Experiences with Explorer Card Upgrades on Award Tickets?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Explore, Mar 3, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Explore
    Original Member

    Explore Silver Member

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    Has anyone received a free upgrade on an award ticket using an Explorer Card? Is there a web page that provides details?

    Here are some questions:

    - Do you need to charge taxes to the Explorer Card to qualify? Or register interest some other way on a flight-by-flight basis?
    - Can you get upgraded before the flight goes to airport control, or is it only at the airport?
    - What are the geographic limitations? If you redeem for a business class award, can you get upgraded to first on p.s. or other 3-class North American flights?
    - How are you ranked in the queue - it is status first, then fare paid, and how does a saver award fare rank relative to other fares?
    - Has anyone gotten upgraded with the Explorer Card privilege? Details please.
     
  2. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the Presidential Plus Card could only get Upgrades and not the Explorer Card?
     
  3. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    you're wrong
     
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  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    My understanding is that award tickets cannot be upgraded after the fact. If you'd like to travel in higher class, you need to redeem in that class...unless this is a feature of the Explorer card that I am not aware of...
     
  5. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    You might be early in asking whether people have been upgraded with an Explorer card, and better off asking if anyone has been upgraded on an award ticket a) using their OnePass Plus card and b) being elite. The OPP card benefit came last year, while the Explorer card benefit may be yet-to-come. See here.
     
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  6. MileCards

    MileCards Silver Member

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    See below from United.com. No need to buy the ticket with the card. Same rules as complimentary upgrades, which means no PS or biz to first upgrades. But coach to biz on non PS is eligible.

    Rank is below all other fares within your Premier level.

    Got upgraded using the legacy OnePass Plus benefit in advance as if it were a normal elite upgrade. So no difference except you are on the list after all elites in your tier, but ahead of lower elites.

    Premier members who are primary cardholders for certain Chase-issued credit cards are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades when traveling on award tickets on United-operated flights. The following credit cards qualify for this benefit:
    • MileagePlus Explorer
    • MileagePlus Explorer for Business
    • OnePass Plus
    • World MasterCard for Business
    • Presidential Plus
    • Presidential Plus for Business
    Award travel will be prioritized after the lowest paid fare class in the upgrade confirmation priority order. This benefit does not apply to companions traveling on award tickets.
     
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  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Aha, so it is a stated benefit for Explorer card holders to receive a CPU when on award tickets...but clearing it seems like is a very long shot...
     
  8. Cuse44
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    Cuse44 Silver Member

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    Not necessarily. A 1K on an award ticket would receive higher priority than a Premier Platinum on an M fare. Award upgrades are prioritized after all paid fares within your Premier Tier.
     
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  9. Explore
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    Explore Silver Member

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    Thanks for some good answers based on OPP experience. So if you don't have to charge taxes to the card, how does UA/CO track who has the card - by FF number or by name (name may vary a bit if you use your middle name as your primary given name for most things, including credit cards).

    Also, has the benefit officially commenced for the Explorer Card ("sometime early in 2012")? Perhaps only UA Insider can answer that.
     
  10. nelsoji
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    nelsoji Silver Member

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    I am on award tickets this week with explorer card. Neither time was I added to upgrade list. I called prior to first flight and they cleared the upgrade. On way home today, I called multiple times and was told only GA can add to list as they have to "see" the card. Got to airport and both the agent when checking bags, and at hate said they couldn't help me. 10 people cleared upgrade including one after boarding plane, so no idea where I would have fallen, but that perk was sole reason I got card. Any advice on whether it would be worth it to lodge a complaint or call anyone?

    Either way, that is my experience fwiw.
     
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  11. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    In May I saw an award ticket upgraded in advance, not at the airport. As seems typical this year, there was brokenness around it.

    This was a case where an award ticket issued (online?) using miles others than the passenger's own bore the mileage donor's MP number. The donor had an Explorer card. The passenger did not. The passenger was upgraded several days before departure. No muss, no fuss.

    FWIW, I have seen multiple examples since the SHARES conversion where award tickets have shown the MP number of the donor despite vigorous efforts to put in the MP number of the (higher status) passenger.
     
  12. catgirl
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    catgirl Gold Member

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    As as 1K, I have been upgraded on award tickets at the 1K window. No issues and I did not use the Explorer card to pay the taxes.
     
  13. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    Last year I experienced multiple successful upgrades for family members travelling on my miles. I have a Pres+ card. In reading the rules now, it appears that only the primary card holder using only their miles would be eligible for an upgrade. This interpretation suggests that my spouse (Prem gold) may not be eligible for an upgrade despite being a primary cardholder when using my miles. If she uses hers, she would be. Sometimes its important to know the details...
     
  14. Explore
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    Explore Silver Member

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    Does the Explorer Business card work for award upgrades?
     
  15. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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  16. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    I have cleared a couple of times as a 1K
    :D
     
  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Never claimed that it was impossible...in fact, there are obscure routes where one can always clear such upgrades. Was yours one of them?:D
     
  18. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    ORD-MSP; (on a long weekend holiday)
    IAH-CLE (on a saturday)
     
  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Makes sense...
     
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  20. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    So, did two 1K elite line agents just make up an excuse to get me off the phone? I was told that I won't show up on the CPU stand-by list on my iPhone app, nor will I clear in advance, and there "is no way I can add you to the upgrade stand-by list on an award ticket." Yes, I did the hang up and call back routine, but doing it again is just getting me angrier and not accomplishing anything. They said I had to be added to the list at the airport tomorrow.

    Seems like an odd implementation of a useful benefit, but I'm not really surprised after everything this year.

    theBOAT
     
  21. Olton Hall
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    Olton Hall Gold Member

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    I've cleared a few times as a silver. Generally not. I would have loved it on the flight I just got off of.
     
  22. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    Well the agent at the UA club, which I accessed via my Presidential Plus card, by the way, just told me that I needed to pay my $2.50 tax for booking the award ticket on the PP /Club card in order to be eligible for a CPU. Even after I showed her UA.com where it talks about only needing to be a card member to be eligible, she gave me the look of "well, I can't use my brain, I have to do what the computer told me to do" and said sorry.

    So, now I need to remove my UA Select Visa card as my default for purchases on the website and actively manage what card I put UA charges on... I guess I have a new topic for discussion at the SMD4 this week!

    theBOAT (from my seat in Y)

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint app
     
  23. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    Please do ask for clarification and further education of agents. I don't think the premier line agents were making up excuses, they were just uninformed and unwilling to seek further information. The implementation of this benefit has certainly been very, very inconsistent and many agents (from both pre-merger companies) have no idea what they're talking about when asked about it.
     
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  24. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    Agree - Will do.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  25. theBOAT
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    theBOAT Silver Member

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    So, unfortunately, I didn't receive the right Q&A session to ask about the award ticket CPU process (but my sessions were very interesting nonetheless).

    All I can say is that I'm more confused about this process than ever! Ironically, during one of the SMD4 Q&A sessions with UA, I received my automated email confirming my upgrade to 1st for my flight home from ORD-IAH the next day. So, apparently if there is R upgrade space open during the automated sweeps, you should be ok - but once you get to the airport you're SOL (until the agents are properly trained)....

    Anyone get on the airport list on an award ticket?

    theBOAT
     

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