UA - Question on Complimentary Upgrades

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Bill Hunt, Jan 11, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    As the travel year begins for us, I have a question, that others probably have an answer for.

    My wife and I are both UA 1K's. When "complimentary upgrades" are handed out, she is always ahead of me on the list, and often by a few pax.

    Now, we normally book through her MP acct., and use her Chase Club VISA, so that might play a role in this? Also, she has 2M+ MP's, where I only have about 700K in my account. Are MP's even considered in this process?

    What criteria do UA use, when assigning complimentary upgrades?

    Just curious, as if only one gets an upgrade, we normally swap those, so that we are about even, at the end of the year.

    Hunt
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    No, nor does holding a co-branded CC.

    There are two priority sequences. Prior to processing at the gate it is generally*:
    Elite status
    Fare class
    Time of purchase

    When processed at the gate it is:
    Elite status
    Fare class
    Time added to the list, which typically corresponds to the time of purchase.

    Your wife being ahead of you makes sense if the purchase is from her account as it also probably means she's the first passenger listed on the PNR and therefore the lower ticket number. That means she'd be checked in first as well normally. A gap between you and her on the list suggests that the system may be listing you as her companion rather than with your own 1K status directly.

    *There is more nuance to it than this w/r/t Y/B/M fares and GS but the general concept is the same.
     
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  3. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Thank you for that confirmation. It mirrors most of my observations, so nice to know what the priority sequences are.

    Appreciated.

    Hunt
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So how do you avoid that? Book two separate PNRs?
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I suppose. It isn't supposed to do that anyways and without some specific research/details from Mr. Hunt I doubt we'll ever know exactly what's happening. I suppose I might find out later this year if my wife and I end up split as we're now both 1K thanks to MMer.
     
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Right, that's exactly why I am interested in this.
     
  7. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    As we get split about 30% of the time, I was prompted to post.

    Almost every time that a "complementary upgrade" is shown, our Conf # gets split, and then we are usually unable to adjust seats, to be together.

    We are faced with that, at this very moment, and that is what prompted my post. Fortunately, each leg is only about 1:23, so it's not a big deal. Besides, on leg #1, I am exit, and she's in FC, on a CRJ 700, so I will take her briefcase, and mine, and just stuff them into the overhead bin, since she has none - but does have limited underseat. We'll get by, but just wanted to know for the future.

    Thanks,

    Hunt
     
  8. TravelerRob
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    TravelerRob Silver Member

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    I just took a CRJ-700 on IAH-DFW tonight and there is definitely bin space allocated for first class. It's not a ton of space but I imagine your wife's briefcase will fit in just fine.

    -Rob
     
  9. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Well, things worked out well. On outbound leg, the gentleman with the window seat decided that he'd rather have that single aisle/window all to himself, and asked if wife would swap, so that she could be next to me in 2D - she though about it for a bit longer, than she should have... but accepted.

    Though our Conf's had been split, we were both upgraded on the other legs, with 2-cabin class, and seated together. Even with a bunch of bulkhead seats, the overhead storage was not an issue. Having row 1 also helped in one SFO - LAX leg, as UA made a schedule change, and we only had ~ 40 mins. to get from the 70-series to the 80-series gates, but even our checked luggage made it!

    In the end, everything was good - I was just curious why she always gets the first upgrade notification, and then we get split??? It seems that many of the observations and speculations are pretty accurate - UA just likes her better! :(

    Thanks everyone.

    Hunt
     

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