Using UA GPUs

Discussion in 'Mileage Runs/Travel Hacking' started by annkreit, Sep 15, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. annkreit

    annkreit Silver Member

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    I am sitting on 6 UA GPUs. What suggestions for utilizing these in a reasonable $ and fun trip for my husband and I?
     
  2. Pizzaman
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    Pizzaman Co-founder

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    In 2 years as a 1K member I have yet to redeem a GPU for an international flight except on the day of travel. When booking in advance I've always found the fare difference necessary to use a GPU wasn't worth it. I ended up burning some on a short- ish domestic flight this week. They're definitely harder to use with the fare class requirements.
     
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  3. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    I've booked plenty, often at a $200ish premium each way. That's completely reasonable in my book.
     
  4. Pizzaman
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    Agree. I would take $200 at booking every time (for international or probably transcons). I haven't gotten one that was confirmable at booking for less than about $400. Pretty small sample size, though.
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Not all of mine confirmed at booking; all did confirm before day of departure. I'm just fine with that. And mine is also a relatively small sample size.
     
  6. annkreit

    annkreit Silver Member

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    I would not mind finding a $400 r/t booking to use them...what destinations should I look into? We could go Dec or into the New Year (assume I could use them for next year long as I book before 12/31?)
     
  7. Counsellor
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    Counsellor Gold Member

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    As I understand it the flight itself has to be taken before the GPU expires, not just be booked before then. If that's correct, and your GPUs expire on 31 December 2013, the flight must take off on or before 31 December 2013.
     
  8. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    In pre-merger years, I used SWUs with great success, and typically the fare penalty was minimal. In 2012, I had horrible luck with GPUs.

    These days I would not pay a fare premium unless the upgrade could be confirmed at booking.

    One lower-cost use of them would be domestically on routes with no fare class restrictions but with real business class seats. Note that regional upgrades could also be used on these routes, so arguably this isn't the best use of a GPU, just a cheaper one.

    Specific idea: east coast to Hawaii. IAD/IAH/EWR-HNL aren't eligible for complimentary upgrades, but a GPU can be used on any fare, and EWR-HNL can be had for $700ish (T fare). Sometimes those routes have international-type equipment: I see a 767 with BizFirst from EWR. IAH seems to have 777's with a mix of domestic config and UA's old 3-cabin config. You'll need to check the seat maps carefully.

    Likewise the p.s. service SFO-JFK and LAX-JFK has nice equipment.

    Another idea: Dublin. BOS-DUB is $600-650 in K, ~$800 in W.
     
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  9. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I've found the best use of GPUs and RPUs to be the p.s. flight. I'm too cheap to pay a premium on international travel and usually use miles to book C for those trips anyway.

    One thing that completely eludes me when it comes to travel on UA is why an RPU/GPU can be used for IAD/IAH/EWR-HNL but not HNL-GUM which is on a domestic config 777
     
  10. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Wandering Aramean and Pizzaman were speaking about premiums of $200 to $400 in addition to the cost of the flight(s), presumably to get to W class or higher to be able to use the GPUs. Good luck finding a $400 r/t international booking that is W or higher.

    GPUs expire at the end of the Premier Elite program year. So all GPUs expire 31 January, and thus the flight on which a GPU is to be applied must take off by 31 January.
     
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  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I was not aware that a GPU could be used on the day of travel even on a non-GPUable fare for travel outside of Region 1, which is unclear based on the above.

    In any case, it comes down to the highly subjective concept of 'value'. I redeem my GPUs almost exclusively for long-haul intl trips because (a) it would be unthinkable for me to do 7+ hours in E or E+, and (b) one must compare the cost of a GPUable fare to what it would cost to purchase a M/Y/B (auto-upgradable), C or F ticket.

    Here's a concrete example: I just dummy-booked a JFK-LAX-PVG RT, which I do often, and compared the fare class costs for what it would take to avoid flying in the back of the plane for such a long trip.

    The trip would take more than 20hr (JFK-LAX: 6h10min; LAX-PVG: 14h10min), which would be painful to do in Y (even Y+). Below are the lowest costs for each fare class:
    • Lowest non-GPUable economy (K): $1,380 -- one is stuck in the back of the plane, with the best option being E+. (0.8 x W)
    • Lowest GPUable economy (W): $1,759 (lowest that must be purchased in order to use a GPU -- $379 or 27% more than above)
    • Auto-upgradable economy for 1K only (M): $3,646 (2.0 x W)
    • Flexible auto-upgradable economy (Y/B): $6,304 (3.6 x W)
    • Lowest Business/BusinessFirst (P): $8,496 (4.8 x W)
    In order to avoid flying in Y or Y+ for a total of 20+ hr, the $379 fare difference between W and K above seems like a bargain compared to the other options that would allow one to fly upfront. One can also look at it this way: If the upgrades to business on the P.S. and to BF on the LAX-PVG B787 clear at booking or shortly thereafter, then one would effectively have purchased a $8,496 ticket for $1,759...can't beat that "value"!;)

    So far this year, I have cleared every single upgrade that I have requested, be it with miles, a RPU or a GPU. Heck, I even got a complimentary upgrade on TAP Portugal from LIS to LHR last week! At check in, I'd asked the TAP agent if she could upgrade me in case the premium cabin was not full. She simply said that the best she could do for me was to assign me an exit row seat. I said that would be fine. Then at boarding, after my BP was scanned, there was an audible bell, and the GA asked me to wait. She reached down to where the printer must have been and came up with another BP: my new seat assignment was 3F. Kool, I had been given the complimentary upgrade after all!:)
     
  12. jetsetr
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    jetsetr Gold Member

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    Knowing Pizzaman and some of his travel patterns, I think I can safely clarify that he meant either:
    A) He was GPU waitlisted on an international flight and it cleared the day of travel, or;

    B) He had converted a GPU into an LH paper SWU and used it to upgrade on LH (obviously this happened before the changes to such instruments earlier this year), or;

    C) He used GPUs to upgrade a domestic flight.
     
  13. Wandering Aramean
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    Or, D) Applied a GPU on the day of travel to an eligible fare. I've don'e it once after an IRROPs situation caused me to swap from AC metal to UA metal and they rebooked me in an eligible class. GPU cleared about 15 minutes later when I got to the UClub. :cool:
     
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  14. sithlord
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    sithlord Silver Member

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    For the price of coach you can fly great carriers in j.
     

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