Old Nov 8, 15, 12:01 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: drewguy
For complimentary premier upgrades, United explains how they are handled for itineraries with more than one passenger:

Companion policy

One companion traveling on a paid ticket on the same reservation as a Premier member is eligible for Complimentary Premier Upgrades on select flights, and may be confirmed with the same priority as the Premier member, even on the day of departure. If the companion is a Premier member, the upgrade will be processed according to the highest Premier status level in the reservation.

If a reservation includes three or more travelers, and only one is not a Premier member, the Complimentary Premier Upgrades will be processed according to the lowest Premier status level in the reservation. If two or more travelers on the reservation are not Premier members, it will not be processed automatically. In these cases, Premier members should call the Premier Priority Desk to request a separate reservation for themselves and the eligible companion.
https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly.../upgrades.html

For elites, an itinerary for multiple passengers will remain together until ~T-24. If the upgrades clear before then, the PNR remains together. If they have not cleared by then, the PNR will be "split" when you check in for purposes of upgrades, with waitlist priority in accordance with above. The splitting has consequences regarding eligibility for "inherited status" - i.e., baggage allowances, upgrade priority, boarding priority for passengers with lower status than the highest status passenger. I.e., as a formal matter the benefits of inherited status are lost (although E+ seats are usually retained or can be gotten back, baggage is usually granted, one can board with highest priority passenger). This also matters for the return.

This thread explains various scenarios and considerations as to whether it is desirable to split the PNR before T-24 and the consequences of having it happen.

Questions to consider:
1) Do you mind if not all passengers are upgraded? If you are willing to have some people remain in coach, then splitting increases your chances of an upgrade before T-24 because sometimes only one upgrade seat becomes available at a time. In such scenarios a group of 2+ will be skipped. If you can't be separated, don't split until forced to do so. If you really can't be separated, consider a call to UA to ask to be marked not for upgrades.
2) Once you get inside T-24 your PNR will be split, unless you make a special request that it not be. Each passenger will be placed on the upgrade list in accordance with the above. This doesn't matter much on the outbound flight unless there are IRROPS, in which case it may be tougher to get accommodation for all passengers.
3) On the return flight(s) the companions may no longer have the highest level of status of all passengers, including baggage allowances (E+ seats are usually retained). However, some recent reports are that companions retain the status of the highest passenger on the original PNR, even after it is split.

related threads
The stupid PNR auto-splitting at T-24 needs to stop

Splitting up partner airline award reservation
Print Wikipost

To split or not to split PNR

Old Mar 9, 14, 2:42 pm
  #91  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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If I split a PNR on the outbound and want to do a SDC on the return, is the change fee no longer waived if the split pax has no status?
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Old Mar 10, 14, 12:19 am
  #92  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by jrockcolo
If I split a PNR on the outbound and want to do a SDC on the return, is the change fee no longer waived if the split pax has no status?
My fianc (UA Plat) and I (UA Silver) had our PNR split on the outbound two weeks ago, and we were able to do a SDC on the return (while taxiing after landing at IAH at that) without a paying a change fee. Best of all, our IAHSFO flight ended up being switched to a 767-400ER and we got CPU'd to First (2-1-2 lie-flat config) ^
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Old Mar 10, 14, 4:11 pm
  #93  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Without even asking the checkin agent at DFW split me off from the rest of my party when we checked our bags.

I didn't even notice till we got to the security checkpoint and they all weren't priority. Luckily the TSA let us all go through priority screening together. Sad news was even after having the PNR split I still didn't get a CPU.

I called and asked to have them merge it back to one but the agent said that as long as they're with me they'll be able to go though security and boarding with whatever group I was in and that I shouldn't have any issues.

I mentioned that I was worried about my companions being pushed out of their economy plus seats but she reassured me that would not happen. Guess we'll see!
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Old Mar 12, 14, 9:07 am
  #94  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Separating reservation?

If you have a Gold traveling with three people with no status, should you separate out that person from the reservation before check in to maximize the chances of an upgrade? But if I do that, will it mean I won't get that one companion upgraded? I know chances are never great but on the flight in question the first class cabin is wide open 2 days out. Thanks!
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Old Mar 12, 14, 9:51 am
  #95  
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If the Gold stays on the reservation with three others, there is zero chance of an upgrade. Upgrades are an all-or-nothing proposition, so the Gold would have to be on a PNR alone or with one companion.
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Old Mar 12, 14, 10:24 am
  #96  
 
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Thank you so much. Can I clarify one thing? So if I separate one Gold by themselves or one Gold with one companion, either will give us equivalent chances for an upgrade? Again, I really do thank you for your time.
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Old Mar 12, 14, 4:56 pm
  #97  
 
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Originally Posted by tink56
Thank you so much. Can I clarify one thing? So if I separate one Gold by themselves or one Gold with one companion, either will give us equivalent chances for an upgrade? Again, I really do thank you for your time.
I'd suggest separating 2 pax onto 1 PNR and then keeping one pax on your PNR. That will give you equal chances of getting upgraded until T-24. If you're not CPU'd by T-24, you may want to split your PNR to increase likelihood of you getting a CPU inside 24 hours or at the gate (in the case that only one seat opens up).
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Old Mar 13, 14, 3:02 pm
  #98  
 
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Originally Posted by LukeRB
My fianc (UA Plat) and I (UA Silver) had our PNR split on the outbound two weeks ago, and we were able to do a SDC on the return (while taxiing after landing at IAH at that) without a paying a change fee. Best of all, our IAHSFO flight ended up being switched to a 767-400ER and we got CPU'd to First (2-1-2 lie-flat config) ^
Thanks.
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Old Mar 13, 14, 7:08 pm
  #99  
 
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Originally Posted by LukeRB
I'd suggest separating 2 pax onto 1 PNR and then keeping one pax on your PNR. That will give you equal chances of getting upgraded until T-24. If you're not CPU'd by T-24, you may want to split your PNR to increase likelihood of you getting a CPU inside 24 hours or at the gate (in the case that only one seat opens up).
Not necessarily - you would need two upgrade spots to be available. If there's only one, it will skip over you to the next solo pax.
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Old Mar 14, 14, 12:51 am
  #100  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Originally Posted by drewguy
Not necessarily - you would need two upgrade spots to be available. If there's only one, it will skip over you to the next solo pax.
Hence my comment about splitting inside T-24. Before T-24, he chances of only one F seat opening up is slim to none. Either 0 F seats will open up or a group of 2+ will open up at the same time.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 10:51 pm
  #101  
 
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Should two 1K's applying GPU's use separate PNR's?

My search yielded conflicting information re GPU upgrade success for spouses who are both 1K using separate vs the same PNR. My intuition and some experience suggests using separate PNR's. I would be interested in your experiences before we book our next SEA to DEL flights.
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Old Mar 20, 14, 11:15 pm
  #102  
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If you are on the same PNR, you will only clear if two seats open at the same time. If only one opens, you will both get skipped. Since you're both 1K, not sure I see any benefit worth staying on one PNR.
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Old Mar 21, 14, 12:57 am
  #103  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee
If you are on the same PNR, you will only clear if two seats open at the same time. If only one opens, you will both get skipped. Since you're both 1K, not sure I see any benefit worth staying on one PNR.
IRROPS.

You're more likely to stay booked together on one reservation than if you have two.
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Old Mar 21, 14, 1:00 am
  #104  
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Originally Posted by FlyerChrisK
IRROPS.

You're more likely to stay booked together on one reservation than if you have two.
Both 1K. Not likely to be an issue. And not worth the decreased upgrade odds on a long-haul IMO.
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Old Mar 21, 14, 1:24 pm
  #105  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee
Both 1K. Not likely to be an issue. And not worth the decreased upgrade odds on a long-haul IMO.
+1. If there's a big concern about IRROPS, they can call the 1K Line and have them note their PNRs saying they're traveling together. While the computer won't see that in case of IRROPS, a quick call to the 1K Line or any UA Rep will be able to help quickly.
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