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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 Oct 27, 2022, 4:00 pm
  #121  
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Has anyone had luck upgrading on NH using UA miles or PlusPoints? I've got tw segments booked into Y class on an NH ticket. I've tried to use UA miles. The UA web site appears to process my initial request and tells me it will need to be waitlisted. But when I attempt to actually apply miles it errors out. Reservations can't help. The web support desk can't help. Does anyone have any suggestions? I get similar results when trying to use PlusPoints...



......
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Old Oct 27, 2022, 4:14 pm
  #122  
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy
Has anyone had luck upgrading on NH using UA miles or PlusPoints? I've got tw segments booked into Y class on an NH ticket. I've tried to use UA miles. The UA web site appears to process my initial request and tells me it will need to be waitlisted. But when I attempt to actually apply miles it errors out. Reservations can't help. The web support desk can't help. Does anyone have any suggestions? I get similar results when trying to use PlusPoints...
Successful use of PlusPoints on NH discussed in Using PlusPoints on NH / ANA
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Old Oct 28, 2022, 4:48 pm
  #123  
 
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I have tried searching but haven't had much luck. I am on a flight in premium economy from NRT - IAD that I booked through the United site but on ANA metal. I am wondering if I am able to use United miles, not plus points, to try to upgrade through the waitlist similar to a MUA upgrade.
If so, do I have to call? I tried chatting with my agent and they said it is not eligible since it is not United metal but I believe he is confused.

This is the only relevant article I could find about it on the UA site. https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...de-awards.html
Whenever I go on the linked site and put in my info, it gives me an error that they cannot find my ticket. I believe it is because I can only choose if I am currently in economy or business, not premium economy.

Some background, my original flight was on United metal but that flight got cancelled so I had them rebook me on ANA metal. The fare code is A, which is ANA's first class (unfortunately not in first this time) and United's premium economy fare code.
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Old Oct 28, 2022, 5:04 pm
  #124  
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Originally Posted by RK23
... Whenever I go on the linked site and put in my info, it gives me an error that they cannot find my ticket. I believe it is because I can only choose if I am currently in economy or business, not premium economy.

Some background, my original flight was on United metal but that flight got cancelled so I had them rebook me on ANA metal. The fare code is A, which is ANA's first class (unfortunately not in first this time) and United's premium economy fare code.
Sounds like you have a UA codeshare flight on NH. Codeshares can not be upgraded with UA miles. You need to get the flight changed to a NH flight number. Your UA A fare when convert to NH fare class E? - midlevel PremEcon, should then be eligible.
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Old Oct 28, 2022, 5:19 pm
  #125  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Sounds like you have a UA codeshare flight on NH. Codeshares can not be upgraded with UA miles. You need to get the flight changed to a NH flight number. Your UA A fare when convert to NH fare class E? - midlevel PremEcon, should then be eligible.
Do I just contact United to change it to an NH flight number?
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Old Oct 28, 2022, 5:26 pm
  #126  
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Originally Posted by RK23
Do I just contact United to change it to an NH flight number?
If UA issued ticket, yes.
There will be two difficulties -- there needs to be inventory availability in the needed NH fare class
Second, the agent needs to know how to do this, suspect many new agents will not known how to do this. You may need to escalate to a supervisor and explain the reason is to be able to upgrade.
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Old Oct 28, 2022, 5:53 pm
  #127  
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Note that the upgrade on NH would require I space to clear. That can be pretty tough to come by these days.
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Old Oct 29, 2022, 8:26 am
  #128  
 
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Hello,

I have a TK flight from IAD-IST-SIN, both segments in Y class for two people.
I tried upgrading using UA miles, however both segments I got the message "Upgrade not Available".
Is there any chance that TK will open upgrades at the airport? or after check-in, can I forget about using my UA miles to upgrade?
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Old Oct 29, 2022, 8:44 am
  #129  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Note that the upgrade on NH would require I space to clear. That can be pretty tough to come by these days.
I am seeing a lot of last minute availability open up from TYO-US including the NRT-IAD route so there could be a chance! My biggest concern is finding an agent who can figure out how to switch it to an NH flight number. Also I don't know if there is technically availability to switch as PE is sold out.
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Old Oct 29, 2022, 9:00 am
  #130  
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Originally Posted by RK23
I am seeing a lot of last minute availability open up from TYO-US including the NRT-IAD route so there could be a chance! My biggest concern is finding an agent who can figure out how to switch it to an NH flight number. Also I don't know if there is technically availability to switch as PE is sold out.
if PE is sold out there is no chance UA can change it to an NH flight number. I'd set an inventory alert to see if PE becomes available.

NH also allows waitlisting of upgrades, like UA and LH ... so that is a plus.
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Old Oct 29, 2022, 1:05 pm
  #131  
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Originally Posted by carlosiah
...
I have a TK flight from IAD-IST-SIN, both segments in Y class for two people.
I tried upgrading using UA miles, however both segments I got the message "Upgrade not Available".
Is there any chance that TK will open upgrades at the airport? or after check-in, can I forget about using my UA miles to upgrade?
TK will not accept UA miles at the airport, the upgrade will need to happen in advance using the online system
You have to have an eligible economy fare class -- not all economy tickets are eligible.
The best indicator it might clear is if I / business award space is available.
Each flight segment will need to be upgraded separately
TK does not allow waitlisting for this process and you will have to regularly try.
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Old Oct 29, 2022, 1:59 pm
  #132  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Sounds like you have a UA codeshare flight on NH. Codeshares can not be upgraded with UA miles. You need to get the flight changed to a NH flight number. Your UA A fare when convert to NH fare class E? - midlevel PremEcon, should then be eligible.
Can other airlines do this?
Change the codeshare to the operating airline number.
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Old Oct 29, 2022, 2:06 pm
  #133  
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Originally Posted by carlosiah
Can other airlines do this?
Change the codeshare to the operating airline number.
The ticketing airline can do it and UA will do it with their JV partners.
Other cases would need more details as this can change the revenue sharing
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Old Oct 31, 2022, 8:02 am
  #134  
 
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Hello all,

Been reading the wiki and thread. I'm looking to fly Turkish airlines MAD>IST>CPT in Jan 2023 with 1 stop (for 2 people). I found a flight that has award inventory on the Turkish site (145,000 miles for biz). They do not let me search for 2 adults, so I am unclear if they have more than 1 seat avail.

I believe this means my odds of a *A upgrade are better than if it didn't show. The economy classes I can book are E-E or H-H. I believe I need to book H-H to be eligible, correct?

I notice the miles required are 45k for the itinerary (Europe to Southern Africa). Does this 45k include both legs (Europe to IST and IST to Southern Africa)? I'd assume so. The wiki says to try each leg individually, so I should request IST to CPT first? Then only after request MAD to IST? I'd be fine without the shorter leg in Biz but if the 45k miles includes it, i'd like to get it.

The price diff is $263 per ticket so I'd rather not spend this money unless I can get the *A upgrade (which I understand is not guaranteed). However Turkish Flex fare says "Full refund (Up to 12 hours)". What does this mean? I can refund up to 12 hours before the flight? Or 12 hours after booking?

Thanks for your help!
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Old Oct 31, 2022, 10:34 am
  #135  
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Originally Posted by TravelinSperry
Hello all,

Been reading the wiki and thread. I'm looking to fly Turkish airlines MAD>IST>CPT in Jan 2023 with 1 stop (for 2 people). I found a flight that has award inventory on the Turkish site (145,000 miles for biz). They do not let me search for 2 adults, so I am unclear if they have more than 1 seat avail.

I believe this means my odds of a *A upgrade are better than if it didn't show. The economy classes I can book are E-E or H-H. I believe I need to book H-H to be eligible, correct?
I mean, sure, it's better than if it doesn't show, but you should be checking UA's site, not TK's site, to get an idea of how likely it is. TK likely makes award inventory available to its own members that it doesn't open to partners. Yes, you'd need the H fare to upgrade, not the E.

Originally Posted by TravelinSperry
I notice the miles required are 45k for the itinerary (Europe to Southern Africa). Does this 45k include both legs (Europe to IST and IST to Southern Africa)? I'd assume so.
You assume incorrectly. The wiki also states that "upgrade requests are per segment." You'd be charged the intra-Europe price for MAD-IST and then the Europe to Southern Africa price for IST-CPT. But check the equipment on MAD-IST to see if it's even worth the trouble.

Originally Posted by TravelinSperry
The price diff is $263 per ticket so I'd rather not spend this money unless I can get the *A upgrade (which I understand is not guaranteed). However Turkish Flex fare says "Full refund (Up to 12 hours)". What does this mean? I can refund up to 12 hours before the flight? Or 12 hours after booking?
That's a question for the TK forum, but my guess would be the former.
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