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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

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

Old Jun 20, 2021, 5:13 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 21
CPU to United Business from Premium Plus on domestic routes

Hi, I'm Premier Gold on United traveling JFK-SFO. I booked in Premium Plus and wondered if there are CPUs on this route and if so, what is priority for clearing an upgrade?

I know there are some blog posts about this from 2019, but not sure if policy has changed. Thanks.
scalar is offline  
Old Jun 20, 2021, 5:18 pm
  #2  
Suspended
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Chicago
Programs: ,united 1k, AA EXP, HH Diamond,BA gold, Hyatt globalist
Posts: 974
Originally Posted by scalar
Hi, I'm Premier Gold on United traveling JFK-SFO. I booked in Premium Plus and wondered if there are CPUs on this route and if so, what is priority for clearing an upgrade?

I know there are some blog posts about this from 2019, but not sure if policy has changed. Thanks.
no CPU’s. However it only costs 10 PP to upgrade, if you know someone who has access to PP.
united 1k flyer is offline  
Old Jun 20, 2021, 5:19 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: IAH
Programs: MileagePlus-Premier Silver, Marriott Bonvoy-Silver Elite
Posts: 697
No CPUs for this flight, since it’s a premium transcontinental flight. You can use miles to upgrade though no copay.
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Old Jun 20, 2021, 5:35 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: BOS/EAP
Programs: UA 1K, MR LTT, HH Dia, Amex Plat
Posts: 31,985
definitely try to upgrade. Much nicer seat. No comp upgrades though.
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Old Jun 20, 2021, 5:45 pm
  #5  
Moderator: United Airlines
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.995MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Plat
Posts: 66,783
Originally Posted by scalar
Hi, I'm Premier Gold on United traveling JFK-SFO. I booked in Premium Plus and wondered if there are CPUs on this route ...
Not a CPU eligible flight -- to see what is and is not eligible see Upgrade regions
WineCountryUA is offline  
Old Jun 21, 2021, 2:04 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 21
Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for
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Old Jun 26, 2021, 8:18 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA USA
Posts: 267
SFO-IAD

Is SFO-IAD on 787 Dreamliner eligible for CPU as 1k? Thanks
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Old Jun 26, 2021, 8:21 am
  #8  
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Posts: 10,471
Originally Posted by jsy9999
Is SFO-IAD on 787 Dreamliner eligible for CPU as 1k? Thanks
Yes. CPU is available to all Premier members (not just 1K) on all non-basic economy fares.

Good luck. Probably should apply PlusPoints for better odds.
Kacee likes this.
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Old Jun 26, 2021, 8:46 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: ORF, RIC
Programs: UA LT 1K, 3 MM; Marriott Titanium; IHG Platinum
Posts: 6,944
Originally Posted by Repooc17
Yes. CPU is available to all Premier members (not just 1K) on all non-basic economy fares.

Good luck. Probably should apply PlusPoints for better odds.
Check the upgrade standby list first before making a decision. Depending upon the travel date and time, there is still a chance to get a CPU on SFO-IAD. Use Pluspoints as insurance if CPU chance is about 50-50.
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Old Jun 26, 2021, 9:40 am
  #10  
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,424
Originally Posted by Repooc17
Probably should apply PlusPoints for better odds.
This was traditionally an impossible CPU and very difficult with an instrument.

Right now it could go either way for the CPU. With business travel returning, I personally would burn expiring PP unless the cabin was totally empty.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jul 18, 2021, 5:51 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: SFO/SJC
Programs: UA 1K & 2MM, Bonvoy Titanium & LTP, HH Gold, Accor Silver, Hertz PC, Avis PC
Posts: 2,350
Four of us booked SFO-SEA this week. My wife (through my MM status) and I are both 1K, and the kids are status-free at the moment. Looks like a few upgrades will clear on this flight. Went through various threads, and I can't decide whether I should or shouldn't be splitting the PNR into 2+2. Any definitive viewpoints right now?
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Old Jul 18, 2021, 6:04 pm
  #12  
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Posts: 31,985
Originally Posted by cricketer
Four of us booked SFO-SEA this week. My wife (through my MM status) and I are both 1K, and the kids are status-free at the moment. Looks like a few upgrades will clear on this flight. Went through various threads, and I can't decide whether I should or shouldn't be splitting the PNR into 2+2. Any definitive viewpoints right now?
there is little risk in splitting this, but chances for an upgrade are near zero regardless. Even with +Ps I am not clearing any domestic UGs right now. For longer flights I just pay for F which is why I guess F is 'full'. Keeping 1 PNR for such a short flight probably yields the better outcome IMO
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Old Jul 21, 2021, 4:40 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Osaka
Programs: United Mileage Plus Premier Executive
Posts: 581
Premier Benefits when changing a flight

Hello,

I had a flight booked on a Saturday from DEN to IAH this summer. I checked in within 24 hrs. United offered a free change to a DEN to IAH flight on Friday night. I changed my flight to a late evening flight. The ticket was not basic economy. When I changed the ticket to Friday it was a confirmed seat with a seat assignment. They also offered standby choices or itineraries with fare differences. I have status with UA so am placed on the upgrade lists. When I changed to a new confirmed flight I noticed I was no longer on the upgrade list. I called UA and they didn’t know how to help and told me to ask at the airport.

When I checked in at Denver the agent was not friendly at the premier area. The agent said I was “revenue standby” and when you change a flight you do not get to be on the upgrade list. He made up a story as he didn’t know how to help. He was extremely dismissive and not helpful. I walked off and went to UA club and the agent said he was incorrect. She said that agent was not experienced and had less than a year with UA. She said added me to the list. She had to get a supervisor to help her, but at least she tried. They had to offload me and put me on again to get on the upgrade list.

Is there an IT flaw at United when you change your flights? Also, why do some agents think your premier benefits do not carry over if you change to another confirmed seat that UA offers in the checking process?

This happened to me in June when I changed my flight within 24 hrs to PHX. The agent had to get a supervisor at the gate to help him add me to the upgrade list. They were actually friendly though unlike the agent I asked for help recently.
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Old Jul 21, 2021, 4:51 am
  #14  
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Posts: 31,985
this usually works, but there are several reports where after voluntary or involuntary changes the UG list position or 'at all' is gone. Not a priority for UA to fix and it seems to have gotten worse recently.
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Old Jul 21, 2021, 6:27 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Programs: UA 1K 1MM, AA, DL
Posts: 7,418
Happened to my family recently with irrops. Missed connection (UA's fault) . . .UA was able to confirm me retaining upgrade on later flight. Child got E+seat; spouse was standby. Neither was on UG list (spouse did get seat as well). Gate agent couldn't/wouldn't do anything. CS of course couldn't because flight was already under gate control.
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