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United SWUs {GPUs} refunded if only domestic leg clears [policy change Sept 2011]

United SWUs {GPUs} refunded if only domestic leg clears [policy change Sept 2011]

Old Jun 7, 11, 9:56 pm
  #1  
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United SWUs {GPUs} refunded if only domestic leg clears [policy change Sept 2011]

For everybody, an FYI:
As per new United policy starting last week, my SWU certificate was not refunded after *not* receiving the international leg upgrade.

The details were:
Flight: DEN-SFO-PEK, SWU requested by travel agent
Upgraded: DEN-SFO
Not Upgraded: SFO-PEK

In the past, UA 1K desk would "refund" your SWU cert to your account, since you already get the domestic leg for free as a 1K. Today (June 7, 11), I learned they no longer do so.

Lesson: Make sure your SWU is only for the leg you care about, and consider alternatives as these discouraging policies accumulate. Good luck to the new, double-sized elite flier group on UA.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 10:09 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by lightm View Post
For everybody, an FYI:
As per new United policy starting last week, my SWU certificate was not refunded after *not* receiving the international leg upgrade.

The details were:
Flight: DEN-SFO-PEK, SWU requested by travel agent
Upgraded: DEN-SFO
Not Upgraded: SFO-PEK

In the past, UA 1K desk would "refund" your SWU cert to your account, since you already get the domestic leg for free as a 1K. Today (June 7, 11), I learned they no longer do so.

Lesson: Make sure your SWU is only for the leg you care about, and consider alternatives as these discouraging policies accumulate. Good luck to the new, double-sized elite flier group on UA.

I've never taken a chance on this and would only extend the SWU after clearing on the TPAC. It will be a little more tricky if there is a PS flight attached however.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 10:17 pm
  #3  
 
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By way of contrast, Continental's rules regarding "BusinessFirst" upgrades requested with miles and a co-pay are that if the BF segment does not clear, your miles and co-pay are refunded, and you get "freebie" upgrades for any domestic segments.

It'll be interesting to see whether they apply the same rules to their quite new systemwide upgrade system.

Originally Posted by lightm View Post
Lesson: Make sure your SWU is only for the leg you care about, and consider alternatives as these discouraging policies accumulate. Good luck to the new, double-sized elite flier group on UA.
I always got the sense that this was a courtesy on Mileage Plus's part and not an advertised benefit.

Have you tried asking them (if your situation permits) to swap out a SWU for a CR-1?
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Old Jun 7, 11, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
It'll be interesting to see whether they apply the same rules to their quite new systemwide upgrade system.
The same rules apply to SWUs and have since they were implemented last year. Quite a nice benefit as the whole reason you earn them is to use them on the international leg of the trip.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 10:36 pm
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I thought it had always been policy but usually 1K agents would use common sense and give it back.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 11:19 pm
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As I understand the policy, if any segment clears the SWU is pulled. SWU are not only used for international trips.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 11:36 pm
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Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
By way of contrast, Continental's rules regarding "BusinessFirst" upgrades requested with miles and a co-pay are that if the BF segment does not clear, your miles and co-pay are refunded, and you get "freebie" upgrades for any domestic segments.

It'll be interesting to see whether they apply the same rules to their quite new systemwide upgrade system.
That would be nice, but I'm suspicious... there's no reason for United to have formalized a more restrictive policy if they're intending to adopt something more liberal under UACO.
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Old Jun 7, 11, 11:46 pm
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Originally Posted by andyh64000 View Post
I thought it had always been policy but usually 1K agents would use common sense and give it back.
Correct - on UA, the SWU gets pulled as soon as you request it, and it is considered "used" if any leg of the flight is upgraded. In the past, UA telephone agents could return the SWU to your account if the international leg was not upgraded. But today, I was told they no longer are allowed, as per new policy.

When I request the SWU myself (online), I am careful not to request the whole flight, but often I must use some company's 'agent', who un-knowingly enters the SWU for the whole flight, causing troubles.

The key is that now, it's a real bummer to get burned and lose 1 of 6 SWUs, on a technicality.

Originally Posted by mherdeg View Post
... Have you tried asking them (if your situation permits) to swap out a SWU for a CR-1?
Great Suggestion. I will give them a call, find out, and report the results to this list.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Jun 7, 11 at 11:56 pm Reason: merge
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Old Jun 8, 11, 12:02 am
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http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showt...ferrerid=22732
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Old Jun 8, 11, 7:22 am
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Do let us know - if this another change that we will "like", it is scary...
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Old Jun 8, 11, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by 1k650 View Post
Do let us know - if this another change that we will "like", it is scary...
As mentioned above, this is not new... .this has been around for quite some time.

In the past, some have been successful in getting them to pull a CR1 instead of a SWU, but if you don't have any CR-1's, then your SOL.

I am puzzled that no one has caught this part:

In the past, UA 1K desk would "refund" your SWU cert to your account, since you already get the domestic leg for free as a 1K. Today (June 7, 11), I learned they no longer do so.
This would be true if you cleared inside your UDU window (or at the gate). However, if your original DEN-SFO cleared before the UDU windows, then you need to pay with a confirmed instrument.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 8:02 am
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Originally Posted by lightm View Post
Correct - on UA, the SWU gets pulled as soon as you request it, and it is considered "used" if any leg of the flight is upgraded. In the past, UA telephone agents could return the SWU to your account if the international leg was not upgraded. But today, I was told they no longer are allowed, as per new policy.

When I request the SWU myself (online), I am careful not to request the whole flight, but often I must use some company's 'agent', who un-knowingly enters the SWU for the whole flight, causing troubles.

The key is that now, it's a real bummer to get burned and lose 1 of 6 SWUs, on a technicality.
To be fair this has been the policy for quite some time. I remember that I had SWU certs and used them on a ORD-SFO-SYD-MEL and reverse. Since I always got the SYD-MEL or MEL-SYD and that was considered an international segment I did not get them back. To be fair I understand SYD-MEL is an international flight but in Australia it is considered a domestic flight that locals can buy.
It was a double-edged sword for that route as you wanted to put in for the upgrade asap to get it, but if you did it was gone (due to the SYD-MEL segment clearing).
Never got an SWU back by saying that the SYD-MEL segment is shorter than most of domestic segments you could get prior to an international.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 8:17 am
  #13  
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In the e-500 era, when this happened to me (once), the 1K desk was willing to swap out the SWU for e-500s.

If your upgrade clears well in advance of the 100 hour window, I fail to see why the SWU should be refunded for nothing.

This situation is avoidable in almost all cases except for "direct" flights that include a domestic and international segment. I would book a multi-city with an overnight at the hub before I would book one of those god awful direct domestic+international flights.

As I wrote, it happened once when I was a 1K for the first time. This forum taught me to never repeat that mistake.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 8:31 am
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Originally Posted by lightm View Post
...In the past, UA 1K desk would "refund" your SWU cert to your account, since you already get the domestic leg for free as a 1K. Today (June 7, 11), I learned they no longer do so....
were you told this by one agent or multiple agents.

As mentioned by others, the rules do state this is the outcome but most agents would correct the situation. Notice the word "most", it was been reported in the past a few agents would not return the SWU but a second call was almost always successful.

FT Rule #1, Call again if yo did not like the first answer.
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Old Jun 8, 11, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by jhayes_1780 View Post
This would be true if you cleared inside your UDU window (or at the gate). However, if your original DEN-SFO cleared before the UDU windows, then you need to pay with a confirmed instrument.
This is indeed the key point I believe - I have had check-in agents change a domestic upgrade from SWU to UDU for me, but they always check that the upgrade came through in the last couple of days.

That said, fortunately my SWU has always then cleared on the intnl flight, so I've never had reason to go back and check whether what they said they did was correctly done or not!
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