Status Upgrades not allowed on all fares anymore?

Old Apr 12, 03, 1:57 am
  #1  
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Status Upgrades not allowed on all fares anymore?

I was just trying to upgrade a flight I am taking, and the person was checking to be sure what class of service I am in. Is it true that not all class of services will be able to upgrade for free using status anymore? Has anyone else heard details about this?
JenniferNAz is offline  
Old Apr 12, 03, 3:20 pm
  #2  
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I have heard absolutely nothing about restrictions on what fares are available for complimentary Elite upgrades. As for mileage upgrades, there are restrictions in place. Please see:

http://www.americawest.com/flightfun...f_upgrades.htm

http://www.americawest.com/flightfun...iteprogram.htm
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Old Apr 12, 03, 8:21 pm
  #3  
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I had not either, but today I looked in the 2003 Flight Fund program guide, and found this:

Complimentary First Class Upgrades
FlightFund Elite members are invited to enjoy the spacious
comforts of First Class.
There are no limits to the number of times you may upgrade.
The number of seats allocated for upgrade is capacity
controlled.
Certain discounted fares are not eligible for upgrades.
Upgrades are valid for travel within or between the 48
contiguous United States, Alaska, Canada and Mexico.

And under the Gold member benefits:

Traveling on any other qualifying paid fare your upgrade
is confirmable 2 calendar days prior to departure.

The same thing is listed for Silver, just the time frame is different.

What do they mean when they say "qualifying" paid fare? When I told the reservation agent, she said it was for status upgrades as well as if you use your miles.

Today I called flight fund and the agent there assured me that is only for when you are using miles.

I still wonder, what is the "qualifying" paid fare? What paid fares don't qualify?

One other question, is anyone else thinking that we should say something about the ability to use miles? I know I don't shop around other airlines, and I will sometimes pay more to fly America West. Why should we then be penalized when we do find a good fare that will work for us?? Would they think about changing this back if they received enough negative comments about this change?

I have enjoyed reading these boards for a year or so, and finally decided to write. Thanks to everyone for all the great info over the past year!

Jennifer
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Old Apr 12, 03, 9:16 pm
  #4  
 
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"Qualifying" fares for elite upgrades would be just any published fare that HP offers. If certain fares were prohibited, they would state the specific ticket class. Not 100% sure, but non-qualifying fares are most likely bulk rate tickets, award tickets, and travel voucher tickets.
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Old Apr 15, 03, 6:34 pm
  #5  
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I, too, was surprised to read this in the '03 Elite Membership Guide recently -- I thought it was something new they were sneaking into the program. Then I went back and read last year's guide and it is there as well so this is apparently nothing new.

In practice, I don't think it is an issue. At times, I've booked the cheapest on-line fares and even AWA Vacation package fares and have always been upgraded if space was available. I think the list of fares that don't qualify must be very small -- probably bulk, consolidator, flight coupons & such.

As for the new mileage upgrade requirements, I suspect that for elite members who do not burn miles to confirm upgrades, this will be very beneficial. We all know the long-haul PHX to east coast cities (EWR, JFK, BWI, BOS, MIA, etc.) are frequently full in first before many, if any, elites get upgraded. This new policy will prevent a lot of people from buying the dirt-cheap fares and using their miles to upgrade. If you are not Platinum, you won't be able to. If you are Platinum, hopefully now you won't have to. It will be interesting to see if this proves out.

I thought this was an interesting move on HP's part, as I suspect the result will be more elite members getting upgraded without having to burn miles, which means the same seats are full, but without the miles being burned from the FF program. Seems to me that just means they'll have a higher overall mileage balance (a liability) that will be used on free tickets later on HP or, at greater expense to HP, on a partner airline. (like BA!) I thought people buring miles for first class upgrades on paid tickets was the cheapest mileage use scenario for any airline like HP who isn't likely to sell very many of their First Class seats. Someone is going to be in those seats -- whether it be someone burning miles or an elite who isn't. Seems they'd prefer to have the same seats filled while reducing their mileage liability in the process. This doesn't seem to be in line with many of the cost-saving moves HP has been making of late. Maybe I'm missing something. . .
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Old Apr 18, 03, 5:37 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by AZ Travels the World:
I think the list of fares that don't qualify must be very small -- probably bulk, consolidator, flight coupons & such.


</font>
the most prominent kinds of fares that don't qualify for usual airline benefits are the "opaque fares" like Priceline and Hotwire.
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Old Apr 20, 03, 9:04 pm
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To redeem miles for upgrades, call the FlightFund Service Center at 800-247-5691. Mileage required for upgrades is summarized below:

All travel must originate in North America

America West/America West Express Upgrade Award Chart
Upgrade from Full Y Fare Upgrade from Select Fares* Upgrade from K,V, M Fares
Within/between: Contiguous 48 US, Alaska, Canada and Mexico 5,000 One Way
10,000 Roundtrip 10,000 One Way
20,000 Roundtrip Exclusive benefit for Platinum members**

10,000 One Way
20,000 Roundtrip

North America is defined as 48 US, Alaska, Canada and Mexico.

*Benefit change effective 3/1/03 for Gold, Silver, and Non-Elite members: All fares eligible except K, V, M fares **Effective 3/1/03


Well this seems illogical to me too - so now as a PLT you can burn miles but shouldnt need to

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Old Apr 30, 03, 2:20 am
  #8  
 
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I called just after 12am to see if my upgrade had cleared and I was told there would be no upgrade for me because " as of a couple of months ago we don't give out upgrades on V, K , or M fares. Yet on my outbound segment there was no problem at all with my upgrade clearing.
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Old Apr 30, 03, 8:31 am
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This is very strange, sounds like they are denying your elite automatic upgrade, and it has nothing to do with upgrading using miles (which were indeed changed for 2003 disallowing V/K/M).

I suggest calling back, and asking specifically where is this documented.

All my flights this year have been upgraded during the elite window, and I have never paid attention to the booking class until reading this thread.
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Old Apr 30, 03, 9:27 am
  #10  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Ord26:
I called just after 12am to see if my upgrade had cleared and I was told there would be no upgrade for me because " as of a couple of months ago we don't give out upgrades on V, K , or M fares. Yet on my outbound segment there was no problem at all with my upgrade clearing. </font>
I'm confident this isn't right. Call during the day when the Flight Fund center is open. After midnight, god only knows what answer you'll get -- to any question -- when you call an Elite line. I've had horrible experiences in recent months with the after-hours group. I think this sucks given that you can't call until midnight to confirm or arrange for upgrade that didn't happen as it should -- these people should know what they're doing.

Just the other day used miles to upgrade someone in advance on a qualifying fare. The Elite person I spoke with when arranging this clarified that this policy applies to advance upgrades using miles -- not to Elite upgrades within the upgrade window.
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Old May 1, 03, 1:16 pm
  #11  
 
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I called back in the morning when the FF desk was open and they issued the upgrade with no problems. I knew there were about 8 open F seats so waiting till morning wasn't too much of a risk. The funny thing was the after-hours agent put me on hold for about 4 mins before she denied my upgrade. Did she seek out a supervisor and the supervisor was the one who denied the upgrade? I guess it's a real roll of the dice when you call after hours.
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