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Old Jul 10, 12, 7:29 am   #1
 
Join Date: May 2010
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP, Marriott Gold, SPG Gold, Hyatt Platinum, National Executive Elite, Avis Preferred
Posts: 20
Confusion on MileagePlus Upgrades to Hawaii from EWR

Hello all,

Sorry if this has been posted about before, but I just got off the phone with MP and am a bit confused.

I wanted to book a round trip from EWR to HNL (connecting in LAX) for next month. There was R availability on all legs, so I wanted to apply a mileage upgrade. For reasons I won't get into here, I had to call MP to book the reservation with an agent. She answered the phone quickly and was helpful, until it came time to apply the mileage upgrade.

According to the chart, an upgrade to Hawaii is 27,500 each way plus a $125 co-pay, which it indicates is waived for Premier members. The agent, however, did not remove the co-pay, saying that while Premier members are exempted from the co-pay, EWR to Hawaii is not exempt and a co-pay always applies. I told her I understood that to be the direct EWR-HNL flight, and I effectively have an EWR-LAX and LAX-HNL reservation, which falls outside that "special" category. She said I was incorrect and that the origin is EWR and terminus is HNL, regardless of any connection, and thus the co-pay must stand. I politely said thank you and hung up.

I later accessed my reservation online, and it offered me an upgrade for 27,500 miles each way, with the co-pay waived. I took the offer.

My question: Was I correct and the agent was wrong, or was the agent correct and the website simply erred in waiving me from the co-pay?

Thanks for your help.

Ed

Last edited by Ed26; Jul 10, 12 at 9:15 am..
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Old Jul 10, 12, 7:57 am   #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Central NJ
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Based on the information here (it could go either way)
http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont...2012-03-03.pdf
(look at page 4)

Premier members will not be charged a co-pay on routes within the US-49 and Canada and from the US-49 and Canada to Hawaii (except between HNL and DEN/EWR/IAD/IAH), Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean or Northern South America (except between EWR and LIM)

It DOES matter whether you are on the non-stop EWR-HNL vs EWR-LAX-HNL.
Since you are on the latter one. For calculation of upgrade, you are effectively on LAX-HNL, but based on that footnote is it could be interpreted the other way.
Fare class does determine the # of miles, so that is variable.

I would suggest you PM UA Insider and have that clarification made to the award chart.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 8:07 am   #3
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: DCA
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I had a similar issue. I'm flying IAD/SFO/LIH and returning HNL/IAD direct.

On the outbound I was able to upgrade with miles only, no copay.

On the return it was 30k miles plus a $475 copay for the fare class.

It pays to make the stop on the west coast.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 8:28 am   #4
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
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The reason for the difference is they don't want to waive the copay on flights with BusinessFirst seats and service as the nonstop EWR-HNL flight has. Adding a stop on the west coast and flying on non BF equipment does indeed cause the copay to be waived.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 8:48 am   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed26 View Post
My question: Was I correct and the agent was wrong,
Yes.

I'm actually more surprised that the agent's computer processed it that way than anything else. Or it is possible she was just (mis-)citing the rule but didn't actually try to process it to get the final price.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 9:00 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
I'm actually more surprised that the agent's computer processed it that way than anything else.
I'm not.

The agent's screens are far less robust than some of the stuff we have on the web.

I am often quoted erroneous fees on the phone and have to argue my way out of them. Most recently, it was an award change fee as 1K just a couple days ago.

I suspect it is a deliberate fee collection strategy under the guise of sloppy programming.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 9:04 am   #7
 
Join Date: May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Yes.

I'm actually more surprised that the agent's computer processed it that way than anything else. Or it is possible she was just (mis-)citing the rule but didn't actually try to process it to get the final price.
I'm not sure. I assumed that she was responding to a prompt from her computer because she was so adamant about it, which is why I just declined it then hung up. Perhaps you are right though and she just misunderstood the rule without really checking, since when I upgraded it online it explicitly said upgrade copay "waived" and upgraded seamlessly.
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Old Jul 10, 12, 9:04 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by channa View Post
I suspect it is a deliberate fee collection strategy under the guise of sloppy programming.
Honestly, that wouldn't surprise me. We've seen something similar with the everywhere airport in the world got closer at once "programming error".
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