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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 Feb 24, 2022, 12:41 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Programs: United 1k, HH Diamond, Bonvoy Ambassador and LT-Gold
Posts: 1,566
I am getting the sense that the best opportunity for an upgrade as well as bis for United is to try to fly them over the pond. Fortunately I have some time to sort out the best options although there appear to be many connections and long flights and layovers involved. I would appreciate any advice to optimize getting credit towards Premier status and Myles credited to United other than booking everything on 016
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Old Feb 24, 2022, 1:23 pm
  #17  
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: 66,183
Originally Posted by mfirst
... I would appreciate any advice to optimize getting credit towards Premier status and Myles credited to United other than booking everything on 016
Booking partner flights on 016 (UA) ticket, PQPs are based on fare just like UA operated segments.
If not booked on a UA ticket, the PQPs are based on distance and fare class multiplier, which may be better or worst than the fare $$$ method, extensively discussed in Earning Status (PQP) on non-016 Tickets and Partner Metal

BTW, a TATL non-UA option for PlusPoints is LH, see LH Electronic PlusPts Upgrades -How to use, will it clear?, issues w/flight credit,..
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 24, 2022 at 1:23 pm Reason: merged consecutive / update posts by same member
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Old Mar 9, 2022, 6:30 pm
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: PNW
Programs: AS 100K
Posts: 1,536
I have a BKK-HKG-YVR booking on TG (B) and AC (Y), no codeshares...I booked through priceline...will that still allow me to submit star upgrade request on UA? I just want to upgrade the TG leg.
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Old Mar 9, 2022, 6:47 pm
  #19  
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Join Date: May 2007
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 5,160
Originally Posted by atcanobbio
I have a BKK-HKG-YVR booking on TG (B) and AC (Y), no codeshares...I booked through priceline...will that still allow me to submit star upgrade request on UA? I just want to upgrade the TG leg.
Yes that should be possible. I have successfully used UA miles to upgrade *A flights booked on OTAs in the correct fare classes (including Y/B on any *A airline).
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Old Mar 9, 2022, 8:17 pm
  #20  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Programs: UA 1K, MR LTT, HH Dia, Amex Plat
Posts: 31,603
Originally Posted by atcanobbio
I have a BKK-HKG-YVR booking on TG (B) and AC (Y), no codeshares...I booked through priceline...will that still allow me to submit star upgrade request on UA? I just want to upgrade the TG leg.
it is possible. Just be aware that not all OTAs are handling these equally well. I have had some back/forth with PL on UGs before ... at least they don't seem to cancel things before contacting customers like some others have.
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Old Mar 10, 2022, 3:19 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 597
Does anyone have insight into the generic message:

We cannot process your request.

Please wait 15 minutes before trying to request again. If you have received this error previously, please call 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331) within the U.S. or Canada, elsewhere call your local Customer Contact Center.
Trying to upgrade / waitlist 2 NH flights, ticketed by AC. Been trying for the day, but keep running into this error (and have no error code to go off of).
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Old Mar 10, 2022, 3:57 pm
  #22  
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: 66,183
Originally Posted by zappy312
.... Trying to upgrade / waitlist 2 NH flights, ticketed by AC. ....
codeshares?
NH fare class?
When are flights (more than 8 weeks?)?

The system is know for breaking at times and take weeks to be become operational again.
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Old Mar 10, 2022, 4:42 pm
  #23  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 597
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
codeshares?
NH fare class?
When are flights (more than 8 weeks?)?

The system is know for breaking at times and take weeks to be become operational again.
Not codeshare, it has an NH flight number.
Fare class G and Y.
Flights are in August, but one has space available, so would like to confirm that... It worked yesterday so maybe just bad timing.
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Old Mar 10, 2022, 5:42 pm
  #24  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Posts: 66,183
Originally Posted by zappy312
....
Flights are in August, but one has space available, so would like to confirm that... .
At one time (see wiki) NH had a more more than 8 weeks in advance policy. I don't see that in the UA materials anymore but it still may be intact.
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Old Mar 10, 2022, 5:45 pm
  #25  
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
At one time (see wiki) NH had a more more than 8 weeks in advance policy. I don't see that in the UA materials anymore but it still may be intact.
I have upgraded NH 6 months out, definitely possible.
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Old Mar 15, 2022, 7:43 am
  #26  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: PIT
Programs: OZ Diamond, UA Gold
Posts: 9,811
I have an LH flight codeshare/purchased with AC that I'd like to upgrade with UA miles, that is not eligible? Has anyone had any luck getting such a flight changed to a native LH number?
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Old Mar 15, 2022, 5:03 pm
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 188
Originally Posted by dkc192
I just successfully upgraded an LX flight from U to I class. On the website, my PNR displays a red banner at the top saying: "A modification has been made to your itinerary. Please reach out to United Reservations or contact your travel agency to have your ticket reissued."
....

Has anyone else run into this reissue dilemma, with LX or another airline, and if so, how did it turn out at check-in? Either way, I'm planning on showing up at the airport early with a printout of the confirmation email from LX in hand.
Yes. had the same - not a good experience:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34068734-post1360.html
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Old Mar 15, 2022, 6:36 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by dinoscool3
I have an LH flight codeshare/purchased with AC that I'd like to upgrade with UA miles, that is not eligible? Has anyone had any luck getting such a flight changed to a native LH number?
pretty much impossible to do for free. You can see what the price difference will be, but that's about it.
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Old Mar 15, 2022, 9:07 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: PIT
Programs: OZ Diamond, UA Gold
Posts: 9,811
Originally Posted by cfischer
pretty much impossible to do for free. You can see what the price difference will be, but that's about it.
I ended up getting a schedule change this morning so Ill be changing my flight to an AC metal anyways so moot point thankfully!
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Old Mar 16, 2022, 8:30 am
  #30  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: PIT
Programs: OZ Diamond, UA Gold
Posts: 9,811
Originally Posted by dinoscool3
I ended up getting a schedule change this morning so Ill be changing my flight to an AC metal anyways so moot point thankfully!
Although now that I'm on the AC flight, UA says my fare code is ineligible. I was moved from N to E at an earlier schedule change, and I still show E on the AC flight. Could UA detect that the underlying fare basis is N? Any way to get around this, is the online system the only way to process an upgrade, i.e. could I get a different result from an agent?
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