Buyer Beware: No Extra RDM or PQD for Purchased Upgrades

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Anglo Large Clawed Otter, Apr 21, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. Anglo Large Clawed Otter
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    Anglo Large Clawed Otter Gold Member

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    Others may already be aware of this, but it was news to me.

    My wife and I had a flight MGA-IAH on Sunday. Prior to the flight, we purchased upgrades through the app, resulting in a change of fare code from K to P. When the flights posted to our accounts today, I noticed that the PQD and RDM totals were calculated on the base fare prior to purchase of the upgrades (upgrades were about $280/ticket, if I recall). PQM posted with the bonus applicable to a P fare.

    I called in to the Mileage Plus Service Center and spoke with an agent, who then spoke with a supervisor. Both confirmed that the buy-up does not alter the underlying base fare, so PQD and RDM earnings are not increased when a passenger accepts a buy-up offer.

    Assuming the agent and supervisor are correct, this reflects a poor implementation of a revenue-based reward model by UA.
     
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  2. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    "this reflects a poor implementation of a revenue-based reward model by UA"

    You seem surprised. Change fees don't count either. Imagine the one thing that carries almost 0 incremental cost to the airline and they don't even include that in their calculations.......:(
     
  3. Anglo Large Clawed Otter
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    Anglo Large Clawed Otter Gold Member

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    Correct, but change fees, E+ fees, and other ancillary fees don't affect PQM earnings either. I'm not saying those methods of revenue generation shouldn't earn under the new scheme, but it is totally illogical that a TOD upgrade has an impact on PQM earning, whereas it has zero impact on RDM earning. Why create an incentive on the side of the equation that isn't geared to revenue, for a revenue-generating scheme, yet no incentive with respect to the rewards that are supposedly tied to revenue?

    FWIW, I've been informed that DL counts their equivalent of TODs for the purposes of both PQDs and RDMs. Given DL's generally abysmal IT, and the fact that UA seems to enjoy copying all things DL, this just heightens the irony.
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I am surprised to hear that a TOD upgrade did earn you extra PQM. That certainly wasn't (isn't?) always the case.
     
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  5. Anglo Large Clawed Otter
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    Anglo Large Clawed Otter Gold Member

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    Shows 2040 PQM and 1.5 PQS for MGA-IAH, so definitely tacking on the P fare COS bonus.
     
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  6. FortFun
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    FortFun Gold Member

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    Yep. I have a couple of those data points as well.
     
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  7. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    I bought up to a W-fare for a ticket yesterday. The additional dollars do not show in the PQD data display.
    Its as though my up-fare $$$ simply went "under the table".
     
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  8. Hartmann
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    Hartmann Gold Member

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    So I usually fare-up after purchase and get credit for those fares as premium fares (P/A/Z classes). I call to do this so I have little experience with buying up through the website but it seems like this is an oversight that is really illogical.
     
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  9. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    It is definitely ridiculous. Why should it matter if a ticket in Y is $500 and a ticket in F is $900 if you pay $900 in two transactions (original fare in Y, later paid up to F) or one (just buying the F ticket from the start)? $900 for the ticket is $900, regardless of whether that takes two transactions or one. If they're going to give you the bonus for the qualifying miles and segments for the buy-up, then they ought to credit you for the RDMs and PQDs as well.

    And, yes, as you mentioned, DL does give that credit. I have 4-5 tickets since January 1 where I've seen it happen, with credit for both qualifying miles and redeemable miles awarded identically to me buying a first class ticket initially, even though I bought economy and later paid to upgrade to first.
     
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  10. alanro

    alanro Gold Member

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    I've had PQD adjustments post to my account after a buy-up. I did have to call in and speak to a supervisor at the Mileage Plus Service Center to get these additional PQDs to post. I did not buy up using the app or a kiosk though; I spoke with an agent on the 1K desk to make the purchase.

    I don't know if RDMs would have been affected, as both flights that I upgraded were in February; the new scheme for calculating RDMs had not yet been implemented.

    If this is the policy going forward, it is both illogical and very disappointing.
     
  11. redwoman

    redwoman Silver Member

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    You said it best ssullivan. UA got my $900 in either case, and I did sit in F cabin in either case, so why not give me the same PQD? UA does spell this out, but since it is illogical, most people don't think to look out for it until it affects their PQD tally. Even more illogical, on some of my itins the paid UG offer + original E fare was more than buying an F or C-cabin fare outright. So, in those cases I would have paid more money in total, and received less PQDs than if I had just booked the F or C cabin fare outright. I encountered this situation when booking online and was offered a buy-up immediately after purchasing the ticket. :mad:

    alanro, that is something I didn't think would work, so I never tried it. Thanks for telling us. Previously, I have booked an E-cabin ticket, been offered the paid UG, realized I'd make out better on PQDs, PQMs and RDMs taken together by just buying a lower fare bucket F/C-cabin tickets, so I took advantage of the ability to cancel the first ticket within 24 hrs of purchase and booked the F/C one immediately after. Good thing I have a credit limit on the CC that allows me to do this, and I'm not restricted in method of purchase by my employer, and I was confident that I wouldn't be in a situation where a more restricted F or C ticket would result in a change fee that wiped out the advantage of all the gyrations I just went through. But sheesh, it's ridiculous to have to play these games.:rolleyes:
     
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  12. edcho

    edcho Silver Member

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    Just a datapoint....

    I was playing around with this last week and found that upfares via the checkin (either app or website) will take the lowest P fare and calculate the difference even if no P fare is available (maybe it takes the lowest QUP fare or something) as long as there's inventory in F. In this case, ORD-EWR was about $150.

    When I called in a few times, they calculated the lowest cost to A which was about $1400. I've done both ways now and see that the latter includes PQD while the other does not.
     
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  13. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    Since someone else has already mentioned datapoints from another airline...

    Virgin America doesn't count MCS or F upgrades toward PQM or RDM, either. They should, IMO.
     
  14. mikel51

    mikel51 Active Member

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    If you up fare on the website, United actually has a note telling you that you will receive EQM and EQS based on your new fare class. Unfortunately, they are very opaque about the actual fare class (not all P are actually P, etc.). The result is that you don't really know what you are getting unless you are willing to dig very deep. I would advocate that UA just be transparent and actually tell you whether you are getting the bonus PQM and PQS along with the purchase. It would be much more consumer friendly than the "lead you on" approach they use.
     
  15. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    Agreed but note that if you "View Receipt" you can see the real fare class. The receipt doesn't say P.
     
  16. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    My experience of upgrading after purchase has been positive this year. In the two flights I upgraded this way my account was credited with all of the RDMs, PQDs, PQSs and PQMs that would come with the extra fare for the upgrades. In both cases I upgraded online after original purchase but weeks before the check-in period and both showed as P fares.
     
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