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Do I need points in account to see award availability?

Do I need points in account to see award availability?

Old May 2, 13, 10:22 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,206
Do I need points in account to see award availability?

I am new to the mileage thing. I just signed up for the Chase Sapphire and have about 100k UR points. I wanted to see if it is possible to get an upgrade to Business class from a paid Economy seat. I am planning to go from LAX to LHR late June and return late July. I signed up for an United MileagePlus account and did the Advance search on flight with Award upgrade box checked. I could not find any availability at all.

Is it because I don't have any points in my account? Is it because it is too early? Is it because it is too late? I did a search on flight from LAX to LHR and it seems United was supposed to be the airline with the best availability on upgrades. I have not tried BA or VA. I think they both have direct flights also. I don't think 100K is enough for a business award ticket, but is it enough for upgrade for this route? Thanks for any help.
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Old May 2, 13, 10:23 am
  #2  
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: ORD / DUB / LHR
Programs: UA 1K MM; BA Silver; Marriott Plat
Posts: 8,243
You can see availability without being signed in or having miles in your account. It's very common not to see availability in advance, it frequently only opens up (if at all) closer to the departure date. You can waitlist and take your chances if the flights you're looking at don't have availability.
star_world is offline  
Old May 2, 13, 11:02 am
  #3  
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Would it let me be on a waitlist if I don't have any points? I want to transfer the points when I could use them. Thanks!
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Old May 2, 13, 11:03 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: NYC: UA 1K, DL Platinum, AAirpass, Avis PC
Posts: 4,598
Even if there were availability, the extra cash copayment you will need to be eligible for the upgrade make it a shaky deal.

For upgrades to London, Virgin Atlantic is actually one of the better deals. You can buy one of their mid-priced 'M' fares (usually around $1500 or so including all fees depending on the month) and upgrade, with pretty good availability.

United will charge you $550 each way from discount coach tickets, making the cash out of pocket cost close to $2,000.

Take a look at this analysis of LHR upgrades. It's based on JFK departures, but the LAX math is pretty similar.

http://milecards.com/5844/business-c...he-best-value/

Virgin phone agents are quick to answer and look for upgrade space.
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Old May 2, 13, 11:10 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Programs: UA 1K, AA, DL, LH, VX, HA
Posts: 5,902
Originally Posted by Need View Post
Would it let me be on a waitlist if I don't have any points? I want to transfer the points when I could use them. Thanks!
No - if you request an upgrade the miles/points are deducted immediately, and then returned if the upgrade does not "clear".
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Old May 2, 13, 11:10 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
Programs: DL Diamond, UA 1K MM, SPG Plat For Life, Marriott Plat, Nexus/GlobalEntry
Posts: 9,198
Originally Posted by Need View Post
Would it let me be on a waitlist if I don't have any points? I want to transfer the points when I could use them. Thanks!
No...to waitlist something you have to have enough miles in your account to purchase the award, and you actually have to book yourself on UA operated flights on different dates/times than you want. Then you can be added to the waitlist for the flights you do want.
SEA1K4EVR is offline  
Old May 2, 13, 1:36 pm
  #7  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thank you so much everyone. Look like waitlist is not for me. Thanks for advice on Virgin Atlantic. I will look into it!
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