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What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

Anaheim
5 posts
1 review
What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

Hi All..

My first post here, so I apologize if a topic like this exists already..

I just purchased a RT ticket on UNITED from Newark, NJ to Tokyo, Japan for Sept, and when I went to upgrade my seat to BusinessFirst using my FF miles, it said "Waitlist Only." What I am trying to find out is if anyone else has ever had this scenario, and if so, what are the chances that I'll get a seat in business first??

Any info would be greatly appreciated!!!!

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
24,678 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

There are very few upgrades that clear at booking on United these days. All my upgrades (GPU systemwides as a 1K) have gone to waitlist this year and I'm 1 for 5 so far. Not good.

Your best chance of securing an upgrade is an upgrade for cash (UFC) or time of departure (TOD). Both will be likely a cash offer and will show up once at any time between now and your flight. These cash upgrades are trumping instrument upgrades (miles/copay and GPU) and so if you feel they're worth it then take it.

Edited: 9:37 pm, July 23, 2014
Anaheim
5 posts
1 review
2. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

the problem is... I do not have the cash to upgrade my seat to BF, which is why I was using my miles and a bit of a co-pay (which I could afford).

The only thing I can think of that might get me the upgrade is that they want $4500 for a BF seat, and the entire BF cabin (aside from maybe 2 or 3 seats) is wide open...

Kerikeri, New...
Level Contributor
5,214 posts
105 reviews
3. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

What is Business First? Business and First I am well aware of, but Business First?

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
24,678 posts
6 reviews
4. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

What is Business First? Business and First I am well aware of, but Business First?

=====

Hemikiwi,

It's United's long haul business class. That's what Continental called their J product (CO didn't have long haul F), and obviously the CO guy that took the job of branding was so emotionally wedded to that name.

Confusing? What with United First, United Business, United Business First, and United Global First, what could be confusing? :-)))

Edited: 10:14 pm, July 23, 2014
Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
1,926 posts
5. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

<<< What is Business First? Business and First I am well aware of, but Business First?>>>

BusinessFirst (all one word) is United's top class on some of their routes. They offer flat beds etc and there is no class above it. They do not have a separate Business and First class. Virgin Atlantic have a similar model but call their offering "Upper Class". You can find information about BusinessFirst on the United website

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
24,678 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

Anthony,

The UFC and TOD cash offers that I've seen** are in the range of $800-900 one way (and they have been to China, India and London). Given that China and India are comparable or longer flights I'd say that could be the going rate.

** - yes, even though I've been on the waitlist for an instrument upgrade (and paid hundreds more for an upgradable fare) they still say pay cash now and get a UG guaranteed (and when not on an upgradable ticket I've had those offers which would "bump" someone with miles or GPU down the UG list).

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
24,678 posts
6 reviews
7. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

They do not have a separate Business and First class

====

Yes they do. It's calked Global First and is available on the pre-merger United 3 class aircraft. Hence the confusion.

Edited: 10:23 pm, July 23, 2014
Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
27,786 posts
524 reviews
8. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

My UA experiences come close to being a mirror of USBT's. We are still sitting on 12 GPU's and 8 RPU's, which we have been unable to use.

However, we have been rather fortunate with the "offers" to upgrade to FC (domestic, USA) flights, such as a recent offer for our every other week trips between PHX and SFO. That one was US$ 8 pp/per leg, for a total of US$ 32 for both of us.

Still, there are fewer UA upgrades, than in the past.

Hunt

Anaheim
5 posts
1 review
9. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

So, I apologize, a lot of the acronyms you are using are foreign to me, as I normally travel once or twice a year and its always in Econ+ seats... this is my first trip where I am trying to use upgrade miles to get a seat in BF....

I saw one person on another site say that the earlier you book a flight, and get on a waitlist, the better your chances are of getting that upgrade.

My class fare is V, which is probably the most basic and cheap of the fares, so I am going to assume that my request to upgrade will probably be denied, even though there are currently 40 open seats in UBF, and my flight is not until Sept 14th...

Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
27,786 posts
524 reviews
10. Re: What are my chances of getting a Reward Upgrade?

Anthony,

Sorry about the jargon. Here is a breakdown, but if I missed something, please ask.

GPU - Global Upgrade, a certificate to upgrade a Global flight. Can be used for Regional, as well.

RPU - Regional Upgrade, a certificate to upgrade a Regional flight.

FF - Frequent Flier

MP - UA (United Airlines) Mileage Plus FF program.

UA does upgrades via several methods:

Money above the price of the ticket. Might come as an immediate offer, or come later, when you check your UA MP FF account.

Upgrade certificates.

FF miles/points

The availability of upgrades can depend on several variables:

Class of ticket purchased.

One's UA MP FF status.

Number of seats sold in the desired upgrade cabin.

Method of upgrade - money, miles/points, certificates.

The placement of one onto the upgrade list is common, and is no real need for concern. That is how it works. However, and depending on one's FF status, the time, before the flight, that one clears the waitlist varies. I do not have the exact particulars in front of me, so here goes from memory - Global Services status level = ~ 120 hours before departure; 72 hours prior for 1K, 48 hours for Platinum and 24 hours before for Gold. I am sure that I have missed something, or mis-remembered, but you get the idea?

The reasons for the variables in clearing the waitlist is that with lower status, UA is hoping to actually SELL the seats, and if so, then one misses out, and the miles/points, money or certificates are returned to the pax (passenger).

Hope that helps, and if I missed something, others will correct me. Also, if I failed to identify an abbreviation, let me know, and I will try to fill in the blanks.

Good luck, and hope that you get the upgrades requested.

Hunt