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Pay $200 to get 15K miles back or $0 and hope they come back for free?

Pay $200 to get 15K miles back or $0 and hope they come back for free?

Old Apr 18, 15, 7:01 pm
  #1  
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Pay $200 to get 15K miles back or $0 and hope they come back for free?

The situation: a friend of mine with no status on United (I have no status, either), was planning on being on my flight in September, BOS-SFO. I already have a mileage award in F on that flight. I've got lots of miles, and I had silver status earlier this year, so I put in for the mileage upgrade for her: 15,000 miles and no co-pay since I had status at the time.

The problem: my friend won't be able to make this trip.

The choice: according to a CSA I spoke with, I can withdraw this upgrade request (which is still pending) for $200 and get the miles back. Or I can hope that it never goes through, in which case I get the 15,000 miles back for free.

My guess on the odds: 60/40 in my favor that this does not go though, and I get my miles back for free.

Your thoughts? Thanks for any you'd like to share.
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Old Apr 18, 15, 7:17 pm
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I might be missing something - but if she cancels the reservation you should get back your miles free...
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Old Apr 18, 15, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
according to a CSA I spoke with, I can withdraw this upgrade request (which is still pending) for $200 and get the miles back. Or I can hope that it never goes through, in which case I get the 15,000 miles back for free.
Is she going to let the ticket value go away? Because if she wants to save any of the ticket value, she'll have to cancel it before departure (unless it's a refundable ticket), which means no chance to let the upgrade definitively fail, and a redeposit fee to return the miles.

In fact, since a no-show will cancel the ticket, I don't see any way to avoid the redeposit fee unless (i) she flies and misses the upgrade, or (ii) you find an agent who's willing to waive the fee.

$200 for 15,000 miles is 1.3 cpm, which is less than UA sells them for.

Last edited by Kacee; Apr 18, 15 at 7:34 pm
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Old Apr 18, 15, 9:17 pm
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Originally Posted by bmwe92fan View Post
I might be missing something - but if she cancels the reservation you should get back your miles free...
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Is she going to let the ticket value go away? Because if she wants to save any of the ticket value, she'll have to cancel it before departure (unless it's a refundable ticket), which means no chance to let the upgrade definitively fail, and a redeposit fee to return the miles.
Thanks, folks. Looks like you have conflicting understandings of whether I get the miles back for free if she cancels the reservation before departure. Anyone have personal experience with this?
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Old Apr 18, 15, 10:01 pm
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
Thanks, folks. Looks like you have conflicting understandings of whether I get the miles back for free if she cancels the reservation before departure. Anyone have personal experience with this?
If you want the miles back, policy is to assess the redeposit fee.
If you cancel your MileagePlus Upgrade Award, miles and co-pay may be refunded for the applicable redeposit fee.

Upgrade Award Terms & Conditions
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Old Apr 18, 15, 10:18 pm
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I think your friend owes you dinner next time she is in town.
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Old Apr 18, 15, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If you want the miles back, policy is to assess the redeposit fee.
If you cancel your MileagePlus Upgrade Award, miles and co-pay may be refunded for the applicable redeposit fee.

Upgrade Award Terms & Conditions
Cancelling the upgrade is different from canceling the flight. Cancel the flight and I bevel miles are returned for no fee.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 19, 15 at 12:04 pm Reason: dup
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Old Apr 18, 15, 10:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If you want the miles back, policy is to assess the redeposit fee.
If you cancel your MileagePlus Upgrade Award, miles and co-pay may be refunded for the applicable redeposit fee.

Upgrade Award Terms & Conditions
Cancelling the upgrade is different from canceling the flight. Cancel the flight and I believe the miles are returned for no fee.
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Old Apr 19, 15, 7:39 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Cancelling the upgrade is different from canceling the flight. Cancel the flight and I bevel miles are returned for no fee.
That would be a pleasant surprise. Perhaps OP could report back on his result.
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Old Apr 19, 15, 10:07 am
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Cancelling the upgrade is different from canceling the flight. Cancel the flight and I bevel miles are returned for no fee.
That's my understanding as well. No flight, no upgrade.
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Old Apr 19, 15, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Cancelling the upgrade is different from canceling the flight. Cancel the flight and I bevel miles are returned for no fee.
Originally Posted by stevenshev View Post
That's my understanding as well. No flight, no upgrade.
My recollection is that the upgrade "cert" is still issued and can be applied to a different itinerary or it can be redeposited for the appropriate fee. But maybe that's changed.
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Old Apr 19, 15, 3:11 pm
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If you're still on the waitlist and the underlying reservation itself is canceled then it has to be the case that you get your miles back for no fee. I can't provide a reference but I would be astounded with any other result.

I would expect this even if the upgrade had cleared, but I'd be less certain.

If the friend is definitely canceling the reservation then why not do it now and see what happens?
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Old Apr 24, 15, 10:11 am
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Epilogue: my friend cancelled the reservation, but the miles did not revert back to my account. They just sat there in the canceled reservation along with the $. I called in and the CSA told me that I'd have to pay the redeposit fee of $200 to get them back. I did that.

And BTW, I was mistaken about 15K miles -- it was actually 20K miles, which made it an easier decision to pay the redeposit fee.

Thanks for the advice, folks.
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Old Apr 24, 15, 10:38 am
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... and thanks for reporting the outcome. So few people do that!
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Old Apr 24, 15, 10:43 am
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Originally Posted by dhuey View Post
And BTW, I was mistaken about 15K miles -- it was actually 20K miles, which made it an easier decision to pay the redeposit fee.
Yup, at 1 cpm, that's the right call if you have future use for them.

Still just a terrible policy to charge a redeposit fee when the upgrade was never confirmed.
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