Gold certs not that useful?

Discussion in 'Alaska Airlines | Mileage Plan' started by seaflyguy, May 27, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    I've been an MVPG for a few years now and over the last 12-18 months, at least for me, Gold certs have become fairly useless. On the routes where I can typically call up and have them applied (say, West Coast routes), I don't need them because I'm nearly always upgraded anyway. On the routes where I'd like to use them because upgrades are dicey (transcons) or essentially impossible (Hawaii), whenever I call the MVPG desk, I'm told I can't use them on that flight.

    Am I the only one having this problem because I'm missing some trick of Gold certs? Or is this common to MVPGs?
     
  2. jackal
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    jackal Gold Member

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    I used Gold certs for three of us traveling from DCA-LAX-PDX-ANC last week.

    I will note that the outbound (ANC-PDX-LAX-DCA) was not available. (Not that I could have used them, as I didn't have enough certs to do all of us both ways.)

    I've generally had good luck using them when I want to--probably about 75% success rate.

    It helps greatly to subscribe to a service like ExpertFlyer (or the free but not-quite-as-accurate lmoffice.com) and set alerts for U space to open up. As soon as you get an alert, call and process the upgrade before someone else does.
     
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  3. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    1) Give them away to folks who can't get upgraded automatically
    2) Takes risk away, you may get the auto upgrade but it's not guaranteed the way it is with the certs when there's U availability
    3) It's tough to use these on transcons and Hawaii but with flexibility you can get it for Hawaii (or on some Hawaii routes like ex-BLI)
    4) Midcons midcons midcons, SEA-ORD/DFW/IAH/STL/ATL...
     
  4. seaflyguy
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    seaflyguy Silver Member

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    An excellent suggestion and I've just subscribed. I already have alerts set up for my upcoming SEA-KOA-SEA flights. Where there is life, there is hope. :)
     
  5. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    I use them frequently for family, friends, and sometimes I give them away to other people I just met or someone I felt that deserves to enjoy the excitement/experience of flying in first class.

    My family is from the Mid-Atlantic region, so we fly between LAX and DCA often and AS is pretty generous in releasing U space on this route except in the summer months...
     
  6. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Yes LAX-DCA is really quite available, I just sadly almost never see U space SEA-DCA :(
     
  7. RedTape
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    RedTape Silver Member

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    shoosh on the BLI-HNL stuff! :mad:
     
  8. dgreen12
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    dgreen12 Silver Member

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    Based in GEG, I find that my Gold certs typically go unused. When I was working at my former business, I'd share them with my partners who were traveling and might need them.

    Now I typically drop them off in the Boardroom in December and ask them to "surprise someone" with an upgrade if they can.
     
  9. ANC RED-EYE

    ANC RED-EYE Silver Member

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    I tend to find them quite valuable. I basically use them whenever I'm going on a "longer" trip (meaning longer than ANC - SEA/PDX), and especially when I have any of AS's longest segments such as ANC - HI/ORD/LAX/DEN. I'd say I have a 70%+ success rate at finding U space on these itins, but often by watching lmoffice closely. However, I've never flown any of the AS transcons (SEA/PDX - BOS, EWR, MIA, MCO etc.), so I can't speak for those notoriously difficult routes.
    I also enjoy giving them as gifts to family members or to friends who wouldn't normally get to fly F ever - some of these stories come up year after year about how great their experience in F was.
     
  10. jackal
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    jackal Gold Member

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    Same for me, except I won't bother using them on medium-length itineraries that are known to be easy upgrades (i.e. LAX, DEN). I like giving them away, too, but somehow they always end back up in my possession... ;)
     
  11. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I'm new to Alaska (status matched from United) and they sent me a set of 4 certs. I have absolutely no idea what to do with them. I booked SMF-OGG in August, but it already shows me on the upgrade list? I assume I will be getting the upgrade regardless of the certs (like a UDU with United). I think its nice they give them out, but aside from giving them to someone else, is there any other use? Can I use them to confirm my upgrade now? Thx in advance.

    If someone also would be so kind to explain what "U" is, I'd be most appreciative :)
     
  12. jackal
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    jackal Gold Member

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    You're on the upgrade list for any upgrades available beginning at 72 hours before departure.

    The certificates allow you to confirm the upgrade now versus taking a chance it'll be available at 72 hours before departure--IF U space is available.

    U space is a subset of F space and is analogous to NF space on UA. In order to confirm the upgrade now, U space needs to be available now. You can either check the fare bucket availability using a service like ExpertFlyer or do a fake booking for your flight on alaskaair.com and look for a green/gold "U" next to the Full Flex fare on your flight. If the U appears, call and let the agent know you'd like to upgrade now using a Gold upgrade certificate.
     
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  13. brad

    brad Silver Member

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    AS can't and doesn't do anything to prevent these certificates from being used by the MVPG member him/herself, but they are referred to as "guest upgrades" as the intention is for the Gold member to gift them to a less-frequent flyer who wouldn't get the chance to fly in first class otherwise. As a Gold, if U space is available, AS would prefer that you simply buy the Value fare to immediately confirm your upgrade.

    Of course, you can use the certs yourself, but once you do confirm a cert upgrade, you are committed. AS is becoming more strict lately about elites trying to game the system by confirming a certificate upgrade early, then revoking it inside their upgrade window in order to take advantage of the complimentary elite upgrade and save the cert for another time. Cert collection is also much more diligently enforced than in the past; if you use a cert, make sure you bring it to the airport when you check in!
     
  14. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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