Getting Upgraded when on expenses

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by creade, Apr 28, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. creade

    creade New Member

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    Sometime in the next week or so, I'll be flying from Chicago to Johannesburg for business. My company's policy is to reimburse for coach tickets. I do have 1K, a full complement of Global Upgrades and 648K miles with United. What's my best strategy to get upgraded on this trip? Is there a general strategy for maximizing upgrades on international travel while getting reimbursed?

    Thanks for any help!
     
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  2. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Your best bet will be *A upgrade awards, and since your company' policy ( as is mine) is that you must puchase an economy ticket, you are looking at upgrading from Y/B (full fare econ) to C (biz). Of your upgrade instruments, global upgrades are not useful unless your flight is on UA or LH. That leaves the only other option, which is to request upgrades with miles, of which you have plenty. The only catch is that you'll need to purchase upgradable economy tickets (Y/B), which are full fare econ tickets that are generally quite expensive (their main plus is that they are flexible and refundable). The only way out of Y/B tickets is if one of these other carriers flies to JNB (but the requirement may be to purchase a discounted Biz ticket (e.g., J) and then to upgrade to First, which would be against your company's policy):
    In practice, you would book your Y/B ticket, and then you would go to the *A upgrade awards chart to find out how many miles would be required for your destination (it looks like US - Southern Africa upgrades go for 35K miles each way).
    The preceding response is general because you did not provide specifics about how you intend to get there and back, but the requirements are pretty much as stated.

    Welcome to MP, creade!
     
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  3. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Purchasing Y/B tickets, unless refundable fares are explicitly encouraged, is not unlike stealing from your employer. Be careful with this.
     
  4. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    That depends on the employer's policy. It's absolutely not stealing if it's allowed or required, as both my international trips for work have been booked less than a week out... and ended up in a Y-UP.
     
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  5. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Yes, the important thing is to know the policy.
     
  6. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    As others have said, it's really more about knowing the policy. This is a pretty vague statement that I'd disagree with. A lot of companies do require the cheapest travel option be booked, but I've worked for two different companies that have encouraged the purchase of full Y fare, especially if there's a risk your travel plans change (as is often the case with consulting).

    A couple weeks ago I bought a discounted coach ticket (domestic), plans changed, and there was a $400 fare difference to full Y (all that was available last minute), plus change fee. In the end, if I'd purchased a Y ticket it would have been a couple hundred dollars cheaper.
     
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  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    My employer has the policy that no business or first-class ticket can be purchased for business travel, and they mean that quite literally because Y/B tickets are okay since they are "economy" class tickets. In fact, in the early days when I started to get upgraded and I turned in with my travel expenses ticket stubs that said "United Business" or "United First", they got rejected for violating the "no C or F" policy, until I provided evidence that I had purchased an economy ticket that I then succeeded in getting upgraded. Why then don't I purchase Y/B tickets to get COS PQM/RDM since they are allowed? Well, while they are managed by my "company" and they are under "company" policies, my travel funds actually come from my own extramural research grants, which I would like to stretch so that they can take me farther... ;)
     
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  8. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Some coach only reimbursement policies have rules that you cannot upgrade either, although it's unclear what should happen if one were given an OPUP.
     
  9. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    For *A upgrade awards, the lowest upgradable economy fares are Y/B, which are almost universally refundable, or Biz or discounted Biz fares for upgrades to F (some discounted Biz fares cannot be upgraded or refunded).
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    Yes, I know. My post pointed out that some companies and other organizations have policies that require sitting in coach when they are paying for the ticket.
     
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  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Got it. Fortunately, mine is not one of those since it would be tough doing 13 hr on TPAC flights in coach!
     
  12. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I'm OK on this too, but Target is notorious for really tough restrictive travel policies. I've heard of foreign universities that forbid upgrading.
     
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  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Such foreign universities certainly must have heard of academic freedom! I think that it would be unthikable for mine to forbid faculty members from using upgrade instruments that they had gotten on their own to try to achieve a measure of comfort, even during an official university business. There would be rioting...;)
     
  14. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    How would they know? The receipt doesn't change.
     
  15. AUSsie

    AUSsie Silver Member

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    Four overseas trips last year....all in Y. It is indeed tough. Almost as tough as the 'rolls' they serve.
     
  16. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    This actually limits who I'd consider working for. Given the cost of my time, arguing about airfare is pointless.

    Then again, I also use the restroom if I'm interviewing to see what tp they use. That can tell you a lot about where they're cutting costs.
     
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  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I think that a distinction has to be made between for-profit and nonprofit jobs, with most academic positions being of the second kind. Cost-cutting is necessary if a nonprofit entity depends on the largesse of others, including taxpayers, who impose strict guidelines on how funds must be spent. So, suppose I apply for a biomedical research grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through my institution (I do this for real). Those funds, which are taxpayers' dollars and can be in the millions, come with strict guidelines, one of which is that travel funds requested to attend scientific conferences germane to the research project cannot be used to purchase biz or first-class tickets. Although the researcher did compete for the NIH grant, the "company" that s/he works for is responsible for enforcing NIH policies related to the grant, as well as for accounting for how the funds were spent at the end of the project. They count every dime and ensure that no one is extravagant. If that is not a reality that you can live with, then an academic position may not be for you. For-profit jobs, especially those involving large transnational corporations, are less restrictive. There are even fewer restrictions if the job description includes constant traveling.

    Clearly, there are important nuances to consider, so that the one-size-fits-all approach to job-hunting may be counter-productive or altogether inappropriate.
     
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  18. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    They require that you submit boarding passes.
     
  19. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Instant reject. I'm worth more than that.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  20. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Very different from the "we don't allow upgrades, even complimentary" that I objected to.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  21. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Many companies require original boarding passes to be submitted and depending on the country this may even be a fiscal requirement for tax purposes. I don't think it is anything to do with how much the person is worth and rather ensuring compliance with local tax codes- not every country works like the United States which is quite unrestrcitive on expense reimbursements to employees.
     
  22. creade

    creade New Member

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    OP here. Thanks everybody for the responses, its good to know what to look out for.
    I ended up doing ORD->IAD->FRA->JNB. ORD->IAD was a PN automatic upgrade and I used a GPU on the IAD->FRA segment. It was too close in to try and get a paper GPU for the final leg, but I ended up with an A380 row to myself. By far the highlight was the ten hour layover I spent in the Z terminal Senator Lounge in FRA. I ate more hot pretzels and mousse than may have been professional. All this ended up being costing under $1250 which my company is happy paying.​
    Thanks again!​
     
  23. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Nicely done, sir!
     

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