No upgrades on Award Flights - The reason is???

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by KenInEscazu, Aug 7, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I have flown several award trips this year which were on short (but expensive) flights between SJO & BOG. BC tickets take double the miles of E, and I'm admittedly not usually willing to use twice the miles to sit up front for a couple of 1:15 flights.

    This route is an exception, but the general rule is that mileage-paid flights cost the passenger more than $-paid flights when booked in advance. Copa is the carrier I have been using, and I typically sit on row 5 - the first row of E. I often see open seats in BC, but they aren't available to me for upgrade because I'm flying on miles.

    It's a two-flight process, as I have to connect at PTY, and I had a particularly rough weekend (my best friend died on Sunday), so I was willing to spend the extra miles to move up last night. Not only did I sit on row 5 and watch several open BC seats go unused on both segments, I was further irritated by the fact that my request to pay the difference in miles was denied by both UA (the airline through which I booked the flights) and Copa.

    I can't figure out why my often dirt-cheap $-paid tickets still qualify me for an upgrade, yet my MP tickets don't. Even further puzzling to me is the lack of willingness to accept my offer to pay the additional miles to cover the upgrade myself. Had I waited to book the flight until the day before, they would have gladly taken the very same miles I offered and put me up front. With abundant availability, why in the world don't they want to help me clean out my account faster simply because I booked a couple of weeks earlier?

    I'm having great difficulty seeing the logic behind such a policy. It is the same policy on both airlines, so there must be something I am missing. Now that I am home, I'm glad that I still have the extra miles in my account to take another flight soon, but I really wanted some space last night. What am I missing?
     
  2. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Usually you can call and upgrade via rebooking into a higher award class if you want to, so I don't really see the problem (except for not being able to upgrade with cash).

    I'm also very sorry to hear about your best friend's death. :(
     
  3. 2wheels

    2wheels Silver Member

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  4. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    The only problem is that both airlines told me no. I didn't have the energy to even try to get them to explain it. I wasn't trying to pay with cash. I was trying to use miles. Your explanation is exactly what I would have thought to be the case, but I had never tried it before. I'm really perplexed as to why they wouldn't want me to burn the miles.

    Thanks about my friend. He had cancer, but I thought he would live more than 7 weeks after the diagnosis. It really tore me up. Heck... I think it always will. He was like the brother I never had.
     
  5. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Probably there was zero inventory in that fare bucket, which is a different question entirely.
     
  6. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I just called MileagePlus to reconfirm my experience. They told me quite clearly that you cannot buy an E ticket with miles and later change it to a BC ticket unless one holds a card as listed by 2wheels. The Platinum agent I spoke with couldn't explain it, either.

    I have two Chase cards with decades of perfect payment history, but they denied me an Explorer card. (I know... Everyone says that, but it is true in this case.) When I called to discuss it with them, the girl was so incredibly rude that I decided to quit using them at all. I applied and was approved for a Lifemiles Visa Signature Card that I have had for two weeks, and I already have enough miles for two round trips from SJO to BOG. Just waiting for the first statement to have those miles post. Does Smisek run Chase, too?
     
  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    That may be the "problem"! You paid your bills in full and on time so that the bank made no money off of you in interest payments. I bet if you had carried a lot of debt over those decades, they would've practically begged you to get the Explorer...:confused:
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Well, you could also ask: why no double upgrades from coach to F?

    If Y + SWU = C
    and C + SWU = F

    should it not follow that Y + 2*SWU = F? Apparently the airlines had a different math teacher than I.
     
  9. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Chase has never made a dime in interest off of me, and I have had probably ten Chase cards in my life. And that's probably a pittance when compared to some of the churners here.
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Doesn't Chase make money when people "churn"?
     
  11. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    Absolutely! Sure they make serious money on those who carry balances, but those of us who churn for miles give them a percentage of each purchase (Not sure how much, but it's significant in annual totals) with little to no risk. Not to mention the annual fees.
     
  12. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    You can, however, change it to an I or O ticket, the C and F award buckets, respectively. You might need the right agent, and of course you'd need availability in the appropriate fare bucket.

    What they do is re-credit your old award and pull the new one simultaneously. In fact, I did something similar a few days ago, changing a one-way (NRT-BKK-SIN) to a round-trip (NRT-BKK-SIN-SGN-PEK-NRT). They reversed WB80M and debited YB80M.

    I hear you, truly I do.
     
  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    How?

    Let's say I put $1000/month on my Priority Club VISA (I don't) and I now get the Marriott VISA (I won't). That doesn't mean I am going to charge more. I'll shift spend from one card to the other. My cash income isn't growing, so my spend isn't either.

    Now, perhaps if I use the Marriott VISA instead of the SPG Amex, I might shift spend from Amex to Chase. Fine... and then in a few months I get the HHonors Surpass and move my spend there. Basically it's a zero sum game. The only ones that benefit are yours truly (miles/points) and the banks' marketing departments who presumably get rewarded for acquiring "new" card members.

    Doesn't explain why KenInEscazu can't get the Explorer card, though. But aren't they required to provide a reason if they reject the card application?
     
  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I know very little about churning and I think that it should be outlawed. However, the keyword is "spend". If it were just you involved then it would be pittance. Multiply the practice by all the churners who must meet a minimum spend requirement and it is a bonanza...
     
  15. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    I wouldn't go so far as to say it should be outlawed, but the idea of applying for 5 or more credit cards at one time, knowing you probably won't keep them long term, and cancel them 6 months or so later, makes me feel rather uncomfortable. I wouldn't apply for a credit card that I knew I wasn't going to keep, and I wouldn't apply for more than two or three at once. I'm not going to condemn people who do it, but I won't do it myself, and if someone engages in churning and it (somehow) comes back to bite them in the rear, I don't have a great deal of sympathy for them.
     
  16. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    So you're ignorant of it, yet think it should be illegal? That's rather ridiculous.:rolleyes:
     
  17. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Why? The credit card companies make an offer. I accept. What about it do you not like that would justify the government's involvement?

    Personally, I think it's completely dumb that the banks don't use the data they have to make better decisions about credit card application acceptance. But hey, it's their choice. And they have been known to make plenty of other dumb choices (*cough* mortgages *cough*)

    I personally choose not to apply for more than (on average) 2-3 cards a year.

    Again, if I get a new card and have to meet minimum spend, it doesn't mean I suddenly have more money to spend, so that minimum spend will be met by cutting spend on other cards. Sure, there may be some folks who create spend out of nothing (that wouldn't exist otherwise) through various tricks, but it tends to involve extra work that I don't have time for (e.g., buying crap and reselling it). And even then, let's say 40,000 UR points with $3000 spend... that's 40,000 UR points plus perhaps a couple hundred dollars in blogger commission shelled out for some $100 in merchant fees that Chase might earn with that spend. Doesn't sound like a bonanza to me.
     
  18. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Let me try this very slowly and see if you'll get how it is possible to voice one's opinion as I did:

    Having never practiced cannibalism, I know little about it. However, I know enough about it to voice the opinion that it should be outlawed wherever it is being practiced.

    Fill in the blank:
    Having never practiced ______________, I know little about it. However, I know enough about it to voice the opinion that it should be outlawed wherever it is being practiced.

    I also know about this type of churning:

    Last, but not least, and I hope I will not have to repeat this, but I recently had a vile "discussion" with you that had to be deleted by the moderators because it was not only unwarranted, it was totally asinine. Please return me the favor by ignoring my posts.

    Thank you
     
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  19. KenInEscazu

    KenInEscazu Gold Member

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    I called the bank that issued my Lifemiles card and told them exactly how I planned to use it. I asked them if this was acceptable to them and how they would likely treat my account as a result. They said that is exactly what they want me to do with it, and the more I churn, the higher they'll raise my limit. They are making money on every transaction. The merchants are paying for it in terms of processing fees. (I know... I own a company that accepts credit cards.)

    It's a win-win. The airlines gains loyal customers. The banks earn fees that result in net profits. The merchants often sell things that might be purchased at a later date or not at all.

    The only losers are the people who run up high balances and end up having to pay the interest maintenance on them. I guess the banks would lose if everyone got the cards just to get the initial mileage bonus, then dumped them, but I don't do that, nor do I believe that most consumers do. I use mine strictly for business and plan to keep it for a very long time.

    I started this thread hoping to be less confused. I still don't know why I can't use miles if I change my mind about what level of service I want on a trip, and now I'm confused regarding why people would think that buying things and paying them off right away is a problem. Maybe I should go to sleep and start over tomorrow after a good night's rest. :)
     
  20. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I do not feel that strongly about this, just uncomfortable about applying for multiple cards at once, which I then cancel, only to start over. In the hands of people with less impulse control than you, those credit cards can lead to ruined lives. I am sure you have heard the stories...

    The whole practice is susceptible to abuses, which can proliferate to the point of causing greater damage requiring government regulations.



    Credit card issuers make money on fees paid by merchants. A merchant who accepts AMEX pays a percentage to AMEX for every sale. Have millions of sales because of churning and the minimum spend requirement and it is a bonanza.

    This is where I exit this "discussion" because I do not care about it that much. I do not need to churn. I still have my first Citibank card account that says 'Member since 1986" and proud of it.
     
  21. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Having never practiced women's gymnastics, I know little about it. However, I know enough about it to voice the opinion that it should be outlawed wherever it is being practiced.

    (I chose this example because women's gymnastics is on TV right now... and I truthfully have never practiced it... do I sound like a Taliban? :D)
     
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  22. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Outlawed on what grounds? Because NYCUA1K has declared his dislike for it?
    What about this kind?
    [​IMG]
    Yes, multiple activities have acquired the same name "churning" over the years. Should we ban butter?
    Why not just not post blatantly false claims and make it easier on both of us? At least here it's a matter of (somewhat bizarre) opinion, rather than dogmatic adherence to false "fact". You seem to have a tendency to take things personally, and aggressively promote your own version of the "truth", whether you have the facts or not. It seems like if anyone disagrees with you, you go on the warpath, regardless of whether you have a defensible position or not.

    Feel free to expound on what business the government has in regulating "churning" if you'd like, but I don't see how that's anything other than bizarrely overbearing government interference.
     
  23. Ygor
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    Ygor Gold Member

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    Oh this is a fun game. :D

    Having never practiced a donkey punch, I know little about it. However, I know enough about it to voice the opinion that it should be outlawed wherever it is being practiced. :eek:

    Too much?
     
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  24. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Practice makes perfect!
     
  25. Ygor
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    Ygor Gold Member

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    Yes, because churning butter is inherently unethical :rolleyes:
     

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