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The Official - GLOBAL UPGRADE CERT success thread - Yay! I got it!

The Official - GLOBAL UPGRADE CERT success thread - Yay! I got it!

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Old Apr 4, 19, 11:14 am   -   Wikipost
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Using Delta Global Upgrades


Delta offers Diamond Medallion members the benefit of up to 4 Global Upgrade Certificates (GUCs) per year, which each allow a one-way upgrade to business class/Delta One for one person on any route in the Delta network, as well as a limited number of partner flights under specific restricted circumstances described below. 4 GUCs is enough to upgrade the Diamond Medallion member on 2 round trips or 4 one-way trips, or the Diamond Medallion member plus one companion on 1 round trip or 2 one-way trips.

Choosing upgrades as a choice benefit
  • Upgrades are valid one year from the date of issue, usually the day of or day after they are selected in Choice Benefits -- so best to wait as long as possible to select them unless you have a specific use planned for them
  • All Diamond Medallions also receive a Platinum Medallion choice benefit, even if just renewing existing Diamond status in a year, so DMs could for example select 4 RUCs as their Platinum choice benefit and 4 GUCs as one of their Diamond choice benefit, or 4 RUCs as their Platinum choice benefit and 8 more RUCs as one of their Diamond choice benefits
  • However, it is not possible to select 8 RUCs as one Diamond choice benefit and 4 GUCs as another, nor select 4 GUCs more than once for a single year's Diamond choice benefits -- so the most GUCs anyone can currently earn in a single year is 4
  • You may select your DM benefits at different times, so it is best to select fixed-expiration-date benefits (like gifting status or SkyClub memberships) as soon as possible, but wait until you have a specific use in mind to select upgrades, so that the expiration date is as far into the future as possible. This is especially important if you are waitlisting upgrades for a particular trip, since if the waitlist doesn't clear, a later expiration date will maximize the amount of time you have to try again to use them on a different trip.
  • For status earned based on flying in 2017, upgrades can be selected until the last day that status is valid, January 31, 2019, so they could possibly expire as late as January ~30, 2020 if they are selected as late as possible.
  • Upgrades can be used after you are no longer a Diamond Medallion as long as the upgrades are still valid, though non-DM-line phone agents will be less familiar with them, so they may be harder to use or run a higher risk of being processed incorrectly, so it may be worth booking your GUC flights before your DM status expires if possible.
  • All flights to be upgraded must be flown, not just requested, by the expiration date of the upgrade certificates, though there have been some examples of short extensions offered by phone agents (for example, to the end of the month of the expiration date) as long as the upgrade is able to be confirmed before the certificates expire. In this case it is important to push the agent to make sure the ticket is reissued right away, since it will not be possible to reissue the ticket after the GUC expires. You can tell if the ticket has been reissued because the ticket number on the booking will change from what it was when you originally booked in coach, and the GUC will be marked as "closed" in your wallet on Delta.com.

Finding upgrade space
  • Delta phone agents and the @Delta Twitter account can check for available upgrade space
  • There is no general way to check for available upgrade space online
  • However there is one exception where some flights appear to be able to be checked online: for Delta flights carrying a KLM code -- for example, most flights between the US and Europe -- ExpertFlyer.com (paid membership required) shows KLM upgrade space, and will show upgrade space for those KL-coded, DL-operated flights, which based on anecdotal evidence seems to often (but not always) correspond to upgrade space made available by Delta. This can be a way to check many dates and flights easily, but confirm with Delta that the upgrade space does in fact exist before making firm plans.
  • Upgrade space is not necessarily correlated with award space
  • If upgrade space is not available on your desired flight, you can waitlist, and it is possible the upgrade may clear before departure. If not your name should appear on the upgrade list at the gate. See next section for details.
  • Upgrade space is rarely seen in advance on busy, high-upgrade-demand routes like ATL-JNB and LAX-SYD.

Requesting an upgrade
  • You must call or Tweet at Delta to request an upgrade, they cannot be requested on the website
  • If upgrade space is available, the agent will process the upgrade immediately and you will be able to select business class seats
  • If the upgrade is confirmed in advance, your ticket will be reissued in business class at some point before the flight and you will receive a new itinerary email when this happens; occasionally the ticket does not get reissued and you will not be able to check in, but a quick call to Delta usually fixes this easily
  • Occasionally an email is sent to alert you if a waitlisted upgrade has cleared, but often the best indication is if a segment of your itinerary disappears entirely from Delta.com, which usually means the upgrade has cleared on that segment. Call Delta to have them process it so that it reappears in your itinerary, and you will be able to select business class seats.
  • There have been reports of upgrades coded incorrectly by agents -- unfortunately there is no way to know for sure if your upgrade is coded correctly, and requested upgrades seem to show up a few different ways on Delta.com, sometimes with an "upgrade requested" designation on the flight, and/or with a "phantom" duplicate flight in the seat maps which will not let you select seats
  • If an upgrade has not cleared by check-in time and you do not appear on the upgrade list on the Delta app or Delta.com, call to have an agent correct the upgrade
  • In certain airports where other airlines handle Delta's flights (particularly AMS), it is not officially possible to clear at the gate; KLM does process upgrades at the gate in AMS for certificates waitlisted 24 hours in advance of departure, but this is not an officially guaranteed benefit. To be safe make sure you have your GUC certificate numbers and redemption codes written down in case the KLM agents need this information.
  • If you are connecting, for example flying MCO-ATL-LHR, and upgrade space is not available on ATL-LHR, best practice is to waitlist on the ATL-LHR leg only, so as not to waste a global upgrade on the short MCO-ATL flight, and then add the upgrade request to MCO-ATL when/if ATL-LHR clears; most agents will understand this approach and may even proactively suggest it
  • If you have selected your choice benefits very recently (within the last 24-48 hours), the phone agent may not yet be able to see your upgrade codes, but you can read the codes to the agent from the My Wallet page on Delta.com
  • The priority order of GUCs, RUCs, mileage upgrades, and complimentary upgrades is not 100% clear, but it is known that GUCs and RUCs have higher priority than complimentary upgrades, and that GUCs and RUCs appear to have equal priority. It is listed on Delta.com that GUCs and RUCs clear first by medallion level and then by time of request, which is different from the upgrade priority used for complimentary upgrades (which is also listed on the website)

Other upgrade rules
  • Upgrades are valid on Delta flights on all economy fares except Basic Economy (E)
  • It is possible to request upgrades in one direction of a roundtrip only, for example if you had 4 US-Europe trips planned and only 4 GUCs, you might decide to upgrade the eastbound flights only as they are overnight flights and remain in economy for the westbound flights.
  • On flights operated with a Premium Select cabin, Delta has indicated that it will still be possible to use a GUC to upgrade directly from economy to Premium Select or to Delta One using the same number of GUCs. However, if an upgrade is cleared from economy to Premium Select, the GUC will be considered used, and another GUC would be required to upgrade again to Delta One. The best strategy is probably to waitlist only for Delta One upgrades, and perhaps if the GUC is close to expiring or you don't expect to have another use for it, to add a request for a Premium Select upgrade close to departure if the Delta One upgrade hasn't yet cleared and/or the Delta One seat map looks very full.
  • Upgrades may be used for the SkyMiles member and up to one companion; The companion need not be in the same PNR, but must be traveling on the exact same flight as the GUC holder.
  • Unlike AA and UA upgrades, DL upgrades cannot be gifted to someone whom the SkyMiles member is not traveling with
  • As of January 22, 2018, it is now officially possible to use a certificate for a companion but not for yourself, as long as you are traveling on the same flight as the companion -- for example if you are eligible to buy a business class ticket for business travel and want to bring your spouse by buying an economy ticket and upgrading them. It is not clear if you could upgrade your companion but not yourself. In the past the question has been raised of waiting for a complimentary medallion upgrade for the main member and then using a certificate for the companion, but now that companions for complimentary medallion upgrades are processed at the same priority as the main member, this is no longer a likely concern.

Using upgrades on KLM
  • Upgrades are possible on all coach fares for Delta-marketed (DL flight number), KLM-operated flights
  • In the course of processing the upgrade, Delta reissues the KLM flights on KLM flight numbers when they issue the upgrade, but the flights must be bought on DL flight numbers initially (unless buying expensive Y, B, or M fares with KLM)
  • As of now upgrades are processed into the Z fare bucket, which earns 150% MQMs
  • It is not possible to waitlist for upgrade on KLM flights, nor to go to the airport upgrade list, so space must be available in advance in order for the upgrade to clear. Many agents will offer to put you on the waitlist, but putting you on the upgrade waitlist for a KLM flight will simply never clear so you're better off monitoring it yourself (see next bullets).
  • KLM upgrade space can be checked on ExpertFlyer.com (requires a paid membership). ExpertFlyer also allows users to set alerts for particular fare classes becoming available, which could be useful in lieu of being able to waitlist -- you can set an ExpertFlyer alert for "Z" availability and then call Delta to grab the upgrade if you receive an ExpertFlyer alert that it becomes available.
  • KLM upgrade space on a single segment is different if you search that segment alone vs. if you search a connecting itinerary involving that segment. So if you are looking for KLM upgrades ORD-AMS-JNB, you need to search ORD-JNB in ExpertFlyer to see the true availability; even if there is space on ORD-AMS and AMS-JNB, if it Z space doesn't show up for ORD-JNB you won't be able to upgrade. Unfortunately this means that ExpertFlyer availability alerts, which can only be set on a segment-by-segment basis, are not useful for monitoring KLM upgrade availability on connecting flights.
  • In some cases, adding a DL domestic connecting flight can change KLM upgrade availability. For example ATL-AMS on KLM may show availability but MCO-ATL-AMS may not. Example. Unfortunately some more complex routings, such as forcing an extra connection to find KLM upgrade space (flying JFK-ORD-AMS-CPT instead of JFK-AMS-CPT), do not show up on ExpertFlyer so you are at the mercy of hopefully finding Delta agents who know what they're doing.
  • Bookings with KLM ticket numbers (starting in 074) can be upgraded using the same rules as bookings with Delta ticket numbers (starting in 006). Delta-operated, KLM-coded flights can be upgraded under the same rules as any other KLM-coded flight, meaning a booking in a Y, B or M fare class is required. Delta-coded, Delta-operated flights booked on a KLM ticket number can be upgraded the same as if they were booked on a Delta ticket number, so in any fare class other than E.
  • There have been numerous challenges with KLM upgrades, so be careful, be persistent, and make sure you request the upgrade within the no-risk cancellation window of the ticket so you can cancel if it doesn't work as expected.
  • More KLM upgrade reading: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Using upgrades on Virgin Atlantic --
  • Valid on Delta-marketed (DL flight number), Virgin Atlantic-operated flights for use globally on published Economy Cabin fares booked in W, Y, B, M, S, H, Q, K, L, U, T, X or V class to Upper Class. Upgrading on Virgin-marketed (VS flight number) flights using GUCs is not possible.
  • Global Upgrades on Virgin Atlantic flights must be confirmed 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Global Upgrade Certificates may not be used to waitlist for a Virgin Atlantic-operated flight. Many agents will offer to put you on the waitlist, but putting you on the upgrade waitlist for a Virgin Atlantic flight will simply never clear so you're better off monitoring it yourself (see next bullets).
  • DL flight numbers are not available for most Virgin Atlantic flights to regions other than the US (for example LHR-JNB), so it is not possible to use GUCs on those flights.
  • Virgin Atlantic upgrade space appears to use the same availability as awards, so if a business class award is available for a Virgin Atlantic flight on Delta.com, it should be available for an upgrade (as long as that flight is booked on a DL flight number). If an award is not available, an upgrade is probably not available -- but if you notice any exceptions to this rule please share in the thread. You can also monitor G space using ExpertFlyer (see KLM section above).
  • Because G is the same code as Virgin Atlantic uses for award tickets, after you fly the tickets will register with Delta as having been awards and will not earn any miles. Watch your mileage earning carefully and you will likely have to call Delta and explain that it wasn't an award ticket but an upgrade from a paid coach ticket, and they will correct the mileage earning to be equivalent to what you would have earned on your original coach ticket.
Using upgrades on Air France (restricted to certain fare classes only)

Air France requires the purchase of high fare classes (much more expensive than most advance-purchase tickets) and only allows one-cabin upgrade from Y/B/M economy to W premium economy or W premium economy to O business, so use of GUCs on Air France is rare and data points are limited. If you are looking to upgrade economically to destinations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent not served by Delta directly, finding flights with KLM is likely a better option if possible.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 2:59 pm
  #3466  
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Originally Posted by hockeyinsider View Post
Diamond Desk agent said there were 13 empty seats for sale in Delta One for Detroit–Frankfurt. I tried applying a global upgrade certificate but it wouldn't clear at booking. I decided to still apply it and take my chance. I don't see any indication that I'm waitlisted. How do I know if the upgrade certificate was correctly applied? Or has Delta done away with the waitlist indicator?
There's no sure way of knowing. The steps that have been used in the past (ie double seatmap, etc) don't even guarantee that its coded correctly. For example they could put you on the waitlist, but not correctly enter the coding for the GUC. Which is a freeform text field that must be entered 100% correctly, and for which there's no verification that it was entered correctly. It's basically an old school computer comma separated coding field. If enter an extra comma, or leave one out, it no longer is "readable" by the computer.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 10:38 pm
  #3467  
 
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June 19, return from TPE thru ICN to ATL. 2x GUCs (wife and I....using her GUCs as PM) cleared at booking into A350 suites.
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Old Mar 31, 19, 11:29 am
  #3468  
 
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Looking at some very flexible dates in the later part of the year for a potential trip to Sydney. An agent actually found a day with a reward seat available for the SYD-LAX return, but nothing for the outbound. Have read through a number of pages on this thread and have seen some individuals have had success of these clearing after booking but prior to check-in. I figured one of two legs available at time of booking on this route is pretty good, but I also don't think I'm looking to do 15 hours in economy.

I recognize using GUCs is a game of roulette, but wanted to hear what others might advise.
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Old Mar 31, 19, 6:22 pm
  #3469  
 
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Originally Posted by ek3494 View Post
Looking at some very flexible dates in the later part of the year for a potential trip to Sydney. An agent actually found a day with a reward seat available for the SYD-LAX return, but nothing for the outbound. Have read through a number of pages on this thread and have seen some individuals have had success of these clearing after booking but prior to check-in. I figured one of two legs available at time of booking on this route is pretty good, but I also don't think I'm looking to do 15 hours in economy.

I recognize using GUCs is a game of roulette, but wanted to hear what others might advise.
FWIW ... I've done the LAX-SYD-LAX legs many times, both on VA and DL - in C+ and in Business Class/D1. My last trip was two weeks ago (3/15) and I didn't have any luck with a GUC on the outbound leg unfortunately, since I was continuing on VA to Bali (another 6+ hrs of flying). However, on the return, coming overnight from Bali, I really did much appreciate that my GUC had cleared a few months in advance.
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Old Apr 1, 19, 9:36 am
  #3470  
 
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OK, new (or maybe old) question but I cant find the answer by searching.

I'm confirmed in biz (paid) and have used a GUC for a companion in a different PNR. Ticket has been reissued etc. Now my plans have changed and I need to go, potentially, on a different flight. What happens to my "companion" who is obviously, no longer a companion. Not trying to pull a fast one, but since already reissued and in a different PNR from the get-go, any ideas on if it will stick? thx
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Old Apr 1, 19, 11:48 am
  #3471  
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Originally Posted by mizzou miles View Post
OK, new (or maybe old) question but I cant find the answer by searching.

I'm confirmed in biz (paid) and have used a GUC for a companion in a different PNR. Ticket has been reissued etc. Now my plans have changed and I need to go, potentially, on a different flight. What happens to my "companion" who is obviously, no longer a companion. Not trying to pull a fast one, but since already reissued and in a different PNR from the get-go, any ideas on if it will stick? thx
It'll stick. Once the ticket was reissued the GUC was closed and is now attached to that ticket.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 10:50 am
  #3472  
 
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Data point:
Booked CHA-ATL-LAX-SYD for Oct 21-Nov 20 in G (Prem Select) on Mar 28
Waitlisted for both outbound LAX-SYD and SYD-LAX
Cleared into 777 suites for the return today (Apr 2)
Still WL on outbound (with Mrs BHammy who returns 2 weeks before me)
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Last edited by BHammy; Apr 2, 19 at 10:55 am Reason: date change
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Old Apr 3, 19, 11:58 pm
  #3473  
 
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[QUOTE=BHammy;30956791
Cleared into 777 suites for the return today (Apr 2)[/QUOTE]

And just like that....it was gone!

Having issues with the Android app finding my flights, I persevered to "Find my Flight" via CC number and then Confirmation numbers for the ones CCs didn't pull up (even tho they were booked with said CC)
Looked over many of my potential upgrades to get down to the SYD flight and see that I'm still sitting in Premium Select on the return, with an addition segment of SYD-LAX saying D1..Select Seat...which I can't do.

Call the DM line to get told that no...no upgrade, still sitting in PS and D1 not available. I ask..'not available' or not waitlisted.
I explain that 2 days ago an agent cleared my upgrade into 2A, then waitlisted me on LAX-ATL.
I ask if this has been rescinded by Delta?
<<insert long pause here>>
She says she'll have to call Global 'something' to check on it.
After two hold interrupts, I'm back in 2A, cert pulled and WL on LAX-ATL....again.

I'll check back in a couple days to make sure it stuck this time!?!
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Old Apr 4, 19, 6:16 pm
  #3474  
 
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Question New GUC Redemption Extreme or Norm?

The Context: As a DM, I make 4-5 trips to East Africa a year, generally frequenting the same destinations, and flying similar routings. XXX-ATL/DTW/JFK-AMS-EBB/NBO. I'm a veteran of GUC redemptions and generally like to use them heading west-bound when possible. I now know the drill in terms of finding Z availability on Expert Flyer, calling in, asking for those flight numbers, etc. In the past, this has been on par with an Olympic sport. I usually wait until i have no appointments for the next few hours before I call, knowing it might be a bear. And even then, I'm sometimes getting callbacks, etc.

The last three bookings have all resulted in some conversation with a supervisor who is telling me the GUC must be booked in Y, B or M fare and/or you must find availability as a thru fare with KLM, not point-to-point or flight-by-flight. And in each situation, the ticket has been resolved in a different way. Once it was actually done well and I was given SM for my time, another time they offered to just put me in Delta One on the DL segments (w/o GUC redemption) because they could see Z-fare space on KL but not ticket it and another time I ended up nowhere but richer with SMs as a thank you once again for my patience. I called the next day and it was sorted out rather quickly.

Today: I called at 1030a EST and told the agent what I was looking to do, this time using two GUCs, one in each direction. The agent's computer was having issues so she offered to call me back. She did so about two hours later, having done all the research and saying "I can do this, but I have to book you in a Y fare," to which I said that shouldn't be the case, could you take another look. At 1p, she called to say, "Good news! I can do this, let's ticket this now in T class and I'll get everything done. There's Z space on all the international legs." Then came the last call, at 430p, to inform me that unfortunately after now a six hour slog, they couldn't confirm the Z space for upgrades.

The agent was sincere and sounded defeated. When I asked her, she indicated this was the one ticket she'd been working on all day, calling the joint venture desk, international reissue, etc. I almost felt bad for her. She offered to hand me over to a supervisor if I wanted to express my unhappiness with the way these things are being administered, and I did so.

Another 65 minutes on the phone and the supervisor, who also tried to look up another alternative routing where EF indicated thru fare space was available, said she couldn't help. She offered me 20k SM for my inconvenience and asked me to share my complaints at delta.com. I indicated that I had done so on the previous bookings--which she claimed to have pulled up to take a look--and I didn't desire to write a black hole that would return with a form answer that wouldn't really address my issue.

So Delta staff spent the better part of seven hours today working on this one booking, and at the end of the day I don't hold a ticket. This is now the 4th time booking the GUC has turned into a marathon and when I asked if the supervisor could escalate this to someone who could call and talk to me about why this continues to recur, she said no. And on top of that, her insightful wisdom was for me to redeem the GUCs "where Delta flies, not where our partners fly." That would seem to defeat the purpose for someone like myself.

I'm honestly dumbfounded. I value my days at more than 20,000 SkyMiles (or $200) and while yes, I could move my business to another carrier, I genuinely just want the process/system fixed so the good people we call don't spend their entire shifts trying to sort this out. And so that I don't have to gripe that this issue continues to recur.

Has anyone else had such difficult experiences with GUCs of late? Is there something I could do to get the point across to DL that this funny business certainly kills goodwill and their bottom line? If this is what the future looks like, I'm clocking out!
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Old Apr 4, 19, 7:53 pm
  #3475  
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GUC use on partners is always hit or miss. Everyone along the way needs to know what to do
o. One problem is you only talk to the first agent/their supervisor. Nothing you can do to correct anyone they're talking to who doesn't know what to do.

In general though I've had good luck. I use them on LAX/SFO-AMS-JNB normally.
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Old Apr 4, 19, 9:57 pm
  #3476  
 
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I really have to say, I absolutely hate how every post that has "GUC" in it gets swept in this thread. I am very interested in CGNC's post but now that it is in this "success thread" there won't be any discussion around it. I guess the mods need something to do to justify their positions, but I really wish that they would differentiate between "how do I use a GUC" which has been asked and answered 100 times and a new thread about very specific circumstances.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 4:37 am
  #3477  
 
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Originally Posted by SecurityTheaterFanClubPresident View Post
I really have to say, I absolutely hate how every post that has "GUC" in it gets swept in this thread. I am very interested in CGNC's post but now that it is in this "success thread" there won't be any discussion around it. I guess the mods need something to do to justify their positions, but I really wish that they would differentiate between "how do I use a GUC" which has been asked and answered 100 times and a new thread about very specific circumstances.
Agree. This is why I started a different thread—because my experience has been either success after a multitude of attempts or nothing at all, and I feel quite confident in my knowledge on how they should be used.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 4:41 am
  #3478  
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Originally Posted by CGNC View Post


Agree. This is why I started a different thread—because my experience has been either success after a multitude of attempts or nothing at all, and I feel quite confident in my knowledge on how they should be used.
There are a couple of KLM-specific GUC threads where this may be better placed (there are some links in the wiki of this thread). Still consolidated, but at least consolidated to a more specific topic area.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 10:22 am
  #3479  
 
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Originally Posted by bgriff View Post
There are a couple of KLM-specific GUC threads where this may be better placed (there are some links in the wiki of this thread). Still consolidated, but at least consolidated to a more specific topic area.
I'm generally pretty merge-happy, but I agree that a separate thread for GUC usage on partners (if not a separate thread for usage on each partner) would be better.
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Old Apr 5, 19, 3:26 pm
  #3480  
 
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Originally Posted by Floridaseabee View Post
I got a DTW-NRT on 06APR (positioning from PNS on 05APR) coming up on a contracted Y fare, and am waitlisted for D1S. Was going to buy up to PS for $900, but the offer disappeared about 3 hours before my travel firmed up and can't purchase up anymore (Didn't want to buy up as it was possible the trip would slip). On the return, I have NRT-ICN-ATL-PNS on 20APR.

Since this is my first travel overseas in years, I don't have any info on the success rate for GUC upgrades to the D1S on the A350... Right now, on the app, it shows the 06APR DTW-NRT with 11 D1 open and 20APR ICN-ATL shows 14 open. Anyone know my chances for a successful GUC upgrade?

I went ahead and confirmed for the 20APR trip home, PS select and upgrades on my other flights using a GUC. (including snagging the last Z fare on the KE metal NRT-ICN), as I'm not familiar with the success of the a350 upgrades, and wanted one bird in the hand, vs. two in the bush..so l also used an additional GUC for the ICN-ATL for D1. I'm still waitlisted on 06APR DTW-NRT for D1 and not confident of the upgrade tho..
As an update for this. I cleared at T-24 for D1S for 06APR DTW-NRT, but it was iffy. For the last week the D1 seats steadily went down (as low as 4), and I snagged of the last two PS seats with another GUC a few days ago, as it just didn't look good and didn't want to be fighting for a seat in either D1 or PS. So while I burned 2 GUCs getting up front, it was worth the risk as it was a FULL flight and T-24 it went down to one seat in D1, and ZERO in PS. One thing of note: for the last week, I saw the PS seats decrease increase by one, and D1 seats decrease by one, making it seem that either other GUCs cleared in a 1-by-1 fashion, or people were buying up.

This is my only international flight for the year, so I may end up burning 4 GUCs, which sucks....but I'll be sitting up front. Next time when I don't get ticketed 3 weeks before departure, I can shop around better.
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