When do you use miles upgrade?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by NCommander, Feb 26, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. I've recently been booked to go PDX-ORD-FRA-BUD // BUD-FRA-JFK (on LH) // JFK-SFO-PDX, and decided to drop miles to upgrade PDX-BUD and NYC-PDX (since I'm booked on a p.s. flight). I was curious when do people around here use their miles (or SWU/CR-1s) to upgrade?

    I've also considered trading for a SWU for FRA-JFK, and possibling trading for SWUs/CR-1s (especially a paper SWU as I'd love to fly in J on the A380), but I'm concerned about issues with United on doing so (I did post a thread on Coupon Connection, but I haven't responded to any offers after reading about threads about people who had their accounts audited).
     
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  2. ande777emt
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    ande777emt Gold Member

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    Seeing that FRA-JFK is on LH, you could only upgrade with miles if you were on a B or Y fare.1

    In the past year I've only burned 1 SWU on UA, the rest became paper and went to LH, so if you can do that, I'd go for that.
     
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  3. I'm aware to use miles I would need Y/B + award inventory (plus in this case, this is codeshared flight, so I couldn't *A upgrade even if I was in the right booking class). I currently am using miles to waitlist an upgrade on all the UA segments (US-Europe outbound, US domestic (mostly because I want to try p.s. C).

    I have considered trading for a SWU or CR-1 to replace my mileage-based upgrades, as well as trading for a paper SWU, but I have concerns since I suspect using CC would constitute bartering of awards (which is probitted by the UA ToS). I'm only a lowly 1P, thus no SWU/CR-1s of my own ...
     
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  4. EWR764
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    EWR764 Silver Member

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    At CO, I'd often put a mileage upgrade request in for EWR-LAX/SFO if I was booked on a 752. I haven't done it in a year or so, though. It usually wouldn't clear but was a nice treat when it did.

    I haven't used my CO SWUs yet, but I'll probably wind up using them to Asia. EU flights are too short for me to feel as though I've gotten my money's worth. I was thinking about EWR-CAI (in August with prices <$900 ai and double RDM) on the 777 but it looks like that's out the window now.

    I'm waiting to see if provisions are made where we may redeem our 'native' CO SWUs on UA or any other metal in 2011 before I burn any of mine.
     
  5. These flights are a good use of any upgrade instrument... West Coast-FRA is a long way, and as you say JFK-SFO-PDX gives you ps. Of course only you can decide if it's worth the miles and copay involved.

    Keep in mind the J seat on the A380 is exactly same as in the rest of the LH fleet, which means slanted beds. Of course still much better than Y...

    As long as you trade which someone you can trust, share contacting info, and no money is exchanged, CC is quite safe. The big no-no, both for CC and the airlines, is when cash changes hands.

    The problem with paper SWUs is that if they don't clear, then you are left with an instrument which you may not have another chance to use. Also, I've read reports that LH is not allowing use of paper SWUs if the sponsor is not present at the airport (but technically they're still freely transferable).
     
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  6. FriendlySkies
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    FriendlySkies Gold Member

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    According to FT, paper SWUs are transferable, so nobody should have their account audited by UA.
     
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  7. mht_flyer
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    mht_flyer Gold Member

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    For international flights I'll use miles on extra long flights to upgrade, short hops trans Atlantic normally I won't unless it's for a business trip and I have go to a office shortly on arrival.

    That said, on domestic I occasionally will use miles to upgrade, especially on vacation flights which I've purchased cheapie fares (l, k) and even as Plat may have a hard time upgrading on.
     
  8. Misplaced Texan
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    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

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    I use my SWUs anytime I leave region 1 on a revenue flight. Since 100% of my business travel for the last several years has been w/in region 1, that means I use them on the handful of revenue leisure trips I take each year.

    CR1s I tend to burn upgrading family members. If they get near expiration, I will burn them on a handy transcon. P.S. flights are pretty much a no-go for me since there isn't a routing out of WAS that allows JFK. If new UA provides a similar premium product out of EWR, then that might be a good use of CR1s.
     
  9. Freddie Listo
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    Freddie Listo Gold Member

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    I use them for transcons, transpacs, and TATLs. Depending on when I'm flying, I probably won't use them if I'm on a short flight (three hours or less?) in the US, but then sometimes if I have a LOT of miles, I decide, "what the heck, live it up!" ;)
     
  10. My concern comes from bartering, i.e., redeeming an award for someone else, while they use miles/CR-1/SWU for you.

    My handle (NCommander) is linked to my real name due to work, so its pretty trivial to find who I am. I guess I'm kinda paranoid :-/
     
  11. Actonma
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    Actonma Silver Member

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    When B fares are a minimal premium over lower fare class I'll book B and upgrade using miles to save my SWU's for when I'm stuck with a fare class that requires a co-pay.

    (Yes, I get my GS status as part of our corporate agreement with United... #1 UA traveler in a company that never buys premium seats....)
     
  12. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    As a 1P and without an CR-1s I try to upgrade every ps flight I am on with miles. That in my mind is pretty good value as you get the RCC to boot which is worth something.
     
  13. SS255
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    SS255 Silver Member

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    I do the same thing. But since they never clear, I also waitlist with miles for any CO transcon in which there is lunch or dinner service. Now my mileage bank is built up to the point where I can probably waitlist for all of my CO transcon flights, since most of those miles will just end up getting re-deposited into my account when the upgrades do not clear. [​IMG]
     
  14. Pat+
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    Pat+ Silver Member

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    When do I use SWUs or CR1s or miles? Always :) I always upgrade as a matter of principle ;)
    As for when to use an instrument v.s. another, some rules of thumb apply...
    • Use miles when a fare is below W or way above W. In the former case, it's the only option, in the latter case, the co-pay may be a better value than using a SWU. When upgrading a Z fare, miles (and cash) are the only options.
    • Remember that SWUs expire, miles don't (at least for all practical purposes--I realize they expire in theory but it's irrelevant to frequent flyers.) So if you typically fly hard to upgrade routes, it may be a good idea to use SWUs instead of miles, as you might have a hard time using them all.
    • I typically use up to 2 SWUs a year on LH C>F, on routes that I know I can upgrade easily. I don't book LH Y as their economy seats and so do their business seats (better upgrade on UA and get a flat bed.)
    • For transcons or HI routes, I use CR1s. For shorter routes I let the UDU magic happen. When I'm out of CR1s I switch to miles.
     
  15. baccarat_guy
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    baccarat_guy Silver Member

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    Trying to upgrade MUC-BOS on LH, per this thread.

    I've never bothered trying to trade for LH paper upgrade instruments (SWUs), since it seems to be rather complicated with regard to timing.

    Have also (on rare occasions) have used mileage upgrades for full fare (Y) UA BOS-ORD-LAS.
     
  16. spaced2
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    spaced2 Silver Member

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    i see a lot of UA lingo up in here...but i'll bite anyway :) I'm a G on CO. I usually save em up for a transpac or long trans-atlantic flight, but given the situation i'd throw em down on a transcon depending on my mood.
     

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