How Complimentary Upgrades Work

Old Aug 9, 12, 6:35 pm
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How Complimentary Upgrades Work

Edited: 12/14/2018: Use this link as your source of truth.

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mil...-upgrades.aspx

This is the short form version of upgrade clearing order:

1. Instant upgrade 75k fares are added to the queue when purchased
2. Non-instant-upgrade 75ks fares are added at T-5 days (in fare class order)
3 75K's who purchase at after T-5

-----------------
4. Instant upgrade Gold/MVP fares added to queue when they are purchased
5. Non-instant-upgrade gold fares are added at T-3 days (in fare class order)
6. Golds who purchase between T-3 and T2
7. Non-instant-upgrade MVP fares are added at T-2 days (in fare class order)
8. Gold/MVPs who purchase after T-2

So if a U seat comes available at T-7, its going to clear #1 , then #4
at T-4, its going to go clear #1 -4


Edited: 12/14/2018: I believe this is still the case... will have to double check.
AIRPORT DISPLAYS VS ACTUAL WAITLIST

It used to be that once the check in window started at 24 hours prior to departure, customers on the upgrade waitlist were moved to the airport waitlist which is displayed on the airport screen. The airport waitlist cleared in tier order then by date. (So circumventing the original waitlist date order.)

Now, the original waitlist runs automatically until 1 hour prior to departure, and the airport agents are also clearing upgrades manually from this same waitlist.

However … big screens at the airport still display the airport waitlist ..which is automatically re-ordered by tier, and doesn’t currently reflect the actual order that upgrades are supposed to clear.

Please note that the upgrades ARE clearing in the correct order… the issue is with how the order is being displayed at the airport.

Last edited by missydarlin; Dec 14, 18 at 12:30 pm
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Old Aug 9, 12, 7:54 pm
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Originally Posted by rcarovano View Post
Thanks for the great post!
Ditto! Glad to get some clarification of the specifics we've always wondered about.

It is a little odd that MVPs can have priority over Golds, even up to 1 hour before departure (or after, as agents are now clearing from the master waitlist rather than the airport waitlist). What I believe is the fairest implementation (if it ever comes up for fixing down the line) is:

75Ks on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
75Ks on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
75Ks on awards by original time of ticketing
GLDs on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
GLDs on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
MVPs on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
MVPs on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing

The same list would be used from beginning of schedule up until door closure. Obviously, before each respective window opens, those in the non-qualifying fares would be "passed over."

Ideally, there would be a "trigger" mechanism such that when Revenue Management opens U seats, it triggers the upgrade processor to immediately begin clearing the waitlist with no delay. This would prevent people from leapfrogging the waitlist when Revenue Management opens U space at, say, 41 hours before departure, but the waitlist processor won't run again until 24 hours before departure, leaving a gap where a Gold can call in and say, "Why wasn't I upgraded?" and jump ahead of other Golds and 75Ks.

Yes, that would put me in the fifth group of upgrades, but I'd be OK with that in the interest of a fairer solution for all. For UGs on awards, I might actually push for 75K again.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 8:29 pm
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Thank you missydarlin for the extremely through and detailed explanation of a process that has long been shrouded in mystery.

It does seem kind of weird that Golds and MVPs have equal priority on the wait-list except for the fact that Golds become eligible at an earlier window. Is it just a technical thing or is it more of a philosophical decision that request time ought to trump status?
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Old Aug 9, 12, 8:49 pm
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Thanks for the clarification.

If only I were Stanley 75k..
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Old Aug 9, 12, 8:53 pm
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Originally Posted by hgdf View Post
Is it just a technical thing or is it more of a philosophical decision that request time ought to trump status?
Technical thing. To my knowledge, our GDS only has 2 waitlist entries.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 9:01 pm
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Basically, too much for me to care to understand! I am a lowly MVP and got an upgrade email at T-3hrs or so for FAI to ANC while sitting in Pikes having dinner.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 9:06 pm
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I might consider your suggested implementation fair if MVP's had the same qualifying fares as Golds. With that playing field even, then yes, Gold's should get the priority.

But because MVP's have a higher fare bar to hurdle before even qualifying for an immediate upgrade, then I think the current date order system is equitable.

Its my understanding that 75K's only got the priority waitlist because that was the only way to recognize them during those first few months of the program before the systems had been updated to process them correctly. When they did get the systems updated, they did it using the priority waitlist. At this point, they aren't going to pull them from it.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 9:53 pm
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Thank you for this post. Very helpful.

Originally Posted by missydarlin View Post
Technical thing. To my knowledge, our GDS only has 2 waitlist entries.
What's to stop your GDS from having 3 waitlist entries?
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Old Aug 9, 12, 9:55 pm
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You're going to love this question

Thanks for the great explanation. May I ask just where partner elites fit into all this?
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Old Aug 9, 12, 10:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Westcoaster View Post
Thanks for the great explanation. May I ask just where partner elites fit into all this?
Partner elites are not eligible to be placed on the waitlist until T-24 regardless of fare paid, so presumably they will always be listed below any AS elites simply due to the time added to the waitlist.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 10:08 pm
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Originally Posted by baliktad View Post
Partner elites are not eligible to be placed on the waitlist until T-24 regardless of fare paid, so presumably they will always be listed below any AS elites simply due to the time added to the waitlist.
So as an MVPG if I change flights after T-24 a partner elite could be ahead of me?
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Old Aug 9, 12, 10:16 pm
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Originally Posted by missydarlin
I might consider your suggested implementation fair if MVP's had the same qualifying fares as Golds. With that playing field even, then yes, Gold's should get the priority.

But because MVP's have a higher fare bar to hurdle before even qualifying for an immediate upgrade, then I think the current date order system is equitable.

Its my understanding that 75K's only got the priority waitlist because that was the only way to recognize them during those first few months of the program before the systems had been updated to process them correctly. When they did get the systems updated, they did it using the priority waitlist. At this point, they aren't going to pull them from it.
And this does give us a bit of a warm fuzzy feeling even if it doesn't seem to yield more UG's
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Old Aug 9, 12, 11:23 pm
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Originally Posted by missydarlin View Post
I might consider your suggested implementation fair if MVP's had the same qualifying fares as Golds. With that playing field even, then yes, Gold's should get the priority.

But because MVP's have a higher fare bar to hurdle before even qualifying for an immediate upgrade, then I think the current date order system is equitable.

Its my understanding that 75K's only got the priority waitlist because that was the only way to recognize them during those first few months of the program before the systems had been updated to process them correctly. When they did get the systems updated, they did it using the priority waitlist. At this point, they aren't going to pull them from it.
I toyed with the idea of doing:

75Ks on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
GLDs on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
MVPs on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
75Ks on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
75Ks on awards by original time of ticketing
GLDs on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
MVPs on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing

which would have been more in line with what you wanted. And like you suggested, I had thought that it could be a fair way of dealing with it because MVPs have to pay a higher fare to get into the "qualifying fare" category.

After thinking for a couple of minutes, I ultimately went with the order I originally posted above, but I wouldn't see anything wrong with the revised version above, either. Both are more fair and equitable than the current system, IMHO.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
I toyed with the idea of doing:

75Ks on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
GLDs on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
MVPs on qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
75Ks on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
75Ks on awards by original time of ticketing
GLDs on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
MVPs on non-qualifying fares by original time of ticketing
Short of award upgrades, this is basically what happens today when there is plenty of U space early on. Elites at any level clear when on qualifying fares based on order of purchase, and then elites on cheap fares clear much later within their window.

It's only when U space gets tight that the model switches around to reward elite status over fare paid. Releasing U space late means the non-qualifying fares have already been pushed onto the waitlist and end up above their lower-tier counterparts.
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Old Aug 10, 12, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by Westcoaster View Post
So as an MVPG if I change flights after T-24 a partner elite could be ahead of me?
Sure sounds like it. As well as an MVP. This is apparently "correct"- at least what is intended.
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