Airline Elite Status & Upgrades

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by TravellingScholar, Mar 28, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. TravellingScholar

    TravellingScholar Active Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    A bit of a noob question here: If I pay for an economy/coach ticket and then upgrade to business/first with miles...

    Is it treated the same as an award ticket, and therefore I get no elite-qualifying miles credited to my account?

    Or is it treated as a paid ticket and I get the miles normally awarded to me based on my paid economy/coach fare?
     
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  2. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

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    TravellingScholar,

    Welcome to MP!

    With most programs, you'll earn the redeemable/elite miles based on whatever economy fare you purchased.

    :)
     
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  3. TravellingScholar

    TravellingScholar Active Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply rwoman! Do you know if there are any exceptions (airlines)? I'm specifically considering United and US Airways.

    Over the past several years I've been buying US miles (during their 100% bonus sales) to redeem for business class tickets from Australia to the US. I'm wondering if it's better to pay for economy tickets and then use points to upgrade.

    Can you or anyone else explain the pros and cons of each?
     
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  4. rwoman
    Original Member

    rwoman Gold Member

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    It realy depends on the cost of an upgradeable coach fare versus a business fare as well as the redemption miles required for an award ticket. I would take a look around the US and UA forums - loads of info there.
     
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  5. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

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    Hi TravelingScholar,
    You may wish to look at the upgrade charts for the airlines you are interested in, there are co-pays on some airlines for upgrades.
    In addition, when you upgrade from economy you may be waitlisted. If upgrade inventory is available at the time of booking you are good to go, if not you may have to wait up until flight time for the upgrade and even then the upgrade may not be applied if inventory is not availale.
     
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  6. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Note that upgrade inventory and FC or biz award inventory classes are distinct on most airlines. Just because you can get a business class award ticket with miles does not mean that you can use miles to upgrade to business class on the same flights.

    Note also that in some programs, even if FC or biz seats are going out empty and you have applied for the upgrade in advance using upgrade instruments and you have purchased an upgradeable fare, you still might not get the upgrade. Sometimes this is due to mistakes or lazy/incompetent GAs, but some airlines (QF is notorious for this) have a policy of sometimes deliberately letting even their own top elites who have requested upgrades sit in coach when there are empty seats in the forward cabin.
     
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  7. perryplatypus

    perryplatypus Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP TravelIngscholar
     
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  8. misterbwong

    misterbwong Silver Member

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    Welcome to MP TravellingScholar!

    Didn't see this mentioned above, but you might also want to consider how much you value the EQM's that come with flying + upgrading w/ miles vs. fully using miles for the upgraded class. If you do not care about elite status, it's often a better value per mile to use the miles for an award instead of using it as an upgrade.
     
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