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How to upgrade with UA miles on Star Alliance carriers

Old Sep 21, 2016, 8:13 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
How to upgrade a partner flight using UA MileagePlus miles:

See UA's Star Alliance Upgrade Awards Page

Key points:
  • Only a few fare classes (and expensive) are eligible -- depends on the carrier (see the UA page)
  • Needs to be native flight numbers, codeshares are not eligible
  • Generally no waitlisting but ANA allows waitlisting
  • Most can be requested after ticketing (NH/ANA & ET cannot be requested earlier than 8 weeks to departure -- still true??) and must be done at least 24 hours prior to departure
  • Max of 4 passengers can be upgraded
  • Generally the available of award space is a good indicator of upgrade space (but not guaranteed) - typically requires (I) inventory
  • Upgrade request can only be made electronically
  • Upgrade requests are per segment
  • It may increase your chance of success to request only one segment at a time on the upgrade page, even though it allows you to enter two (YMMV).
  • For mileage requirements, see Interactive travel destinations awards chart
As a general rule, with exceptions, SAUA need I space (for the partner) to have a chance of clearing.

See this thread for the no-longer-available award chart (disappeared from united.com as of October 2018): https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unit...d-website.html

Error codes
  • "We were unable to complete your request due to a technical problem. In the U.S. and Canada call 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the U.S. or Canada, elsewhere use the local phone number. (Error code: 110).
  • "We were unable to complete your request due to a technical problem. In the U.S. and Canada call 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the U.S. or Canada, elsewhere use the local phone number. (Error code: 118)"
  • "The traveler has the same name as an existing traveler on this flight. Please contact the operating airline for the required information and try again. (Error code: 384)"
  • "Upgrade not available (Error code: 511)."
  • "The number of travelers indicated does not match the number of passengers in the reservation. Please correct your information and try again. (Error code: 528)"
  • "insufficient MileagePlus Balance (Error code: 2001)"
Mileage required? Capturing here the last known information, as information is disappearing, no guarantees how long this will be true

For UA operated flights see Using Miles to Upgrade on United


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How to upgrade with UA miles on Star Alliance carriers

Old Dec 16, 2022, 1:10 pm
  #166  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: YYC
Programs: UA 1K, Accor Platinum, Marriott Gold, Delta Silver, Hilton Gold
Posts: 361
Originally Posted by sfo3388
Not sure if this question has been asked.

I bought an EVA ticket (B class) and had a success with Star Alliance upgrade by applying 30K United miles. Had to change the travel date. EVA agent told me that she had no idea how soon the miles would be returned to my United account. My vague impression with Air Canada Aeroplan was that the miles were returned soon after the cancellation.

It has been two weeks and nothing happened. Should I keep waiting and the miles will eventually be returned from EVA to my United account?

The original EVA travel date is January 2023. I read from somewhere that once the original flight departs, there will be a house cleaning to return the miles. Is it true for non-United flights?

When Star Alliance Upgrade goes through, the miles are deducted immediately. When the upgrade is cancelled, how come the miles don't go back right away?
It should have been returned 48 hours after cancellation:
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...de-awards.html

Terms and Conditions:
If a segment of your Star Alliance itinerary is canceled, the upgrade request will also be automatically canceled. Miles will be automatically redeposited 24 to 48 hours after the cancellation.
Check with UA and/or the operating carrier.
leoo is offline  
Old Dec 16, 2022, 1:12 pm
  #167  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: BOM-SIN-EWR
Programs: UA*G (1K again), Sixt Plat, *was*: SQ QPP01 & SK EBS/EBG, LH SEN, AA EXP, 9wPlat
Posts: 8,605
Originally Posted by sfo3388
When Star Alliance Upgrade goes through, the miles are deducted immediately. When the upgrade is cancelled, how come the miles don't go back right away?
Call MileagePlus and they will help you.
SuperFlyBoy is offline  
Old Dec 16, 2022, 1:40 pm
  #168  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: BOS/EAP
Programs: UA 1K, MR LTT, HH Dia, Amex Plat
Posts: 31,538
UA is currently not returning anything for cancelled and failed upgrades. I have 5 that I am trying to get refunded (US DOT complaints filed). Don't assume miles come back automatically.
cfischer is offline  
Old Dec 16, 2022, 9:51 pm
  #169  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: United Plat
Posts: 485
Originally Posted by SuperFlyBoy
Call MileagePlus and they will help you.
Yes, it was a phone call away. Offshore agent was very helpful. However, they couldn't verify anything by using the EVA ticket number. I had to email the agent a copy of new itinerary.

Kind of odd. The confirmation of upgrade and mileage deduction are instant. The re-deposit is not.
sfo3388 is offline  
Old Dec 18, 2022, 6:23 pm
  #170  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: YVR
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 973
For the past few days I've been trying to upgrade an AC flight that UA's SAUA said has confirmed upgrade space. (The flight does not have I space - Checked EF). When I tried to confirm the upgrade I get the following error message:

We were unable to complete your request due to a technical problem. In the U.S. and Canada call 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the U.S. or Canada, elsewhere use the local phone number. (Error code: 519)
I called MP desk a couple times, and was told multiple things ranging from nothing they can do to "if there's actually no space, you'd have seen a different error message". In the end their solution was to keep trying or to call AC and AC agents can connect with UA agents to process it manually (call me skeptic here!). But I'm pretty sure this isn't working because there is no I space on the AC flight, yet somehow UA is showing a confirmed upgrade is available after you punch in flight / pax info.

Has anyone else seen this error message?
kevflyer is offline  
Old Dec 18, 2022, 9:29 pm
  #171  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.98MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 66,091
The error messgae "We were unable to complete your request due to a technical problem.", is fairly generic and you will find it multiple times in this thread and the wiki. The "Error code: 519" appears new but there has never been a clear understanding of their meaning

As you have found out, agents for the operating carrier or UA are of no help, these issue are not handle via normal channels and the agents have not access to do anything manual. It will just frustrate you to try so.
The fact there is no I space is not a a positive sign and since there is no waitlisting, probably best to wait for I space before trying again. It is odd UA is suggesting there is space.

These systems are maintain by *A employees, not carrier employees and when they break , which is not uncommon, it can take awhile to get fixed.
kevflyer likes this.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jan 3, 2023, 2:53 am
  #172  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA 1K, NW forever
Posts: 1,390
Are there any recent success stories SAUA upgrades for J to F on LX? I have a flight 2 months out that's F7 A5 but no upgrade at the moment.
dfreeman02 is offline  
Old Jan 23, 2023, 10:23 pm
  #173  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 17
LH SAUA Upgrade Questions

Hello

Curious if anyone has successfully upgrade from eco to biz in LH using SAUA on United?
I am thinking about a trip on LH729 Apr 26 (M eco fare) but not sure which fare class I should be looking at to check availability On Expert Flyers all J,C,D,Z,P are showing availabilities.

Thank you for any pointers!
zackzzz is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 7:08 am
  #174  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: BOS/EAP
Programs: UA 1K, MR LTT, HH Dia, Amex Plat
Posts: 31,538
Originally Posted by zackzzz
Hello

Curious if anyone has successfully upgrade from eco to biz in LH using SAUA on United?
I am thinking about a trip on LH729 Apr 26 (M eco fare) but not sure which fare class I should be looking at to check availability On Expert Flyers all J,C,D,Z,P are showing availabilities.

Thank you for any pointers!
You need I-class. It'll waitlist most likely. Clearance rate is high
cfischer is offline  
Old Jan 24, 2023, 8:15 am
  #175  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Posts: 17
Ahh thanks looks like in Expert Flyer there's a separate section to find award availability

I think only ANA allows waitlist on SAUA according to United https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...de-awards.html, and LH is just like other airlines though.
zackzzz is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2023, 4:43 pm
  #176  
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Location: Chicago
Programs: UA Million Miler - Hilton Lifetime Diamond
Posts: 12
TAP *A Upgrade Award using UA Points Question

Scored a great deal on TAP for a flight in November ORD-LIS-BCN ($297) I want see about using my UA points for a *A upgrade award. Is it good to get this out of the way now months and months before the flight or wait till a few weeks out? Any experience getting the points refunded for what ever reason?

Thanks!
RB flyer Guy is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2023, 4:49 pm
  #177  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2007
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 5,139
Only certain very expensive/high fare classes (Y and B, in the case of TAP) qualify for a *A upgrade using UA miles, and if your fare was $297, you almost certainly won't be eligible.
jsloan, Xyzzy and FlytheTail like this.
dkc192 is offline  
Old Feb 25, 2023, 7:51 pm
  #178  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: CT/NY
Programs: UA 1K/1MM, AA EXP, Marriott LT Titanium, Hyatt Globalist, IHG Diamond Amb
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In addition to fare requirement, *A upgrade cannot be waitlisted. So either it clears or it doesn't.
PTahCha is offline  
Old Mar 23, 2023, 12:18 pm
  #179  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 321
ANA codeshare with UA - Eligible for *A Upgrade Award?

Hey FlyerTalk Family:

I'm a rookie to Star Alliance Upgrade Awards, and wanted to ask - are ANA flights booked under a United codeshare eligible for Star Alliance Upgrade Awards using MileagePlus miles?

Below is a pic of the ANA flights I'm looking at (all operated by ANA), but if I book through United, there's a $1K+ cost savings. The problem is then the long-haul flights aren't NH but UA codeshare, and I was hoping to use a *A Upgrade Award to go from Business to First. Will codeshare be okay or will that block me from going forward?

I read United's FAQs which mention "Upgrades are valid only on participating Star Alliance carriers. Codeshare flights not eligible." ... but as UA and ANA are both *A, does that mean we're good?

Thanks for any guidance you can provide!

hardworking21 is offline  
Old Mar 23, 2023, 12:27 pm
  #180  
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: YVR
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 973
No you're not good. The ANA-operated flight must not be a codeshare to be eligible for upgrade via SAUA. However you could try to call UA after booking and ask to change those flights to NH numbered. If they say no, then just cancel within 24 hours.

Also this looks like a P fare which is ineligible for SAUA. You'd need to upfare to Z.
jsloan and SPN Lifer like this.

Last edited by kevflyer; Mar 23, 2023 at 12:43 pm
kevflyer is offline  

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