Companion Upgrades- 3 people need to book on separate records even if 2 are elite

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by hulagrrl210, Nov 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I had a very interesting conversation with a United agent today re: unlimited domestic upgrades and traveling with a companion and what I was told didn't make too much sense. Basically if 3 people are flying together and 2 are elites, the other is not, the elite and the general member need to be on a separate record from the other elite to get all 3 upgraded. If all 3 are on the same record, only the 2 elites are going to be upgraded. That is what I was told.

    How this even came up- 2 Premier Execs (my husband and I) and 1 General Member (my mom) want to go to Maui. My husband and I are booked on the same record. My mom shortly after we booked finds out that we are going to Maui and wants to come along too (great! :rolleyes:) so I book her a ticket. Since she has no status I call United to see if they can add her as my companion or add her to our record so she can get E+ seats and possibly a companion upgrade. Here is what I told: They cannot "combine" records, only "cross reference" them...ok. So by "cross referencing" them I was able to get her a seat in E+ near us, but not too close. ;) Seeing as how we booked the tickets less than 24 hours ago I asked theoretically if I could cancel and reticket to put all 3 of us on one reservation (I was hesitant to do this because we got the absolute 3 last G- very cheap fare seats on the plane and I didn't want to risk paying more). The United agent then told me if I wanted to score my mom a free companion upgrade we would still need 2 separate records- this time she would have to be booked with me, and my husband could be on his own or something like that, where the general member is on the same record with one elite and the other elite is on their own. In this case, I chose to do nothing, as I mentioned we got a really cheap fare and I value that over her being able to sit in first class with us. This decision may start a war, but whatever.

    Anyway, the reason this caught my attention and why I turned to MP for help, is that next year, instead of dragging my mom along, we will have a baby with us, same scenario, 2 of us will be elites and the baby obviously won't have any status yet. The only difference is that all 3 of us actually want to sit together and I will be starting the year as a 2P instead. So if I go by what I was told, I need to book 2 separate itineraries to stay together and if all 3 of us book together, then we get split up? That doesn't seem to make sense...

    So how do I book our tickets? 1P + baby, 2P alone and then "cross reference" to be able to at least get us all in E+ outside of the new 24 hour restriction? Obviously, I know all 3 could be on the same record, forfeit any upgrades and just sit together in coach, and I know some of you out there would say/do just about anything to keep a baby out of first class, but humor me here...
     
  2. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    Is the reason you would book these separately for next year because you need a seat for your baby? Could you just fly with your baby in your lap for the entire trip, and just save by booking 2 tickets on the same itinerary under the highest elite status?
     
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  3. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    We want 3 seats. I'm not too interested in doing the lap-child thing if I can avoid it.
     
  4. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    When are you going? If you're going after the 1st quarter of the year, the new 2012 MP program will likely be in effect and thus as a 2P, you won't be able to pick to sit in E+ until the day of your flight. Seems like a pretty big gamble to take on a 6 hr flight.... but then again, if you'd prefer to sit separate in order to avoid the lap-child, I can u/s.

    Maybe you can both sit in E+ and ask someone else to have your baby as a lap-child. Even at $30/hr, it's cheaper than getting him/her his/her own seat. :D
     
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  5. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    So basically what the lady told me on the phone today is total cr*p then. That pretty much answers my question. Thx.
     
  6. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    Maybe. The answer the rep gave you still makes sense to me. My guess knowing nothing would be that the system automatically upgrades the first two people in the itinerary if two upgrade seats are available. You get a companion upgrade, and that companion can be an elite or not. Now, if this is for next year when they create a hybrid UA/CO upgrade system, you might still be able to add your mom to the list at the gate. They could split your PNR at the time of request and give her a seat if one's still available, but I don't think all three of you will get upgraded at the advance window.

    EX-LAX appears to have first-hand knowledge, so you should probably defer to him. However, you could also call back and see what another agent says.

    Actually I never had a problem getting a companion moved up to E+ from a separate reservation. Very easy process. Sometimes the agent doesn't know HOW to do it, and it takes longer, but I've never found one who was UNWILLING. Even when I was 1P, I was able on one or two occasions to get two companions moved to E+ by calling on separate days and talking to different agents to move them one at a time.
     
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  7. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Based on what?? :confused:

    And in the 2012 version of the policies the companion policy will be a combination of both the CO (at the airport; can be on a different PNR) and the UA (same PNR; one additional passenger only) policies.
     
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  8. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I've actually been very successful on getting upgraded on Hawaii flights as a 1P and even before as a 2P. In fact I don't think I've ever missed a UDU since they started them and before that I only sat in coach if I was out of free certs. I'm hoping the new upgrade policy doesn't mess that up too much, but as I tend to travel off-peak and on cheap fares, I might be at the bottom of the list.

    As for the 2012 policy, what you said seems to make a lot more sense than what I was told on the phone. Obviously this isn't the first time I've been misinformed by a United employee, and I should know better- don't get an answer you like, call back. Anyway, I'm hoping my woes as a 2P are short-lived. Once the baby is born I hope to be flying a lot more (with and without him) to regain my status. The Hawaii trips are a regular commute for me- to visit family and for work so hopefully it won't be more than a few trips before we're a couple of 1P's again with a baby Silver. ;)

    Thanks again for all your guys' help!
     
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  9. AZjohn

    AZjohn Silver Member

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    First of all, I really enjoy reading your writing style hulagrrl. And always enjoy coming to your island every February. Something magical about Maui to me.
    But, I just looked and:
    I see that even 1P's will only get one passenger on their PNR up to E+. So this status change from 2P to 1P is not going to change the situation next year. It's really brings up a interesting point how families are going to be flying together now.
    Aloha!
    John
     
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