Comprehensive Companion CPU Questions

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UA CPU 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.
Companions on separate PNR are not explicitly discussed but some GAs will add them at the Gate.

While elites may be eligible (with the right credit card) for award upgrades, companions are explicitly excluded.

Related threads
Questions About Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) on UA

Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively

To split or not to split PNR

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Old Feb 20, 14, 7:10 pm
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Comprehensive Companion CPU Questions

If a platinum and a gold member are together on an itinerary, I know that the reservation will try to get the gold member cleared at the platinum window as the platinum companion. My question is this – if the record is separated ahead of time, will the system remember that the gold individual is a platinum companion? In addition, I'm interested in knowing if the system does anything if the platinum member (now on a separate reservation) cancels his or her reservation.
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Old Feb 20, 14, 7:18 pm
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Originally Posted by goldelite8 View Post
If a platinum and a gold member are together on an itinerary, I know that the reservation will try to get the gold member cleared at the platinum window as the platinum companion. My question is this – if the record is separated ahead of time, will the system remember that the gold individual is a platinum companion? In addition, I'm interested in knowing if the system does anything if the platinum member (now on a separate reservation) cancels his or her reservation.
No. Recognizes status of new PNR holder...and it is worthwhile to double check that traveller's MP number is attached to new PNR. Once reservation is split, they have no affect on one another.

At the airport, you can add fellow traveller as companion for upgrade at same time, but by that time, this advice is (usually) both true and useless.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 7:19 am
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
At the airport, you can add fellow traveller as companion for upgrade at same time, but by that time, this advice is (usually) both true and useless.
My wife and I are both 1Ks and we travel with our silver elite children several times a year. Our frustration with the upgrade process has caused us to "experiment."

It does seem like having a companion in your PNR hurts your advance upgrade chances, since it is common for 1 seat to be released at a time during the 5-day "upgrade window." If that happens, from our experimentation (leaving one record combined, splitting the second record) it appears that the computer will "pass you by" and upgrade somebody who's below you on the list who wants only one seat. So if UA trickles out the seats one at a time, you can get zippo, even if you have the highest priority.

What we have found works best for us in most circumstances (wide open flights might be different) is to have each 1K in their own record to try to get their own individual upgrade. The odds aren't great they'll be more than 2 seats available anyway, but if there are, they'll usually hold some back for the gate agents to assign. So when we get to the airport, we ask an agent to list one of our "silver children" as our companions on each of our reservations. We then watch how they jump on the upgrade list from the bottom to near the top and sometimes actually get upgraded, too.

Unless you MUST sit in the same cabin as your companion, I think this is the best strategy to pursue.

BTW, after the vast majority of flights, we always seem to note amongst ourselves that the "upgrade really wasn't so special, the seat wasn't that comfortable and the food was just sparse and weird." It really makes me think that if they'd throw in the directTV in the back and give the high elites a sandwich (like they do on AA), nobody would care much if they got most domestic upgrades.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
So when we get to the airport, we ask an agent to list one of our "silver children" as our companions on each of our reservations. We then watch how they jump on the upgrade list from the bottom to near the top and sometimes actually get upgraded, too.
I thought that I read somewhere, a year or so ago, that a companion could ONLY be added to the upgrade list @ T-2 and it needed to be done @ the airport. In the mean time others with lower priority than the sponsoring 1K have a shot at the f/c seat(s).

Anyway, I add our son at the UC and he usually goes to the top, but he's not too happy to be sitting alone, and possibly in a different cabin. I usually give him my b/p and sit in his seat, wherever that might be.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 8:02 am
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Originally Posted by LilAbner View Post
I thought that I read somewhere, a year or so ago, that a companion could ONLY be added to the upgrade list @ T-2 and it needed to be done @ the airport. In the mean time others with lower priority than the sponsoring 1K have a shot at the f/c seat(s).

Anyway, I add our son at the UC and he usually goes to the top, but he's not too happy to be sitting alone, and possibly in a different cabin. I usually give him my b/p and sit in his seat, wherever that might be.
I think that's basically correct. Of course, you can book one companion on your original itinerary and he/she will have your upgrade status during your time in the "upgrade window" (5 days for 1Ks). The problem though, as I mentioned, is that if they trickle out the upgrade one at a time during that window, you'll get nothing if you have a companion listed.

What I have found anecdotally is that, if there's going to be any hope of a CPU, they usually hold back a few seats for airport upgrades. Like on our last transcon, the FC cabin of 24 was only booked to 18. Despite this, they still kept those remaining seats available until flight time. So we added our kids to the upgrade list at the airport, and they were in fact upgraded at the gate.

Given the seeming randomness of the way the computer processes upgrades, though, it's certainly possible that those seats could have been given away BEFORE you arrived at the airport. There's no perfect way to game this; it's just a game of playing the percentages.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 9:35 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I think that's basically correct. Of course, you can book one companion on your original itinerary and he/she will have your upgrade status during your time in the "upgrade window" (5 days for 1Ks). The problem though, as I mentioned, is that if they trickle out the upgrade one at a time during that window, you'll get nothing if you have a companion listed.

What I have found anecdotally is that, if there's going to be any hope of a CPU, they usually hold back a few seats for airport upgrades. Like on our last transcon, the FC cabin of 24 was only booked to 18. Despite this, they still kept those remaining seats available until flight time. So we added our kids to the upgrade list at the airport, and they were in fact upgraded at the gate.

Given the seeming randomness of the way the computer processes upgrades, though, it's certainly possible that those seats could have been given away BEFORE you arrived at the airport. There's no perfect way to game this; it's just a game of playing the percentages.
In my experience, a quarter of a F cabin left for airport upgrades T-2 happens far less than half the time, but I agree with your strategy on splitting PNR if wife also 1K.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
No. Recognizes status of new PNR holder...and it is worthwhile to double check that traveller's MP number is attached to new PNR. Once reservation is split, they have no affect on one another.

At the airport, you can add fellow traveller as companion for upgrade at same time, but by that time, this advice is (usually) both true and useless.
when i flew in january with my fiancee (i'm silver, she is not premier), i split on the outbound because it was my first flight as a premier and i wasn't sure exactly how it worked. she retained all status on the return flights, even though it was now on a separate PNR and only in her name. she kept free bag, premier access, and was automatically added to the upgrade list on check-in...
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Old Feb 21, 14, 10:02 am
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Originally Posted by crackers8199 View Post
when i flew in january with my fiancee (i'm silver, she is not premier), i split on the outbound because it was my first flight as a premier and i wasn't sure exactly how it worked. she retained all status on the return flights, even though it was now on a separate PNR and only in her name. she kept free bag, premier access, and was automatically added to the upgrade list on check-in...
We're they award tickets? Award tickets will keep the status of the account holder they were redeemed from.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
We're they award tickets? Award tickets will keep the status of the account holder they were redeemed from.
nope...bought at united.com.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 12:32 pm
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
We're they award tickets? Award tickets will keep the status of the account holder they were redeemed from.
If you split using the OLCI tool at check-in, current reports are that the companion usually keeps the benefits.
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Old Feb 21, 14, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
If you split using the OLCI tool at check-in, current reports are that the companion usually keeps the benefits.
yep, that's what we did. i checked us both in via the app, and did the split when it asked me...
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Old Feb 21, 14, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
In my experience, a quarter of a F cabin left for airport upgrades T-2 happens far less than half the time, but I agree with your strategy on splitting PNR if wife also 1K.
Well, yeah -- especially flights that your companion isn't going to get an upgrade on no matter what you do (and you may be unsuccessful upgrading your own ticket).

There is no perfect way to game this. You lose something either way. Like one could argue that you should stay together on the same PNR until check-in and then split. But then if individual seats get dumped into the upgrade bucket between 1 and 5 days before departure (if you're 1K), you're hosed. I've been hosed that way. I think the best odds to maximize FC seats is usually to split ahead of 5 days and try to grab the companion upgrade at the airport. One could argue that this is only the best strategy for 1Ks, and there could be some truth to that, given how long they'll be active on the upgrade list.
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Old Feb 24, 14, 5:46 pm
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Companion not next in line to be upgraded?

My boyfriend (who has Silver status this year) & I (Gold) took a flight on Friday, and I received a CPU. There was one more seat open after me, and yet his name was 3 below mine on the list, and therefore didn't get it. (I gave up my seat to sit with him in Economy Plus.)

Why isn't he right next to me? United's page (https://www.united.com/web/en-US/con.../upgrades.aspx) says this:
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.
Shouldn't that mean that if I was at position X on the upgrade list, he'd be at position X+1?
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Old Feb 24, 14, 5:48 pm
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a lot of unknowns here --
fare class
Same PNR, is so when did the PNR get split
if RT -- outbound or inbound


http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...questions.html
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Old Feb 24, 14, 5:49 pm
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Companions clear after all other elites at your specific premier level. Another gold got the last seat.
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