GPU SUCCESSES/FAILURES: 2014 Edition

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by NYCUA1K, Mar 16, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Back in January, I booked a RT ticket to travel to SYD this week. I intended to request GPUs for both ways so I searched for GPUable fares (W and higher). To my surprise, I found a V fare, which is higher in pecking order than W, that cost significantly less than W and I snatched it immediately in the hope that it would increase my chances to clear the GPUs.

    The itinerary:
    Outbound: JFK -- p.s. --> SFO --- 744 ---> SYD
    Inbound: SYD ---744 ---> LAX --- p.s. ---> JFK

    After I applied the two GPUs on January 30, I was waitlisted for all the segments.

    Looking at the seatmap for the SFO->SYD segment around mid-Feb got me worried that I might be flying the 14+ hours in E+ because the F and C cabins showed hardly any availability and even Y was filling up very quickly. Thus, in the event that I got stuck in Y, I wanted to make sure that I'd have one of the best E+ seats. Looking at seatguru indicated that of the seats still available 33B,C (exit row) would be a good choice. I grabbed 33C, as B was a middle seat.

    Just before departure day, the Y->C U/G on the p.s. cleared. However, I was still waitlisted for the SFO-SYD segment and the seatmap showed no availability at all in any of the three cabins. During flight on the p.s., I paid for internet access and checked the upgrade list for SFO-SYD: it was very long and I was at no. 7, so I knew that I would be flying in E+. Upon arriving in SFO, it became clear why the SFO-SYD flight was so full and why upgrades were scarce: Most of the plane was filled with scientists attending a meeting of the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics this week in SYD and I was one of them! In addition there were 14 GSs on this flight and -- the first time I have seen this done - all 14 were called by name to get up to the elite lane to start boarding!

    In sum, this reports my first (and hopefully the last) failure of the year to clear a GPU. Because the GPU for the long-haul SFO-SYD segment did not clear, one GPU has already been returned to me (I arrived here yesterday). I am still waitlisted for both segments for the return trip.

    A long story to just say that I failed to clear a GPU but I thought the circumstances were sort of interesting.

    Please tell us of your GPU successes or failures, along with the context if you found it interesting.

    *Post edited for many typos and to correct return itinerary.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
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  2. jcn

    jcn Member

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    Had a GPU get me from SFO-SYD in late Jan. In mid-Feb, SYD-SFO, I missed by 1, though I had my favorite seat in E+. Got to the counter to drop my bag and he UA agent told me she did me a favor and moved me into the back of he plane where it was all but empty and I'd have the entire row. Not bad... Got on the plane, my original seat had been sold (asked the occupant), and the back was filled. Thanks, United! It's mid-March, and I'll continue us to buy drinks on UA flights because they have still been unable to track down my 1K card and drink chits. Starting to peruse status match options....!
     
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  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    To sell your seat after making you a promise for better accommodation that they did not keep is borderline sociopathic! At least now I know to let go of my good E+ seat only if I get a confirmed upgrade...

    Having secured exit row seat 33C unquestionably made the 14+ hr flight bearable, but I also got to use my drink chits to buy a drink for myself and for the man and woman sitting in 33B and 33A, respectively. The FA was having a hard time processing the man's credit card for a drink that he wanted to purchase so I intervened and said to use one of my chits for the man's drink instead, as well as chits for drinks for me and our other companion. They appreciated the gesture, which also seemed to "break the ice", so to speak, making for a pleasant trip all around. With most of my upgrades clearing, I rarely have the opportunity to use my drink chits so that was another reason this was cool.

    Gotta insist to get your 2014 1K package, like...now!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  4. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I am returning to NYC tomorrow:

    SYD---744---> LAX ---p.s.---> JFK

    and just got this email:
    Kool. I will not be doing the 14+ hr SYD-LAX segment in Y+ again! :cool:

    Still waitlisted for the LAX-JFK p.s., but I like my chances...
     
  5. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I agree these V fares are a good value and can appear in interesting ways when searching on UA.COM. I've been GPU waitlisted for IAH-GIG and GRU-IAH for six months and there's still two more months to go before I actually fly the sectors....no sign of UG yet :p
     
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  6. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I would say that good value V fares may be more common than we realize. I just searched for GPUable fares for a trip I am planning to HKG in June-July and, once again, I just found a V fare that is about $200 less than W, the lowest GPUable fare in pecking order.

    HKG-V vs W.png

    The moral of the story here is to search for all the GPUable fares by price and chances are that a fare lower in price than W may pop. I just started doing this so I am wondering how many times I purchased a W fare, which I used to search for exclusively, when there might have been a cheaper V or Q fare that could have ranked me higher on the upgrade waitlist...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
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  7. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    I like the post...but shhhh....UA management see this and will research why this anomaly exists. Customer-favoring anomalies never last and it's clear why.
     
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  8. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Damned if I do, damned if I don't. In this case I hope that revealing the secret so that more people can take advantage of this customer-favoring anomaly outweighs the loss by the few who are aware of it. Also, there is the likelihood that the UA IT would just be too busy to find the time to fix this 'anomaly' right away...;)
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    V fare IAD-FRA last week. Wife got the last BF seat, I was the first not to clear. Booked months ago. Both 1K, booked at the same time but separate PNRs, I made sure to apply for her upgrade first :)

    Return trip MUC-IAD already cleared for both of us. IAD-SFO looks rather unlikely.
     
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  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Have you at least tried to snatch one of the "better" Y+ seats, just in case?
     
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Yes, exit row, same as on the outbound flight that also didn't t clear.
     
  12. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    Here's my experience with GPUs in 2014...

    IAD DXB W Class GPU Cleared at 24 Hours
    (Had to call in to clear R)

    DXB IAD W Class GPU Cleared at 40 Hours
    (WL Cleared Automatically)

    HKG EWR W Class GPU Cleared 2 months out (WL Cleared Automatically)
     
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  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    It did not work out so well. Maybe because of my V fare, I was at the top on the U/G list with 5 BF seats to go when I got at LAX from SYD. I still felt pretty good about my chances but the upgrade never cleared, so I wound up in coach (Y+), in an exit row seat that was great. It was one of the reconfigured planes with the extended movie offering so if I was to fail to clear an upgrade, this was a good one on which that to happen.
     
  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    GPU successes/failures to date:
    • March: JFK-LAX-SYD-SFO-JFK: 2GPU used; 1 cleared, 1 did not and was redeposited (both p.s. segments cleared)
    • May: LGA-IAD-MUC-MXP, RT: 2GPU used; 1 outgoing did not clear because I was rebooked on Alitalia, redeposited; 1 incoming cleared.
    • June: JFK-SFO-HKG, RT: 2GPU used; 1 outgoing cleared 2 weeks before departure (p.s. segment has also cleared); 1 incoming waitlisted (p.s. segment has cleared)
    • Sept: JFK-SFO-ICN, RT: 2 GPU used; both have already cleared about 3 months out, including the oubound p.s.; the inbound p.s. is a 6am flight, all of which have cleared to date so I like my chances.
    Strangely, my last three GPU (JFK-HKG; JFK<->ICN) cleared without my receiving a notification, so if you are expecting a U/G you might want to check because it might have cleared so that you can select good seats.

    Tally: have used 8 GPUs (started out with 7, so the 8 include one that was redeposited):
    5 have cleared
    1 failed to clear outright and was redeposited
    1 did not get in play because I flew Alitalia and it was redeposited
    1 Wailisted

    Removing the GPU for the no-op Alitalia flight leaves me with:
    5 cleared
    1 failed
    - redeposited, so one of original 7 remains unused
    1 waitlisted

    The excellent upgrade clearance rate and the ability to rake in RDM from my long-haul flights (see, e.g., 4 above) will be the two features of the legacy UA FF program that I will miss when I will exit as lifetime PG/*G and won't be getting any GPUs and RDM earning will become revenue-based.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  15. sfo1
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    sfo1 Silver Member

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    All W fares have cleared 100% for 2014 and have used all my GPU's for bookings.
    I have two more trips to do and both cleared right after booking
    YVR DEN NRT SIN HKG SFO YVR
    YVR IAH LIM IAH DEN YVR

    oh yes and one for Jan 2015
    SEA EWR DUB SNN EWR IAH SEA

    What am I going to do with the ones I get for 2015, such a problem :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  16. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    All those I've requested have cleared as well. IAD-FRA and STR-EWR each only cleared about 3-5 days out (bought ~20 days out) while SFO-ICN and BOM-EWR cleared at booking (also bought ~20 days out).
     
  17. HubletUAFlyer

    HubletUAFlyer Gold Member

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    Batting 100%. Have used 14 GPU's this year

    Sent from my iPad using milepoint
     
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  18. chris_poland

    chris_poland Silver Member

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    I'm batting 3/6 so far this year. Two cleared day of, and 1 cleared early. All were Y or B fare class, all trans-pac.

    The three that did not clear did include a domestic segment which did upgrade, but the GPU's were returned automatically when the intl portion failed to clear.
     
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  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Clearing GPUs on TPAC flights can be tough on some routes, like SFO-HKG on weekend flights when there are many business travelers. I won't be surprised if my waitlisted HKG-SFO flight this coming weekend does not clear. Both premium cabins on the 744 are filling up fast...

    Sent from my DROID4 GLOBAL using milepoint
     
  20. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Wow. You can see from my pessimistic note on Monday that I did not very much like my chances of clearing the GPU for my upcoming HKG-SFO-JFK return trip. Well, with two days to go, the GPU just cleared and when I went to select a seat it was the very last BF seat shown as unoccupied!

    Out of 7 GPUs, 6 have cleared on very long haul flights, one failed to clear, leaving me with 1 redeposited GPU. Not too shabby...
     
  21. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    GPU question: If flying MEL-SYD-SFO and I apply a GPU that clears MEL-SYD immediately but assuming SYD-SFO never clears do I get it back? It's not an international leg and it's only 1.5 hours. I know I can remove the GPU but since I can no longer run EF alerts for "R" space on SYD-SFO I'd rather take the chance and hope it clears ahead of time. If I get to the 24 hour mark and things look unlikely I'll probably call in and get the GPU removed unless MEL-SYD isn't considered "used".

    I'm outbound next week via LAX on LAX-SYD. 12 open seats up front and only a few E+ seats selected so I think I have a decent chance. Just stinks I could have booked this ticket five days ago when the flight was R=5 but the trip only confirmed today. Bummer.

    Booked on a "V" fare which gives me a leg up over all the "W" bookings. Hoping it helps.

    Thanks,
    Rob
     
  22. HubletUAFlyer

    HubletUAFlyer Gold Member

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    Rob

    If the over water segment doesn't clear, the GPU will redeposit...you'll probably need to call in for this to process manually but that's been my experience in the past

    What day are you flying?
     
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  23. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    Yeah, I know the over water rule but was unclear on any international -> international "domestic" stops. This will be a first for me as I've never flown out of MEL, only SYD. I'm outbound on the 9th (LAX-SYD which hopefully clears) and return from MEL on the 27th. You heading over?

    -Rob
     
  24. HubletUAFlyer

    HubletUAFlyer Gold Member

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    Outbound on the 9th sfo-syd
    Back on 17th..again syd-sfo

    Probably be in the customs hall around the same time!
     
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  25. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The rule:
    • In most cases, the Global Premier Upgrade will be considered used if any segment of an itinerary is upgraded or flown. However, for travel which includes segments in United BusinessFirst or United Global First, the Global Premier Upgrade will be re-deposited if the United BusinessFirst or United Global First segment(s) could not be upgraded.
    With BusinessFirst and Global First being defined as:
    • United Global First: Most flights to or from Africa, Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, South America and the South Pacific, and flights between Tokyo and Singapore (Select features are not available on flights between Tokyo and Singapore.)
    • United BusinessFirst®: Most flights to Africa, Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, South America and the South Pacific, and flights between Tokyo and Seoul and Singapore.
    I believe you will get the GPU back if the MEL-SYD segment gets upgraded and the long TPAC segment does not. I did do the same itinerary a couple of years and, fortunately, I was upgraded both ways because it is a long one, especially starting on the east coast...
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
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