Old Nov 8, 2015, 12:01 pm
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
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

Archive thread : To split or not to split PNR {Archive}
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To split or not to split PNR

Old Apr 15, 2021, 8:06 pm
  #1  
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Was considering a new thread but seems relevant to this one.

Last week Mrs. B accidentally did a voluntary split using the app to checkin, and UA completely lost her connecting flight!

We originally had a one-way SFO-PVR nonstop but due to a cancellation we were re-booked on SFO-LAX-PVR with an overnight layover at LAX. The app would only issue mobile BP for SFO-LAX (apparently needed passport verification) so I checked myself+child (no split) and my wife made the mistake of splitting the rez at checkin (who wouldn't say "YES" when asked if they wanted to stay on the upgrade list.

We land at LAX and I go to the transfer counter to get BPs for everyone. Myself+child, no problem. Child #2, no problem. When they get to Mrs. B she is informed that her reservation has disappeared and they have rebooked her on LAX-DEN-PVR.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? HOW DOES THE SYSTEM LOSE A RESERVATION WHEN A PERSON IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR JOURNEY??

Anyway the "supervisor" was eventually able to put Mrs. b back on the LAX-PVR flight in the same seat, so all is well that ends well. But I still don't understand how the system can just cancel you out in the middle of a trip when you have checked in and flew the first segment. Maybe her first BP didn't scan?

Ironically the staff also put her on a return flight PVR-SFO, apparently they must have thought the system lost that as well. Of course we no showed on that one...

The moral of the story here is always get your connecting BP as soon as you can ...
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Old Apr 15, 2021, 8:34 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Boraxo
Anyway the "supervisor" was eventually able to put Mrs. b back on the LAX-PVR flight in the same seat, so all is well that ends well. But I still don't understand how the system can just cancel you out in the middle of a trip when you have checked in and flew the first segment. Maybe her first BP didn't scan?
That is precisely how it happens.

Originally Posted by Boraxo
Ironically the staff also put her on a return flight PVR-SFO, apparently they must have thought the system lost that as well. Of course we no showed on that one...
It would have been SOP for all downline segments to be cancelled and thus need to be rebooked.
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Old Sep 21, 2021, 9:49 am
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I've applied PlusPoints to my parents. I ended up splitting them in advance because there are 5 seats left in F and they are now 4 and 5 on the upgrade list. In case only 4 people clear at T-48 or T-24, I didn't want them both to lose the upgrade when one could at least get it. If PN=4 and they are 4 and 5, then they need to split in advance or it'll skip since there's only 1 PN availability for 2 people.

Agent said that it won't matter in the system and would automatically split them rather than skipping... she's wrong, right? Or has something changed?
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Old Sep 21, 2021, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Duke777
I've applied PlusPoints to my parents. I ended up splitting them in advance because there are 5 seats left in F and they are now 4 and 5 on the upgrade list. In case only 4 people clear at T-48 or T-24, I didn't want them both to lose the upgrade when one could at least get it. If PN=4 and they are 4 and 5, then they need to split in advance or it'll skip since there's only 1 PN availability for 2 people. ..
PN or PZ, are these GS PlusPoints?

What is J inventory and how long till the trip?

If there is not enough space for all passengers on the PNR, none will clear.

UA generally will not clear the last 2 or more spaces until the gate.
Originally Posted by Duke777
Agent said that it won't matter in the system and would automatically split them rather than skipping... she's wrong, right? Or has something changed?
Not until check-in, then that will happen.
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Old Feb 28, 2022, 2:43 pm
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Question for the braintrust.
Just bought economy tickets for my family of 4 (2-GS adults & 2-general member kids) from CLE to MUC. I applied pluspoints upgrades to try to get us into polaris and we are currently waitlisted. I'm thinking of splitting the PNR to increase the odds.
Is it better to split it as 2 PNRs with 2 passengers each (1 GS Adult + 1 General Member kid)
OR
Split 4 ways and hope the kids retain the GS instrument status on the waitlist and pray there are no irrops?*

*We are ok with not ALL being upgraded together.
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Old Feb 28, 2022, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by LordHamster
Question for the braintrust.

*We are ok with not ALL being upgraded together.
Is there any worse outcome than this (all four not upgraded) if you split into 2 and 2? If you split into four ways and three of them get upgraded, who will sit in the back? If the answer is yourself, you'd better not do it.
Good luck to any decision that you will make!
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Old Mar 1, 2022, 5:41 am
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Originally Posted by Kmxu
Is there any worse outcome than this (all four not upgraded) if you split into 2 and 2? If you split into four ways and three of them get upgraded, who will sit in the back? If the answer is yourself, you'd better not do it.
Good luck to any decision that you will make!
Yes, the answer is me. I'd rather sit in the back alone than let an upgrade certificate expire unused if it could have cleared.

It sounds like you are suggesting splitting 4 days for my trip in June will increase the odds?
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Old Mar 1, 2022, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by LordHamster
Yes, the answer is me. I'd rather sit in the back alone than let an upgrade certificate expire unused if it could have cleared.

It sounds like you are suggesting splitting 4 days for my trip in June will increase the odds?
The wiki's on this thread and a companion thread (Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively) are good resources. They explain the pluses and minuses with splitting non-status passengers from a single PNR. It is difficult to predict the chance of success three months in advance for 2x2 vs. 4x1 splits. If there is P fare for sale, PN may magically appear. Otherwise, it does not matter. You could split out 1 or 2 now and decide on the next step of action later.
Good luck.
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Old Mar 1, 2022, 11:26 am
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Originally Posted by LordHamster
Yes, the answer is me. I'd rather sit in the back alone than let an upgrade certificate expire unused if it could have cleared.

It sounds like you are suggesting splitting 4 days for my trip in June will increase the odds?
Personally, I would do the initial split of 2 and 2: there are plenty of times I've seen PN=2 space, and not many where I've seen PN=4.

Of course, PN=1 is even more common, but the reason I lean against doing that relates to check-in down the road. For an int'l flight, if a kid is on a separate PNR, you probably won't be able to check in ahead of time for that child. I would still monitor the flight like a hawk, though, and if PN=1 appears, that would be worth the added check-in hassles for me.

(This is just my perspective as someone who has booked and flown many trips as a family of 4 with 2 1ks and 2 children over the years; YMMV with your GS status.)
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Old Mar 1, 2022, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by mechteach
Personally, I would do the initial split of 2 and 2: there are plenty of times I've seen PN=2 space, and not many where I've seen PN=4.

Of course, PN=1 is even more common, but the reason I lean against doing that relates to check-in down the road. For an int'l flight, if a kid is on a separate PNR, you probably won't be able to check in ahead of time for that child. I would still monitor the flight like a hawk, though, and if PN=1 appears, that would be worth the added check-in hassles for me.

(This is just my perspective as someone who has booked and flown many trips as a family of 4 with 2 1ks and 2 children over the years; YMMV with your GS status.)
Thanks for the tip! I went ahead and split 2 and 2 for now.
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Old Mar 7, 2022, 3:18 pm
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We are planning a EWR-SYD RT in April. My plan is to apply Plus Points for all of us, and ordinarily I would book separate PNRs for each of the 4 pax (2 adults, 2 kids) to maximize upgrade chances. However I noticed that I am getting a decent discount via "Break from Business". My plan to to book the trip on a single PNR to get that discount (since the discount only applies on PNRs that include the primary discount eligible pax, which is me) and then call in to GS and have them split the res into 4 different PNRs, and then apply Plus Points. Is this a viable strategy?
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Old Mar 8, 2022, 9:30 am
  #12  
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Book as one PNR, apply the upgrade, then request the split. It's less important with GS points, but this will carry forward the priority of the request (usually).
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Old Mar 23, 2022, 6:10 pm
  #13  
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Got my first UA flight in 2 years coming up in April. Single PRN with me, mrs tht and 2 mini tht, booked with an ETC and credit card (non UA one if I recall) . It’s just a domestic EWR to Florida. I am Prem Gold as 1MM and my wife has other Prem Gold. The app says CPU eligible. So 2 with Gold status, 2 with MP number only.

We have seats ABC D. My main priority is to keep us together and minimize issues during any changes/cancellations/delays. I forget how it works at checkin? Will I be asked if I want to split and I just say no? And then it’s all or nothing for a CPU (which I assume won’t happen) ?
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Old Mar 23, 2022, 7:27 pm
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As noted above, if you want even a minimal chance of a CPU you will have to split - preferably 1 gold + 1 mini THT per record. I can't speak to EWR but if you were at SFO I would say don't bother as Golds rarely clear CPUs @sfo (heck 1ks have a poor average) and your primary objective is to keep your seats and reservation intact in the event of IRROPS.
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Old Mar 23, 2022, 8:32 pm
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With 2 golds and 2 companions, you're all in the gold upgrade bucket. When you check in you'll be asked whether you want an upgrade and to designate a companion. Designate one child for each adult. You'll be warned that you could get split in order to clear an upgrade. But you won't get split unless an upgrade clears. That's what's changed in 2 years - the system is now sane so you don't need to game out whether to split the PNR.
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