1K Domestic Upgrade Policy

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by alwayslearning, Apr 9, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. alwayslearning

    alwayslearning Silver Member

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    Does anyone know the algorithm used by UA for 1K complimentary domestic upgrades?

    Here's the situation: my wife and I are both 1K and had a trip planned with our daughter who does not have status. We had expected an upgrade (we almost always did on that route), but did not. Turns out that we lost our status by having our daughter on the same itinerary:

    If a reservation includes three or more travelers, and only one is not a Premier member, the Complimentary Premier Upgrades will be processed according to the lowest Premier status level in the reservation. If two or more travelers on the reservation are not Premier members, it will not be processed automatically. In these cases, Premier members should call the Premier Priority Desk to request a separate reservation for themselves and the eligible companion.
    source: https://pss.united.com/web/en-US/content/mileageplus/premier/upgrades.aspx

    Bizarre policy for sure, but I thought that once we knew the rules I could adjust for it. So for our trip this weekend (also with our daughter) I did exactly as they recommended ... I split the itinerary into two: one for me alone, one for my wife and daughter. The 96-hour window arrived, five upgrades were granted (have never seen that many on this route); but we were not one of them. So I called United:

    The first representative claimed we didn't get the upgrade because I had split the reservation and we lost our priority. The second representative claimed that it was a highly complex computer algorithm and if we didn't receive an upgrade it's because we don't fit the upgrade criteria ... whatever that means! Haven't tried for a third explanation.

    So I'm wondering if anyone knows how complimentary upgrades are determined (IOW how the algorithm works); or is it just part of the merger mess?
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    It is based on status and fare bucket. Without knowing what fares all the other passengers who were upgraded are on it is not possible to know if you should have been upgraded on the return or not.

    Most agents have no idea how the system works so asking them is pretty much a waste of time.
     
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  3. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

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    So they have stopped the eenie meenie miney moe algorithm? :D
     
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  4. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    They are not complimentary. They are discretionary upgrades since even if they show positive R/RN inventory and you are within your upgrade window, you might not clear.
     
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  5. Scottrick
    Original Member

    Scottrick Gold Member

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    As was mentioned above, fare class matters a lot even for a 1K, and in my experience, all else being equal a companion will hurt you even if your status extends to them. Flying alone SEA-SFO last week I cleared on a V fare at 96 h. Flying back with a Gold companion (separate, 1-way reservation) we cleared at 48 h even though it was also a V fare. There were 12 upgrades awarded on that flight. We were #10 and 11.
     
  6. joediver
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    joediver Silver Member

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    I really don't think United knows what the policies really are right now. I've cleared for upgrades (rarely at the 96 hours) on 20 of 22 flights that had a first class cabin this year, mostly low fares and the one time I used a Regional Upgrade dice it was going to expire anyway I wound up way down the list because, as the agent explained it, I wasn't actually put on the list until they cancelled my Regional Upgrade request??? Still scratching my head on that one.
     
  7. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I can't make heads or tails of the algorithm so far (perhaps I will over time), but it has been good to me so far. Prior to my current trip, I was 14 of 14 for upgrades this calendar year. I made my current reservations (SEA-IAD-SEA) late in the game and was worried about my position, so used RPUs on the chance that doing so would help. So far, so good -- I made my upgrade today. I may be 16/16 by the end of the week. So thanks, UA, whatever your algorithm is.
     
  8. techtrainer

    techtrainer Silver Member

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    Thanks to the excellent Greasemonkey scripts written by Wandering Amarean, I can locate revenue flights with R or RN inventory pretty easily. But I'm still a bit confused. If I call the 1K desk, can they clear the upgrade with one of my RPUs upon booking/paying for the flight?
     
  9. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    You should be able to clear it online yourself, I thought.
     
  10. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    As a passenger, I think the expectations is, yes it should automatically clear and if not, you should call.

    From the new United's perspective, no. They run their sweeps at each window and at their discretion your upgrade clears or it might not clear and you will have to wait till the next window. This is regardless of positive R/RN inventory.
     
  11. goalie
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    goalie Gold Member

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    Eenie meenie miney moe
    Catch a non-rev by the toe
    If they holler let them go
    But if they don't
    It's into F they go
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    This is not the case if the award inventory is available at the time of request and if one is using an instrument to support the upgrade. :confused:

    There are some issues with the waitlists for instrument-supported upgrades not processing correctly but that's a very different thing than the question that was asked.


    Yes. You can also process it yourself in most cases online without a need to use an agent. The caveat is that the ticket must be issued, not just reserved, for the upgrade to be requested.
     
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  13. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    Here's one. Mrs. Flyer (now a 1K) was in the upgrade queue at the number one position. It was a 763 and 32 of the 34 had checked in. At ~ 20 minutes before scheduled take off, the board went to 34 of 34 checked in and Mrs. Flyer was not upgraded and still at the number 1 position. We assumed some very late people were coming in, but lo and behold, a couple was grabbed out of the back of the plane (with a freaking baby no less) and put in First.

    Theories?
     
  14. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    The question being asked was about complimentary discretionary upgrades.

    It would be awesome if you actually read the questions instead of your knee-jerk-defend-the-company-at-at-any-cost posts.
     
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  15. techtrainer

    techtrainer Silver Member

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    Thanks for the help gang. I was able to process the RPU upgrade on the web after I purchased the ticket. But it was challenging due to:
    • Bad Help Text: The web site says "members can redeem Regional Premier Upgrades by viewing the reservation on united.com and selecting the Upgrade Reservation link". However, there is no such text. It says something else. Once I found it, I completed the process.
    • Bad Notification: After the upgrade was completed, a message at the top of the reservation told me to "call United Reservations to reissue the ticket." I called, and was told that I didn't need to call. That was nice.
     
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  16. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    Glad you had fun!
     
  17. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    Actually the secondary question to which he was responding (and to.which you provided a non-topical response earlier) was about a RPU.

    It would be awesome if you actually read the quoted post instead of your knee-jerk-attack-the-company-at-any-costs posts.

    ;)
     
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  18. techtrainer

    techtrainer Silver Member

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    I think all of the hubbub was my fault, as I hijacked the tread to get my RPU-based upgrade and the OP's question was about UDU...
     
  19. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Don't worry about it. Topic drift is a natural phenomenon.
     
  20. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Last week not only did I not get an upgrade, but the more surprising element was that I didn't even come close. 1K, V fare, iPhone app showed my being number eight on the list when all the seats were taken....on a 757 out of San Diego. I have missed upgrades before, that's not news, but number eight on a list on a 757?
     
  21. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    This would only be surprising if there were 12 or less names on the upgrade list. I'm guessing that list went into the high 20s or even 30s & 40s.

    -RM
     
  22. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Honestly, don't remember how many there were.
     
  23. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    I've missed upgrades on L and G fares before... fare class definitely matters.
     
  24. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    But even a silver can upgrade on a Saturday with a G fare. While fare class matters, I think demand is most important. You won't see any 1Ks on a Saturday taking the last last IAH-SEA flight of the day. Except maybe me. :D
     

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