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

Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively

Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively

    Hide Wikipost
Old Feb 5, 19, 8:42 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: dkc192
Wiki Link
Types of Upgrades

UA's Upgrades overview

UA has multiple methods for upgrading to a higher cabin. Examples include: Economy to Domestic F, Economy to International Business or Business (ex-p.s. flights) or Polaris Business to Polaris First (select 3-cabin planes).

In this regard, seating in Economy Plus is considered Economy.

Not all upgrade methods are available on all flights (see table).
Paid/cash upgrades are a different mechanism and are only available if confirmable -- no waitlisting. Depending on methods, paid upgrades can clear into P/Z/A or R/RN/PN/ZN. The later group can show up on the cleared upgrade list.

RPU, GPU, and MUA (also called "miles+cash upgrades") are collectively referred to as instrument-supported upgrades, as they are considered with equal priority once applied. They may also be used on Copa (CM) flights.

Waitlisting for a premium cabin award and all forms of Economy Plus are not considered upgrades.


Upgrade Priority and Required Inventory

All upgrades other than CPU may clear immediately if the required inventory class is available. If you request an upgrade when there is not inventory to confirm your upgrade immediately, you will be added to the upgrade waitlist. The required inventory classes are as follows:

PN class is required for Instant Upgrades from Y, B, and M fares for Premier 1K members, and for all upgrades from Economy of any type for Global Services members.
PZ class is required for all other upgrades from Economy except CPUs.


Passengers with unconfirmed upgrade requests will be added to the upgrade waitlist. This is not the same as the upgrade standby list which you can see on the Flight Status page. You cannot see this list by any means. The ordering of the upgrade waitlist is as follows:
  • All Global Services members (presumably prioritized similar to other members below), including those awaiting a CPU.
  • For CPU eligible flights, Premier 1K members on eligible Y-, B- and M-class fares that were not cleared at time of booking are prioritized by fare class and then time of request.
  • All travelers on waitlisted Global Premier Upgrades, Regional Premier Upgrades (where valid) and MileagePlus Upgrade Awards: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler, then fare class and then time of request. There is no priority difference between GPU, RPU & MUA requests.
  • For CPU eligible flights all remaining Premier members: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler and fare class (award tickets are considered the lowest fare class)

Recent announced modification
Effective August 14, 2018, upgrade waitlists are processed in the following priority order:
  1. Premier status of the traveler
  2. Fare class
  3. Chase United MileagePlus Club cardholder
  4. United Corporate Preferred participant
  5. Time of request
Later in 2018: We will include upgrade priority for primary Chase United MileagePlus Cardmembers who have met the $25K annual spend Premier Qualifying Dollar (PQD) waiver on a Chase MileagePlus co-brand card. Priority order for these Cardmembers will fall after United Corporate Preferred participants and before time of request.
United will periodically run sweeps from this list. The required inventory class for your upgrade does not need to be available in order to be upgraded from the standby list; passengers on the list will be upgraded at the discretion of United's systems. (You can also think of it as space was opened and then you immediately took it.)

Once check-in starts a new waitlist will be generated for use at the gate. The pre-gate list will continue to process until the flight goes to the gate, typically one to three hours prior to departure. This new list is the visible one on the Flight Status page. Generally they will have the same order, but there can be some differences in priority ordering of the two lists -- usually due to the time tiebreaker -- which is time of request for the pre-gate list and time of check-in (sequence number) for gate list. The visible (upgrade standby) list has only checked-in passengers and is not used until the flight is under gate control and the gate agent manually processes an upgrade.

The upgrade list sometimes also shows passengers who have been upgraded. For non-CPU flights, cleared instrument supported upgrades will not show on the gate list as cleared -- only gate cleared upgrades will display with a green checkmark. On CPU-eligible flights, the gate list will show any passenger that cleared (green checkmark) into R/RN/PN -- this includes any instrument supported upgrades (including pre-gate), some paid upgrades and any early CPU. Gate cleared upgrades will also show. (Confirmed ->) JN standard awards will also show with a green checkmark.

For both cases, display cleared upgrades will appear in alphabetic order and regardless if checked-in (as long as a seat has been assigned). Uncleared, waitlisted requests will appear, once checked in, in priority order. But until all have checked in, the visible gate waitlist is incomplete.


Upgrades and Companions
Main article: Comprehensive Companion Upgrade Questions

The following applies ONLY to the invisible upgrade list.

Up to one companion on the same PNR as you is entitled to a CPU based on your status. However, because PNRs must consist only of passengers with the same itinerary, you will only be eligible for an upgrade if all passengers on your PNR have the same upgrade eligibility. For CPUs, you may extend your CPU status to one companion, and then the system will take the status of the lowest passenger on the reservation.

This is a little complicated. Here are some example PNRs:

1K and non-status companion: both are eligible to CPU as 1Ks
1K and two non-status companions: no one is eligible to CPU
1K, Gold, and non-status companion: the companion gets "1K CPU status" but the Gold cannot, so all three pax have Gold priority

The situation for instrument supported upgrades is slightly different. Waitlisting an instrument is also all-or-nothing on the PNR. Either all pax must have a waitlisted upgrade, or none may. If you have a waitlisted upgrade for a multiple passenger PNR, it will have the priority of the highest Premier status on the reservation. Thus:

1K and non-status companion, 2x GPU applied: both are eligible as 1Ks with GPU
1K and three non-status companions, 4x GPU applied: all four are eligible as 1Ks with GPU

Multi-pax PNR upgrades are all or nothing - you may (or may not) be skipped over if there are fewer available seats than members in your party. If you do not like the treatment of your PNR, you may split it into smaller pieces at any time and be treated as smaller groups or individuals.


Now, what happens if you haven't cleared by check-in?

Multiple pax PNRs are not eligible for the (visible) upgrade standby list. If you wish to be added to the list, you must split the PNR at check-in. This often happens even if you didn't intend to. Note, however, that the hidden list is active until 3 hours before departure and splitting your PNR changes it. Therefore, you may wish to delay check-in until the airport. On the other hand, the tiebreak for the gate list is time of check-in, so you may wish to do so immediately. It depends on your situation.

Companions may be eligible for the upgrade standby list even after splitting the PNR, if it is split at check-in. The behavior of your companion(s) depends on whether the reservation had instruments applied. You may have one CPU companion, who will be waitlisted with your Premier priority but with an effective fare class below X (namely, last). If your companion was on a different PNR originally, or you want to designate a different companion, an airport agent can do that for you. Therefore, the list of 1Ks might be:

1) 1K on an S fare (you)
2) 1K on a K fare
3) Your no-status companion
4) Plat on a B fare

If your reservation had instruments applied, however, this process is different. In this case, if the reservation is auto-split at check-in, all travelers will have your Premier priority with their fare class. Say you are a 1K with three non-status companions, all with GPUs applied. Then you have

1) 1K on a V fare, GPU applied
2..5) you (1K) and your three companions on W fares, ordered by sequence number
6) Plat on a Q fare, miles+cash applied


Frequently Asked Questions

I was #1 on the upgrade list, but someone else got the upgrade instead. What happened?
The most likely answer is that the upgraded passenger was not checked in. Remember that the upgrade standby list (the visible list) only shows passengers who have checked in.

I'm #1 on the upgrade list but seats in the forward cabin keep disappearing. No one is being upgraded. What's going on?
There are two major sources of this. First, once your flight is within 24 hours of departure, it is eligible for SDC. Passengers with paid premium tickets can change to your flight and take seats. Many experienced flyers, especially FT members, underestimate the volatility of flight loads on the day of departure. Additionally, United usually makes a time-of-departure upsell offer available at check-in. Purchasers of this upgrade may often appear similar to last-minute revenue bookings.

I was waitlisted for I (or IN) class and did not clear. Am I now eligible for an upgrade?
"Upgrade" is the wrong terminology. You should be automatically placed on the standy list for business or first (whichever applies). Historically there have been problems with this occurring automatically, but that seems to have mostly been fixed. The exact priority compared to passengers who are waitlisted for an upgrade is unclear and a matter of some dispute. See discussion of GG ONESTANDBY lines 32-55.

Who are these people who are on standby lists for both Business and First?
These are non-revs (i.e., UA employees and family members) - either NRPS (non-rev positive space) or NRSA (non-rev standby). Non-revs can list for any cabin. NRPS are traveling on company business (e.g., deadheading pilots) and will clear into open space ahead of upgraders. NRSA travel standby and will be last in priority after all paid passengers. Why would someone be listed on both standby & upgrade list(s)?

Can you have one companion on a different PNR?
Yes, but only at the airport/gate and some agents are not familiar with the process. They are at the bottom of your status group.

Related threads
Ever see (+X blocked) in booked column on upgrade list?
Consolidated "Waitlist for Award Seats Questions/Issues"
[Consolidated] Chance of upgrade clearing on my flight
Decoding the alphabet soup - fare buckets for UA

Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively [Archive]
Print Wikipost

Reply

Old Dec 9, 18, 7:45 pm
  #976  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 7,448
Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Heres a new one for me.

UA 6061 tomorrow. Showing J8, PZ4 since yesterday. No ones been upgraded as of now, and weíre basically at T-23. Iím on a 3 pax PNR, with 2 silvers, so I presume soemone should have been upgraded now, if not the 3 of us.

I know the system sometimes delays sweeps by a few minutes, say 5-15. But never seen it not run this long with open space. Any idea why this might happen?
Do you have an instrument applied?

If not, this is the new normal. There no longer appears to be any correlation between some specific PZ value and CPUs running.
jsloan is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 9, 18, 11:15 pm
  #977  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: CVG/YYZ
Programs: UA Gold, AC, AA, DL, Marriott Gold, SPG Gold
Posts: 11,265
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Do you have an instrument applied?

If not, this is the new normal. There no longer appears to be any correlation between some specific PZ value and CPUs running.
interesting. Ok. I know they havenít always CPUd with old R/PZ2 or less, but seeing PZ4, Iíve never seen a sweep not occur, except way back in the very new post merger days, when out of sync PNRs basically froze the upgrade process.

No instrument applied, just a CPU. As as it turns out, not too long after posting, upgrade email came through. My time stamp is showing 8:03 here in PHX, which would make it roughly 22 hours 45 minutes prior to departure. Like I said, seen it off by several
minutes before, but never longer than 15.
emcampbe is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 18, 1:10 am
  #978  
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Singapore
Programs: EXP PLT, UA1K, QF Gold
Posts: 12
Interesting find today.....have been waitlist for a GPU for 8 weeks - NRT/SFO/LAX & VV - booked B class - called the 1K desk to understand how long is UG waitlist to be told I'm at the bottom as I'm Silver - whereby i have been 1K for the last 5 years.....system bugged out or what. Wonderful agent called Donna worked with her supervisor to reinstate correct status & now at the top......anyone know why a 1K would be tagged as Silver?

Last edited by GlobalTvller; Dec 10, 18 at 2:23 am
GlobalTvller is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 18, 7:30 am
  #979  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 3,693
Originally Posted by blort View Post
No. General member, upgrade request supported by my RPU.

No idea. I would have inquired with the GA had I been there.

Appreciate all the ideas. Naturally I think shenanigans when that kind of thing happens, especially so close to departure...
From what's been reported about how the visible list populates in a few edge cases, I think it's possible that 2. Sto, R and 7. Hob, K were supported by GS certificates (and had no status) but were on lower fares than 1. Erk, J. If PN opened they could have been cleared by the computer first. Not sure what a GA would have done in that case, but I'd expect adhere to the visible list instead.

In any case, I agree it looks odd.



Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post
Heres a new one for me.

UA 6061 tomorrow. Showing J8, PZ4 since yesterday. No ones been upgraded as of now, and weíre basically at T-23. Iím on a 3 pax PNR, with 2 silvers, so I presume soemone should have been upgraded now, if not the 3 of us.

I know the system sometimes delays sweeps by a few minutes, say 5-15. But never seen it not run this long with open space. Any idea why this might happen?
Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post


interesting. Ok. I know they havenít always CPUd with old R/PZ2 or less, but seeing PZ4, Iíve never seen a sweep not occur, except way back in the very new post merger days, when out of sync PNRs basically froze the upgrade process.

No instrument applied, just a CPU. As as it turns out, not too long after posting, upgrade email came through. My time stamp is showing 8:03 here in PHX, which would make it roughly 22 hours 45 minutes prior to departure. Like I said, seen it off by several
minutes before, but never longer than 15.
I wrote (/ am writing) about a similar experience in the CPU thread:
Originally Posted by fumje View Post
Hm, something seems wrong.

Flight in two days on e75, booked 1/12 in F, has been PZ9 for last two days at least, no CPU.

It's a short flight, so I'm just going to wait and see what happens.
Perhaps I need to count down to 22h45m to see what happens next for me.
fumje is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 18, 9:52 am
  #980  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: TX
Programs: UA Plat, Marriott G, Hilton G, SPG G
Posts: 371
Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post


interesting. Ok. I know they havenít always CPUd with old R/PZ2 or less, but seeing PZ4, Iíve never seen a sweep not occur, except way back in the very new post merger days, when out of sync PNRs basically froze the upgrade process.

No instrument applied, just a CPU. As as it turns out, not too long after posting, upgrade email came through. My time stamp is showing 8:03 here in PHX, which would make it roughly 22 hours 45 minutes prior to departure. Like I said, seen it off by several
minutes before, but never longer than 15.
This weekend I flew the ERJ175 where it was PZ7 or more both directions up till departure. Outbound I upgraded at the Plat window, as normally happens. On the return the computer processed no upgrades even though inventory was 3 of 12 booked with a high PZ availability. GA processed all the upgrades at the gate as we boarded and it went out 10/12 so it really does just seem random when the computer chooses to upgrade.
txaggiemiles is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 18, 10:33 am
  #981  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: New York City
Programs: UA GS 1MM
Posts: 29
Originally Posted by blort View Post
Just want to make sure I'm not missing something here. I had sponsored an upgrade on a domestic flight with an RPU for a non-status flyer, who was #1 on the upgrade list for the flight below since check-in opened.

How did #7 jump the list and snag an upgrade after check-in has closed? I understand there's variability before it goes to the gate, but I thought by this point (i.e. check-in closed, less than 30 minutes to flight time) the list was the list. Thanks.




I once had employees on stand by #3 and #4 clear before me and my partner #1 and #2 on a flight from EWR to GVA.
They were the parents of one of the flight attendant. Meanwhile they got the 2 seats together when my partner and I were separated.
So I guess everything is possible !!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Dec 10, 18 at 2:23 pm Reason: Please attribute quotes
benewr is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 18, 10:35 am
  #982  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: BOS<>NYC<>BKK
Programs: UA GS/3.9998MM; AA1MM; Amtrak S+; MAR LT TITAN; PC Plat; HIL DIA; HYA GLOB
Posts: 3,636
Originally Posted by txaggiemiles View Post
This weekend I flew the ERJ175 where it was PZ7 or more both directions up till departure. Outbound I upgraded at the Plat window, as normally happens. On the return the computer processed no upgrades even though inventory was 3 of 12 booked with a high PZ availability. GA processed all the upgrades at the gate as we boarded and it went out 10/12 so it really does just seem random when the computer chooses to upgrade.
Recently I had an ORD-HKG W fare W/L for PN -- at booking it was PN0. But a few days ago I checked, and it was PN3 PZ1, but my upgrade had not cleared. I called GS, and the agent manually pushed it through. She told me that she sees a lot of these "stuck" upgrade W/Ls that don't clear when PN/PZ opens, and has reported these up the chain as she verified they are supposed to automatically clear if upgrade inventory is released.
wxguy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 10, 18, 10:46 am
  #983  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 7,448
Originally Posted by wxguy View Post
Recently I had an ORD-HKG W fare W/L for PN -- at booking it was PN0. But a few days ago I checked, and it was PN3 PZ1, but my upgrade had not cleared. I called GS, and the agent manually pushed it through. She told me that she sees a lot of these "stuck" upgrade W/Ls that don't clear when PN/PZ opens, and has reported these up the chain as she verified they are supposed to automatically clear if upgrade inventory is released.
Yes, waitlisted instruments are absolutely supposed to clear when inventory opens (and sometimes don't). CPUs, though, are not guaranteed to clear at any particular PZ number.
wxguy likes this.
jsloan is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 11, 18, 9:06 am
  #984  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Programs: 1K
Posts: 151
Can someone help explain this one?

Waitlisted and Upgrade Requested on same itinerary with RPU applied to the the one way itinerary?
Attached Images  
zdog2x is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 11, 18, 9:43 am
  #985  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 7,448
Originally Posted by zdog2x View Post
Can someone help explain this one?

Waitlisted and Upgrade Requested on same itinerary with RPU applied to the the one way itinerary?
The segment in question is the second one, not the first one. Do the details match exactly? My bet is that there's been a schedule change which has confused the display.
jsloan is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 11, 18, 10:07 am
  #986  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Programs: 1K
Posts: 151
Called 1K and they said that RPU was only applied to the 50 minute flight segment (#1) and not on #2 (DEN SFO) and they "fixed" it. Flight is tomorrow so a bit of a moot point.

That said what does the second message mean? Don't RPUs clear into PZ?

:confused
zdog2x is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 11, 18, 10:11 am
  #987  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Floating around
Programs: UA 1K (1MM), DL Silver (1MM), Marriott LT Titanium
Posts: 7,950
Originally Posted by zdog2x View Post
Called 1K and they said that RPU was only applied to the 50 minute flight segment (#1) and not on #2 (DEN SFO) and they "fixed" it. Flight is tomorrow so a bit of a moot point.

That said what does the second message mean? Don't RPUs clear into PZ?

:confused
Yes, PZ replaced R.

-RM
RobOnLI is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 11, 18, 11:04 am
  #988  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 7,448
Originally Posted by zdog2x View Post
Called 1K and they said that RPU was only applied to the 50 minute flight segment (#1) and not on #2 (DEN SFO) and they "fixed" it. Flight is tomorrow so a bit of a moot point.

That said what does the second message mean? Don't RPUs clear into PZ?

:confused
The RPU was on both segments, but one of them had some kind of schedule change so the record got out of sync. The agent "fixed" the record by correcting the flight information on the waitlisted segment.
jsloan is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 11, 18, 1:04 pm
  #989  
mr8
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Programs: UA1K | *A Gold
Posts: 456
Originally Posted by GlobalTvller View Post
Interesting find today.....have been waitlist for a GPU for 8 weeks - NRT/SFO/LAX & VV - booked B class - called the 1K desk to understand how long is UG waitlist to be told I'm at the bottom as I'm Silver - whereby i have been 1K for the last 5 years.....system bugged out or what. Wonderful agent called Donna worked with her supervisor to reinstate correct status & now at the top......anyone know why a 1K would be tagged as Silver?
Are you flying with a silver?
mr8 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Dec 11, 18, 3:38 pm
  #990  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Bergen County NJ
Programs: UA SILVER, PP, AMEX PLAT, SPG G, HH Gold, Amtrak Select
Posts: 235
Originally Posted by emcampbe View Post


interesting. Ok. I know they havenít always CPUd with old R/PZ2 or less, but seeing PZ4, Iíve never seen a sweep not occur, except way back in the very new post merger days, when out of sync PNRs basically froze the upgrade process.

No instrument applied, just a CPU. As as it turns out, not too long after posting, upgrade email came through. My time stamp is showing 8:03 here in PHX, which would make it roughly 22 hours 45 minutes prior to departure. Like I said, seen it off by several
minutes before, but never longer than 15.
Sweep for my flight ran today at T-19 yesterday with 6 clearing at the time...
theboss7593 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread