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Using MVP Gold Guest Upgrade (GGU) Certificates

Using MVP Gold Guest Upgrade (GGU) Certificates

Old Jul 23, 15, 10:04 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Seattle
Programs: Delta Medallion, Alaskan MVP Gold, Hyatt Platinum
Posts: 79
Using MVP Gold Guest Upgrade (GGU) Certificates

Hello FT! I brand new to the Pacific Northwest, Alaska Airlines, and Mileage Plan.

I was just status matched to MVP Gold and after reading through the forums, I still have some questions and confusion around Gold Guest Upgrade Certs.

First, I want to make sure an assumption is right...I assume that using my DL Skymiles number on an Alaska flight means that I cannot use a MVP Gold Guest Upgrade certificate on that fare? Is that correct?

Other questions revolve around when to use a certificate vs when not to use a MVP GGU certificate.

When I am searching for a flight and am choosing my Upgrade preference for my search, should I always be selecting "MVP Gold Guest Upgrade" or are there times when it makes more sense to select "MVP Gold Upgrade"? (Besides situations where I wouldn't use a Certificate, like on short haul flights etc...)

In a situation that I do a flight search and find a fare that has a Gold U next to it, then book that fare and select to use a Guest UG certificate, will that ticket be automatically upgraded? What about if the U is Teal or Grey? (I know that if the U is slashed out, that means there is no seats available for upgrade)

What about if I do a flight search and select my upgrade preference as MVP Gold. Am I instantly upgraded when booking a fare with a Gold U by it? Then am I wait listed when booking a fare that has a Teal or Grey U next to it?

The ultimate hope is to use the Guest Upgrade Certificates on two round trip Hawaii flights before 12/31/15. Any tips?

As always, thank you everyone for you advise, tips, knowledge. Everything! Seriously, this site is amazing.

Over and out.

Last edited by Mark Garretson; Jul 26, 15 at 7:26 pm
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Old Jul 23, 15, 10:31 pm
  #2  
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Snohomish, WA
Programs: AS MVP Gold, HHonors Diamond
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Welcome to the Alaska family!

Originally Posted by Mark Garretson View Post
First, I want to make sure an assumption is right...I assume that using my DL Skymiles number on an Alaskan flight means that I cannot use a MVP Gold Guest Upgrade certificate on that fare? Is that correct?
The frequent flyer number on the reservation is irrelevant when it comes to Gold Guest Upgrade certs. They're meant to be given to other people to upgrade, and those people aren't necessarily even Mileage Plan members.

When I am searching for a flight and am choosing my Upgrade preference for my search, should I always be selecting "MVP Gold Guest Upgrade" or are there times when it makes more sense to select "MVP Gold Upgrade"? (Besides situations where I wouldn't use a Certificate, like on short haul flights etc...)
It's worth searching with it selected if you value using the cert on that length of flight. I typically do it when booking transcons, but never bother on short-haul west coast flights.

In a situation that I do a flight search and find a fare that has a Gold U next to it, then book that fare and select to use a Guest UG certificate, will that ticket be automatically upgraded?
You can only use the upgrade certs on flights that show a black U, not a gold U. Gold U indicates the flight works for instant upgrade. If the flight is eligible for guest upgrade then yes, when you complete the checkout process you are asked to apply the certificate and the upgrade happens.

What about if the U is Teal or Grey? (I know that if the U is slashed out, that means there is no seats available for upgrade)
It must be a black U for the upgrade cert to work. Teal or grey won't.

What about if I do a flight search and select my upgrade preference as MVP Gold. Am I instantly upgraded when booking a fare with a Gold U by it? Then am I wait listed when booking a fare that has a Teal or Grey U next to it?
As long as any U space is available and you book in Y, S, B, M, or H it doesn't matter what colour U shows in the search results. You're eligible for an instant upgrade.

Neil

P.S. It's Alaska Airlines

Last edited by missamo80; Jul 23, 15 at 10:35 pm Reason: Edit: Mixed up my colours, fixed.
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Old Jul 23, 15, 11:02 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
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Using MVP GGU Certificates

Do most people really give these out to friends or like me, just use them to guarantee a confirmed 1st class seat earlier?
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Old Jul 23, 15, 11:27 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Originally Posted by Lancer99 View Post
Do most people really give these out to friends or like me, just use them to guarantee a confirmed 1st class seat earlier?
About half and half for me.
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Old Jul 23, 15, 11:51 pm
  #5  
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I don't see any situation where using an MVP Gold Guest Upgrade certificate would, at time of booking, get you a guaranteed first class seat that you couldn't get via instant upgrade. The required purchase fares for instant and guest upgrade are the same: Y, S, B, M, or H, and both methods of upgrade require U space availability.

Edit: Oops, I screwed up. There are slightly more fare buckets available for guest upgrade than there are for instant. The only buckets excluded for guest are G, R, or T. So the advantage of the gold upgrade cert is it lets you book into a cheaper fare class to get the upgrade.

Neil
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Old Jul 23, 15, 11:53 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Using MVP GGU Certificates

I've seen plenty of transcon flights where guest certs open after I've booked and rather than risk it I burn a cert. especially on late night Wednesday or Thursday flights. Better than being #10 as a 75k like I've been multiple times.
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Old Jul 23, 15, 11:54 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Using MVP GGU Certificates

Yep Neil. I also have to book thru a corp travel site so I don't get to specify fare class. I auto book into the cheapest.
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Old Jul 23, 15, 11:55 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Lancer99 View Post
I've seen plenty of transcon flights where guest certs open after I've booked and rather than risk it I burn a cert. especially on late night Wednesday or Thursday flights. Better than being #10 as a 75k like I've been multiple times.
Agree, but that's *after* booking. At time of booking the only advantage is the possibly cheaper fare class.

Neil
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Old Jul 26, 15, 2:06 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by Lancer99 View Post
Do most people really give these out to friends or like me, just use them to guarantee a confirmed 1st class seat earlier?
Use them myself and on family who are travelling on the same flight.
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Old Nov 7, 15, 1:01 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
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Originally Posted by missamo80 View Post
I don't see any situation where using an MVP Gold Guest Upgrade certificate would, at time of booking, get you a guaranteed first class seat that you couldn't get via instant upgrade. The required purchase fares for instant and guest upgrade are the same: Y, S, B, M, or H, and both methods of upgrade require U space availability.

Edit: Oops, I screwed up. There are slightly more fare buckets available for guest upgrade than there are for instant. The only buckets excluded for guest are G, R, or T. So the advantage of the gold upgrade cert is it lets you book into a cheaper fare class to get the upgrade.

Neil
It is quite nice that Alaska gives mvp gold members the guest upgrades. However, it is extremely difficult to try to use them. Has any Alaska Airlines employee actually gone through the process of trying to research and book a flight where you might be able to use the gold guest upgrade? I don't think so but if so then you really must be a glutton for punishment. Seriously, you need to try to book a flight where you can use a gold guest upgrade. When you are looking for the flights, you select the button that says you want to use the gold guest upgrade. You when receive the results back you get a mix of flights and fares. It will show fares are not upgradeable and that are upgradeable. But then you have to look for a bold U not a U with a line through it next to the flight information. This is stupid. You are giving the customer mixed information. On the one hand you are telling them the flight has this upgradeable fare but you are also telling them they can not use the upgrade. Re-read that sentence and take 5 seconds to let it soak in. Doesn't that sound silly to you? If I am searching for flights where I can use the gold guest upgrade, that is what I want to see, the flights where I can use the upgrade. I really don't want to have to have to hunt and peck through multiple flights which show the information I do not want to see.
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Old Nov 7, 15, 2:09 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
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Originally Posted by daibatsu1 View Post
It is quite nice that Alaska gives mvp gold members the guest upgrades. However, it is extremely difficult to try to use them. Has any Alaska Airlines employee actually gone through the process of trying to research and book a flight where you might be able to use the gold guest upgrade? I don't think so but if so then you really must be a glutton for punishment. Seriously, you need to try to book a flight where you can use a gold guest upgrade. When you are looking for the flights, you select the button that says you want to use the gold guest upgrade. You when receive the results back you get a mix of flights and fares. It will show fares are not upgradeable and that are upgradeable. But then you have to look for a bold U not a U with a line through it next to the flight information. This is stupid. You are giving the customer mixed information. On the one hand you are telling them the flight has this upgradeable fare but you are also telling them they can not use the upgrade. Re-read that sentence and take 5 seconds to let it soak in. Doesn't that sound silly to you? If I am searching for flights where I can use the gold guest upgrade, that is what I want to see, the flights where I can use the upgrade. I really don't want to have to have to hunt and peck through multiple flights which show the information I do not want to see.
For a flight to be eligible for upgrade with a GGU, you must book into an appropriate fare class (anything but G,T,R classes). For the upgrade to actually process, "U" space must also be available.

The purpose of showing the "U" with a slash is that the fare allows an upgrade, but there is no space to put you.


Above, there are four flights. Three are eligible and will clear immediately. The other is eligible, but there isn't upgrade space available. If you book it now, you won't upgrade immediately. But if U space does open up, the upgrade will clear.


Here is a screenshot from ExpertFlyer. You can see that there are >7 U fares available on this flight. An upgrade would automatically clear if you booked into an eligible class.

And yes, agents have been very helpful finding appropriate fares for me in the past. Though I prefer to book my flights online.
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Old Nov 7, 15, 2:52 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Lancer99 View Post
Do most people really give these out to friends or like me, just use them to guarantee a confirmed 1st class seat earlier?
Ive given some out in the past. Theyre harder to give out now since they arent eligible on ALL fares so most people I know book the lowest fare which is often not eligible
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Old Nov 7, 15, 2:57 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by ANC View Post
Ive given some out in the past. Theyre harder to give out now since they arent eligible on ALL fares so most people I know book the lowest fare which is often not eligible
I use all of mine every year, plus the MVPG appreciation ones, plus any that I am given.
I find the GGU fare is either the same or maybe $30 at most more than the lowest fare. Well worth it for me to guarantee sitting up front in the seat I want, rather than waiting for the upgrade window and getting a less desirable seat and probably not sitting with my travel companion.
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Old Nov 7, 15, 3:00 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Finkface View Post
I use all of mine every year, plus the MVPG appreciation ones, plus any that I am given.
I find the GGU fare is either the same or maybe $30 at most more than the lowest fare. Well worth it for me to guarantee sitting up front in the seat I want, rather than waiting for the upgrade window and getting a less desirable seat and probably not sitting with my travel companion.
I burn them on 1 route. ANC/ORD nonstops. Well I take that back. I used 2 this year to confirm F on the inaugural SEA-MKE for me and SO
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Old Nov 7, 15, 9:07 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by Mark Garretson View Post
The ultimate hope is to use the Guest Upgrade Certificates on two round trip Hawaii flights before 12/31/15. Any tips?
Just to further clarify what's been said above: U space is U space, whatever the color of the U. When you see that U without a slash through it, an instant upgrade is available. As an MVPG, you can access that instant upgrade space two ways: via a GGU on any fare class except G, R, or T; or "free" on an H fare or above.

What the various instant upgrade search options and the color-coded U's are doing is showing you the lowest available fare in a qualifying fare class for the type of instant upgrade you want to use. So the choice you're making when you want an instant upgrade and there's U space available is whether to buy a cheaper fare (anything but G, R, or T) and burn a GGU, or buy a more expensive fare (H or above) and upgrade for "free." If you do neither, you're still eligible for an upgrade once you get to the MVPG window, regardless of fare class, but your odds are worse (often a lot worse).

Which leads me to a comment on your Hawaii plans: your post isn't completely clear as to whether you're planning two solo Hawaii trips or one trip with a companion, but if it's the latter, you might consider using the AS credit card companion pass and booking an H fare. You'll pay more for the first ticket (usually around $700-800 RT between HNL and SEA), but the second ticket is the same $99 + taxes as it would be in the cheapest fare class. Both tickets will book into H and will upgrade at purchase if there's U space available (using the MVPG companion upgrade benefit), so you end up with two seats in first for under $1000 RT, and you save your GGUs for solo trips.
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