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Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

Washington DC...
posts: 2
reviews: 25
Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

Hi, I will be traveling r/t on South African Airways from Dulles (IAD) to Johannesburg (JNB) in November and am having a hard time finding information on how to upgrade from economy to business using my United Airlines mileage plus miles. Does anyone have any tips for how to do this, or if it is even possible? SAA is not listed as a participating carrier on the UAL site, but the Star Alliance information indicates that mileage upgrades are possible on all Star Alliance carriers.

Thanks in advance for your help.

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 8,191
reviews: 51
1. Re: Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

I don't believe this is possible. Typically, and there are a handful of exceptions, you can only upgrade on your home carrier using miles. i.e. using UA miles to upgrade UA flights (although I know you can upgrade on Lufthansa using UA miles, that's one of the exceptions I know) and I don't think you can use UA miles to upgrade on SAA.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 7,218
reviews: 74
2. Re: Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

Best bet is to call UA and ask.

Washington DC...
posts: 2
reviews: 25
3. Re: Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

Thanks, wes032. I will double check with United but that was what I was afraid of.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 18,574
reviews: 5
4. Re: Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

Star Alliance has a unified upgrade awards chart allowing you to upgrade on *participating* Star carriers. However, this usually requires the passenger to be booked in the full fare economy (Y/B) or business (J/C) to be able to use Star Alliance mileage upgrades.

united.com/web/…saua.aspx

Page 6 - united.com/web/en-US/content/news/United_Awa…

And unfortunately as DCJulia has noticed, SAA does not participate. They appear to be the only airline not participating (Copa is not listed on the United site, but Copa uses MileagePlus anyway).

5. Re: Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

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Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 11,949
reviews: 181
6. Re: Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

Um...the OP was flying last November; and I'm pretty sure the trading or bartering of miles is against program rules.

7. Re: Upgrade on South African Airways using UAL miles?

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