Noob looking for best way to get 20000 award miles

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by wlassalle, Mar 25, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. wlassalle

    wlassalle Member

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    Hi All, New guy here looking towards your expertise! I started a new job, which has me travel extensively and internationally but only pays for Economy. I purchased a ticket from San Francisco to Australia in Economy Plus, I really would like to fly Business but the upgrade price is ~$7500. I have Primier Silver and ~11,000 Miles, I checked the upgrade for miles and it only said 30,000 miles needed for business on my flight!

    I checked the united site on purchasing 20k miles and it was only about ~$750. I guess my questions are a) could i get away with an upgrade to business by purchasing the 20k miles and then redeeming 30k to upgrade? and B) is this the smartest way to go about this?

    Thanks in advance!
    Will
     
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  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Welcome.

    Is there no copay for the upgrade? What's your fare class?

    Upgrades to Australia are difficult to get, so chances are probably good that you'll be waitlisted and whether you clear will be unclear.
     
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  3. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Someone more experienced with MileagePlus can take a shot at A, but for B, I have to ask what your situation is as far as earning miles from all sources? If you use your own airline branded CCs and earn a ton of miles every month, that's a different situation than getting only BIS miles. Sooooo, IMO, if you won't earn enough total miles fast enough to enjoy award tickets once or twice a year, use your miles on upgrades.
     
  4. wlassalle

    wlassalle Member

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    I use the companies corporate credit card, I dont have my own credit card yet. Im fixing my credit and still about a good year away from getting my own CC again. I earn the miles from flights and im signed up for e-miles right now.
     
  5. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    The one other consideration I forgot was the fact if your miles earnings are slow, you might still end up without enough for an upgrade in the near future. Maybe not an issue for you if you keep flying Down Under.
     
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  6. wlassalle

    wlassalle Member

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    30,000 + $350 and yea it says something about courtesy waitlist. Im checking on the fareclass now.
     
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  7. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    Tough considering you don't have your own credit card. I would've recommended purchasing miles through Mileage Accelerator then applying for an upgrade, but that doesn't seem like an option unless you're able to charge personal transaction to your business credit card.

    Edit: No need to check fare class since we know you have to do a co-pay as well.

    Honestly, its a pretty expensive upgrade to Business Class. I'd just "slum it" in Economy Plus then maybe ask for an upgrade at the airport. They might offer you a pretty good price, depending on how full the cabin is on your flight.
     
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  8. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Everything considered (including the valid point about the tough upgrade), this is probably your best shot. Do the on-line check-in at exactly 24 hours (okay, maybe one minute later), and you might be offered an upgrade for cash. No guarantees, but upgrading is hard on that route and UA loves the cash upgrades upon check-in.
     
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  9. wlassalle

    wlassalle Member

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    well i have a check card with visa logo just not a credit card. I would pay for the miles on my own accord. I just would like to sleep comfy on the long flight to Sydney.
     
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  10. wlassalle

    wlassalle Member

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    yeah i was able to upgrade really cheap earlier this year from Bangkok to Tokyo right at check in like $500.
     
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  11. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Don't know your body size or how easy it is for you to sleep on airplanes, but some find Economy Plus to work for them. So, I wouldn't say it's the end of the world if you don't upgrade, just have some patience. You'll learn in your new travel adventures that upgrading is becoming more and more of a chess game.
     
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  12. Jimgotkp
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    Jimgotkp Gold Member

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    I wouldn't say that's "really cheap" ;)
     
  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I have gotten such last minute upgrades in the region for very cheap. The last time I did it was really a no-brainer. It would have cost me $100 to check my very heavy suitcase from CSX to HKG, and the upgrade from economy to First was around $100, so I killed two birds with one stone by upgrading: I got to travel in First, which automatically waived the baggage fee. Hint: If you have baggage for which you might have to pay a fee because you have an economy ticket, it is usually a good idea to ask how much an upgrade to a premium cabin would cost and compare that to the baggage fee. It is often worth it to just upgrade...

    As for the OP's understandable desire to upgrade a flight to SYD from Y+ to C, the chances of it clearing are not very good for a silver. Elite status has upgrade priority over fare class, except for Y/B fare which can be automatically upgraded for all elite levels or 1K elites on an M fare. Since you need miles + cash to upgrade, it means that you do not have a Y/B fare. Your upgrade chances are thus very low. I am a 1K and I very recently failed to clear the SFO-SYD GPU on a V fare...but then again the flight was solidly full in all three cabins. Your flight might be as well since it is perfect weather at the moment Down Under, making it a tourist magnet.
     
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  14. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Not on the SFO-SYD route.
     
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  15. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    There you have it. The OP's chances are even lower than I thought...:oops:
     
  16. rggale
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    rggale Gold Member

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    Not on any international route--there's no such thing as a guaranteed upgrade unless there is R space available.

    Domestically, yes, a Y/B/M upgrade is almost guaranteed if there is a seat available. On some routes, they save the last seat for a F-seat buyer.
     
  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Here's the "law" on Y/B/M instant upgrades, which I did not quite fully understand and may be of interest to others too:
    • Instant upgrades for all Premier members on Y and B full-fare Economy tickets and for Premier® 1K® members on M fares are available on all flights that are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades.
    Eligible flights and regions

    Complimentary Premier Upgrades are available on most United-, United Express- and Copa Airlines-operated flights in the following regions:

    • Continental U.S.
    • Hawaii
    • Alaska
    • Canada
    • Mexico
    • Central America
    • Caribbean
    • South America (Copa flights only)
    • Oceania
     
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