Does anyone have success upgrading on*A flights using UA miles?

Discussion in 'Star Alliance' started by Aditya Vyas, Sep 11, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Aditya Vyas
    Original Member

    Aditya Vyas Silver Member

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    I am flying Economy ( booking code is Y) on LH from MUC-SFO and its up-gradable using 25K UA miles. On calling UA the person was very helpful and put my request thru and few minutes back LH responded that upgrade unavailable. He said its fairly common and LH doesn't release seats till last minute. I had some bad luck on other *A partners. UA rep said Air New Zealand and SG are both worse ( no suprise). My questions is why wouldn't * A try to make group wide upgrades a selling point? Wouldn't it be a selling point? How has others experience been?
     
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  2. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    I'm surprised that no one has responded to your posting. I'll throw in my 2¢ worth. It's always a source of frustration that *A (or OW) partners don't "play well together". If UA and LH belong to the same Alliance, then why not be able to easily transfer points between these airlines for an upgrade? FWIW, I've had zero luck in trying to upgrade from coach to business on LH using *A miles (I tried to do this many times with US miles when they were in *A).

    That said, I have occasionally gotten upgraded on LH from coach to business on LH when they decided to upgrade full fare coach passengers to business. They had no obligation whatsoever to do so, and when this occurred, it was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. But, I was also travelling alone for business purposes. I've found the overall attitudes of staff working for LH (or AF, or BMI, or OS, etc.) considerably better than that of most American-based air carriers, but that's another story.
     
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  3. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Perhaps because the work of selling paid and award tickets is already overwhelming them? I understand that there's quite a checklist for joining *A. (If anyone has a copy, please post it!) At a minimum, it would include having IT systems interoperable for quoting and selling paid tickets, likewise for award tickets, agreeing to some reimbursement scheme for award tickets, having interline luggage capability, making sure that lounges will welcome *gold, participating in a lounge access reimbursement scheme, etc. Upgrades may not be a priority.

    As for a selling point: sure, it would. I suspect that the airlines see each of the things listed above, clearly topped by "sell paid tickets", as more important than getting upgrades working. And I suspect that most passengers do, too: even as someone who would appreciate using miles to upgrade on other *A carriers, I would likely have used them less frequently that I have bought paid tickets, used a *A lounge, and interlined bags.
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    What makes you think it isn't?? The *A upgrade program is FAR better than that offered by SkyTeam or oneworld. It is a selling point for them.

    That said, it requires award inventory to be open. And no airline makes all seats available for awards (nor upgrades) at all times. If that were the case then they'd sell many fewer of the actual expensive tickets.

    So the good news is that you can monitor the award space on your own and should you see it become available then you can call in or request the upgrade online.


    Nope. It is just part of the same system which handles those same sales. It is not overwhelming or otherwise challenging to them technically. It is just another award.
     
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