Elite Upgrades w/ US?

Old Apr 19, 2005, 11:49 pm
  #1  
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Elite Upgrades w/ US?

Reading the potential US Air/HP merger, I can't help but to wonder how this will affect us as Elites. I thoroughly enjoy the unlimited complimentary HP upgrades as a Platinum member. How does the US Air program work and is it going to be comparable to what FF Elite members are enjoying now?
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 12:00 am
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It looks like a "500 mile" certificate-based system similar to UA and AA. The difference appears to be that you don't earn upgrades in the same way that you do on those airlines... you have to buy them either with cash or miles.

I'm not totally familiar with the program, but it isn't as generous as HP's... on the other hand you stand a better chance of actually getting your upgrade.
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 4:34 am
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I'm Platinum on HP and Gold on US so I can tell you at least a little. The upgrades are basically the same at my levels. I think CP on US is actually a little better than HP from an upgrade availability standpoint.

Here's what I can tell you though, I'm 100% on upgrades on US on both the PHL-PHX route and a few MSY-PHL trips. I'm not anywhere near that percentage on HP. US planes have a lot more FC seats from what I've seen.
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 5:46 am
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I'm a Silver on US. ALL US elites get free upgrades to first class on domestic flights, pending availability, and can take one non-elite companion with them. On full-fare coach, the upgrade happens at time of booking. For discounted coach, Chairman's get upgraded at 7 days before departure, Gold 3 days, and Silver one day. If the upgrade doesn't clear then, there's another chance on day of departure at the gate.

As a "mere" Silver, I've sat in FC more often than not since this program was started.
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 5:54 am
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Originally Posted by GregLeg
I'm a Silver on US. ALL US elites get free upgrades to first class on domestic flights, pending availability, and can take one non-elite companion with them. On full-fare coach, the upgrade happens at time of booking. For discounted coach, Chairman's get upgraded at 7 days before departure, Gold 3 days, and Silver one day. If the upgrade doesn't clear then, there's another chance on day of departure at the gate.

As a "mere" Silver, I've sat in FC more often than not since this program was started.
Are the mileage thresholds the same for US vs. HP or do you need 100K/year to reach CP?

I thought US used the 500 mile cert program, not unlimted, space available upgrades?

Wow--7 days for a CP to clear. That is very nice. HP is so stingy at 3 days. I'm sure US folks complain about their F cabin but trust me, they have no idea of how bad the F cabin in HP is--probably the worst industry wide.
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 7:30 am
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Originally Posted by enviroian
Are the mileage thresholds the same for US vs. HP or do you need 100K/year to reach CP?

I thought US used the 500 mile cert program, not unlimted, space available upgrades?

Wow--7 days for a CP to clear. That is very nice. HP is so stingy at 3 days. I'm sure US folks complain about their F cabin but trust me, they have no idea of how bad the F cabin in HP is--probably the worst industry wide.
US the thresholds are 100K - Chairman's Preferred, 50K - Gold Preferred, 25K - Silver Prefered.

US has not used 500 mile cert program for 3 or 4 years, upgrades are e-upgrades unlimited for CP, GP and SP the difference between the levels is the window when allowed to upgrade.

More info on US program: http://www.usairways.com/dividendmiles/preferredlevels/

Hope this helps
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 8:42 am
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The brand will change to USAirways dividend miles, however if HP management calls the shots the program will probably be adjusted to become more FlightFund. If US stays in star alliance, which could change due to the merger, then the program will reflect this.
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Old Apr 20, 2005, 8:06 pm
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The US Dividend Miles is the best in the business. Unlimited upgrades for all elites!! For top-tier Chairman's Preferred you clear 7 days in advance and get 4 transatlantic upgrade certs each year. Envoy class on the A330 rocks with great in-flight entertainment with Row 1 with a "first class" flat bed. (The food is the same as business but the seat is much better).

As a Chairman's Preferred US will go to extraordinary lengths to serve you--at times--with occasional special consideration with inventory issues etc. Makes being a UA 1K feel more like a mid to lower tier garden variety elite.

The only reason why you would have to worry about 500 mile certificates is if you are non-elite. But with all of the tier mileage bonuses you can sleep walk your way to silver!
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Old Apr 21, 2005, 7:38 am
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But the question will be what will remain of it and it's current service level when the two airlines combine? Will US Dividend Miles program come down to meet HP Flight Fund, will Flight Fund be raised to meet Dividend or will they meet in the middle? I'm sure we would all like them to make the best part of each program...but I doubt that will be the case.

Lance

Originally Posted by NeoOfTheCRS
The US Dividend Miles is the best in the business.
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Old Apr 24, 2005, 1:08 am
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I was a CO Platinum, and with CO One Pass since 1981, usually at the top elite level except for a few years. The upgrades are so bad I switched to US Air and will be taking my first flight on US as a new elite. (Have flown 500-700 US Air flights but not regularly since 1995, and most before 1982)

Understanding the US Air website on upgrades was confusing. There are unlimited upgrades for elite members. The website states: "Dividend Miles Preferred members automatically have an unlimited supply of e-upgrades in their bank." So you don't pay for upgrades although after the first reading you may have the impression that you pay to upgrade.

On Y,B,U and N fares the elite member can upgrade "any time in advance."

On the restricted fares Silver- 1 day; Gold Preferred- 3 days, and Chairman's Preferred 7 days in advance.

The website has Q&As one stating- "Question: Can I upgrade a traveling companion using my unlimited upgrades? --- Answer: Preferred members may upgrade one companion who is traveling on the same flight as the member providing the upgrade. The upgrade may be completed at the same time as the Preferred member upgrades. Upgrades are NOT allowed if the companion is traveling on an award reservation."


You can even upgrades companions at the same time you upgrade.

One twist is that if you buy a codeshare ticket from United for US metal, technically you cannot automatically upgrade in advance. If you have a United ticket for US metal you have to be put on the list at the airport on the day of departure.

Another quirk is that you often have to call in to be put on the upgrade list or verify you are on the list, and you also specifically have to ask that your companion be put on the upgrade list even if you are on the same reservation as the companion. Just called in last week to be put on the list for two upcoming US Air trips.

As new US Air Gold elite it took some effort to get this upgrading procedure under control, overall it seems like a fairly generous upgrade program. For me it seems like 1996 when Continental brought me back after a two year absence from CO with its generous upgrades which now have disappeared in 2004. I think the generous upgrades made CO the airline it is today. Hopefully the upgrades will make any combined America West - US Air the leading US carrier.

Upgrades, upgrades, & more upgrades.

Edited for typo.

Last edited by BF263533; Apr 24, 2005 at 11:44 am
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Old Apr 24, 2005, 3:23 am
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Originally Posted by BF263533
As new US Air Gold elite it took some effort to get this upgrading procedure under control, overall it seems like a fairly generous upgrade program. For me it seems like 1996 when Continental brought me back after a two year absence from CO with its generous upgrades which now have disappeared in 2004. I think the generous upgrades made CO the airline it is today. Hopefully the upgrades will make any combined America West - US Air the leading US carrier.

Thank you for a very useful post. As is evident from my previous post I was having some trouble understanding what was listed on the US website. I especially like the companion upgrades that clear at your window rather than on the day of departure.

If this whole thing goes through the combined entity definitely has an opportunity to develop a great arline. Hopefully they won't let ambition get the best of them and start making promises that they just can't keep.
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 9:55 pm
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Originally Posted by RICflyer
US has not used 500 mile cert program for 3 or 4 years, upgrades are e-upgrades unlimited for CP, GP and SP the difference between the levels is the window when allowed to upgrade.

Actually the unlimited upgrade benefit was something new added in the 2004 program year, so it is only a year old. US used to use the same method as UA (except Chairman's Preferred have always received unlimited upgrades).



What is the most confusing about the upgrade system:


Even though all preferred members receive unlimited upgrades, US continues to refer to these upgrades as "e-upgrades," making you think that they are something that must be paid for, or that they are only available in a certain quantity or that they must be earned. They are "e-upgrades" because they are done electronically, not because certificates or miles or money must be used to attain them.
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Old Apr 27, 2005, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by enviroian

Wow--7 days for a CP to clear. That is very nice. HP is so stingy at 3 days. I'm sure US folks complain about their F cabin but trust me, they have no idea of how bad the F cabin in HP is--probably the worst industry wide.

Believe me, US has THE worst F product, industry-wide, hands down. HP has recently improved the quality of F class (we all remember the days of the Hot Pockets), whereas US F quality has taken a downward turn. No glassware, no silverware, just 1 course basic meals.

Recently, US has begin offering the same snack boxes that Y passengers must pay for as complimentary meals in F, even on transcon flights, due to what US calls a "catering transition." This means meals in a box in F class on all flights, even transcon flights. You have NO idea how bad the US F cabin has become. US is only better than HP on shorter flights because they offer the snack basket, which is a really good assortment of snacks that are much better than the HP F class nut mix.

In terms of availability and upgrade space, US probably comes out on top because all US aircraft offer more F seats than their comprable HP airplanes.
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