's interesting is she lives on the upper east side but has no qualms going to Newark. She's kept it up for the pandemic too. Pretty much only...

    I have a relative in NYC - my mother's cousin - who is a global services fanatic. She runs her own consulting company, mostly doing executive level career coaching, and has earned global services herself every year for at least the last 10 years. She loves it. What's interesting is she lives on the upper east side but has no qualms going to Newark. She's kept it up for the pandemic too. Pretty much only flies paid first/ business class. And her husband got jealous so he earned it too. She alone probably spends northward of $100k/ year. When I worked at UA in corporate sales, we could give gs status to corporate contracts. It's been some time, but we could give X nominations per Y amount of contracted revenue. The nominations could go to anybody in the company, normally to senior executives or those who traveled a lot.

    1. WP_GS Guest

      I'm a GS myself, 100+ segments a year, about 70 in domestic Y (though I get upgraded 95% of the time), and the rest INTL (half of it J, half of it Y upgraded with Plus Points, I have not sat in INTL Y for years thank God). Through the pandemic also, thanks to dual US/EU citizenship.
      I am indeed obsessed with the status and routinely trek all the way to EWR from White...

      I'm a GS myself, 100+ segments a year, about 70 in domestic Y (though I get upgraded 95% of the time), and the rest INTL (half of it J, half of it Y upgraded with Plus Points, I have not sat in INTL Y for years thank God). Through the pandemic also, thanks to dual US/EU citizenship.
      I am indeed obsessed with the status and routinely trek all the way to EWR from White Plains just so I can hit the necessary spend.
      It's not so much the published benefits, though I would miss some of them thoroughly (e.g. the ability to clear Plus Point upgrades at H-72 on INTL).
      More so, the attention and exceptions you'll get when IRROPS hit are just a must-have for me. The second I flash that GS boarding pass (along with the widest of smiles, never a DYKWIA attitude), the vast majority of UA employees are simply ready to actually help.
      For context, I had been a 1K for years before hitting GS in 2018 and the experience was nowhere near as consistent.
      So, GS works, both ways: the benefits are very real, as are the silly decisions (financially and/or practically) I often make to ensure I spend those necessary $s on UA metal.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Carl Guest

If you purchase your PassPlus after June, you can get GS for almost two program years. FYI

1
Carl Guest

You can get Global Services by pre-paying for at least $50,000 worth of flights for a 12-14 month period through the PassPlus program. $45,000 in prepaid flights gets you 1K instantly. No brainer to spend $5,000 more to get GS. This is how I got nominated.

1
anon_M Guest

I have been GS for the past ~10 years. GS must have a ton of members. I am often on overseas flights to big markets (LHR, FRA) where there are 15-20 GS members on a high-J 767. Totally anecdotal but it feels like totally different from my flights as a CK on AA or as a 360 on DL. Funny because 360 is so much of a worse program and yet it feels like there are far fewer members. I agree no lounge access for GS is pretty silly. As an aside, some of the info in this article is dated. Arrivals lounge access at LHR is totally theoretical since that lounge hasn't reopened post-COVID. It was closed as of the second-last week of December 2021 when I was there last.

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT