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Some Paid Upgrades Count Towards PQD & mileage bonus and some DON'T!

Old Apr 8, 15, 4:27 pm
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Last edit by: WineCountryUA
One of the more confusing aspects of cash upgrades is "does this upgrade get premium cabin mileage bonus and is the fee included in PQD?"

The best assumption is no bonus and fee is not included in PQD but there are some cases where there will be a premium cabin bonus and amount will count toward PQD.

There are multiple cash upgrade paths and different ones are offered at different times (and can be quite hard to separate).

The key is what is the new fare basis after the upgrade. Note R, RN, P, PN, ZN, ON, A and others have been reported.
  • Many of the upgrade offers results in R/PN/ZN fare class (and post as Zx) -- so like a regular upgrade the mileage posting is based on the original fare class. The upgrade fee does not earn PQDs.
  • Others bump the fare basis to a -UP fare which reports as a P/Z/A fare class, these are now earning PQMs at the up-fared fare class and the up-fare costs earns PQDs.
  • And others book into a true P/Z/A fare basis and will earn the PQM bonus and the up-fare cost will earn PQDs.

The following are generally not eligible for PQD or bonus:
  • Pop-up upgrade immediately following purchase on united.com
  • Last minute upgrade at check-in
Generally these will be priced as $xx9 (ending in 9 dollars) and reflected on the receipt as
Additional Charges:
Date/CreditCard XXXX was charged xxx USD for the Merchandising / EDD
xxx USD for: Premium Cabin Upgrade
However the offer, in "My Reservations" via the cash method tab "Buy Up to First" under "View {Upgrade} Options" is likely to be eligible for PQDs & PQM bonus.
**** Due to UA changes in May 2018, this statement may not be relieable ****
**** This now appears to be an Upgrade Fee (no PQDs) and may book into Upgrade fare class (no extra PQMs) or into a mileage earning bonus fare class (PQMs earning). Unclear if that is a way to tell which will happen ****

Generally these will be reflected on the receipt as
Add Collect: An additional amount for the difference in fare was charged to {card} on {date}. $yyy USD per ticket for an additional total of $yyy USD was collected.
Notice the words "generally" and "likely" -- those are weasel words to protect the wiki author because of the lack of transparency in this system
For instance, some time of checkin paid upgrades that book into P, will earn PQM bonus but not earn PQDs.
Checking the actual fare basis during booking when you are given access (or using the Saudi site) is key in understanding the outcome.


UA Insider commented on this a while back, but there has been no improvement in the confusion / clarity in the meantime.
Originally Posted by UA Insider View Post
Hi Everyone,

Ive done a little bit of research on this, and I wanted to share some background on the scenario vandrei shared.

At a high level, and as a some of you have noticed more recently in the thread, the buy-up offer we sometimes present immediately upon booking an economy ticket is indeed distinct from the one presented when viewing a reservation in My Account at some point after the flight has been ticketed and confirmed. For example, the offer at booking enables customers to the flexibility to confirm an upgraded seat on a segment-by-segment basis, whereas the one in My Reservations is based on the line of flight.

Additionally, from a functional perspective, the offer immediately upon booking does not change the underlying fare basis for the original purchased fare (even though the visible fare class is reflective of the buy-up inventory), whereas the one in My Reservations results in a complete re-issue of the existing ticket. It is this aspect of the functionality which drives mileage accrual, which is based on the original purchased fare for the offer immediately after booking, but based on the new fare class for the offer in My Reservations. These policies are disclosed in each offers respective (and indeed, different) terms and conditions.

Longer-term, the vision is indeed to align mileage accrual policies between the two types of offers. In the meantime, the tradeoff between the two offers continues to be one of additional miles vs. the flexibility to confirm on a segment-by-segment basis.

Aaron Goldberg
Sr. Manager - Customer Experience Planning
United Airlines
Print Wikipost

Some Paid Upgrades Count Towards PQD & mileage bonus and some DON'T!

Old Oct 10, 16, 12:39 pm
  #376  
 
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Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
I called the MileagePlus help desk. They confirmed that a T fare ticket upgraded through the website after booking will be a $219 upgrade to a P fare ticket, and that the PQM's will be applied using the P fare ticket.

So if I'm doing my math correctly, for $219 I'll be getting 4,954 incremental miles with the 200% P fare class multiplier.

$219/4954 = $0.04 cpm

That's really tough to beat, especially considering I'll be getting a first class upgrade for almost 7 hours worth of flight time.

The flight back home isn't as generous unfortunately.
There is a big difference between an up-fare and an upgrade. Make sure you're getting the up-fare, not the upgrade when you pull the trigger.
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Old Oct 10, 16, 12:48 pm
  #377  
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Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
So if I'm doing my math correctly, for $219 I'll be getting 4,954 incremental miles with the 200% P fare class multiplier.
I think you added a factor of 2 in there - it would 4,954 total PQM one way (including the original miles)?
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Old Oct 10, 16, 12:50 pm
  #378  
 
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Begs another newbie question, how do I tell the difference there? The offer only says "upgrade". I'm assuming up-fare is not a term that United is going to dump on their website. I appreciate all the help as I continue to learn the ropes

Originally Posted by findark View Post
I think you added a factor of 2 in there - it would 4,954 total PQM one way (including the original miles)?
I thought about this too. The upgrade is only for one way. The actual flight miles total are 2477 one way. So at 200% with the P fare, I'm doubling the flight miles one way to 4954.

Even if I'm doubling the miles incorrectly, it's still $0.08 cpm, which is considerably lower than the premier accelerator.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Oct 10, 16 at 1:22 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Oct 10, 16, 12:56 pm
  #379  
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Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
Begs another newbie question, how do I tell the difference there? The offer only says "upgrade". I'm assuming up-fare is not a term that United is going to dump on their website. I appreciate all the help as I continue to learn the ropes
Where and how are you seeing this offer price?
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Old Oct 10, 16, 1:29 pm
  #380  
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Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
I called the MileagePlus help desk. They confirmed that a T fare ticket upgraded through the website after booking will be a $219 upgrade to a P fare ticket, and that the PQM's will be applied using the P fare ticket......
Be skeptical of what you hear from a phone agent -- they know little about how the website operates. Upgrades at booking do not generally book into P -- PN maybe, R more likely.

Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
Begs another newbie question, how do I tell the difference there? The offer only says "upgrade". I'm assuming up-fare is not a term that United is going to dump on their website. I appreciate all the help as I continue to learn the ropes.
The thread's wiki is a more detailed explanation -- best to read it carefully.

I never, ever trust the website "upgrade" offers (too many disappointed reports) and much prefer to do manual "upfares" (which do earn the bonus) -- and I have never been disappointed. In the first 24 hours, there is no fee for upfare (in general there is no fee for upfare GG BUYUP but some occasionally have an issue outside the 24 hour purchase window)
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Old Oct 10, 16, 1:45 pm
  #381  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
Where and how are you seeing this offer price?
This is an upgrade opportunity within my reservations on the website. When I choose to "manage" my reservations, at the bottom there's an upgrade option. I just booked it this morning and the price is exactly the same so I can upfare and it will probably make more sense. But for future reference it's an interesting conversation... I wonder how many times the upgrade is more expensive for cheaper than the upfare?

The other thing that makes the upgrade more appealing than the upfare is the fact that the travel was booked by my company, and they won't approve the upfare as they won't allow me to fly business if the trip is under 8 hours (which it is, barely). So I can use a different card for the upgrade.
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Old Oct 10, 16, 1:49 pm
  #382  
 
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Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
This is an upgrade opportunity within my reservations on the website. When I choose to "manage" my reservations, at the bottom there's an upgrade option. I just booked it this morning and the price is exactly the same so I can upfare and it will probably make more sense. But for future reference it's an interesting conversation... I wonder how many times the upgrade is more expensive for cheaper than the upfare?
If you booked your ticket this morning, my advice is to cancel the booking (no charge if done within 24 hours) and then book a P fare cleanly and separately. That's the only way you'll know for sure that you get the 2x PQM.
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Old Oct 10, 16, 2:48 pm
  #383  
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Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
This is an upgrade opportunity within my reservations on the website. When I choose to "manage" my reservations, at the bottom there's an upgrade option. I just booked it this morning and the price is exactly the same so I can upfare and it will probably make more sense. But for future reference it's an interesting conversation... I wonder how many times the upgrade is more expensive for cheaper than the upfare?...
I have seen it both ways and many times very similiar, others very different. Can not see a pattern.

Originally Posted by augiecrazy8 View Post
The other thing that makes the upgrade more appealing than the upfare is the fact that the travel was booked by my company, and they won't approve the upfare as they won't allow me to fly business if the trip is under 8 hours (which it is, barely). So I can use a different card for the upgrade.
The upfare can be done with a different credit card. The upgrade fee is non-PQD earning and will not earn the PQM bonus.

Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
If you booked your ticket this morning, my advice is to cancel the booking (no charge if done within 24 hours) and then book a P fare cleanly and separately. That's the only way you'll know for sure that you get the 2x PQM.
Clean upfares of existing tickets are 100% safe for the PQM bonus IME.

Cancel and repurchase is problematic for some corporate reimbursement systems -- IMO best for the OP to avoid.
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Old Oct 10, 16, 2:55 pm
  #384  
 
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
...
Cancel and repurchase is problematic for some corporate reimbursement systems -- IMO best for the OP to avoid.
Yes I see your point, using OPM to up-fare can be problematic.
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Old Dec 1, 16, 7:52 am
  #385  
 
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Fare Class when paying for an upgrade

As the end of year nears, I am about 8500 PQM short of renewal and looking to stretch my existing trips as much as possible. One of my upcoming flights is booked in economy with 2090 PQM planned for the trip.

If I upgrade to first class either by paying ($680) or by using miles (35,000), will it be re-fared as an F class earning 300% PQM?
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Old Dec 1, 16, 8:00 am
  #386  
 
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Originally Posted by BostonBusinessTraveler View Post
As the end of year nears, I am about 8500 PQM short of renewal and looking to stretch my existing trips as much as possible. One of my upcoming flights is booked in economy with 2090 PQM planned for the trip.

If I upgrade to first class either by paying ($680) or by using miles (35,000), will it be re-fared as an F class earning 200% PQM?
F (or J) class earns 300%. A class earns 200%.

If you use miles, you will certainly still have an economy fare basis.
If you *upgrade*, you will also almost certainly have an economy fare basis.
If you *upfare* <call agent, quote GG-BUYUP>, then you will have a premium cabin fare basis and the 200% (or 300%) PQM you want.

If you "buy up to premium cabin" online, you may or may not get upfared vs. upgraded. Anecdotally, it's unclear, so call it in.
If you choose an upgrade during check-in, it is an upgrade.

If you are only worried about teh PQM, consider award accelerator, which should price out near 10c/mile. It may be cheaper.
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Old Dec 1, 16, 8:09 am
  #387  
 
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Thanks, this is very helpful.

Just to clarify, would the cost of an upgrade or an upfare be similar, or is the upfare the face-value difference between my ticket and the premium cabin fare?

The cheapest accelerator is for 9,000 miles for $1125 (12.5c/mile).
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Old Dec 1, 16, 8:58 am
  #388  
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Originally Posted by BostonBusinessTraveler View Post

Just to clarify, would the cost of an upgrade or an upfare be similar, or is the upfare the face-value difference between my ticket and the premium cabin fare?
Upgrades can be significantly cheaper than upfares.
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Old Dec 1, 16, 9:57 am
  #389  
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Academic as I'm well over both PQD and PQM thresholds for the year, but yesterday I did an upgrade at check-in for IAD-BDL. The res then changed to show the flight in "A," surprisingly enough.

We'll see how it posts. At the time I booked, the difference between economy and first was around $80. The offered upgrade was $60.
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Old Dec 1, 16, 10:28 am
  #390  
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Originally Posted by BostonBusinessTraveler View Post
Thanks, this is very helpful.

Just to clarify, would the cost of an upgrade or an upfare be similar, or is the upfare the face-value difference between my ticket and the premium cabin fare?

The cheapest accelerator is for 9,000 miles for $1125 (12.5c/mile).
An up-fare is precisely the difference between your current coupon and the currently advertised premium fare. This is likely to be the only way to get an F booking code (and you may pay more in order to go that high).

A fee upgrade is available only at OLCI or booking, and is usually based on the route fare differential for a domestic route. Depending on inventory, this may be less than, or more than, an up-fare (but very frequently the same at booking, and less close in).

Fee upgrades usually (but not always) earn bonus PQM, often posting as A class on domestic 2-class flights. They never earn additional PQD for the fee.
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