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

Learning the new website: How to find SWUable fares

Learning the new website: How to find SWUable fares

Reply

Old Mar 15, 12, 4:49 pm
  #1  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,027
Learning the new website: How to find SWUable fares

Todayís how-to post is about how to find and book fares on which System-wide Upgrades (SWUs) can be redeemed. There is a check-box on the site that lets you search for generally upgradeable tickets, but that doesnít limit the search to fares which are SWU-eligible, namely W fares or higher. But is it possible to limit the searches to specific fares, so the new site makes it somewhat reasonable.

To start, click on the link for an Advanced Search at the bottom of the search form on the main page:


Towards the bottom of that form there is a section for fare preference:


The key is to put the eligible fare classes Ė Y,B,M,E,U,H,Q,V,W Ė in the box at the bottom there when searching. If you can remember all those and type them in every time thatís great, but there should be a better, easier way to do it. Welcome to GreaseMonkey scripts. Much like the script I built to make searching for upgrade inventory easier, this one makes putting the correct fares into that box automatic. Just load the script found here into a compliant browser and going to the advanced search page will automatically populate that box:



If you donít select the radio button then it will still search all fares, but if youíre looking for a SWUable fare then select that button and the results will limit to the appropriate fares.

Combine that with with the script that shows upgrade inventory on the search results page and youíve got a solution that shows the proper fare and the upgrade inventory all at once.

Note that you should book the ticket first and let the ticket actually be issued before requesting the upgrade. It is a two step process.

In addition to booking the fares, sometimes it is useful to be able to find the cheapest published SWU-eligible fares. To help on that front Iíve built another tool that collects the W fares for about 100 North America departure points and 50 or so international destinations and displays them in a reasonably easy-to-read and -parse view. Pick a departure or destination city and compare rates, or just pick a price point and see whatís available below that point:



Click on a city and get:


Those fares are all without the YQ and without taxes, so they are artificially low, but if you are comparing fares to/from a region and looking to know if a nearby airport can save you some cash it can be quite useful. And there are a few improvements coming in the very near future which should help even more.

Happy flying!
sbm12 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 5:02 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: AA ExPlat; UA GS (via MM companion); SPG
Posts: 362
Surely you mean GPUs!

Speaking of SWU/GPUs, you have any insight into the current situation where some folks are being told that if your GPU doesn't clear by T-24, it is game over, you don't get moved to the upgrade list for the last 24 hours?

This would obviously be a pretty severe devaluation of GPUs, and I'm guessing it isn't actually the new policy, but it would be nice to know if you've heard anything.

Thanks for the post, and that greasemonkey script. Oh and this new W fare thing looks great, too.
flyer215 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 5:05 pm
  #3  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,027
Originally Posted by flyer215 View Post
Surely you mean GPUs!







Originally Posted by flyer215 View Post
... I'm guessing it isn't actually the new policy,
Very good guess.

There are plenty of agents who don't understand the actual rules right now. Unfortunate, but a reality of this sort of change. They'll start to learn soon enough, I hope.
sbm12 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 5:07 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: ORD
Programs: UA 1K/MM, MC Life Plat, HH Gold
Posts: 722
Thanks for doing this tutorial series and even adding in some missing functionality. Perhaps you can get them organized together into a sticky?

There's one thing about SWU (GPU) usage I haven't been able to figure out. I often book trips with a UA segment connecting to an LH segment and know that the UA segment needs to be at least W, while the LH one must be at least V (whose idea was that?). Unfortunately the web site books each segment in the lowest fare type from your list it can get. While you can book it all in V, that's usually more expensive, so I book it in W online and then call to have the LH segments changed to V, and maybe change other segments that are not being upgraded to even lower codes.

Is there any way to specify fare types for each segment on the web site? I thought maybe combining itineraries would work, but that doesn't actually merge the records.
joel67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 5:37 pm
  #5  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,027
Originally Posted by joel67 View Post
Is there any way to specify fare types for each segment on the web site? I thought maybe combining itineraries would work, but that doesn't actually merge the records.
Not that I know of, but I don't think it will do what you want anyways. If you need to be on a V fare all the way through then just look for that. Otherwise you're going to be buying a W fare USA-FRA and then a V fare FRA-wherever. The system would add those two numbers together to come up with the final fare. My guess is that just buying a V fare USA-Wherever would be better.

It would still require the additional GPU for the LH segment, but the fare should be better.
sbm12 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 5:39 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: SEA, OGG(I wish)
Programs: was UA 1K now Gold, cuz UA 1.3 MM; HA,DL,AS (no status in these), Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,220
Beautiful! However, there's another situation that may affect some, viz, when two people w/ status are on the same PNR(Confirmation No.) & want to be upgraded. In our instance, the two of us (Mr/Ms BH) are both 1K & have the appropriate number of SWU/GPUs in our individual accounts. In the PMUA days, a call to the 1K desk sufficed, just take the instruments from each account, ta da! For an international flight booked just recently, pretty much followed the upgradeable booking protocol outlined above, but found no upgrade button when all was done. But in any case, had to call the 1K desk (whatever it is now) to apply the instruments (Grease Monkey script showed that there were R's available). After minimal hold time, explained to the agent what I wanted to do. Apparently not so simple: needed PINs for each account, then a lot of clicking in the background plus several hold times trying to ignore the over-&-over commercials (I was on speaker phone & doing my own work, so not too much time wasted). Eventually (maybe a half hour total) it was done. BUT the confirmation had to be split in two in order access the GPUs individually. So now we have 2 "PNR"s, but are seated together in C. I'll chalk this up to system unfamiliarity of both me & agent. Surely there has to be a better way to do this; shudder at the thought of having to go thru all of this for future bookings.
BH62 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 6:55 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: ORD
Programs: UA 1K/MM, MC Life Plat, HH Gold
Posts: 722
Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Not that I know of, but I don't think it will do what you want anyways. If you need to be on a V fare all the way through then just look for that. Otherwise you're going to be buying a W fare USA-FRA and then a V fare FRA-wherever. The system would add those two numbers together to come up with the final fare. My guess is that just buying a V fare USA-Wherever would be better.

It would still require the additional GPU for the LH segment, but the fare should be better.
It's counter-intuitive, but a UA W segment connecting to an LH V segment often prices out at the UA W fare for the whole trip. I've done that and it really does work, but of course SHARES will never offer you that on its own. There are more perfectly legal ways to construct cheaper tickets that you can do in native SHARES and not on the web site, so a call to an agent is required.

By the way, I had one recent case where doing all V wouldn't even work because a third partner on the trip had W, but no V availability. The web site tried to force it all into Q, for an extra $700 above what I ended up paying. I wonder how often people overpay like this.

Originally Posted by BH62 View Post
Beautiful! However, there's another situation that may affect some, viz, when two people w/ status are on the same PNR(Confirmation No.) & want to be upgraded. In our instance, the two of us (Mr/Ms BH) are both 1K & have the appropriate number of SWU/GPUs in our individual accounts. In the PMUA days, a call to the 1K desk sufficed, just take the instruments from each account, ta da! For an international flight booked just recently, pretty much followed the upgradeable booking protocol outlined above, but found no upgrade button when all was done. But in any case, had to call the 1K desk (whatever it is now) to apply the instruments (Grease Monkey script showed that there were R's available). After minimal hold time, explained to the agent what I wanted to do. Apparently not so simple: needed PINs for each account, then a lot of clicking in the background plus several hold times trying to ignore the over-&-over commercials (I was on speaker phone & doing my own work, so not too much time wasted). Eventually (maybe a half hour total) it was done. BUT the confirmation had to be split in two in order access the GPUs individually. So now we have 2 "PNR"s, but are seated together in C. I'll chalk this up to system unfamiliarity of both me & agent. Surely there has to be a better way to do this; shudder at the thought of having to go thru all of this for future bookings.
If you're doing a round trip and using an equal number of upgrades, you could always have one of you apply the upgrades on the outbound and the other on the return, thereby saving the call.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Mar 15, 12 at 7:46 pm Reason: merge
joel67 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 7:19 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Programs: UA Premier Platinum
Posts: 249
GREAT job sbm12. Thanks a lot for sharing this!
vnatraj is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 8:01 pm
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: wandering expat
Posts: 36,166
Originally Posted by vnatraj View Post
GREAT job sbm12. Thanks a lot for sharing this!
Concur. The greasemonkey script is very helpful.
halls120 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 8:42 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Programs: Continetnal Silver
Posts: 225
You can also do and ITA search with UA+ /f bc=W|bc=..... this would allow you to do a month long search
tale is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 8:58 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,471
Originally Posted by vnatraj View Post
GREAT job sbm12. Thanks a lot for sharing this!
Makes me wish I were still a 1K!

Will the same techniques apply to finding upgrade inventory for the low-lifes using miles+copay?
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 9:01 pm
  #12  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,027
Originally Posted by tale View Post
You can also do and ITA search with UA+ /f bc=W|bc=..... this would allow you to do a month long search
Indeed, but when it comes time to book you'll likely need to follow the instructions above to get the site to show the correct fare to you.
Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
Will the same techniques apply to finding upgrade inventory for the low-lifes using miles+copay?
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...inventory.html

Also, you can just check the box on the search form to show flights where upgrades are available, but that's more clicks to get the dame data.
sbm12 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 9:02 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Always on the move
Programs: Something lifetime here and there
Posts: 1,862
So for a 3-cabin...look for ON as a upgrade from C to F and also ON for a saver award in F?
goingbananas is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 15, 12, 11:53 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: SMF
Programs: UA 1K MM, AA EXP
Posts: 1,458
Originally Posted by tale View Post
You can also do and ITA search with UA+ /f bc=W|bc=..... this would allow you to do a month long search
tale, for thr uninitiated, please can you explain this code a little more.

thanks in advance

Lurker
Lurker is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 16, 12, 6:03 am
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,027
Originally Posted by goingbananas View Post
So for a 3-cabin...look for ON as a upgrade from C to F and also ON for a saver award in F?
Correct
Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
tale, for thr uninitiated, please can you explain this code a little more.

thanks in advance

Lurker
UA+ means at least one flight, starting with UA-marketed. /f tells it that you are going to provide fare details next. bc= specifies a booking class. The | is an "or" operator. Put it all together and you get a query indicating that you want flights on UA in booking classes listed in the | delimited string. With the 30-day flexible search on ITA that can get you a lot of options. And these codes go in the advanced routing code section of the page.
sbm12 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: