Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

What's the best way UA has tortured you with their buy-up program?

What's the best way UA has tortured you with their buy-up program?

Old Mar 13, 12, 2:04 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York / Hawaii
Programs: UA Global Services, HH Diamond
Posts: 4,105
What's the best way UA has tortured you with their buy-up program?

Bought a ticket 3 weeks ago, F was wide open on the 2-segment outbound journey. Applied a regional upgrade online to be waitlisted.

About a week ago, the first segment upgrades. But the record becomes out of sync, with the 2nd flight appearing before the 1st in the record. Called UA to get it back into sync and see what's up with the 2nd segment upgrade. Get a "that's wierd, the second segment isn't waitlisted" response from the agent who fixes the sync issue and gets the 2nd segment waitlisted.

Yesterday, at the 24 hour mark, 4 F seats remaining and got an online check-in buy-up offer of $69 to clear to F on the second segment. Immediately call UA to see why the upgrade didn't clear. After waiting for 35 minutes on hold, I get disconnected. I call again later...and after a 20 minute wait, I get an off-shore agent who says there's no sign of a waitlist on the 2nd segment. He has problems adding in the upgrade request and needs to put me on hold for 15 minutes so that he gets help.

After the help, he says he's successfully added the segment to the waitlist and there should be no problem clearing.

Get to the airport today. Check-in bag and offered $69 upgrade again for second segment. Ask ticket counter agent (EWR Premier Access) what's up; she says there's no record of the second segment upgrade request being made. She says the gate agent would be able to fix it. Another passenger checking in at the kiosk next door sees his reservation messed up and starts yelling at the check-in agent; they both leave the area. Went to another ticket counter agent in the Premier Access area who said "wow, there's no record of the segment being waitlisted, and I'll need to call our help desk to fix it." She points out one seat remains and the call should fix it.

In the 15 minutes the ticket counter agent is on the phone waiting for help, the last remaining F seat is sold.

Thoughts??
Weatherboy is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 7:40 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York / Hawaii
Programs: UA Global Services, HH Diamond
Posts: 4,105
More torture...

And it looks like the 2nd segment is pushing back with 3 open seats in F...

And final update: flight left with one open F seat. Waste of a burned Regional Upgrade certificate while stuck in the back. Guess this is what happens when you don't pay the check-in buy-up with an upgrade request.

Last edited by Weatherboy; Mar 13, 12 at 8:25 pm Reason: Updated with final flight details.
Weatherboy is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 8:39 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 22,551
Originally Posted by Weatherboy View Post
And it looks like the 2nd segment is pushing back with 3 open seats in F...

And final update: flight left with one open F seat. Waste of a burned Regional Upgrade certificate while stuck in the back. Guess this is what happens when you don't pay the check-in buy-up with an upgrade request.
sorry to hear this, not only for happening to You, but this was 1 of the Major reasons I ditched CO 4 yrs ago. And if this continues and it looks like it will, I guess I will be moving onwards once again. i walked once and have no problems walking again
craz is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 9:43 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York / Hawaii
Programs: UA Global Services, HH Diamond
Posts: 4,105
Originally Posted by craz View Post
sorry to hear this, not only for happening to You, but this was 1 of the Major reasons I ditched CO 4 yrs ago. And if this continues and it looks like it will, I guess I will be moving onwards once again. i walked once and have no problems walking again
4 years ago, they didn't provide Regional Upgrades But I guess you meant complimentary elite upgrades. I've had three very bad experiences with United in just the last week. Got an F ticket to LAX later this week, if that trip doesn't go well, I'll definitely need to reconsider who to use moving forward.
Weatherboy is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 9:57 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: DFW or Somewhere Else
Programs: UA Plt /Delta DM/ Marriott Platinum Prem./Hilton Diamond / Hyatt Globalist /Hertz PS / National EE
Posts: 1,103
Funny how the upgrade buy up program still works.flawlessly. The one item that made it without hicccup through the cutover!!
aero0729 is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 10:22 pm
  #6  
Moderator: United MileagePlus
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Clinging to the edifices of a decadent past. (IAH, DEN, YKF)
Programs: (ಠ_ಠ)
Posts: 8,723
Originally Posted by Weatherboy View Post
Thoughts??
First off that experience stinks, if that had been me, I'd be pretty disappointed.

Secondly I think UA needs to seriously reconsider their shortsighted unique posture on handling CPU upgrades.

Specifically UA needs to stop marketing instant upgrades/buy-ups/whatever for tens-of-dollars as the existing program(s)that facilitate these are clearly not working as intended.

Moreover, UA needs to stop marketing these as ways to cut the line for elites as all that will do is antagonize all the elites who did not get the upgrade(s) and severely undermine an elites confidence in a "cornerstone" benefit. Elites currently have (or at least had) the option to buy HUPs, QUPs, etc. with UA in addition to being able to upgrading instantly at the time of ticketing for a flat fee based upon the sector length -- these worked fine and IMHO a far better way to monitize upgrades.

(Also as an aside, since people want to pay $69 to upgrade they should still offer a product for them -- maybe like an economy plus bundle including free DTV and a meal credit or something, but that's for another thread.)

$.02
J.Edward is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 10:56 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1K, once-upon-a-time NW Gold, BMI Gold, Hyatt Diamond, SPG Gold
Posts: 6,246
Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
First off that experience stinks, if that had been me, I'd be pretty disappointed.

Secondly I think UA needs to seriously reconsider their shortsighted unique posture on handling CPU upgrades.

Specifically UA needs to stop marketing instant upgrades/buy-ups/whatever for tens-of-dollars as the existing program(s)that facilitate these are clearly not working as intended.

Moreover, UA needs to stop marketing these as ways to cut the line for elites as all that will do is antagonize all the elites who did not get the upgrade(s) and severely undermine an elites confidence in a "cornerstone" benefit. Elites currently have (or at least had) the option to buy HUPs, QUPs, etc. with UA in addition to being able to upgrading instantly at the time of ticketing for a flat fee based upon the sector length -- these worked fine and IMHO a far better way to monitize upgrades.

(Also as an aside, since people want to pay $69 to upgrade they should still offer a product for them -- maybe like an economy plus bundle including free DTV and a meal credit or something, but that's for another thread.)

$.02
One of the best posts I've seen recently from a PMCO-er. Thanks. I trust that you have already sent this to your contacts in Houston.

(A great post overall, regardless of from PMCO or PMUA -- sorry, didn't mean to label you, J, but I do appreciate it when guys who I think come from the CO side of the house admit that things aren't working!)
hobo13 is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 11:08 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: IAH
Programs: UA/CO-GS/PPlat,AA-Gold,SPG-Plat,Hilton-Diamond,Marriott-Plat,Hertz-Pres_Circe
Posts: 824
On PMCO I purchased a tens of dollar upgrade. IIRC >3 hrs $39. After it took my money I saw I had an email that I had been upgraded. That email was actually in my inbox prior to my being offered (and accepting) the buy up.

I ended up with compensation worth a few hundred, so at least they handled it well when I complained. (I was happier with the voucher then a refund)
Red_Rob is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 11:12 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Just outside Houston, TX
Programs: wallet with varied plastic cards, UA MilegePlus, other airlines programs
Posts: 42
I REFUSE to participate in the buy-ups

I am not tortured because I refuse to participate. UA is cutting its own throat by alienating who knows how many Premier Elites with this buy up travesty that will backfire when those Elites seek other carriers.

I am a 1K and expect UA to follow through on its promises about CPUs and not play games with its passengers who are not ostriches burying their heads in the sand.
TexasUA1 is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 11:14 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Programs: UA/CO 1K, AA Gold, SPG PP, Hertz PC
Posts: 207
Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
First off that experience stinks, if that had been me, I'd be pretty disappointed.

Secondly I think UA needs to seriously reconsider their shortsighted unique posture on handling CPU upgrades.

Specifically UA needs to stop marketing instant upgrades/buy-ups/whatever for tens-of-dollars as the existing program(s)that facilitate these are clearly not working as intended.

Moreover, UA needs to stop marketing these as ways to cut the line for elites as all that will do is antagonize all the elites who did not get the upgrade(s) and severely undermine an elites confidence in a "cornerstone" benefit. Elites currently have (or at least had) the option to buy HUPs, QUPs, etc. with UA in addition to being able to upgrading instantly at the time of ticketing for a flat fee based upon the sector length -- these worked fine and IMHO a far better way to monitize upgrades.

(Also as an aside, since people want to pay $69 to upgrade they should still offer a product for them -- maybe like an economy plus bundle including free DTV and a meal credit or something, but that's for another thread.)

$.02
A moderator criticizing UA's new CPU policy? Excellent.
Strom is offline  
Old Mar 13, 12, 11:22 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Olympia, WA
Programs: AK, DL,UA
Posts: 357
Originally Posted by J.Edward View Post
First off that experience stinks, if that had been me, I'd be pretty disappointed.

Secondly I think UA needs to seriously reconsider their shortsighted unique posture on handling CPU upgrades.

Specifically UA needs to stop marketing instant upgrades/buy-ups/whatever for tens-of-dollars as the existing program(s)that facilitate these are clearly not working as intended.

Moreover, UA needs to stop marketing these as ways to cut the line for elites as all that will do is antagonize all the elites who did not get the upgrade(s) and severely undermine an elites confidence in a "cornerstone" benefit. Elites currently have (or at least had) the option to buy HUPs, QUPs, etc. with UA in addition to being able to upgrading instantly at the time of ticketing for a flat fee based upon the sector length -- these worked fine and IMHO a far better way to monitize upgrades.

(Also as an aside, since people want to pay $69 to upgrade they should still offer a product for them -- maybe like an economy plus bundle including free DTV and a meal credit or something, but that's for another thread.)

$.02
I would sign that petition/open letter if one existed...
donnyb is offline  
Old Mar 14, 12, 12:12 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: BGR; Lower Earth Orbit
Programs: UA Platinum
Posts: 16,197
$0 upgrade, of course i'll buy.
Click on it and it turned into $20 and 15,000 miles. Yeah, not so much.
WIRunner is offline  
Old Mar 14, 12, 12:23 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: SFO
Posts: 3,227
Exactly ... looks like UA had their A team on this module and the riff-raff on the rest of the integration.

Says a lot about the new priorities

Originally Posted by aero0729 View Post
Funny how the upgrade buy up program still works.flawlessly. The one item that made it without hicccup through the cutover!!
malgudi is offline  
Old Mar 14, 12, 12:30 am
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: FLL/LAX/YYZ/TPE
Programs: CO Platinum 1K, United 1K, SPG LT Platinum, National Executive Elite, Platinum TSA Hater
Posts: 33,703
Has there been an official policy change we're not hearing about? I thought these buy-up problems were isolated incidents the airline was working (actively) on eliminating.

We are suppose to be relying on two key features of this program:

1) fare difference buy-ups can be offered to anyone (Elite or not) and should always be calculated based on the difference between the ticketed fare and the lowest F-seat eligible fare that person is entitled (ie Plat->M, Joe Shmo->A). We assume that UA will not "dynamically discount" this fare to an insanely low level at the very moment the buyup is offered (and there has been some suspicious evidence there were doing this at CO).

2) segment fee buy-ups are priced dynamically by the system and are *only* offered when the number of unsold F seats *exceeds* the number of upgrade-eligible customers still waiting for an upgrade to clear - NO exceptions

The problem is, we're still seeing 2) fail over and over again, with no hurry on the part of the management to prioritize its fixing. So, my question - has the policy changed and segment-fee buyups can be offered on any flight regardless of the number of Elites waiting for their cleared upgrade vs the unsold seat count?
bocastephen is offline  
Old Mar 14, 12, 10:13 am
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York / Hawaii
Programs: UA Global Services, HH Diamond
Posts: 4,105
Issue

My issue isn't with UA's inability to get the CPU system working right, my current issue is UA's inability to honor an upgrade for which it's already received some compensation for. If you redeem miles for an F award, they take those miles, but only give you a Y seat unless you pay additional cash at check-in for the F seat you bought in the first place, that's a problem. Or if you redeem a Regional Upgrade only to sit in coach even though there's an empty F seat, that should be refunded too. As it stands now, if you get just 1 segment in say a 3-4 segment journey in the cabin you've paid for, even if you didn't for the other 2-3, UA says you get what you paid for.

If I go into a clothing store and buy a 2-piece suit, but at check-out they offer to sell me the jacket with the 2-piece suit for $69, the cashier would probably get laughed at. If UA was running a clothing store, not only would you just get the pants, but they'd sell your jacket to the next customer in line for $69. I think it's time for me to check out a new clothing store...
Weatherboy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread