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Questions About Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) on UA [Merged]

Old Feb 24, 2015, 2:10 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Previous thread: "Questions About Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) on UA" Thread [ARCHIVE]
Guide to CPUs

CPU eligible flights -- to see what is and is not eligible see Upgrade regions

In order for you to receive a CPU, four conditions have to be met at the same moment in time:

(NB: The following does not apply to GS members, whose CPUs process at least somewhat differently, out of the PN bucket.)

1. The flight must be within the relevant CPU window:
  • GS: 120 hours
  • 1K: 96 hours
  • Plat: 72 hours
  • Gold: 48 hours
  • Silver: 24 hours

If the flight is scheduled to depart after midnight central time, all of these windows open 24 hours early, due to a system glitch.

2. There must be CPU availability. CPUs for non-GS members draw from an invisible bucket that is often (but not always) pegged to roughly one or two less than the R PZ bucket. At the gate, all remaining seats are released.

3. You must be high enough on the relevant upgrade list.
There are two separate upgrade lists, used during the two different upgrade processes described in (4) below. Understand how these lists work is one of the things people struggle with the most.

The Pre-Gate List (a/k/a the "sweeps list" or "EUA list")
This list is used in the pre-gate process described in (4) below. Your presence on the list is indicated by the CPU Requested icon/language on your reservation, but you cannot find out what position you are on this list through any public method. The list is sorted in this manner:- Displaced first-class passengers (Bought two-segment F ticket, F wasn't available on this segment at time of purchase)

- GS using any method (note GS clear out of PN)

- Uncleared instant upgrades, sorted by fare class* and status (Only 1K Y/B/M, clears out of PN)

- Waitlisted instrument/mile upgrades, sorted by status of highest elite on the PNR, fare class, and then time of request (e.g.: 1K in N upgrading using miles, Plat in S using RPU applied on Tuesday, Plat in S using RPU applied later on Friday)**, after check-in, time of checking is used vs time of request

- CPUs, sorted by status of highest elite on the PNR, fare class, and time of purchase (e.g.: 1K in E, 1K in N, Plat in E, Plat in X***, Gold in G purchased in November, Gold in G purchased in December), after check-in, time of checking is used vs time of request

*The coach fare classes, in the order that is relevant to this whole discussion, are: O, A, R (for upgrades from United Premium Plus seats to the United Polaris business class cabin) and Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G , YN/HN/XN/X (N is ineligible)

**Note: The upgrades above CPU can clear using R PZ space, CPU appears to be a subset, so R PZ space alone is not sufficient for CPU clearing.

***CPUs are only available for mileage tickets for certain credit card holders. It's a complicated issue that is generally beyond the scope of this thread. There is a separate thread for it.
Note the simple fare class, status and time has been replaced
Effective December 12, 2018, upgrade waitlists are processed in the following priority order:
  1. Premier status of the traveler
  2. Fare class
  3. Chase United MileagePlus Club cardholders and Presidential Plus cardholders
  4. United Corporate Preferred participant
  5. Chase United MileagePlus cardholders with $25,000 annual spendFootnote 2
  6. Time of request

The Gate List (a/k/a the "visible list")

This list controls upgrades at the gate. It is semi-visible to the public on the status page for a flight, but the status page only shows checked in passengers. Even if you appear first on the list, you might actually be fifteenth by the time everyone checks in.

This list is in the same order as the list above, except that the time-related tiebreakers (such as time of purchase) are replaced with the sequence number (which is related to the time of check-in). Additionally, certain non-revs (airline employees and family traveling for free or at low cost) are put on the gate list, at the end.

4. One of the two upgrade processes must run.

The Pre-Gate Process (a/k/a the "sweeps" or "EUA")
This process runs at certain times in the days leading up to the flight. It typically runs at 24-hour intervals leading up to T-24, at which point it begins to run more often. It is unclear exactly how often it runs, or when it stops running. There are reports of upgrades that seem to have been given by the pre-gate system even once boarding has begun.

The Gate Process
This process is manually accomplished by the GA, typically once if there are empty seats after check-in has closed, and again if there are no-shows in F. In the latter case, the GA may come onto the plane to give the new boarding pass to the passenger.

Sometimes the GA might not run the process, which makes them a Very Bad GA. On very rare occasions, they might fiddle with the process to upgrade their friends, which we call "shenanigans." That makes them a Mega Bad And Very In Trouble GA. Both of these situations should be reported in the relevant FT thread and directly to UA.

CPU FAQ

I'm number one on the upgrade list on the flight status page. Does that mean I'm first in line for the upgrade?
No, unless the check-in window has passed and the flight is under gate control.

There are seats available in F, why have I not been upgraded yet?
That's not how it works. See above.

There is R PZ availability, why haven't I been upgraded yet?
That's not how it works. See above.

Will the time that I check in affect my ability to get an upgrade?
Probably not. It is the third tie-breaker on the gate list only. See above.

Do I need to check in to get an upgrade?
No. Except at the gate. But if you're not checked in by that time, you have bigger problems.

Who are all these people on both the standby list and the upgrade list(s)?
Non-revs. See above.

But the website says that the Silver window opens the day of departure, not at T-24!
Ignore that.

But the website says that there is a "transfer" of the lists at T-24!
Ignore that.

But the agent said ____________________________!
Ignore them.

Will CPU for a UA operated flight not on UA ticket stock or listed as a partner codeshare?
Yes, if your MP account is attached

DidItClear
If the DidItClear website is going to be effective, it needs more members and trip upgrade data!

Please visit https://www.diditclear.com/ and include your trip experience with CPU's, RPU's, GPU's and any other means of upgrading available on United.


The better the data, the better the search results and experiential history.

Related threads
Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively

Comprehensive Companion CPU Questions

To split or not to split PNR

Print Wikipost

Questions About Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) on UA [Merged]

Old Sep 7, 2023, 12:18 pm
  #76  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: ORF, RIC
Programs: UA LT 1K, 3 MM; Marriott Titanium; IHG Platinum
Posts: 7,019
Originally Posted by RichardNixon
Is it still only the Y/B/M fares that get upgrades for free ever? That seems like the instant upgrade is the same as the 48/72/96 hour window. I'm a new statusholder and still learning what "Upgrades will be processed as early as 72 hours before departure" means.
Complimentary Premier upgrade (CPU) window for Silver/Gold/Platinum/1K/GS does not mean that you will receive a CPU at that specific time window. It may happen when UA knows that those remaining seats will not be sold and there are very few premier members on the upgrade standby list, which you will see at T-48h.
Y/B/M instant upgrade is a special type of CPU when PN (GS/1K; at or after purchase) or PZ (Platinum/Gold/Silver at purchase) spaces are available.
Instrument-supported upgrade is not free.
These are the nutshell of UA upgrade types.
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Kmxu is offline  
Old Sep 14, 2023, 7:26 pm
  #77  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: DCA
Programs: UA LT 1K, AA EXP, Bonvoy LT Titan, Avis PC, Hilton Gold
Posts: 9,660
Haven't flown UA in a while but wow - upgrades are impossible. I am 1K and I have two upcoming flights.
1. 1K on G fare #10 out of 22 on the upgrade list. 20 F seats, 3 seats open, no checked upgrades.
2. 1K on T fare #27 out of 60 on the upgrade list. 48 F seats, F is full, no checked upgrades.

No wonder I am flying AA as EXP and many times #1 on the list - and clearing.

At least on UA - I will preboard before group 1, if they announce it. Last time on UA, they announced Group 1 after they did GS.
There will be lots of preboarders on my flights.
cova is offline  
Old Nov 22, 2023, 1:09 pm
  #78  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 87
On a multi-segment flight. Would applying an upgrade instrument to only one segment affect the eligibility to CPU on the remaining segments? I specifically don't want to waste Plus Points on two one hour flights but would still like to be on the CPU list for those flights and request a Plus Point waitlist on a 4 hour flight only.

I searched the CPU and understanding United upgrades threads and couldn't find an answer. It seems to me like the other flights shouldn't be affected but again I couldn't find a definite answer here on FT.
eldy is offline  
Old Nov 22, 2023, 1:31 pm
  #79  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 15,067
Originally Posted by eldy
On a multi-segment flight. Would applying an upgrade instrument to only one segment affect the eligibility to CPU on the remaining segments? I specifically don't want to waste Plus Points on two one hour flights but would still like to be on the CPU list for those flights and request a Plus Point waitlist on a 4 hour flight only.

I searched the CPU and understanding United upgrades threads and couldn't find an answer. It seems to me like the other flights shouldn't be affected but again I couldn't find a definite answer here on FT.
After ticketing, you can upgrade only the segment(s) you want without impacting CPU eligibility on the others.
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Nov 22, 2023, 10:34 pm
  #80  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 87
Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
After ticketing, you can upgrade only the segment(s) you want without impacting CPU eligibility on the others.
Thank you! And I have to call in, right? I can't find an option on the website or app to upgrade just one segment.
eldy is offline  
Old Nov 23, 2023, 6:37 am
  #81  
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 15,067
Originally Posted by eldy
Thank you! And I have to call in, right? I can't find an option on the website or app to upgrade just one segment.
You should see option to upgrade cabin near bottom of manage reservation. Itll initially show selected for no upgrade for each segment. Just select the money, mikes, or PlusPoint option you want for the segments you want. No need to call.

Each segment you leave as no upgrade selected will remain CPU eligible. No upgrade is only referring to instrument-supported upgrade request, not CPUs.
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IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Nov 24, 2023, 10:00 am
  #82  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 87
Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
You should see option to upgrade cabin near bottom of manage reservation. Itll initially show selected for no upgrade for each segment. Just select the money, mikes, or PlusPoint option you want for the segments you want. No need to call.

Each segment you leave as no upgrade selected will remain CPU eligible. No upgrade is only referring to instrument-supported upgrade request, not CPUs.
I wasn't able to select individual segments of a multi segment flight on the mobile app or desktop site. And as an additional data point, I called the 1K line and the representative was only able to select individual segments if using Plus Points. To be explicit, individual segments were not selectable for upgrade using miles. SMF-SFO-DEN-HDN. Still on CPU list for SMF-SFO and DEN-HDN, upgrade waitlist on SFO-DEN. Thank you IAH-OIL-TRASH.
eldy is offline  
Old Nov 24, 2023, 1:54 pm
  #83  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,129
Originally Posted by eldy
... To be explicit, individual segments were not selectable for upgrade using miles. ....
Correct, only if PlusPoints. Neither you or the agents can do specific segment for Mileage upgrades, so you risk a short segment clearing. If that happens call and complaint. your miles may be refunded and UA needs to put miles on par with PlusPoints on selecting segments.
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Mar 27, 2024, 4:30 pm
  #84  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Programs: UA1K
Posts: 483
I don't have the "CPU Eligible" notation on my GUM-MNL segment. I thought it was supposed to be (based on reading of threads that are a couple of years old). Did something change?
unitedwildcat is offline  
Old Mar 27, 2024, 7:41 pm
  #85  
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Saipan, MP 96950 USA (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands = the CNMI)
Programs: UA Silver, Hilton Silver. Life: UA .57 MM, United & Admirals Clubs (spousal), Marriott Platinum
Posts: 15,249
GUM-MNL remains eligible for complimentary Premier upgrades (CPU). I flew it one month ago and was on the list, as a Premier Silver.
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SPN Lifer is offline  
Old Mar 27, 2024, 8:14 pm
  #86  
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Programs: UA1K
Posts: 483
Originally Posted by SPN Lifer
GUM-MNL remains eligible for complimentary Premier upgrades (CPU). I flew it one month ago and was on the list, as a Premier Silver.
hmm hopefully its just a glitch. thank you!
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unitedwildcat is offline  
Old Mar 28, 2024, 7:02 am
  #87  
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Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,590
Originally Posted by unitedwildcat
hmm hopefully its just a glitch. thank you!
​​​​​​All but certain it is an IT issue. I am flying an interesting itinerary coming up in 2 weeks or so, and nothing is being displayed for the SEA-SFO segment. No sweat. I can't remember the last time I got a CPU on UA anyway. My fellow economy pax are just more pleasant to fly with.
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Old Mar 28, 2024, 8:14 am
  #88  
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 11,547
Originally Posted by unitedwildcat
I don't have the "CPU Eligible" notation on my GUM-MNL segment. I thought it was supposed to be (based on reading of threads that are a couple of years old). Did something change?
Try change your seat around and see if the notation appears. I had this happen maybe a year ago on a normal domestic route, and that did it for me.
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fumje is offline  
Old Mar 28, 2024, 4:18 pm
  #89  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA LT Plat 2MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 67,129
Originally Posted by fumje
Try change your seat around and see if the notation appears.....
That has worked for years for many
Missing "eligible for complimentary premier upgrade" icon?
Originally Posted by wiki
Some suggestions that have worked in the past are
-- try changing seat assignment
-- try emailing the itin to your self
-- try removing and re-entering FF account ( cannot do online, need to call or do at the airport)
-- remove / re-entering TTN on the reservation
The intent of all of these is to cause a refresh of the reservation, restoring the missing CPU flag
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Mar 28, 2024, 9:25 pm
  #90  
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 11,547
Originally Posted by WineCountryUA
Of those four options, the seat twiddle option was the only one that was accessible to me and effected any change. I did try the others except remove fqtv, for the reason in the parenthetical.
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