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Y/B/M Premier Instant Upgrade - How does it work?

Y/B/M Premier Instant Upgrade - How does it work?

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Old Sep 28, 22, 4:42 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: leftysauce
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Instant Upgrades (economy to next cabin) are available at booking for elites selecting Y/B fares on CPU Eligible flights. There also needs to be PZ space if Plat / Gold / Silver or PN if GS / 1K. GS/1Ks are also eligible for M fares.
If not available at booking, GS/1Ks will be waitlisted for the upgrade and will be prioritized above 1Ks and lower elites on supported upgrades (PlusPoints, Miles+copay) and CPUs. If PN/PZ become available after booking, you will need to check if the upgrade button is visible or call -- upgrades are not automatic and require a manual step.

TL;DR
(status: space required / eligible fare classes / availability)
  • 1K & GS: PN / YBM / at booking & able to waitlist (priority over instrument upgrades)
  • Silver, Gold & Plat: PZ / YB / at booking only (waitlist YMMV)

Do not apply PlusPoints or mileage upgrades to a waitlisted Instant Upgrade (GS & 1Ks) -- Instant Upgrades are a higher priority and applying the instruments will downgrade the request to solely an instrument upgrade.

PremPlus tickets show "B" fare (but underlying fare may be lower) for non-PremPlus flights and there are reports this may not always be recognized for Instant Upgrades.

For more on waitlisting, see Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively .


Feb 2016, Waitlisting was restricted to 1Ks/GSs. Plat / Gold / Silver can still Instant Upgrade but only if available at the time of booking. For lower elites, even if PZ later becomes available, it is not intended for them to be eligible -- however, occasionally someone can have success. YMMV
For flights departing on or after February 1, 2016, the following is the order of priority for upgrades, within five days of departure, on flights that are eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades:

Premier 1K members on eligible Y-, B- and M-class fares: Premier 1K Instant upgrades that weren't confirmed in advance are prioritized by fare class on the upgrade waitlist and are ahead of:
Travelers on waitlisted PlusPoints Global Premier Upgrades, Regional Premier Upgrades and MileagePlus Upgrade Awards: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler, then fare class and then the time of request
All remaining Premier members: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler, then fare class and then award travel
UA has introduced some additional waitlist tie-breaks -- "preferred customers / certain credit cards, .... See the earlier thread link on upgrade priority
Changes (2016Q2) to required fare class to clear
Originally Posted by edcho View Post
From what i've seen for YBM upgrades (from coworkers and friends):
PN PZ = GS and 1K
RN = Plat - Silver
RN has been repurposed to Premium Plus / Premium Economy upgrade
PZ is the right fare class for Plat/Gold/Silver


Related, more general but older thread -- Y/B/M Premier Instant Upgrade - How does it work?

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Old Aug 12, 22, 10:44 am
  #1231  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: IAD
Programs: UA/MAR
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Good luck!
Thanks for the help! Last question for nowÖ I thought the Instant Premier Upgrade was called Y-UP in shorthand, but apparently thatís something else? I was a 1K for years a decade ago and just got back into flying this year, so Iím probably confusing two different things. Can you shed some light?

ETA: one more questionÖ since I canít invoice my client if I cancel last minute, but I need a receipt showing Economy tickets, would my best plan be to buy the cheapest refundable, then call in and have them refare me to F? I think I read somewhere that the Cash Buyups donít get refunded if you cancel the ticket?
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Old Aug 12, 22, 11:17 am
  #1232  
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Originally Posted by livitup View Post
Thanks for the help! Last question for nowÖ I thought the Instant Premier Upgrade was called Y-UP in shorthand, but apparently thatís something else? I was a 1K for years a decade ago and just got back into flying this year, so Iím probably confusing two different things. Can you shed some light?
Y-UP refers to a type of first class fare that is coded as an economy fare, but with rights to sit in the first class cabin. It was part of UA's first attempt at differential pricing -- trying to make sure that F was always at least a certain amount more expensive than Y. It caused lots of problems when there were IRROPS, because agents would then explain to the customer, "sorry, you didn't read the fine print; you're not really on an F ticket and you can only be re-accommodated in Y." I believe UA has stopped selling them.

Originally Posted by livitup View Post
ETA: one more questionÖ since I canít invoice my client if I cancel last minute, but I need a receipt showing Economy tickets, would my best plan be to buy the cheapest refundable, then call in and have them refare me to F? I think I read somewhere that the Cash Buyups donít get refunded if you cancel the ticket?
Yes. The sticker-type upgrades -- the cash buyups you get if you're looking online for an upgrade after ticketing -- are not refundable. But the lowest-cost F ticket may not be refundable either, so if you want to do this, you probably want to call in and ask for a buyup to a refundable F ticket. If you buy up to a non-refundable ticket and have to cancel, you'll end up with future flight credit for the entire amount, including the amount that was originally refundable.
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Old Aug 24, 22, 3:14 pm
  #1233  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Silicon wasteland
Programs: UA 1KMM
Posts: 1,305
No more Y,B instant upgrade domestically?

It's been a while, but I can't find talk of the Y/B/M fare insta-upgrade (into PN). Has this gone the way of the dodo?

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Aug 24, 22 at 3:29 pm Reason: Moved to active subject thread
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Old Aug 24, 22, 8:08 pm
  #1234  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Originally Posted by ryman554 View Post
It's been a while, but I can't find talk of the Y/B/M fare insta-upgrade (into PN). Has this gone the way of the dodo?
Nope, it's still very much alive. Requires PN for GS/1K and PZ for all other Premiers. Some of the Premium Plus international fares that I've booked recently (with domestic segments in B) have required calling in to get the instant upgrade confirmed on the domestic leg.

-FlyerBeek
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Old Sep 6, 22, 3:30 am
  #1235  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Programs: United MileagePlus
Posts: 5
1K Instant Upgrade Waitlist

Hello,

I am waitlisted for un upgrade on SFO > ORD for this December on a B fare. I read that if an upgrade is not immediately available for instant upgrades, it needs to be processed manually. Does anyone have a picture of how it looks for it to be ready to be processed manually, or do I need to just check for PN of that flight once in a while and call an agent when that is available?

Thanks
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Old Sep 6, 22, 7:09 am
  #1236  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: ORF, RIC
Programs: UA LT 1K, 3 MM; Marriott Titanium; IHG Platinum
Posts: 5,567
Originally Posted by jiacheng_liu15 View Post
Hello,

I am waitlisted for un upgrade on SFO > ORD for this December on a B fare. I read that if an upgrade is not immediately available for instant upgrades, it needs to be processed manually. Does anyone have a picture of how it looks for it to be ready to be processed manually, or do I need to just check for PN of that flight once in a while and call an agent when that is available?

Thanks
What is your status? If you are a 1K, you will clear into PN space; otherwise, PZ space if you are a Premier member. The chance for PZ space on this route (hub-hub) is very small.
Good luck.
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Old Sep 6, 22, 7:12 am
  #1237  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 195
Originally Posted by Kmxu View Post
What is your status? If you are a 1K, you will clear into PN space; otherwise, PZ space if you are a Premier member. The chance for PZ space on this route (hub-hub) is very small.
Good luck.
Based on the title, it looks like 1K.
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Old Sep 6, 22, 7:13 am
  #1238  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Silicon wasteland
Programs: UA 1KMM
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Originally Posted by jiacheng_liu15 View Post
Hello,

I am waitlisted for un upgrade on SFO > ORD for this December on a B fare. I read that if an upgrade is not immediately available for instant upgrades, it needs to be processed manually. Does anyone have a picture of how it looks for it to be ready to be processed manually, or do I need to just check for PN of that flight once in a while and call an agent when that is available?

Thanks
Call when PN is available.

It will say "Complimentary Premier Upgrade Requested" when PN is not available. I forget what it says when you can call in, but it certainly changes to a different text.
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Old Sep 6, 22, 7:19 am
  #1239  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
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Originally Posted by chessman View Post
Based on the title, it looks like 1K.
Yes I am 1K (would probably just paid or decided to buy a more discounted economy since I know PZ on this flight is essentially impossible).

My question was: is the PN clearing automatic if there's one available to me, or do I need to manually do it per the instructions on the page:


"If PN/PZ become available after booking, you will need to check if the upgrade button is visible or call -- upgrades are not automatic and require a manual step."

Does that mean I'll have to race against the GSs and other 1K under YBM in claiming the PN when it releases?
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Old Sep 6, 22, 7:19 am
  #1240  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
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Originally Posted by ryman554 View Post
Call when PN is available.

It will say "Complimentary Premier Upgrade Requested" when PN is not available. I forget what it says when you can call in, but it certainly changes to a different text.
Gotcha. Thanks!
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Old Sep 6, 22, 7:56 am
  #1241  
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Originally Posted by jiacheng_liu15 View Post
Does that mean I'll have to race against the GSs and other 1K under YBM in claiming the PN when it releases?
PN isnít likely to release either, so it isnít likely to matter.

If it does, itís supposed to clear the PN list automatically. However, the inventory and waitlist routines are not synchronized, so itís possible that PN would open but you would still need to call. I suppose itís a ďrace,Ē but itís a race that nobody knows when it starts and most people arenít aware theyíre in.

If you purchased a B fare specifically for the hope of upgrading ó as opposed to being part of a PE fare somewhere across an ocean, or because youíre required to purchase refundable fares and B was the cheapest, or whatever ó Iíd reconsider.
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Old Sep 6, 22, 8:14 am
  #1242  
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
PN isnít likely to release either, so it isnít likely to matter.

If it does, itís supposed to clear the PN list automatically. However, the inventory and waitlist routines are not synchronized, so itís possible that PN would open but you would still need to call. I suppose itís a ďrace,Ē but itís a race that nobody knows when it starts and most people arenít aware theyíre in.

If you purchased a B fare specifically for the hope of upgrading ó as opposed to being part of a PE fare somewhere across an ocean, or because youíre required to purchase refundable fares and B was the cheapest, or whatever ó Iíd reconsider.
I purchase B because there was PN immediately available for my second leg of ORD > CVG. I already cleared that, but that was only an hour and a half. Upgrading to C for this leg is $299. Maybe I should recomsider the whole trip again....
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Old Sep 6, 22, 8:26 am
  #1243  
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Originally Posted by jiacheng_liu15 View Post
I purchase B because there was PN immediately available for my second leg of ORD > CVG. I already cleared that, but that was only an hour and a half. Upgrading to C for this leg is $299. Maybe I should recomsider the whole trip again....
It obviously depends upon the day of your flight, but if P space is available, it looks Ike the one-way P fare for SFO-CVG is only $16 more than the one-way B fare, and youíd be confirmed all the way through.

Personally, I would pay very little for an ORD-CVG upgrade. Itís only 264 miles ó about 40 minutes in the air, max. SFO-ORD is just a very tough upgrade to clear, even as a 1K on a B fare. Itís not impossible, but youíre going to be competing against a lot of people paying for F.
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Old Sep 6, 22, 8:27 am
  #1244  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Originally Posted by ryman554 View Post
Call when PN is available.

It will say "Complimentary Premier Upgrade Requested" when PN is not available. I forget what it says when you can call in, but it certainly changes to a different text.
Isn't the P/Z fare cheaper than B fare? You will sit in the front without worrying about upgrade.
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Old Sep 16, 22, 3:05 pm
  #1245  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Antonio, USA
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I'm on an M fare next week and a couple of days after booking, a return segment allowed me to do an instant upgrade as a 1K. However, for the outbound, it's showing as eligible for a complimentary upgrade, not for an instant upgrade. I understand the need for the upgrade space to be available, but should it show in my reservation as an instant versus complimentary? Or once the space opens, will it change automatically?
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