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

Old Jan 22, 2016, 3:52 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: Kmxu
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
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?


Add: When the instant upgrade link is broken (DIY does not work on App/web), you need to call. You can say something like that: "Hi, I bought an instant upgrade fare and it looks like the upgrade is now confirmable, can you please help me with that." See post #1384.
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Y/B/M Premier Instant Upgrade - How does it work?

Old Jan 2, 2022, 11:48 am
  #1  
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Yes, B now grants “free” economy plus (so a non-Premier traveller on a Polaris or PremiumPlus ticket with domestic segments in B gets to choose E+ seats.)

Google Flights also shows these now as “extra legroom” fares, roughly similar to Delta’s Comfort+ fares.

The question remains of how, exactly, Premiers are supposed to purchase Y/B/M fares now. (These fares require inventory in both B and another inventory like K, much like the P fares we are all accustomed to now.)
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Old Jan 2, 2022, 1:31 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Joshua

The question remains of how, exactly, Premiers are supposed to purchase Y/B/M fares now. (These fares require inventory in both B and another inventory like K, much like the P fares we are all accustomed to now.)
I probably don't fully understand what you are asking but I use Advance Search and use "Y, B, M" as Fare Class.
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Old Jan 2, 2022, 2:10 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by TomMM
I probably don't fully understand what you are asking but I use Advance Search and use "Y, B, M" as Fare Class.
That no longer gives you a B instant upgrade fare. It says B and it generates a link for instant upgrade but the instant upgrade does not work as UA will share it is not a "full B fare"
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Old Jan 2, 2022, 2:16 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by TomMM
I probably don't fully understand what you are asking but I use Advance Search and use "Y, B, M" as Fare Class.
You'll likely end up with a "discount" B fare that entitles you, as a non-Premier or a Premier Silver, to an Economy Plus seat, and as a Gold or higher entitles you to absolutely nothing(*).

Yet the fare will not otherwise be treated like a "B" fare, such as for instant upgrades and (I suspect) things like Star Alliance mileage based upgrades from other carriers' mileage programs (normally only Y/B fares can be upgraded this way).

(*) It is unclear if the upgrade prioritisation is based on B or the underlying cheaper fare class. If the former is true, this is actually a pretty good deal - a 1K on a B fare has a high chance of getting an upgrade. I'd probably pay for the fare differential for that on some routes.
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Old Jan 15, 2022, 7:30 pm
  #5  
 
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Data point: just purchased a PremiumPlus ticket (R) for later this year with the connecting domestic segment booked in B. The domestic segment had PN available but no PZ (longhaul segment had PZ and was upgraded using PP), but UA.com/app was not showing the instant upgrade available to confirm. 1K Desk supervisor was able to force the instant upgrade into PN. Seems to be case of YMMV with respect to Premier Instant Upgrades for B segments on PremiumPlus fares.

-FlyerBeek
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Old Jan 15, 2022, 7:38 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerBeek
Data point: just purchased a PremiumPlus ticket (R) for later this year with the connecting domestic segment booked in B. The domestic segment had PN available but no PZ (longhaul segment had PZ and was upgraded using PP), but UA.com/app was not showing the instant upgrade available to confirm. 1K Desk supervisor was able to force the instant upgrade into PN. Seems to be case of YMMV with respect to Premier Instant Upgrades for B segments on PremiumPlus fares.

-FlyerBeek
Couldn't UA get rid of this issue by simply doing what WestJet does? Brand the domestic recliner "J" product as PP instead of first. That way, we wouldn't have to deal with will the instant upgrade clear or not. It is basically a PE product anyways
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Old Jan 15, 2022, 8:01 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by Unitedloyalflyer
Couldn't UA get rid of this issue by simply doing what WestJet does? Brand the domestic recliner "J" product as PP instead of first. That way, we wouldn't have to deal with will the instant upgrade clear or not. It is basically a PE product anyways
Sure, but they would then be at a marketing disadvantage with AA/DL/etc having a domestic "First Class" product while UA's product would be labeled as "Premium Plus." People know what "first class" means - even if it would be the exact same product with a different name. For a while, I think DL was allowing connecting domestic segments to book into F on longhaul Premium Economy fares. That's probably a better option if United wanted to go that route.

-FlyerBeek
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Old Jan 15, 2022, 8:12 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by FlyerBeek
Sure, but they would then be at a marketing disadvantage with AA/DL/etc having a domestic "First Class" product while UA's product would be labeled as "Premium Plus." People know what "first class" means - even if it would be the exact same product with a different name. For a while, I think DL was allowing connecting domestic segments to book into F on longhaul Premium Economy fares. That's probably a better option if United wanted to go that route.

-FlyerBeek
Booking PP longhaul into short haul "F" would be another option as well
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Old Jan 15, 2022, 8:17 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Unitedloyalflyer
Couldn't UA get rid of this issue by simply doing what WestJet does? Brand the domestic recliner "J" product as PP instead of first. That way, we wouldn't have to deal with will the instant upgrade clear or not. It is basically a PE product anyways
Originally Posted by Unitedloyalflyer
Booking PP longhaul into short haul "F" would be another option as well
​​​​​​
As things are, only GS/1K get to upgrade P+ fared domestic segments.
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Old Jan 15, 2022, 9:54 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Unitedloyalflyer
Booking PP longhaul into short haul "F" would be another option as well
They definitely have the technical capacity; it's a decision not to sell the domestic F cabin for int'l PE rates.
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Old Jan 18, 2022, 1:50 pm
  #11  
 
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Instant Upgrade

Booked a B fare, which is instant upgrade eligible. PN space available. Doesnt seem to be instant.... when I go in to confirm the upgrade, it just bounces me to the UA.com home page. Any ideas? I know I can call, but thought I'd ask here.
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Old Jan 18, 2022, 2:01 pm
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Has the reservation ticketed yet? Sometimes that takes a few minutes...
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Old Jan 18, 2022, 2:04 pm
  #13  
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Screenshot?
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Old Jan 18, 2022, 2:07 pm
  #14  
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Was this part of an international PremPlus reservation? There have been reports of the Instant Upgrade not working on the domestic B segments. Calling sometime works. Appears the underlying fare is not B
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Old Feb 22, 2022, 5:05 pm
  #15  
 
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Is there still a fare class that gets 1K and automatic upgrade to F (Domestic)? I remember one for GS but wasn't sure the same was true for 1K.

Last edited by nomad420; Feb 22, 2022 at 5:16 pm Reason: moved to subject thread.. typo
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