International flight - Upgrade Question

Old Jun 24, 13, 7:39 pm
  #1  
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International flight - Upgrade Question

Not too familiar with this so thought I would ask.
Myself and wife are using Aeroplan miles on a return trip to Thailand......thinking of maybe going first class on the way back flying out of Beijing ( Bangkok > Beijing > Chicago ) Just curious if there is usually open seats on these types of flights ; If a person decides can I just ask at the gate ? - .....and what kind of costs would a person be looking at for two people purchasing last minute ??

Any feedback, ideas, suggestions would be appreciated.

I know most people will just say to purchase it now - I understand but right now we will suck it up on economy. I'm not so worried about the flight there it's sometimes coming home when you are cranky and tired

At the same token, I am not interested in spending $10K or something ridiculous like that.
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Old Jun 24, 13, 7:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Bravada04 View Post
Not too familiar with this so thought I would ask.
Myself and wife are using Aeroplan miles on a return trip to Thailand......thinking of maybe going first class on the way back flying out of Beijing ( Bangkok > Beijing > Chicago ) Just curious if there is usually open seats on these types of flights ; If a person decides can I just ask at the gate ? - .....and what kind of costs would a person be looking at for two people purchasing last minute ??

Any feedback, ideas, suggestions would be appreciated.

I know most people will just say to purchase it now - I understand but right now we will suck it up on economy. I'm not so worried about the flight there it's sometimes coming home when you are cranky and tired

At the same token, I am not interested in spending $10K or something ridiculous like that.
If you're using miles you won't be able to buy up or upgrade to a higher cabin. If you purchase the ticket outright in coach you could use miles (UA miles) plus a co-pay or HOPE for a last minute buy up offer but that's a huge risk if you want to be up front.
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Old Jun 24, 13, 7:48 pm
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You might get an offer for $500-$1,000 per person when you check in. It depends on how full the flight is.
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Old Jun 24, 13, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by njcommodore View Post
If you're using miles you won't be able to buy up or upgrade to a higher cabin. If you purchase the ticket outright in coach you could use miles (UA miles) plus a co-pay or HOPE for a last minute buy up offer but that's a huge risk if you want to be up front.
I believe people reported having been offered cash buyups on award itineraries.

Also, UA does offer upgrades on award tickets to holders of certain UA-branded credit cards. See --

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...questions.html
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Old Jun 24, 13, 7:55 pm
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Originally Posted by burlax View Post
I believe people reported having been offered cash buyups on award itineraries.

Also, UA does offer upgrades on award tickets to holders of certain UA-branded credit cards. See --

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...questions.html
Upgrades on award tickets only occur on CPU-eligible routes, which PEK-ORD is not.

My sense is the OP will not be offered a buy-up since OP will be checking in with another airline coming from BKK.
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Old Jun 24, 13, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by burlax View Post
I believe people reported having been offered cash buyups on award itineraries.
Rarely.


Originally Posted by burlax View Post
.

Also, UA does offer upgrades on award tickets to holders of certain UA-branded credit cards. See --
Those are complementary upgrades in the CPU regions. Would not be eligible for TATL/TPAC
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Old Jun 24, 13, 7:57 pm
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Originally Posted by njcommodore View Post
If you're using miles you won't be able to buy up or upgrade to a higher cabin. If you purchase the ticket outright in coach you could use miles (UA miles) plus a co-pay or HOPE for a last minute buy up offer but that's a huge risk if you want to be up front.
Not true any longer - The new UA will do whatever they need to in order to grab some last minute cash before allocating seats to employees. The new UA will double upgrade, or upgrade a free ticket as long as you have the requested buy up amount.
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Old Jun 24, 13, 7:58 pm
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
Not true any longer - The new UA will do whatever they need to in order to grab some last minute cash before allocating seats to employees. The new UA will double upgrade, or upgrade a free ticket as long as you have the requested buy up amount.
oh really? Why haven't I been offered a buy up on my mileage trip tomorrow?
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Old Jun 24, 13, 8:33 pm
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To answer the OP's question directly (as opposed to arguing over points that are probably of little interest to him), it is very unlikely you will have any opportunity to upgrade your award ticket. Not saying impossible, just very unlikely. Generally speaking, if you are using miles for a long-haul international ticket, and you want to fly in a front cabin (business or first), you should reserve an award which places you in a front cabin. (And btw this is generally considered a more efficient use of miles because the premium seats are so much more costly if paying cash than the coach seats. Paying cash, you might pay x dollars in coach and 5x dollars in business; using miles is usually only 2x (approximately) for business class - and best deal of all - 2.5x (approximately) for first class.)
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Old Jun 24, 13, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by njcommodore View Post
oh really? Why haven't I been offered a buy up on my mileage trip tomorrow?
You are an elite. Elites don't get ToDs.
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Old Jun 24, 13, 8:42 pm
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Originally Posted by mre5765 View Post
You are an elite. Elites don't get ToDs.
You stole the words right out of my mouth
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Old Jun 25, 13, 5:40 am
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Originally Posted by njcommodore View Post
oh really? Why haven't I been offered a buy up on my mileage trip tomorrow?
Perhaps its because they have plenty of people in J/C/D that they will offer it to first. Is not offered on ALL flights but I have seen it offered on award tickets a number of times. Sometimes though, its not offered during OLCI but only at the kiosk. If I were you I would check the kiosk even of you have already checked in. I was looking for a buy up to F from a biz award a fw months ago for my GF. She was routed HNL-DEN-IAD-FRA. At check in in HNL there was no buy up offered. However, I had her check the kiosk when she landed in IAD and sure enough, $990 to F from I for the IAD-FRA flight was offered. It obviously depends on the load. Her IAD-FRA flight was oversold in Y and C so it made sense to offer a buy up to anyone who will take it before doing free op ups. The HNL-DEN flight was not oversold in C, hence no offer (at least that how I read it)
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Old Jun 25, 13, 7:18 am
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Originally Posted by Bravada04 View Post
Not too familiar with this so thought I would ask.
Myself and wife are using Aeroplan miles on a return trip to Thailand......thinking of maybe going first class on the way back flying out of Beijing ( Bangkok > Beijing > Chicago ) Just curious if there is usually open seats on these types of flights ; If a person decides can I just ask at the gate ? - .....and what kind of costs would a person be looking at for two people purchasing last minute ??

Any feedback, ideas, suggestions would be appreciated.

I know most people will just say to purchase it now - I understand but right now we will suck it up on economy. I'm not so worried about the flight there it's sometimes coming home when you are cranky and tired

At the same token, I am not interested in spending $10K or something ridiculous like that.
If you have enough miles, I would change the ticket from coach to business award ticket.
If you don't have enough miles for 2, maybe purchase one business class and use miles for the second business class ticket.

Better than waiting as the Asia-US routes are usually tough to upgrade last minute.
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Old Jun 25, 13, 7:54 am
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All things considered, IMO, you're better off flying in Business and saving the miles/money. UA's Employee Cl....err.... First class isn't that much better than Business.
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Old Jun 26, 13, 5:39 am
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Originally Posted by mbarreto View Post
All things considered, IMO, you're better off flying in Business and saving the miles/money. UA's Employee Cl....err.... First class isn't that much better than Business.
Service wise, you are right, in fact UA F is an embarrassment when it comes to soft product. But the seats are much better then the C seats and are as good as many other airlines F seats. (lets face it, thats the most important part anyway)
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