Gold to Platinum - How are upgrades?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by wilkinsonmd, Feb 6, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    I just received the annual offer to buy up to the next status. I'm comfortably at Gold and tempted by this offer although the price tag is super high. The only thing I'd be gaining are two RPU's and higher priority for CPU's.

    So the question is, how many more CPU's does one receive at Platinum versus Gold? I feel like these days you have to be 1K to be in the running at all for CPU's, but I thought I'd ask fellow flyers.

    (And if there are any other benefits I'm not thinking of, I'm all ears)
     
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  2. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    Depends where you fly. Please give us an idea of your routes, airport, time of day

    I'd be willing to say even as a Platinum you probably won't be upgraded on the Monday morning IAH-LGA flight for example.
     
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  3. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    All of my flight are from the WAS airports (DCA, BWI, IAD). My work travel is 2-3 times a year to each: IAH, ORD, CLE, SEA, NSZ, CLT, MSY, ATL and BOS. Also will probably go to LAX, SFO, SAN, and MSP. My travel days are usually outbound Thursday or Friday morning and return on Sunday or Monday (anytime).

    And I've learned that upgrades are MUCH more plentiful from BWI. It's just so darn far!
     
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  4. snod08
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    snod08 Gold Member

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    From IAD...I would not keep high hopes on CPU's to IAH, ORD, LAX, SEA, SFO, BOS.

    Dont know about your other markets.

    On the other hand, if you always buy Y/B fares, then the story may be different.
     
  5. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    When it comes to whether you want to spend the money, that's up to you....nobody in this forum, except you, can answer that.

    I'm not sure an increase to Platinum would be enough in a hub like IAD in most cases. A lot of 1Ks don't convert, and I can only see UA being more aggressive in selling upgrades before giving them away.
     
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  6. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    Thanks for the input! Getting a sense of the actual value of the status helps me to decide whether or not I want to shell out the cash.

    Sounds like when flying from IAD, CPU's are pretty much out. DCA actually feels more competitive because of the business travelers, but I guess IAD as a hub is worse. That means I'm stuck with BWI where I feel like I have a good shot at even with Gold.
     
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  7. guberif

    guberif Silver Member

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    I've had good luck (as a lowly Silver) for ex-DCA flights...
     
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  8. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    Not sure I follow. What do you mean "ex-DCA" flights?
     
  9. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    They meant flights leaving from DCA.
     
  10. Golfingboy
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    Golfingboy Gold Member

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    CLE will be exponentially more difficult (maybe the most difficult city in the UA system) when the dehubbing process begins.

    IME, out of BWI, upgrades have gotten considerably easier after the sequester and most biz travelers fly on WN.
     
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  11. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    Thanks! #rookiemistake

    I thought so! Everyone piles off the parking bus at the AB terminal. There's no lounge at BWI but the concourse D is so quiet that waiting out a 1 hour IRROPS wasn't bad.
     
  12. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    I'm a DC-based 1K who flies to IAH and ORD often. CPUs are difficult on many of those flights for me, especially now that DCA-IAH is almost all Airbus equipment. It was easier when that route was mostly operated with 738s. I've had fairly good luck with ORD flights but I tend to try and book off-peak times on those. Out of IAD, I do pretty well to IAH on the 767 operated flight, but I also usually don't get that upgrade until at the gate. As a Platinum it would probably rarely happen on weekdays because it's tough for a 1K, even on a flight with 36 seats up front. I also fly DCA-DEN on the single daily nonstop on that route and rarely miss an upgrade, and often see Golds up front on that flight, but that will likely change soon. The schedule has the 752 that has operated that flight replaced by a 320 in early March.

    DC isn't an easy market for CPUs for even 1Ks. I'm not sure I'd spend money to buy up to Platinum if I was still going to be riding in E+ most flights. As a 1K my upgrade percentage out of DC last year was only around 70%, which meant I sat in the back quite often.
     
  13. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    My experience out of EWR in 2012 as a Gold was 20% CPU upgrades with 0% on flights over 3.5 hours. As a Platinum in 2013 I ran at 50% overall and 40% on flights over 3.5 hours. I don't know if this translates well to the DC area or in the new sell-thru era (2014 has not been different so far at 4 out of 8). The value of platinum over gold is not as great to me as the value of gold over silver since I consider upgrades as simply nice as opposed to necessary.
     
  14. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    The biggest difference (for some) is that Plat gets you in Boarding Area 1. Really nice to be first on the plane, everything stowed before most are even on, and sitting and watching the ipad or kindle quietly for the next 30 minutes of chaos.

    That said, I know that before I made Plat, I was just getting in group 1's line anyway and "hiding" my phone's boarding pass from plain sight and doing it anyway.

    As an IAD-based Plat, I've found I have a good chance of getting a CPU for the return flight from SEA if I take a direct segment. Plats have no shot if one transits through LAX or SFO. There's a decent chance through IAH, but why would you go through IAH ...
     
  15. wilkinsonmd

    wilkinsonmd Active Member

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    Ah yes! Group 1! Group 2 feels MASSIVE these days, but I usually have no problem with overhead space even if I'm at the end of the group line. But getting to be the first on does feel booshie.

    I'm also surprised to hear that the CPU's were possible from SEA to IAD. Most on this thread have expressed CPU's were very unlikely on any IAD route. I'd love to hear more about your success rate.
     
  16. Garp74

    Garp74 Gold Member

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    I'm sorry but I haven't tracked the actual stats. I agree that IAD -> (somewhere popular) is a near 0 rate for plats. But I go to SEA weekly and I have a good (maybe 50%?) upgrade rate since making Platinum sometime in the late fall. They cut back from 3 flights a day to 2 for January and February and I still got upgrades. They move back to 3 flights a day on March 6.
     
  17. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

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    Curious to see how true all of this is next year with the great elite purge. Silvers may be able to get upgrades on transcons again :)
     
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  18. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Highly doubtful as the lowest status I have seen in transcon F on a CPU has been a Gold on a H fare.
     
  19. 8MiHi

    8MiHi Silver Member

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    The Great 1K and Silver Purge most likely as CCs can fill in for spend up to Platinum. It is possible that each level might see a modest improvement in upgrades, but I think only 1Ks will notice.
     
  20. IMRU

    IMRU Silver Member

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    I'm ex-DCA as a 1K and haven't had an upgrade to IAH yet this year. The change to Airbi has really affected that. I'm typically number two or three on the waitlist when the door closes. There also seem to be a large number of GS members on this route. Much luckier on the ORD flights. I only fly to Europe out of IAD so I can't comment on upgrade status there.
     
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  21. mre5765

    mre5765 Silver Member

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    I am a 1K. On 4 segments this year, I've at one CPU clear on the original fare code (COS/DEN, a whole 10 minutes), and one after an irrops booking, DEN/SFO bumped me to Y, top of list, but even then only after I boarded did it clear. It is looking like I will go 0 for 2 on Friday's trip. Last year my CPU success rate was not very good; perhaps about 50%, but blunted by the RPUs are earned flying lots of long haul on premium fares, and buy sub $100 upgrade offers, so on domestic flights I probably managed to sit in the front of the cabin (when there was an F cabin) about 2/3s of the time.

    I don't think it is worth it to buy up to platinum. You are better off using the cash to buy upgrades, or buy miles and use them for an extra seat or for upgrades.
     
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