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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 Nov 23, 2023, 4:21 pm
  #316  
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 27
Is there any way to find out Star Alliance Upgrade Award availability in United (for a Star Alliance partner) without having the required amount of points and without having the ticket booked?

Interested in booking an economy ticket with Asiana and upgrading via United -- however, I haven't booked the ticket and haven't transferred the 30k points to United.
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Old Nov 23, 2023, 8:28 pm
  #317  
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Originally Posted by JLC85
Is there any way to find out Star Alliance Upgrade Award availability in United (for a Star Alliance partner) without having the required amount of points and without having the ticket booked?...
Other carriers do not have visible "upgrade" inventory. Generally is it very related to business award inventory. So there is a good chance there is upgrade inventory if I space for partners booking exists. A potential way to see this is to look for business award space while using UA award space search.

However for OZ, only Y or B economy fares are upgradable via the *A upgrade program. Very expensive faes and dscount business may be cheaper.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Dec 13, 2023, 12:08 pm
  #318  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Posts: 9
Looks like specific upgradeable booking classes for Turkish Airlines have been removed. I had JUST purchased flights and was about to upgrade after the tickets were issued and like a day later the wording disappeared from the website.
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Old Dec 13, 2023, 12:16 pm
  #319  
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Originally Posted by mang0
Looks like specific upgradeable booking classes for Turkish Airlines have been removed. I had JUST purchased flights and was about to upgrade after the tickets were issued and like a day later the wording disappeared from the website.
What class did you book and have you tried doing the actual upgrade?
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Old Dec 13, 2023, 12:19 pm
  #320  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by dkc192
What class did you book and have you tried doing the actual upgrade?
I believe it was an H class (have since cancelled the tickets). I called in because it was giving me an error with an incorrect paid booking class. I specifically quoted the website and the agent was like "where do you see that?" That's when I realized the Turkish Airlines line had been removed.

Last edited by mang0; Dec 13, 2023 at 3:44 pm
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Old Jan 3, 2024, 2:53 pm
  #321  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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I have an LX flight in D class. F (paid) cabin looks totally empty (F8A6). Flight is in mid-March. Should I just check every few days?
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 5:21 pm
  #322  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: DFW
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I have a LH flight in J from EWR->FRA->LHR (was way cheaper than the UA direct at $2k, and I wanted to ride the 747-800). It's on 016, and codeshare listed. If I want to try to upgrade to F with miles (or PP, of which I currently have none and shouldn't work on J anyway per that thread?), I understand that I would need to change it to a non-codeshare booking? And if so, would I lose my PQFs for the flight (assume PQPs would be the same and the RDMs would net out a bit less)? No upgrades are listed as available either on the LH or UA site.
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 6:19 pm
  #323  
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Originally Posted by mariol
I have a LH flight in J from EWR->FRA->LHR (was way cheaper than the UA direct at $2k, and I wanted to ride the 747-800). It's on 016, and codeshare listed. If I want to try to upgrade to F with miles (or PP, of which I currently have none and shouldn't work on J anyway per that thread?),
Unless UA has made a massive, massive error, you do not have a J fare at $2000. You have a P fare. I wouldn't expect to be able to upgrade it with any UA currency.

Originally Posted by mariol
I understand that I would need to change it to a non-codeshare booking?
Correct..

Originally Posted by mariol
And if so, would I lose my PQFs for the flight (assume PQPs would be the same and the RDMs would net out a bit less)? No upgrades are listed as available either on the LH or UA site.
PQFs, PQPs, and RDMs would all be exactly the same. Why would you think otherwise? On a 016 ticket, PQPs and RDMs are determined by fare, and PQFs by not being BE.
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 7:54 pm
  #324  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: DFW
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Unless UA has made a massive, massive error, you do not have a J fare at $2000. You have a P fare. I wouldn't expect to be able to upgrade it with any UA currency.
Yes, I was being imprecise. I could upfare to Z for $250, but it seems even that wouldn't work since it needs to be J, C, or D?


PQFs, PQPs, and RDMs would all be exactly the same. Why would you think otherwise? On a 016 ticket, PQPs and RDMs are determined by fare, and PQFs by not being BE.
I thought switching onto the partner flight number would change that. I see connecting non-codeshare flights through SNN the same day (for $4 less) that only give 1 PQF (for the UA leg) and LESS PQP (1771 vs the 1956)
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 8:35 pm
  #325  
 
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Originally Posted by mariol
I thought switching onto the partner flight number would change that. I see connecting non-codeshare flights through SNN the same day (for $4 less) that only give 1 PQF (for the UA leg) and LESS PQP (1771 vs the 1956)
Via SNN implies EI operated. EI isn't a *A member and the rules differ for PQF/PQD for MP partners vs *A members. Specifically EI flying doesn't award PQF or PQD whether it's an EI code or UA code (but I think the codeshares are ending/have ended, IIRC, so you'll likely only see EI prime flights offered)
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Old Feb 13, 2024, 8:47 pm
  #326  
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Originally Posted by mariol
Yes, I was being imprecise. I could upfare to Z for $250, but it seems even that wouldn't work since it needs to be J, C, or D?
Well, the thing is, you asked about upgrading it with miles, but you can't upgrade a P fare with miles or with PlusPoints. The official rules require J, C, or D, as you say. I seem to remember Z fare working for one or the other, but I can't find the details.

Originally Posted by mariol
I thought switching onto the partner flight number would change that. I see connecting non-codeshare flights through SNN the same day (for $4 less) that only give 1 PQF (for the UA leg) and LESS PQP (1771 vs the 1956)
For MileagePlus, it's always the operating carrier and ticket stock that matter -- never the flight number. As lincolnjkc said, that's because EI is not a PQP-earning partner (and likely won't be an earning partner at all for much longer).
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Old Feb 14, 2024, 9:59 am
  #327  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Well, the thing is, you asked about upgrading it with miles, but you can't upgrade a P fare with miles or with PlusPoints. The official rules require J, C, or D, as you say. I seem to remember Z fare working for one or the other, but I can't find the details.
IIRC, n NH a Z fare can be upgraded using UA PP. I don't think that is the case with LH tix, though.
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Old Feb 14, 2024, 10:22 pm
  #328  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Upgrade partner flight?

If I purchase a refundable business fare with UA/ANA flight, is there any way to upgrade the ANA portion from business to first using United miles? If it says nothing about an award?
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Old Feb 14, 2024, 10:29 pm
  #329  
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Originally Posted by zitsky
If I purchase a refundable business fare with UA/ANA flight, is there any way to upgrade the ANA portion from business to first using United miles? If it says nothing about an award?
ANA Business (Z or higher fares, not P) can be upgrade to F (O space) with UA miles, you have to go to a special website (see wiki) to request. You can waitlist on ANA (only *A carrier allowing waitlist by this method).
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