Is there a creative way to fly to India on paid economy but upgraded?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by k2o, Apr 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    I’m going US to India in October. I want/need the miles to make 1k, but I also want to go first due to the time/distance- at least on the way there so I’m rested when I arrive.
    I was set to book with United as I have a SWU sponsor. I called UA and they told me I could use SWU on V or W flights (good price!) but not on the legs to India as it’s code share with CO. So that’s out. I then went to the CO site and searched for a ticket using miles and cash to upgrade. They want 40k miles + $450, which isn’t bad. If I use miles to upgrade, do I still get credit for BIS miles or does using the award to upgrade negate the miles?
    I have miles in other programs so I could possibly use miles for a OW in F, then purchase a OW back. But then I won't be eligible for about 9k miles that I need to achieve 1k.
    Is there a better way to accomplish getting miles both ways but still getting a seat up front and staying on BUDGET?
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    You still get miles based on the fare you paid for so you'd get the base miles for the coach fare.
     
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  3. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    Thats good to know...but I probably need to book via CO, not ua, in order to get upgrade on the int'l legs-correct? Also, what if had an SWU for CO ..or a sponsor and SWU...is that allowed on CO? I think I should call CO regarding this question....ah another nice long hold situation.:confused:
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    CO doesn't care if it is booked as a CO or UA or any other code for the purposes of upgrades. All that matters is that it is on CO metal. And, yes, if you can find someone to give up one of their SWUs they can apply it to your reservation.

    No need to call CO when we have all the answers here. :cool:
     
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  5. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    Thanks for clarifying...I've been burned when booking on other sites. I guess that was hotels but I don't want to make the same mistake a pay dearly for it.

    Thanks for being the answer guy! Beats being on hold for an eternity.
     
  6. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    You can also fly LH, and use UA SWU's to upgrade. You will have to request paper upgrade certs from the 1K line, and then use them to upgrade at the LH counter. However, it will cost one paper upgrade per segment, (i.e., DEN-FRA-DEL will cost 2 SWU's, 1 each for DEN-FRA and FRA-DEL).
     
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  7. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Another option is you can get as far as BKK on UA metal and take Thai from there (it's only like a 4 hour flight). When I went in 2005 it required about an 18 hour layover in Thailand (fun for sightseeing, not so much fun when Customs asks you what you were doing in Thailand for 18 hours), and then had a tight 35-minute connection on the return- that trip was the fastest I've ever made it back from India though and I upgraded everything on UA. It is also nice because it breaks up a VERY long journey into shorter segments- longest being about an 8-9 hour flight to/from NRT.

    I've also gone 3 times via FRA. I hate that route! It is pretty-much awful! (I'm west coast based so that means a 11 hour flight + and 8 hour one but you can typically add up to 2 hours waiting in the holding pattern because this flight gets in at DEL's rush hour time. It might be better now that they opened the 2nd runway? Last time I did this was 2008) The connections in FRA suck so that means 5-6 hours there and its not that nice of an airport. I've used UA systemwides on the SFO-FRA portion which was nice and flew the rest of the way in coach. I've also been lucky enough to get an op-up on LH on the way home :) Haven't tried United SWU's on LH. I actually didn't know you could do that.

    My favorite that I've done is on CO out of EWR. If there is anyway you can try to upgrade with them, that is the way to go. If not, get a bulkhead seat. It's a long flight (14-15 hours), and that is the seat you want to be in until they get E+. CO has offered my husband an op-up on this route. I didn't get so lucky.

    My husband has also gone via ICN on Asiana. That is his favorite and has the best connections. For a while that was the cheapest way to go. The only other *A option I can think of is through Singapore, and you can get there on UA metal too. I believe it is about 6 hours to India from there so it's do-able in coach. My husband has gone that way, but on SQ. Not sure if the United flights would allow you to connect without a stopover and upgrading on Singapore from what I've heard is next to impossible.
     
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  8. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    Gosh hulagirl, quite the variety of options. It looks like I'll be taking your favorite route by going through EWR. Adding BKK is interesting and a possibility. Prior I was thinking I'd stop in CDG on the way home, as I've never been...or I could just go straight home and get back to work...
    ab3i I'll price it out on LH too as I am looking to max the miles on this ticket. Good to know I can use UA swu's on LH.
     
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  9. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    DEL has thankfully improved a LOT ever since they opened terminal 3 (T3) for the commonwealth games last year. I have been visibly impressed by the improvements made, hopefully they'll stick for a while. BTW, I found something interesting when i was flying out of DEL last weekend, they have a first/business line for passport control while leaving the country, which literally saved me a good 45-60 minutes, otherwise i'd have missed my flight :), if only they had a first/business line for security as well. :D

    I have done the EWR-DEL route once, and i have to admit I liked it even though i flew coach. I agree with hulagrrl210, definitely try and get bulkhead seats if you are unable to upgrade using cash+miles, its a 15 hour haul, and can get quite cramped in coach. Speaking of which, i think you will still get the EQMs you want if you did upgraded using cash+miles, but i am not sure since i haven't ever tried it

    FRA sucks, undoubtedly! The signage isn't clear, there are multiple security points within the airport, and the gates can change from one end of the airport to thr other at the last minute (happened to me last December, right before the massive snowstorm hit). On the plus side, the LH senator Lounge is fairly nice to spend the layover time at :)
     
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  10. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Couple of things:
    - If you want to stop at CDG, understand that the airport is about an hour (in each direction) from the real touristy sites. It would be better (and cheaper) to take the train (8.5 Euros each way) if you have the time.

    - About Thailand: I have never been there, but I have read a LOT of reports that things like an 18-hour stay (especially if you're a guy traveling alone) will raise eyebrows with U.S. CBP folks when you return.
     
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  11. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Another thing to consider CO gives the same double bonus miles that United does. LH does not. As for my 18-hour stay in Thailand- the conversation went something like...

    CBP: How long were you in Thailand?
    Me: 18 hours
    CBP: What were you doing in Thailand for 18 hours?!?! (very serious and scary)
    Me: I stopped there on the way to India (about to pee my pants)
    CBP: Nevermind

    not sure what "nevermind" is supposed to mean, lol, but after that she was uninterested and there were no further questions :)
     
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  12. k2o
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    k2o Silver Member

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    Great comments, I think EWR-DEL is the way to go. As I'm packing a lot into the few days I'll be there I am rethinking the stopover on the way back. Diwali here I come!
     
  13. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    if you claim your miles on UA/CO while flying LH, then you'll get the bonus on RDMs anyway, however depending on the class of the ticket, the EQM/RDM's might only be 0.5X :(
     
  14. ab3i
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    ab3i Silver Member

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    Diwali... okay now i am jealous :(
     
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