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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 Jan 14, 2022, 7:59 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
Programs: UA 1K, Hyatt Globalist
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How to upgrade with UA miles on Star Alliance carriers

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."

I've seen this exact banner/message when upgrading NH flights using PlusPoints, and each time I've asked the Twitter team to reissue the ticket, they've done it without fuss. This time, however, Twitter gave me some nonsense about an invalid fare class, and when I called in to ask for a reissue, the rates desk said that *A partner mileage upgrades don't actually need reissues, and that reissuing might in fact mess up the upgrade. They further reassured that LX has "confirmed the upgrade to UA," whatever that means (LX themselves did also send me email confirmation of the upgrade the minute it went through), and advised that I would have to check in at the airport.

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.
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Old Jan 15, 2022, 9:24 am
  #2  
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Has not needed a re-issue in my experience. As long as Swiss.com shows this correctly, you can get seats etc. ... nothing IMO to worry about. The LH system 'usually' handles this fine.
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Old Feb 2, 2022, 12:55 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: UK
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Upgrading with miles fees

I am looking to upgrade on *A using united miles, I've never used them for upgrade but found a good Y fare deal on a LH route with plenty of J availability that I am considering buying, hence the basic question... Will there be any fees/taxes like there are with an outright purchase with miles? If so are they comparable? Or a fraction (half for example?), roughly speaking. Thanks!
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Old Feb 2, 2022, 3:01 pm
  #4  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
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Originally Posted by eshroom
I am looking to upgrade on *A using united miles, I've never used them for upgrade but found a good Y fare deal on a LH route with plenty of J availability that I am considering buying, hence the basic question... ...
While it is possible to upgrade a LH-operated flight with UA miles, there are a few key points
-- Most LH economy fares are not upgradeable with UA miles, for economy/premium economy purchases , it must be Y, B, E, G, M and U LH fare classes -- relatively expensive fares
-- The flight must be coded as a LH flight, not a UA codeshare
-- J availability does not mean upgradeability. Check for I space (or business award availability for the flight -- not 100% correlated but a promising indicatior)
-- Upgrade request can only be made electronically and (I believe) there is still no waitlisting for LH, so if not successful, you need to try again later
Originally Posted by eshroom
... Will there be any fees/taxes like there are with an outright purchase with miles? If so are they comparable? Or a fraction (half for example?), roughly speaking. Thanks!
There are no co-pays or taxes but high fare requirements
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Old Feb 2, 2022, 3:04 pm
  #5  
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I was worried about this, but I had booked an AC ticket with an LH segment, and used UA miles to SAUA.

Then I had to cancel the booking.

The UA miles were returned immediately.
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Old Feb 2, 2022, 3:08 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Originally Posted by canadiancow
It's dependent on the airline. I've definitely done J to F SAUA on flights that were O0.
Any airlines beyond LH or NH (like LX)?
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Old Feb 2, 2022, 3:40 pm
  #7  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
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Originally Posted by marks88
Any airlines beyond LH or NH (like LX)?
With UA miles, nearly all of *A including LX, but with similiar high fare requirements
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Old Feb 2, 2022, 4:19 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
With UA miles, nearly all of *A including LX, but with similiar high fare requirements
Out of curiosity, has anyone managed to do this with LX? I'm curious because UA does not have access to LX F awards.

EDIT: LX pure J fare class seems prohibitively expensive, as in more expensive than discount first (A). I suppose I will be stuck with my ex-PRG 016 LX F tickets ...
EDIT2: as pointed out, J, C, and D qualify - thanks to dkc192!

Last edited by marks88; Feb 3, 2022 at 7:46 am Reason: update
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Old Feb 2, 2022, 7:48 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by marks88
Out of curiosity, has anyone managed to do this with LX? I'm curious because UA does not have access to LX F awards.

EDIT: LX pure J fare class seems prohibitively expensive, as in more expensive than discount first (A). I suppose I will be stuck with my ex-PRG 016 LX F tickets ...
LX C and D fares are also eligible.
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Old Feb 8, 2022, 9:43 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2022
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Star alliance upgrade award error

Hi,
I'm trying to upgrade our Air Canada flight using Mileage plus miles on the Star Alliance upgrade award website but keep getting an error stating "traveler has the same name as an existing traveler on this flight"

I'm not understanding why this error is showing up .

We booked our flight directly on the AC website and used Aeroplan miles for it but would like to upgrade using mileage plus.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Feb 8, 2022, 10:43 am
  #11  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
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Welcome to FT!, Neela828
Originally Posted by Neela828
....
We booked our flight directly on the AC website and used Aeroplan miles for it but would like to upgrade using mileage plus. ....
Believe Star Alliance Upgrades are limited to paid flights, not award flights. Only paid fare classes are eligible.

Does AC allow award flight upgrades?
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Old Feb 17, 2022, 12:55 pm
  #12  
 
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Is it possible to use UA plus pts to upgrade flight operated by Swiss air ??
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Old Feb 17, 2022, 1:50 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by dogfan
Is it possible to use UA plus pts to upgrade flight operated by Swiss air ??
Yes
But only with miles (not with PlusPoints)
Not as a UA codeshare (needs to be a LX coded flight)
No waitlisting
and most importantly, only a few high LX fare classes (If in Business C, D and J. if in Economy class Y, B, M, and U)

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Feb 17, 2022 at 2:04 pm Reason: actually fare classes
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Old Feb 24, 2022, 12:25 pm
  #14  
 
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Upgrade options for non-UA (Ethiopian) tatl flights as 1k

I apologize if this general topic has already been covered extensively and maybe somebody can point to the discussion. However I am a 1K sitting on a lot of unused plus points and an upcoming trip to Africa that will most likely involve Ethiopian Airlines flying over the Atlantic and connecting flight. As of now it looks like I will only be able to get an economy ticket from work but I am interested in upgrade options. Any advice would be appreciated
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Old Feb 24, 2022, 12:32 pm
  #15  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
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ET may offer a cash upgrade option.

If desiring to use UA currency, your only option is using UA miles on a high ET fare class -- called *A Mileage upgrade
Requires a Y, B or S ET economy fare, can not be a UA codeshare and no waitlisting so may take regular tries.
PlusPoints is not an option.

The wiki of this thread has more details
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