Old Nov 13, 17, 11:02 am
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Originally Posted by EWRMAN View Post
Off topic.

Was chatting to family member who gets 1k most years by flying 4 trips in business to asia. He chooses united just for the GPUs. Through luck he always manages to get them to clear for his family vacation. This year 5 Pax SFO- Taiwan! If the GPUs didn't clear he would fly asian airlines. United should think about this type of passenger when deciding how stingy to be with cetrificate upgrades.
As I have mentioned before (based on my own experiences / successes / failures being CPUed and applying instruments), it has become much more difficult to upgrade in general. UA has shown that they are more interested in generating additional revenue by selling F seats at OLCI for discounts before upgrading loyalists and HVF's. They have also changed the price point for seats in J and F to make them more attractive to business and leisure travelers alike (pricing a seat in F at a $0.10/mile premium is often attractive when it only increases the price of the overall ticket by 20-35% - which is when I almost always bite on it). This has not been the case in the past when J/F was priced significantly higher, requiring me to pay 100% more for a ticket for the premium cabin in many cases.

UA has also demonstrated interested in generating additional revenue by creating its rewards program based on a revenue model vs. a miles-flown model. Requiring 1K's to spend $12,000 on base fares on 016 tickets ensured that RPU's and GPU's are only awarded to those spending more revenue on the airline instead of people (like me) who in the past achieved the status spending 30% of that amount.

UA has made the right moves, though I dislike as a HVF when a CPU is given away dirt cheap to someone who paid 1/2 as much even after paying the OLCI upcharge to F. The tactics are likely increasing their revenues on unsold J and F seats, but I would argue that the tactics are on the borderline of driving away HVF's.

Back to your comment, I would argue that GPUs are becoming tougher and tougher to use, and that if you are choosing UA just to receive these upgrade certificates, I would look at other options, as the future will likely prove that they are tougher and tougher to use. If those 4 itineraries per year are booked in J, I would say that you are more likely a case of an extremely HVF and UA is at risk of losing your business if those GPU's are too difficult to use. This goes back to that "borderline" that I described above where UA is risking driving loyal customers that are valuable to the airline away. Even if those itineraries were booked in Y, they amount to $12,000+... by UA's new model, you are a HVF, as you are considered per their terms deserving of their top status given the total miles flown are 100,000+. In either situation, if UA makes the upgrade certificates too difficult to use, this will drive HVF business away from the airline.

In the end, this is a tricky business, and it appears that UA is hedging more towards the side that the extra revenue is worth losing some HVF's to other airlines. If I was not bound to a UA hub, I would certainly split my business across 2 airlines.... and I would do it quickly, as DL has been a great experience this year across several itineraries I have flown with them.
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