Y fare and B fare auto-upgrade at ticketing...?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by scf, Jan 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    this might be a basic question, actually I'm fairly sure it is, but I'm still relatively new to this and need some guidance from the expects. I did a quick search and didn't find anything either.

    I was looking at CO/UA's website and read that when an elite member (all status levels) purchases a Y fare ticket they are given the chance to upgrade at the time of ticketing (I assume that means as you are purchasing....). Several questions come to mind:

    1) Is that a free upgrade or does it still require the purchaser to use miles?
    2) International and domestic travel?
    3) Companion upgraded as well?
    4) How does one find out an upgrade is available prior to purchase...? some other website I assume....?

    The site also mentions that tickets purchased at the B fare level are able to upgrade immediately "subject to capacity controls (?)." Seems even more important to find out if an upgrade is available prior to purchase on a B fare ticket....

    Does anyone have experience with this? Seems like a cheaper way to fly business class on international flights.....
     
  2. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    There are no free upgrades on long haul international, but certain shorter international flights, such as Canada or Mexico, are treated as domestic by some carriers so you must check the rules.

    For these domestic upgrade at purchase fares, which can be very expensive, the best thing is probably to call the carrier to purchase. No miles are required for the upgrade.
     
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  3. Phudnik
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    Phudnik Gold Member

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    This is a longstanding CO program that is being extended to the entire combined airline sometime this year. It works as follows:

    (1) Any flight that is eligible for EUA (or whatever the program is going to be called in the new Mileage Plus) is eligible for a Y/B upgrade. That means flights to Europe, deep South America, and Asia are not eligible for this program.

    (2) As far as I know, companions cannot upgrade in this way.

    (3) Y-fares can upgrade as long as there are F seats available (it is essentially a discounted F ticket for elites only). B upgrades are capacity controlled, and they are taken from a subset of Z inventory (I think) that is more or less equivalent to what they sell as Z. This may have changed when CO recoded all of the fare buckets. CO Plats can upgrade this way from M fares as well. Whether the M-up program will continue hasn't been formally announced yet.

    (4) The way you can tell if there's B-up space available is that CO will show you a little note on the list of flights that a search generates that an Elite upgrade is available. Once you buy the ticket, you have to go into the reservation on co.com and there will be a link that says "upgrade this flight"; click it and the upgrade will be applied.

    (5) You cannot waitlist for B-ups. If the upgrade is not available when you book, you have to keep checking if an upgrade is available.
     
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  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    The M-Up program is continuing for 1K/GS only, not plat. And the new capacity controlled bucket is PN; the old one was ZE.
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Mileage Plus Upgrades are now under common 'streamlined' rules. For a specific MP upgrade using miles, you just need to go to this chart: http://www.united.com/ual/asset/MUA_Chart_eff_after_6_15.pdf.

    I believe that Auto-Y/B upgrades no longer exist (may have gone away after UDU). Rather, if you wish to request an upgrade using miles from Y/B to C, there is no co-pay for any region (i.e., international and domestic travel), whereas there is a co-pay from all other economy class tickets. However, "Premier, Premier Executive, 1K and Global Services members are not charged a co-pay when using miles to upgrade on flights within the 49 United States. and Canada, and between the 49 states/Canada and Hawaii, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean and Northern South America."

    Go here to learn everything about MP Upgrades: http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1150,00.html

    and http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,53020,00.html

    There are tools/websites that can help determine UG availability, but my strategy is to request UG asap because often availability is not known, whereas your upgrade chances go up significantly with time of request.
     
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  6. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    Thanks everyone!

    It would seem that if traveling internationally with the intent of upgrading to business class there are three obvious options:

    1 - Buy business class
    2 - Buy b-fare and have the best odds of upgrading at the cheapest price (as opposed to buying a y-fare which seems to be more expensive than a z-fare) and avoid the copay
    3 - buy a cheap s/l/t/k fare, pay the additional upgrade copay if actually upgraded...but risk getting upgraded because of the low priority fare...

    Does that seem accurate? Like I said, I'm new to this and trying to learn.

    In general, I'm fine flying economy domestically but am looking for ways to fly business internationally and on my own dime.
     
  7. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    The B fare is likely to be expensive, sometimes not much less than Y.

    Do you want to be upgraded on international most of the time, sometimes finding out at the gate, or is it important to know in advance that your upgrade is confirmed? Remember that many upgrades into UA business class go through a wait list.
     
  8. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    I did a couple of sample/test fares and it seems the b fare is nearly half the y fare. Maybe I need to look again.

    As for upgrade timing, I'd definitely prefer to know beforehand but doubt that could happen with my silver status. I'd be okay knowing at the gate but since most my international travel is with my wife we'd run the risk of not sitting together or even in different cabins.
     
  9. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    I should add...bottom line, I'd prefer to sit business regardless of when I find out about the upgrade - at gate or prior.
     
  10. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    As a Silver, chances that you would be upgraded are not very good because of this: "Upgrade requests are prioritized based on seat availability, Mileage Plus elite status, then by booking code and time of request."
     
  11. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    Yup...which led me to original question. If I could auto-up on a y/b fare as a silver it'd be worth it on international travel.

    Sounds like I'm stuck in coach without shelling out the big bucks.

    Thanks again for everyone's help!
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Fortunately, as a UACO elite you have the best alternative in the business: E+, although even that is no longer as sure for Silvers as it once was :oops:...
     
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  13. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    Yup - just flew back from Prague in business on a 777 (united metal) and noticed that the e+ seats had moveable/extended leg rests along with the extra room. Looked decent enough.
     
  14. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Is that new? I haven't seen that feature before on UA metal -- I'm assuming you're talking about leg rests coming down from the seat in front of you?
     
  15. Rob
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    Rob Gold Member

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    I'm going to guess that scf was on an un-reconfigured 777, with flight attendant crew rest seats in E+ rows 17-20, seats H and J. Those crew rest seats have footrests, but none of the rest of the seats in E+ do.
     
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  16. scf

    scf Silver Member

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    I believe rob is correct - I checked searguru and it would make sense that few seats I saw (right side of plane in front of e+ section) were the older FA area
     
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  17. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    This was the most annoying part of a B-fare, the one and only time I got it after rebooking from a flight durring IRROPS. I had no idea that I had to go in and manually request the upgrade as opposed to letting CO automatically assign me a seat in F like it normally does for an EUA. Fortunately there was capacity on all my segments, but what if I hadn't figured it out until much later?
     
  18. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    They did, but they are coming back in March as part of the new program.
    Your priority is based much more on status than fare class. Definitely not worth paying extra just to get priority on the waitlist; that's throwing money away.
    Fly lots on cheap fares and redeem the miles for business class seats outright.
     

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