Unbelievable - if you bought tix on Continental and one leg is a United flight, no up miles upgrade!

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by zenNJ, Jan 30, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    I found this out the hard way today when I called Continental to see about using my miles to upgrade for one leg of my flight. The representative told me that essentially, I can't use my miles to get upgraded on a United operated flight if I bought my ticket on Continental website, and vice-versa (i.e. if I bought my ticket on United and it's a Continental operated flight). I asked her where was it explained/written in the website, and she said that it isn't, but it's just something the system won't let them do and so the representatives on both airline are aware of this, but I don't think passengers are aware of this (at least I wasn't). She did say come march when the integration is done, then this restriction "should" go away.
    But in the meantime, this really doesn't do me any good.

    Here is more detail:
    I had bought a round trip last week on Continental for Newark to Vienna.
    For the departure flight, I am actually flying from EWR -> Zurich on a United operated flight and then
    at Zurich->Vienna it's an Austrian airline flight. On the return, it's Zurich -> LHR (on Austrian air) and then LHR->EWR on Continental operated.

    I am a Onepass Platinum elite as well as United 1K and had the option to buy this either on Continental or United website but I generally prefer Continental website's reservation system more, especially in terms of how they display elite miles you can earn (with partner airlines, they tell you how much actual elite miles you'll earn depending on the fare class).

    So I was surprised today when I called Continental to see about using miles to get my flight from EWR->Zurich upgraded to biz class and the representative took one look at the reservation and said, sorry, no can do. And went on to say it's because of systems limitations which still don't treat united and continental as one company, despite all the hoopla about them being one company for the last 1+ year.

    So lesson learned on this the hard way. I guess if I plan on flying again on either untied/continental and it involve a flight operated by the other carrier, I should choose to get it ticketed at the airline where I think I would like to be able to use miles to upgraded. But flyers beware!
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The agent was only mostly wrong.

    Call back, ask to speak to the "integration team" and they should be able to process the upgrade request for you.

    As for the value of the partner earning display on co.com, it is right some of the time but also wrong quite often. I wouldn't get too excited by that information.
     
  3. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    just to confirm, I am booked on T class which means if it was on Continental operated flight, I need to fork over $550 plus like 20K miles. So you are saying it shouldn't matter regardless of the fare class and should be able to use miles to upgrade any way - regardless of if it's Continental or United operated flight, yes?
     
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  4. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    as for value of partner earning displayed being wrong quite often, shouldn't they be accountable for providing the wrong info and so should honor what their system is displaying as elite miles earned? As long as they honor what their system is displaying, that's fine by me :)
     
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  5. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    Just called Continental again. They explained that unless I had purchased my ticket on B, Y fare class, they can't process it because it involves a copay and the only way they can collect copay is if it was for flight operated by airline on which the purchase was ticketed.
     
  6. vortix

    vortix Silver Member

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    Since your outgoing flight is on UA metal, perhaps you need to call UA to do the upgrade? As I'm sure you know, you can transfer miles from CO -> UA and vice versa. Not sure if there is some other issue or limitation preventing you from being able to do this through UA, though.
     
  7. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    I did ask them since I have miles on united and they said it is due to the fact that it's not the B,Y fare class and involve copay.
     
  8. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Did you try asking for the integration team?
     
  9. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    I did. They say that the integration team is really for doing system wide certificate/upgrades since with the system wide certificate, they will let you use that across united and continental operated flights.

    I am actually trying to see how that would work out right now since I am booked on a flight from EWR->BKK with stopover at NRT. So my leg from EWR->NRT is continental and my leg from NRT->BKK is united.

    In the past I would use my Continental miles and co-pay to fly biz class from EWR->NRT and just suffer through economy on NRT->BKK since I don't think it's worth miles/co-pay for upgrading for that leg. But now that I have system wide certificates and I can use them, supposedly one system wide upgrade will allow me to fly biz class from not just EWR->NRT, but also NRT->BKK (using same certificate). And so the part from NRT->BKK is where they actually call the integration team to help get me on the NRT->BKK upgrade list. Unfortunately right now that leg is not available and so am just on wait list. But at least EWR->NRT has been confirmed :)
     
  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Did you ask to speak with the integration desk as I suggested before? If it is UA metal then they can treat it like CO metal for the upgrade. You will have to pay the miles + co-pay, but they should be able to process it if you're willing to pay.

    As for holding CO accountable for the errors on the site, they do have a disclaimer so it is somewhat wishful thinking. It would be nice, but I wouldn't expect you to get very far.
     
  11. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    I did ask to speak to integration team about this twice. Each time the different representative gave the same speech that until the integration is done and it's one same reservation system, they can't handle any miles for upgrade that requires co-pay. And that the integration team is for handling system wide upgrades.
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Well, all the experiences I read about (I don't use miles for upgrades) suggest that the agents are wrong, but I suppose it depends just how wiling you are to push the issue. If it is the UA metal you're trying to upgrade then you have to use UA miles to do so. The miles are freely fungible between the two programs so that shouldn't be a problem. The folks at UA might balk because it is a CO-coded flight (is it??). If so, they should be able to change it to the UA code to be able to process the upgrade. Making that change has usually involved the integration team when I've had to do it for SWU redemption but not always.
     
  13. Seacarl
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    Seacarl Gold Member

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    I can't wait for March 2 when all this should be behind us.

    Every time I have booked itineraries which included both UA & CO metal, it has caused inconvenience (e.g. OLCI didn't work) and it has meant reduced upgrade priority on or the other airline. UA seemed to only see my CO status, even when it was bought on united.com.

    But as I understand it, come March 2, there will be a single computer system regardless of whose metal it is.

    By the way, wasn't there supposed to be a big announcement by the end of January? If they made it already, it must not have been very big. If they haven't made it yet.... not much time left...
     
  14. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    Can't wait for March 2nd!!!
     
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  15. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I sort of survived the NW/DL merger. Just because UA/CO will go to a single computer system on March 2 does not mean the end to problems like this. It will be a chaotic mess.

    Welcome to your merger. Please accept my sympathy.
     
  16. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    Dealing with CO for a United mileage upgrade will get you nowhere, and wastes your time. The only conversations that need to be had are with United Reservations, who can take over the ticket, convert your EWR-ZRH flight into a pure UA segment instead of a codeshare, reissue the ticket to 016 stock, then deduct the miles and wait list you for the upgrade.

    I've done this personally over eight months ago, and the UA international reservations people are generally good at doing the needful on this without too much hassle.
     
  17. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    Thanks for this. It's very helpful. I called United and they were able to do exactly what you said and at least now I am able to try and use my miles (United miles) for an upgrade. Unfortunately right now, there are no longer any seats available for upgrade using miles since there are 2 seats left and those are currently only available for purchase. But I am on the wait-list for it so at least I have a chance instead of none per the Continental folks. I can't get over that the two Continental representatives I spoke to weren't aware of this at all. Aaaaargh!
    But that's why i love forums like this, where I get to find out that things that the airline reps would say is not doable are actually do-able with the right information. Thanks again!
     
  18. HeathrowGuy
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    HeathrowGuy Gold Member

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    No problem. I hope the upgrade clears.
     
  19. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    IME, UA's reservations agents are head and shoulders superior to the CO agents as far as knowing what the system can do. I get the impression that the CO reservation is mostly point-and-drool, whereas UA's agents have full access to the Apollo system.
     
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  20. Where2next?
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    Where2next? Gold Member

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    Hopefully, this is adequately on topic...

    I ran into a similar problem with SWUs. I used a SWU for my SFO-HKG-SIN itin, was confirmed in advance to HKG on UA, but called in when i didn't see a corresponding WL for the connecting HKG-SIN on CO. The Rez desk put me on hold to check with "their integration desk", and then let me know that because of system limitations, that they could not process the connecting upgrade unless i used 2nd SWU (which i didn't want to do).

    Does anyone have experience/insights on whether it is correct that int'l connections across UA/CO require multiple SWUs during the integration?
    Thanks
     
  21. zenNJ

    zenNJ Silver Member

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    You could actually use just one SWU for the whole leg (SFO->HKG->SIN), but only if biz class is available on both legs.

    I am actually going through the same thing right now since I am using Continental SWU from EWR->NRT->BKK for a flight end of this month and have been confirmed on the Continental leg (EWR->NRT) but they could not get me on the NRT->BKK since it is showing unavailable right now. They can't put me on the NRT->BKK waitlist unless I was using another SWU, and that is not worth it for me since if the NRT->BKK was available, I would be able to use that single SWU all the way to Bangkok. I had spoken to CO and then their integration team a couple of times on this. The first time there was a mis-communication since the CO representative said NRT->BKK is not available right now but would I like to be on the waitlist. She told me it was still going to be the one/single SWU but apparently when she spoke to the Integration team, they misunderstood and I did wind up on waitlist for NRT->BKK but then they used up another SWU. I had to call back to get them to redeposit the SWU. But that means the only way right now is for me to call daily to Continental and from there talk to the integration team to see if any biz class seats have opened up between NRT->BKK. If there are available seats at the time I call, they will upgrade me there and then. But because I can't be on the waitlist (without using another SWU), they won't upgrade me automatically when a biz class seat is available and so it's up to you to keep checking that :(
     
  22. 2wheels

    2wheels Silver Member

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    Any itinerary that has both UA and CO metal can not be waitlisted. If there is upgrade space available on all flights, then 1 SWU can be used (with the assistance of the integration team), but if there is no space available, then you may only clear/waitlist on one carrier.

    See: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/can-we-use-swu-on-mixed-metal-yet.19984
     
  23. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    FWIW, I was in this situation domestically and used two CR1s. The "extra" one was later refunded.
     
  24. Where2next?
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    Where2next? Gold Member

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    Sounds like that is a mitigation plan during the integration period- thanks all for the info.
     
  25. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    To go into more detail...

    I chose to have CR1s deposited to UA. One got waitlisted against my UA leg and UA converted one to CO to waitlist against the CO leg. Eventually the UA one was the one that got refunded and my CO history shows one conversion added, which is subsequently used. UA shows one CR1 as "cancelled," which is probably the one that got moved to CO.
     

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