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[Speculation] AS to Eliminate Gold Guest Upgrades (GGUs)? Hints from a New AS Survey

[Speculation] AS to Eliminate Gold Guest Upgrades (GGUs)? Hints from a New AS Survey

Old Jul 14, 20, 4:34 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: STL/ORD/SAN
Programs: AA EXP, AS MVPG75K, BA Silver, accidental DL FO, HH Diamond, Marriott Gold, AmEx PLT
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[Speculation] AS to Eliminate Gold Guest Upgrades (GGUs)? Hints from a New AS Survey

Received an email survey from AS today, which seemed to be geared toward Gold/75Ks...

One of the main topics dealt with potential discontinuation of GGUs -- there were several questions asking what benefit customers might prefer instead.

Some of the choices included:
1. Ability to roll over EQMs
2. Complimentary in-flight WiFi vouchers
3. Discounts on Paid First Class Tickets (another page mentioned a potential $500 bank to use toward F tickets)
4. Alaska Lounge Day Passes
5. Vouchers for Complimentary In-Flight Meals
6. Waived Ticket Change Fees for Companions
7. None of These ("I'd rather keep GGUs")

Curious what others think (and about whether anyone else received the same survey).
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Old Jul 14, 20, 5:51 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: SEA
Programs: AS G75K, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 338
I've always had great luck with GGUs and would hate to see them go away. They are especially nice to use with the companion fares. None of the other options really feel like we gain anything.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 5:53 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: USA
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Originally Posted by rune87 View Post
I've always had great luck with GGUs and would hate to see them go away. They are especially nice to use with the companion fares. None of the other options really feel like we gain anything.
I agree.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 5:58 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: SAN
Programs: DL MM, AA PP, AS MVPG
Posts: 2,603
I'd trade them in for ability to use companion fares in the F cabin and waived companion change fees. Don't see that happening, though.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 6:00 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: USA
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1. Ability to roll over EQMs
don't understand how this works

2. Complimentary in-flight WiFi vouchers
not available over long flights to HI, Mexico or Costa Rica, other flights too short to care, always a red-eye to the east coast and attempting to sleep

3. Discounts on Paid First Class Tickets (another page mentioned a potential $500 bank to use toward F tickets)
doesn't beat a GGU & companion cert

4. Alaska Lounge Day Passes
already have paid for board room & other lounge memberships

5. Vouchers for Complimentary In-Flight Meals
moot point in first class (via GGU)

6. Waived Ticket Change Fees for Companions
companion already has free change fees
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Old Jul 14, 20, 6:23 pm
  #6  
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Join Date: Aug 2016
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AS does a lot of surveys for this kind of stuff, so it's entirely possible that this was nothing.

However... the new treatment here seems to be a "upgrade bank" for elites to spend on upgrades to F. I imagine this would be part of a switch to an upgrade schedule such a DL where customers are offered a personalized buy-up offer to F. It does have the potential to provide more value to certain customers -- if you mostly fly short haul up and down the west coast, and AS sells upgrades in advance for $50 each, $500 of upgrade dollars could correspond to 10 upgrades.

I don't think this is related to the AA partnership or joining oneworld; AA provides its top-tier elites with SWUs valid on its own metal, so it's not unreasonable for AS to do the same.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 6:24 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: PDX
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Originally Posted by Jay K View Post
1. Ability to roll over EQMs
don't understand how this works

2. Complimentary in-flight WiFi vouchers
not available over long flights to HI, Mexico or Costa Rica, other flights too short to care, always a red-eye to the east coast and attempting to sleep

3. Discounts on Paid First Class Tickets (another page mentioned a potential $500 bank to use toward F tickets)
doesn't beat a GGU & companion cert

4. Alaska Lounge Day Passes
already have paid for board room & other lounge memberships

5. Vouchers for Complimentary In-Flight Meals
moot point in first class (via GGU)

6. Waived Ticket Change Fees for Companions
companion already has free change fees
Instead of vouchers for in-flight meals, it would be nice if Golds and 75Ks could select one food item for free (like a snack box or fruit/cheese plate).
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Old Jul 14, 20, 6:27 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
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Originally Posted by Jay K View Post
2. Complimentary in-flight WiFi vouchers
• not available over long flights to HI, Mexico or Costa Rica, other flights too short to care, always a red-eye to the east coast and attempting to sleep..
It most definitely does work to/from Hawaii starting from at least August of last year. I have had door-to-door wifi to and from HNL on every flight this year, as recently as two days ago. I even posted to FT while midway across the Pacific just last week.

As for GGUs, I use all of mine every year plus as many as I can scrounge from friends. They (and the change fee waiver) are by far the most valuable perk to me. I would hate to lose them.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 7:03 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: East Coast/West Coast, USA
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The rollover EQMs would probably look like Delta in that any mileage over a respective level would get rolled over to next year. So if you had 25000 flown on Alaska metal by the end of the year, you would have MVP status and start with 5000 EQMs the next year.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 7:22 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: HNL
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No way would this pencil out for me as an HNL-based flyer. All of those other benefits combined would still be inferior to being able to use GGUs to upgrade on my long-distance trips. And wouldn't members who earn GGUs be the most likely to already pay for lounge access?

I always laugh when domestic airlines ask you to evaluate the free on-board meals thing. Sorry, this isn't fine dining. AS's total cost of my on-board meals for the entire year must be less than the fare difference between F and coach for one of my trips.

The one useful thing here would be rollover EQMs for us Golds who fall into the large Gold-75K gap each year. Althought I'm sure our esteemed 75Ks would look askance at inflating their ranks!
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Old Jul 14, 20, 10:48 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: SEA, NW/DL 1.5Million Miler
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Posts: 3,386
I’m one traveler who rarely use the GGU perk.

I do like the idea if we were given options to choose as 95% to 100% of my GGU expire unused yearly.

Jiburi
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Old Jul 14, 20, 10:56 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Programs: AS MVPG
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Although I use some of them each year, I do find GGU hard to use, there is rarely availability on the flights I take. I would prefer roll over EQM.
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Old Jul 14, 20, 11:07 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by jiburi View Post
I’m one traveler who rarely use the GGU perk.

I do like the idea if we were given options to choose as 95% to 100% of my GGU expire unused yearly.

Jiburi
I find them difficult to use, as well. There were other questions in the survey that asked how likely you would be to buy a specific GGU-able fare class, particularly if upgrade space were not available at the time (it said something like "upgrade space not guaranteed") vs. having a bank of funds to use on paid First tickets ("to be used on any flight with First Class seats available").

I think they are recognizing that it can be cumbersome to find GGU space and select the specific fare class (and that passengers might not want to gamble on paying for a higher coach fare class if 'U' space isn't available). By shifting to booking F seats from the start, it would mean less worrying about fare classes and upgrade availability, but the suggested bank amount of $500 wouldn't even cover the gap between discount Y and F on many routes for a single itinerary (vs. at least 4 GGUs).

Originally Posted by SimonT007 View Post
Although I use some of them each year, I do find GGU hard to use, there is rarely availability on the flights I take. I would prefer roll over EQM.
I think the rollover EQM idea is intriguing, but to be honest, even though I've been 75k for several years straight now, I do it on all AS metal, and it's hard to fly AS much more than 75k miles a year due to the limited route network. On AA, I might hit 200k EQM (so it would be very nice to rollover EQMs there), but on AS, I usually only hit 75-80k EQM.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 12:03 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pacific Northwest
Programs: UA 1MM, AS MVP, Bonvoyed Gold, Honors Dia, IHG Plat, ...
Posts: 9,641
Originally Posted by metallo View Post
I find them difficult to use, as well. There were other questions in the survey that asked how likely you would be to buy a specific GGU-able fare class, particularly if upgrade space were not available at the time (it said something like "upgrade space not guaranteed") vs. having a bank of funds to use on paid First tickets ("to be used on any flight with First Class seats available").
I am not Gold this year (and, uh, unlikely next year), but in the past I have used very few of the Gold upgrades. Would prefer some alternative, though not sure what that alternative should be.
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Old Jul 15, 20, 10:13 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Portland
Programs: AS MVPG75k, UA Silver, Marriott Bonvoy Titatium, Hertz PC
Posts: 192
Block Middle Seat next to 75k

I took the survey too and my option offered (as a 75k) was $250 "bank" towards first class upgrades. My strong preferences for a new 75k elite benefit were as follows:

1) No changes fees for companions in same reservation (big deal for my wife and three kids)
2) Ability to upgrade all traveling companions to premium class at time of booking
3) Always block middle seat next to a 75k and only allow ticket or gate agent to fill seat as a last resort when flight is full. Seat map would show blocked otherwise.
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