reflection: SWU/SSWU vs e-upgrades

Old Feb 23, 14, 9:42 pm
  #1  
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reflection: SWU/SSWU vs e-upgrades

It has been almost three years since Air Canada transitioned from paper-based Special System Wide Upgrade (SSWU) and System Wide Upgrade (SWU) certificates, and introduced the electronic upgrades. I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on what has worked well, what has not, and our reflections on the year ahead (and beyond).

For me, I could never use the SWU (I never purchased Y or M fares either out of my pocket, or for business). Therefore, I always had a lot of SWUs that were shredded at this time of the year. The very few SSWUs I received were very precious to me, and I saved them for long hauls, such as a trip to Asia or Australia.

Finally came e-upgrades which have treated me well for the last three years. I have upgraded myself and family members. However, I am not looking forward to the year ahead with only 2 nominees, and the high co-pay for non-SE. Therefore, I will have to be very careful how I use my e-upgrades in the next 12 months. I am the only SE in my family member (some are E50 and E75), and if we travel overseas I will have to upgrade them too. Paying $500/$750 + e-upgarde points is insane.

I hope Air Canada will revert this co-pay + eupgrade decision, and I hope that by this time next year all SE and E will not have to pay this co-pay.
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Old Feb 23, 14, 11:00 pm
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Ahhh the memories of those certificates, I am sure there are some out there that have wallpapered some room in their house with these old puppies

I like the ease and convenience of the e-certificates, I just do not like the continued enhancements!

Pay extra for co pay opportunities are you nuts YQ is already a rip off.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 12:36 am
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Huhuhu I think I still have two of the blue SWUs from 2010 in a drawer somewhere. The SWUs are just as useful as the duty free coupons

I did like how, as E back then (wow, only 35K needed), they gave two reds. Also it was good that even now, E50K can still choose 40 e-ups which is the equivalent to 2 reds. But I guess in a way, it pales in comparison to the original of 2 reds and 2? blues.

I do like the new e-ups compared to the paper certs though. Before, the "best value" was to use the two reds to upgrade two international segments. If you're a domestic flyer, you're kinda screwed. I like the new system in many ways as it is

1. Electronic, so no need to remind my family members to call EXACTLY at blah blah time on blah blah date to request the upgrade (I had to do that when I travelled to Tokyo as an E)

2. Flexible - I don't feel like I'm "wasting" a red by upgrading YYZ-SFO

3. More useful - before, the threshold upgrades were mainly blue SWUs which are totally useless to me. Now, I can upgrade on el-cheapo G fares as much as I have e-ups for

.....

I think the e-up copays are a bit ........ especially considering how expensive international flex fares are already

I'm mildly interested to see how the wackos in Marketing will butcher the e-up program for 2015. I'm betting they'll add the ability to e-up from Y -> PY and increase the number of credits Y -> J. I'm curious how we SEs will get shafted
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Old Feb 24, 14, 11:10 am
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The eUpgrade mechanism has made the upgrading experience and upgradeability in general much, much better than the old and [email protected] paper cert days.

Note: The R games still suck, and so do does the non-transparency of the J waitlist.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 11:40 am
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I've enjoyed the eUpgrade system far more than the older paper-based certificate system. They're more convenient (electronic and self-service) and adaptable (fewer credits for shorter routes). But, the co-pay starting next week for non-SE members really kills it for me. Most of my travel is international, to Asia or Europe. With the co-pay, I feel like the benefits are worse than the old cert system, for a non-SE international traveller like me.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by maradori View Post
I'm mildly interested to see how the wackos in Marketing will butcher the e-up program for 2015. I'm betting they'll add the ability to e-up from Y -> PY and increase the number of credits Y -> J. I'm curious how we SEs will get shafted
I can't see AC doing this unless other airlines do the same thing.

As for paper certs, I'm too new for that. But last year, eUps treated me well. This year is off to a really rocky start, But having a familiar and friendly SD on a flight who came to chat with me in Y offset the pain of sitting in Y

Last edited by canadiancow; Feb 24, 14 at 2:22 pm
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Old Feb 24, 14, 1:26 pm
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Certs were good for those upgrading themselves, less competition with those being upgraded who are not travelling with the "nominator". You can't win 'em all
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Old Feb 24, 14, 1:53 pm
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As far as AC enhancements go in recent years, the e-upgrades are a winner. No more waiting for the mail to arrive with the precious paper or to watch at the gate as members had endless excuses of how they must have left the system-wide certs at home.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by yvrhab View Post
As far as AC enhancements go in recent years, the e-upgrades are a winner. No more waiting for the mail to arrive with the precious paper or to watch at the gate as members had endless excuses of how they must have left the system-wide certs at home.
Did that happen a lot?
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Old Feb 24, 14, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Did that happen a lot?
More than you'd think. Or there would be a SSWU applied to the booking when it was supposed to be a SWU or NAU, etc...

Only think I miss from the paper world is some stations consistently forgetting to pull the certs. Had a very memorable weekend trip Hong Kong in J thanks to the GAs in LAS doing that.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 2:48 pm
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I loved the SSWU's aka the Super-mega-fantastic Upgrade Certificates....they were the best. The best value was a flight from YYZ-LHR booked last minute for under $500 and was able to upgrade two of us. Yep, gone are those days.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 5:36 pm
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Smile

Originally Posted by yyz-kin View Post
I loved the SSWU's aka the Super-mega-fantastic Upgrade Certificates....they were the best. The best value was a flight from YYZ-LHR booked last minute for under $500 and was able to upgrade two of us. Yep, gone are those days.
The 1999 SE SWU were even better: One-Way Upgrade from Any-Fare At Time of booking. We used to get 2 every 10,000 Miles flown plus 10 or 20 at the beginning of the year. This was the only certificate:


Last edited by Catch; Feb 24, 14 at 5:42 pm
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Old Feb 24, 14, 5:44 pm
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Nostalgia - My left over certificates from 1998-2010

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Old Feb 24, 14, 5:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Catch View Post
The 1999 SE SWU were even better: One-Way Upgrade from Any-Fare At Time of booking. We used to get 2 every 10,000 Miles flown plus 10 or 20 at the beginning of the year. This was the only certificate:
Wow! That sounds awesome...
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Old Feb 24, 14, 6:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Catch View Post
Nostalgia - My left over certificates from 1998-2010

Wow, that's quite the collection! I threw away my leftovers every year.
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