Getting free/cheap upgrade to United Economy Plus

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by elsewyse, Sep 28, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. elsewyse

    elsewyse Active Member

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    Are there any good ways to go about getting two people upgraded for free/cheap to Economy Plus (or better) on an international flight? I fly out tomorrow to Japan with a friend and at 5'10" I would really appreciate those extra 5 inches. Looking at the seat map, economy plus is almost totally empty whereas regular economy is totally full. Would asking at the counter do any good?

    I just got my United MIleage Plus explorer credit card today, if that helps at all...

    Thanks!
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint!

    If you don't have an E- seat assignment yet and it's full, you will most likely automatically get a free E+ seat. If you do have an E- seat already, it doesn't hurt to ask nicely, but technically they should only offer the seat to you for the upgrade fee.

    I don't think the Explorer card comes with E+ benefits.
     
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  3. elsewyse

    elsewyse Active Member

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    We do unfortunately already have seat assignments. (We bought these tickets months ago and wanted to make sure we'd be seated together.)

    Is the upgrade charge always that flat $99? And we couldn't just... move up into E+ once the plane takes off, I take it?

    Thank you! :)
     
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  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Understood. I probably would have done the same.

    I am not an expert, having had free E+ as an Elite for what seems forever, but I think it's based on the length of the flight and perhaps also based on expected demand.

    As for moving up to E+... according to reports here and on FT the FAs have been pretty good about not allowing that. And really, it wouldn't be fair, would it? It's a product that UA offers for sale, and they took out seats they could otherwise sell to make this possible.
     
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  5. elsewyse

    elsewyse Active Member

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    That would make sense. I'm pretty sure the cost for E+ was much higher than $99 when we initially bought the tickets...

    True!
     
  6. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Welcome to Milepoint. I have no experience in the E+ area as I fly American, but I've heard from others that the gate agents will sometimes do you a favor.
     
  7. elsewyse

    elsewyse Active Member

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    Good to know-- we will definitely ask. Thanks! :)
     
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  8. boondr

    boondr Gold Member

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    The one time I got an upgrade to E+ (no status)it was because I had a 4 hr layover and I found a available gate agent and politely asked if there were any earlier flights. The GA said no, I thanked him and walked away, he stopped me and asked if I wanted E+ complimentary. Sweet! It was a LAX-OGG flight so fairly long.
     
  9. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    The FAs actively prevent non-E+ ticketed people from moving into E+ on the flight where I sit in Y. They do sell E+ onboard so if you decide to upgrade yourself they can run your credit card for you and thus you can then move up. I believe the price is dependent upon the distance of the flight.
     
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  10. freebird

    freebird Silver Member

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    I recently flew from Seoul to Tokyo and UA bumped us to E+; however, flying back to Seoul, they didn't offer us the E+ even though 90 percent of seats in E+ were available. I thought they were suppose to offer the upgrade to PS members. I have to admit that I'm confused about how upgrade game works.
     
  11. southender
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    southender Silver Member

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    I would think $99 for the extra room is well worth it for that length of flight- but it comes down to what you value I guess.
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    PS = Premier Silver? If so, you should have been able to choose an E+ seat at checkin (if done yourself via OLCI/kiosk) or asked for one if not offered automatically. You certainly were entitled to one.
     
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  13. freebird

    freebird Silver Member

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    Yes, Premier Silver. So the keyword is, ASK; I thought upgrades were done automatically. Could I also do that for the flight between Seoul to San Fran and San Fran to Philly?
     
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  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Any UA metal flight with E+ seats.

    Did you already have an E- seat assigned? I don't think they'd move you out of that seat into an E+ seat automatically.
     
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  15. mikew99
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    mikew99 Silver Member

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    Just wanted to point out that on UA, Economy Plus is not a separate class of service -- it's only a separate seating area within the Economy cabin. So it's not an upgrade, and the typical upgrade rules, processes, and procedures don't apply.

    If you're eligible for (or have purchased) Economy Plus seating, you have to make that seat selection yourself. AFAIK, UA won't reseat you automatically.
     
  16. freebird

    freebird Silver Member

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    So, could I use my points to upgrade to E+ or the business class? If so, how many points do I need per ticket from Seoul to San Fran? I have about 107,000 points.
     
  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    You can't upgrade with points (miles) to E+. And you don't have to. As a Premier Silver you are eligible to select an E+ seat at check-in time (T-24) for free. If you want it earlier, you have to pay the fee (in dollars, not miles).

    You can apply for an upgrade to business class. That would (likely) cost 30,000 miles plus a co-pay. The exact amount of the co-pay (hundreds of dollars) depends on the fare class you booked for the economy ticket.

    Check out the calculator here:

    http://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/mileageplus/awards/travel/awardTravel.aspx

    Choose the "Upgrade Awards" tab.

    Note that there isn't necessarily a guarantee that you will get the upgrade. Most likely you'll be wait-listed. If you don't end up getting it, they don't charge you.
     
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  18. elsewyse

    elsewyse Active Member

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    Eh. Had it been $25 or $50, yes, but once it gets above that I'd rather put the money towards my next flight instead.

    It ended up being a moot point anyway. The entire plane, including E+ had filled up by the time we got to the gate, so we wouldn't have been able to upgrade anyways. Economy was also roomier than I had expected, so we were fine back there with all the other plebes. ; )

    Thanks everyone for your help!
     
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  19. freebird

    freebird Silver Member

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    No, it does not. However, When we flew from Korea to Philly 3 days ago, while checking 4 large size luggages (my wife's), I asked a ticketing agent about our economy class seats, thinking she'll bump our seats to E+. She said that we already have seats assigned. I mentioned that I have silver status, without saying a word she bumped us to E+ seats for Seoul to San Francisco and to Philly.

    How about gold status and above, do you have to ask a ticketing agent to upgrade your seat(s)?
     
  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    The difference between Gold (or higher) and Silver is that Gold can pick E+ at booking while Silver can only choose E+ at checkin time (T-24 typically).
     

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