Zero "U" Upgrade Availability?

Old Sep 23, 20, 9:17 am
  #1  
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Zero "U" Upgrade Availability?

I understand that Alaska appears to have implemented a no "U" space availability at all in the system outside of 24 hours, but I guess I'm just in disbelief. Can anyone find any route whatsoever with "U" space available in the future? For either a Gold, Gold 75k, or Gold Upgrade Guest Certificate holder? If you do, please share.

Am I misinterpreting this or is the only option for a MVPG or MVPG 75k today to fly F on Alaska to either pay for F or hope for a possible upgrade at the gate?

(ps- please spare the "airline is hurting" replies. U space didn't exist before only because Alaska was nice or was profitable)
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Old Sep 23, 20, 9:23 am
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That seems to be the case, yes, so GGUs and advance upgrades are basically not available but upgrades seem to be easier than usual with lighter loads. It's largely because they are basically blocking half of the seats in the cabin, unless there are flyers traveling together, for social distancing. While F prices are significantly lower than in the past (it seems they're making more I fares available to compensate a bit/perhaps encourage more revenue from folks willing to buy F), another option is to use miles to confirm in F..
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Old Sep 23, 20, 9:48 am
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Originally Posted by LuizMiranda View Post
U space didn't exist before only because Alaska was nice or was profitable
They've literally lost half of their F seating. U comes from space they don't expect to actually sell as F, but "what we expect to sell" is all ????? because COVID, route and service adjustments, changes in passenger composition (business travel is still pretty dead). The math is pretty simple.

I just came back from a trip where I bought F for less than $300 round trip thanks to various sales/promos that cut the cost for an I fare to what I would usually pay for a coach round trip. The U eligible fare (had U been available) would have cost me more than what I bought in I. (I checked it on a whim.)

I get your complaint (my guess is you're looking on a route that doesn't have good I fares available) but "Get big EQM/RDM boosts and pay less than the U fare, by the way, get a minute or three in the Alaska Lounge if you want" seems pretty good to me. But it does seem like there are winners and losers. Winners are people who are willing to give AS some cash money or just take their chances on the upgrade list. Losers are people wanting to use instruments for advance upgrades.

PS: it's pretty easy to find a U eligible fare costing MORE than an I fare across AS's network. So, uh, yay AS's RM? (On the other hand, they seem to be getting towards break-even? Maybe?)





Originally Posted by be_rettSEA View Post
another option is to use miles to confirm in F..
Er, doesn't that also require U? Or are you suggesting a redemption? Doesn't that require A? Is A really > U on a lot of routes? It doesn't seem so on the route and date I have selected (warning: very small sample size). They want 40k miles or as low as $159 to sit in F (LOL)...


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Last edited by eponymous_coward; Sep 23, 20 at 10:05 am
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Old Sep 23, 20, 10:14 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by be_rettSEA View Post
That seems to be the case, yes, so GGUs and advance upgrades are basically not available but upgrades seem to be easier than usual with lighter loads. It's largely because they are basically blocking half of the seats in the cabin, unless there are flyers traveling together, for social distancing. While F prices are significantly lower than in the past (it seems they're making more I fares available to compensate a bit/perhaps encourage more revenue from folks willing to buy F), another option is to use miles to confirm in F..
Yeah, that indeed seems to be the case across the board, even for very far away itineraries. It seems that they're betting that things aren't going back to normal even a year out, which is probably a good bet I suppose, crazy times. Well, I guess MVPG are on the same footing as anyone else now when it comes to change fees and getting into F in advance, who would've thought!

Ps: eponymous_coward ---> go troll somewhere else, please and thank you.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 10:37 am
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I have seen it on PDX-SEA and PDX-(a few California routes). I've also received upgrades more than 24 hours out.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 10:49 am
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Originally Posted by LuizMiranda View Post
Ps: eponymous_coward ---> go troll somewhere else, please and thank you.
No. Pointing out that AS has (as far as I can tell) deliberately set U eligible prices > I across the network is something someone might actually find valuable to know and contributes to the forum. I'm sorry you're mad about losing upgrade usage. Honestly, if you think AS has devalued your experience as a Gold, the only way to hit them is in their wallet (well, maybe Alaska Listens).

Feel free to report me if you think I've violated a rule. Like the one about commenting on the worthiness of posts. I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but factual; AS’s changes (and long running U>I) have upsides and downsides.
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Last edited by eponymous_coward; Sep 23, 20 at 1:20 pm
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Old Sep 23, 20, 11:27 am
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My thought is U space won't return until AS starts selling the entire F cabin (I think DL is now doing that). I am in favor of unblocking F, but I suspect that I'm in the minority.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 11:28 am
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward View Post
Er, doesn't that also require U? Or are you suggesting a redemption? Doesn't that require A? Is A really > U on a lot of routes? It doesn't seem so on the route and date I have selected (warning: very small sample size). They want 40k miles or as low as $159 to sit in F (LOL)...
Was suggesting an award, not a mileage upgrade (which does require U). Certainly there are various factors for people to consider between the value of miles, but for me, given the extension of Gold status to next year, I chose to use 40k miles vs $450 of wallet funds for a DCA-LAX flight in F this week. Sure, the miles themselves are probably worth more than the cash fare, but I figure we've got some time before any international premium cabin redemption is a reality, and I can use the $1k in my travel bank next year when EQM is a factor I care about, and replenish the 40k RDM through that flying.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 11:31 am
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With the 50% seating reduction in F and the fact that planes seem to be getting fuller, I actually think it was easier to clear into F pre-COVID. If the plan is to keep U space at zero indefinitely (into 2021) then there really needs to be some other benefit for MVPG/75K to replace the GGUs since those have effectively become useless....and I understand why, but it is still a benefit that no longer exists for the time being.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by dayone View Post
My thought is U space won't return until AS starts selling the entire F cabin (I think DL is doing that). I am in favor of unblocking F, but I suspect that I'm in the minority.
If you're in the minority, then I guess I am too....just sell the entire F cabin, open U space back up, and be done with it.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 11:45 am
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Originally Posted by LuizMiranda View Post
<snip>It seems that they're betting that things aren't going back to normal even a year out
Maybe... maybe not. The bottom liine is they really don't have to "bet" right now, they can be conservative in this area and then relax, as we move forward in time, if/when it makes sense.

Originally Posted by LuizMiranda View Post
Ps: eponymous_coward ---> go troll somewhere else, please and thank you.
Clearly, this isn't what you want to hear, but news flash, when posting on an anonymous internet forum you actually don't get to control how people respond, unless they violate the T&Cs of FT. You don't get to only receive the responses you want. The fact that you seeded your OP with "instructions" on what not to reply with implies you knew those replies were coming. You are, of course, free to ignore/block responses (including mine), but once you launch your post into the wild of FT, you don't get to control how people respond to it. The fact that someone sees a situation from a different perspective than you and is willing to articulate that view, does not, in and of itself, make them a "troll."

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Old Sep 23, 20, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by be_rettSEA View Post
... given the extension of Gold status to next year, I chose to use 40k miles vs $450 of wallet funds for a DCA-LAX flight in F this week. Sure, the miles themselves are probably worth more than the cash fare, but I figure we've got some time before any international premium cabin redemption is a reality, and I can use the $1k in my travel bank next year when EQM is a factor I care about, and replenish the 40k RDM through that flying.
I'm sitting on $2k in Wallet funds, and 600k miles ... I've been buying down speculative TCON F bookings by approx 50% using miles (something like $209+20k miles to DCA/IAD, or $239+10k to BWI); so far I've only flown one of maybe seven, although there's some rumbling about a new task from our Pentagon customer that may actually require a SEA-DC trip every 4-6 weeks for a year or so

Originally Posted by PDXPremier View Post
With the 50% seating reduction in F and the fact that planes seem to be getting fuller, I actually think it was easier to clear into F pre-COVID..
on the one trip I flew, I hadn't cleared SEA-IAD (on a 12F 738); however, the flight was departing out of S2, and due to a (self-inflicted) train mixup I got to the gate about two minutes after the flight closed ... the GA at S2 put me on the BWI flight; when I ran up to N16 and scanned my phone the GA heard the three beeps, took a look at the screen, tapped a few keys, and said "you can take 3A" (it was a 16F 739, booked to 50%, but with couples in 2AC and 2DF)

Last edited by jrl767; Sep 23, 20 at 12:33 pm
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Old Sep 23, 20, 12:53 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by scubadu View Post
The fact that someone sees a situation from a different perspective than you and is willing to articulate that view, does not, in and of itself, make them a "troll."
I had no perspective on the topic actually, the thread is about if anyone has seen any U availability because I need to book a flight and am looking for one with U space open.

In any case, back to the topic, I called and an agent looked at every single date a year out on multiple routes and there is indeed no U space in any flight period (apart from perhaps a few odd apples). So, that's an unfortunate situation for MVPGs for sure.

Last edited by dayone; Sep 23, 20 at 2:34 pm Reason: Redact off-topic/personal comment.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by LuizMiranda View Post
Hijacking a thread to add unnecessary debate is not adding perspective
AS doesn't have easily discoverable U (possibly none at all), which renders GGUs useless. They also have on many routes/dates/times set I fares at a price less than a U eligible fare anyway, so you'd actually save money on the instantly confirmable seat in F over using a GGU to confirm in F.

Apparently stating facts about how AS is doing fare buckets these days is debate.
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Old Sep 23, 20, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by LuizMiranda View Post
In any case, back to the topic, I called and an agent looked at every single date a year out on multiple routes and there is indeed no U space in any flight period (apart from perhaps a few odd apples). So, that's an unfortunate situation for MVPGs for sure.
The Pandemic is an unfortunate situation for everyone. I have always maintained that GGUs are better suited for MVPG, unless you absolutely can't/won't/refuse to fly Main. In order to apply a GGU, you must purchase, at a minimum, a K class fare. K class fares typically cost 85% to 105% more than R class (lowest Main cabin non-saver) fares. I recently flew PVR-LAX-SFO and the premium to purchase First(I) class was 23%; much lower than K class had U space been available. Extenuating circumstances aside, you are effectively getting two F seats as well as lounges access, 75% additional RDM and 2.625x EQM.

I personally have 20 GGUs right now, 8 for 2020 & 12 for 2021. I am not bothered that a truckload will be dumped as I am getting better value right now without them. Should I feel slighted because it is a perk of my earned status and the myriad of current promotions favour everyone? Some will believe so, I don't.

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