Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

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

Old Apr 8, 15, 4:27 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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 6, 17, 1:29 am
  #421  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 5
Unhappy

Hey y'all, I'm a little turned around by the rules of paid upgrades w.r.t. PQMs especially when partner carriers are involved, so I'm hoping you can help me determine whether there's a clerical error on my MileagePlus account or whether it's legit.

Back in June I had a Boston to Johannesburg trip that was booked via Egencia and involved United, South African Airways, and Lufthansa. Because of the multi-carrier nature of the trip, I wasn't able to put in, in advance, for upgrades on the long SAA-carried LHR->JNB leg or the LH-carried FRA->BOS return. I instead got them by counter upgrades at LHR and FRA respectively.

At LHR I paid 875GBP to SAA for an upgrade from class S to C. I don't seem to have a receipt for that, just the boarding pass that indicates "Class: C/S" and the line item on my credit card statement, so no looking for the wording that's been mentioned here.

On the way back, at FRA I paid 899EUR to LH for the upgrade to C. I do have the card stock receipt for this, which says "Airport Upgrade M to C".

My MileagePlus earnings are showing both the SAA and LH in S, and just 5620 and 3670 miles respectively -- that is, 100% rather than 200% as expected for class C.

I did try calling the MileagePlus desk already but the agent I spoke to didn't fill me with confidence that he really knew what he was talking about, because he started off saying paid upgrades never get a bonus are always based on original class, but that's plainly wrong. I'm still left with the feeling that there was some sort of miscommunication about the proper class because it was counter upgrades on a partner airline. (It sure has made me really reluctant to bother with multi-carrier itineraries; the whole thing was just difficult to deal with.)

Since there was a non-trivial upgrade cost in each case I'm hoping they qualify for the extra PQMs. Does this seem to be an error, or are things as they should be?

Thanks in advance for any guidance.
vttale is offline  
Old Oct 6, 17, 5:05 am
  #422  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 61,966
Originally Posted by vttale View Post
....
Since there was a non-trivial upgrade cost in each case I'm hoping they qualify for the extra PQMs. Does this seem to be an error, or are things as they should be? ....
Short answer is the rules vary by carrier on cash upgrades and whether that carrier considers cash upgrades eligible for fare class bonus. Past reports suggest SA/SAA does not. This is up to the operating carrier and UA will post what the operating carrier reports.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Oct 6, 17, 1:29 pm
  #423  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: MSP
Programs: DL PM, UA Gold, WN, Global Entry; +others wherever miles/points are found
Posts: 13,211
Originally Posted by vttale View Post
Since there was a non-trivial upgrade cost in each case I'm hoping they qualify for the extra PQMs. Does this seem to be an error, or are things as they should be?
It will generally depend if the ticket was reissued. Every carrier handles "counter upgrades" differently, but my guess is that most treat it as an upgrade fee and not a re-fare, which means you will earn according to your original booking class.
findark is online now  
Old Oct 6, 17, 11:13 pm
  #424  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by findark View Post
It will generally depend if the ticket was reissued. Every carrier handles "counter upgrades" differently, but my guess is that most treat it as an upgrade fee and not a re-fare, which means you will earn according to your original booking class.
Ugh, and rats. This'll be the difference between Plat and 1k for me this year. *shakes fist at partner flights*
vttale is offline  
Old Dec 2, 17, 6:01 pm
  #425  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 2
PQD Question

Hello All,

I am trying to plan a round trip IAD -> BCN. Departure a P fare is available for ~$1800 for the day/time I want. However, on the return a P fare is not available. Only a D Fare is available which is ~$4000. However, a refundable economy(q fare) ticket is decently priced at ~$1000.

My question is, if I buy the P fare on departure and then the q fare for return...

If/when a P fare becomes available for BCN -> IAD how exactly does the up fare work? Do you know if i would be eligible to up fare to the P fare and only have to pay the difference? Is there any penalty/fee? And most importantly does this actually add to my PQD if i do it this way? Thanks in advance.
amwong1985 is offline  
Old Dec 2, 17, 6:07 pm
  #426  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 17,801
Originally Posted by amwong1985 View Post
If/when a P fare becomes available for BCN -> IAD how exactly does the up fare work? Do you know if i would be eligible to up fare to the P fare and only have to pay the difference? Is there any penalty/fee? And most importantly does this actually add to my PQD if i do it this way? Thanks in advance.
You can call UA and ask to switch to P. Refer to "GG BUYUP" and they should waive the change fee and just charge you the fare difference between Q and P. This type of change will add to PQD -- it'll be the same as if you had purchased P in the first place.

You may also get an upgrade offer, either after booking, on the reservation page, or at check-in. The offers at booking and on the reservation page do not normally qualify for PQD; offers from the reservation page may. There's a board thread on this: Some Paid Upgrades Count Towards PQD & mileage bonus and some DON'T!
jsloan is online now  
Old Dec 3, 17, 12:50 am
  #427  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX/SFO
Programs: AA EXP; AS 75K; WN A List; UA 1K 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott AMB; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 52,220
Originally Posted by amwong1985 View Post
I am trying to plan a round trip IAD -> BCN. Departure a P fare is available for ~$1800 for the day/time I want. However, on the return a P fare is not available. Only a D Fare is available which is ~$4000. However, a refundable economy(q fare) ticket is decently priced at ~$1000.

My question is, if I buy the P fare on departure and then the q fare for return...
Just note that if you buy the P outbound and the refundable Q return, the more restrictive P fare rules will apply to the entire ticket. Among other things, the ticket will be nonrefundable and have a $450 change fee. This won't affect your ability to buy-up without a change fee if the P ever becomes available on the return, but it is something to be aware of.
Kacee is online now  
Old Dec 3, 17, 1:25 am
  #428  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,610
So four or more years ago, UA Insider said they hoped eventually to fix this and it hasn't happened yet. When I have paid a non-trivial upgrade fee at time of check-in (I'm ashamed to admit as much as $1300) on an international long haul and get 3,000 or so miles for the entire trip, it really turns me off. Yet another reason why this former 1K out of SFO continues to successfully avoid flying United on international long hauls as much as possible.
RichardInSF is offline  
Old Dec 5, 17, 2:37 pm
  #429  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Durham, NC (RDU/GSO/CLT)
Programs: AA EXP/MM, DL PM, UA 1K, HH DIA, Hyatt Glob, IHG Diamond, Marriott Titanium, Hertz PC, National Exec
Posts: 33,566
While checking in for a RDU-IAD-MCO last week I was offered a paid upgrade. I took it and was rebooked into the P Fare Bucket. Today the miles posted. I got the extra PQM and PQS but did not get extra PQD and my earnings there were based off the original fare class.
CMK10 is online now  
Old Dec 14, 17, 3:30 pm
  #430  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 156
Purchased upgrade during checkin and PQM

If you pay the amount to get upgraded to business or first on a segment, does your pqm multiple as well. Ie do you keep your original fare class or are you buying a new fare class
dts9 is offline  
Old Dec 14, 17, 3:36 pm
  #431  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 61,966
Originally Posted by dts9 View Post
If you pay the amount to get upgraded to business or first on a segment, does your pqm multiple as well. Ie do you keep your original fare class or are you buying a new fare class
It dependents. There are a few general rules, such as
-- Generally the upgrades at check-in do not receive the bonus
-- Those where the price ends in "9" , $XX9, do not receive the bonus
After purchase, look for "add collect" on your receipts, these cases will receive the bonus.

See this thread's wiki for a more detailed explanation.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Dec 26, 17, 5:35 pm
  #432  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 3,359
Earning Miles on Cash Upgraded Award Flight

I've got a multi-segment award flight I booked using my Aeroplan miles ( YYZ -> DXB on AC, DXB -> CAI on MS, CAI -> GVA on MS, GVA -> ZRH on MS and ZRH -> EWR -> YYZ on UA). I managed to get my MilagePlus Gold card entered into those bookings so that I can get *Gold access (I have no status on Aeroplan).

Is it possible to receive milage credit on flights that were upgraded via LMU/Bid upgrade? I know the AC segment from YYZ -> DXB won't since that will re-fares into R (which earns nothing per MilagePlus rules). However, I've upgraded paid flights on UA at last minute and it would re-fare into P (which would earn full milage). Would it work the same way with my award booking? Are there any nuances to earning miles on cash upgraded award flights?

Safe travels,

James
FlyerTalker70 is offline  
Old Dec 26, 17, 6:14 pm
  #433  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 61,966
Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I've got a multi-segment award flight I booked using my Aeroplan miles ( YYZ -> DXB on AC, DXB -> CAI on MS, CAI -> GVA on MS, GVA -> ZRH on MS and ZRH -> EWR -> YYZ on UA). I managed to get my MilagePlus Gold card entered into those bookings so that I can get *Gold access (I have no status on Aeroplan).

Is it possible to receive milage credit on flights that were upgraded via LMU/Bid upgrade? I know the AC segment from YYZ -> DXB won't since that will re-fares into R (which earns nothing per MilagePlus rules). ...
Paid upgrades on award tickets will earn nothing.


Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
However, I've upgraded paid flights on UA at last minute and it would re-fare into P (which would earn full milage). Would it work the same way with my award booking? Are there any nuances to earning miles on cash upgraded award flights? ,,,
Paid tickets may earn additional miles on upgrades or may not -- there are definitely nuances. It is involved and depends on a couple of items --- best to see the write in the thread's wiki.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Mar 31, 18, 5:11 pm
  #434  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Houston/DC
Programs: UA 1K, 1MM
Posts: 562
Has anyone else noticed the "upgrade your flight" process has changed on the UA site. There used to be a link that says "whats the difference" and explained that if you paid for the upgrade (as opposed to miles/RPU), you would earn based on the new fare class. Now that info link is gone & the verbiage that comes up makes it seem like a TOD upgrade that will not earn at the new fare class. Is the only way to "GG Buyup" now calling in to make sure you don't get screwed. Here is a screenshot of the purchase screen. Needless to say, I did not click thru if I would not earn the extra PQD/PQM

Edit: I just had to HUCA twice before I got someone to upfare me on the flight. They both wanted to charge me a change fee until one got thru to a supervisor. Oh, & the cost to upfare (fare difference) was $137, not $159. Don't trust the website right now, something wonky going on there. Hopefully it is not permanent or on purpose.


Last edited by FlyngSvyr; Apr 1, 18 at 7:17 am
FlyngSvyr is offline  
Old Mar 31, 18, 6:32 pm
  #435  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX/SFO
Programs: AA EXP; AS 75K; WN A List; UA 1K 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott AMB; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 52,220
Originally Posted by FlyngSvyr View Post
Has anyone else noticed the "upgrade your flight" process has changed on the UA site. There used to be a link that says "whats the difference" and explained that if you paid for the upgrade (as opposed to miles/RPU), you would earn based on the new fare class. Now that info link is gone & the verbiage that comes up makes it seem like a TOD upgrade that will not earn at the new fare class. Is the only way to "GG Buyup" now calling in to make sure you don't get screwed. Here is a screenshot of the purchase screen.
Is that the post-purchase, pre-ticketing offer, or post-ticketing?

If pre-ticketing, I'm glad to see they've updated the language, because it was misleading previously.

A post-ticketing (but pre check-in) buy-up should still work as an upfare, meaning accruals based on new ticket price. If that's changed, it would be a significant change in how buy-ups work.
Kacee is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread