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[Consolidated] Chance of upgrade clearing on my flight [2017]

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Old Nov 27, 17, 12:34 pm   -   Wikipost
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Old Oct 18, 17, 2:33 pm
  #991  
 
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
Hi-
so I used the book the economy saver award with the business saver price (57.500) for a flight from europe to SF Monday. I'm premier silver but it shows X waiting for I class.

Here are the stats...what are my chances 5 days out?

Available fare classes:J8JN8C8D8Z4ZN4P2PN0R0RN0IN0I0Y9YN9B9M9E9U9 H9HN9Q9V9W9S9T9L9K9G0N9XN9X9
Presume you mean UA59 FRA-SFO. I'd put your odds at ~10-20%. Monday is usually ok for westbound TATL, but 1) FRA-SFO has a ton of elites waitlisting GPUs, all of which (should) rank above you on an I waitlist, and 2) the pull of the 77W will likely drive more WLing and ToDs, counting against you.

If, on the other hand, you manage to get PR-1d and jump ahead of GPU waitlisters, I think your odds are pretty good; all you need is an empty seat at T-1 or a misconnect, and odds of one of those are probably ~50%.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by sfo789 View Post
Presume you mean UA59 FRA-SFO. I'd put your odds at ~10-20%. Monday is usually ok for westbound TATL, but 1) FRA-SFO has a ton of elites waitlisting GPUs, all of which (should) rank above you on an I waitlist, and 2) the pull of the 77W will likely drive more WLing and ToDs, counting against you.

If, on the other hand, you manage to get PR-1d and jump ahead of GPU waitlisters, I think your odds are pretty good; all you need is an empty seat at T-1 or a misconnect, and odds of one of those are probably ~50%.
how can you tell how many elites are waitlisting for a GPU?

also - Isn't the point of paying 56k for a full ticket is I am above the GPUs? Why do you say they would upgrade before me since I paid techinically full fare. Seems dumb to do then since there would almost always be lots of elites on long international flights.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 3:20 pm
  #993  
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
Isn't the point of paying 56k for a full ticket is I am above the GPUs? Why do you say they would upgrade before me since I paid techinically full fare. Seems dumb to do then since there would almost always be lots of elites on long international flights.
Not sure I would agree that it's "dumb" for UA to give waitlist priority to customers who spend at least $12K per year (and in many cases much more) on UA tickets. In fact, I would call it both sensible and appropriate.

And btw, a 57,500 mile saver award ticket is hardly "full fare." Full fare business class on this route is about $7,000 cash money (one way). Passengers who want to spend miles and be guaranteed a business class seat have the option of redeeming for a standard award ticket at 150K.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 3:25 pm
  #994  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Not sure I would agree that it's "dumb" for UA to give waitlist priority to customers who spend at least $12K per year (and in many cases much more) on UA tickets. In fact, I would call it both sensible and appropriate.

And btw, a 57,500 mile saver award ticket is hardly "full fare." Full fare business class on this route is about $7,000 cash money (one way). Passengers who want to spend miles and be guaranteed a business class seat have the option of redeeming for a standard award ticket at 175K.
I was told by the supervisor I cleared ahead of them - are you sure you are even right that GPUs clear above this strategy? Otherwise as you point out it would be entirely pointless on long haul international routes.

and sure - anything is dumb that makes the airline less money. if it doesn't clear I'll get a refund.

also my when I said full fare I mean it's a paid ticket- not technically an "upgrade". got a lecture on this from the supervisor at united. it confuses them to say "upgrade".
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Old Oct 18, 17, 3:30 pm
  #995  
 
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
how can you tell how many elites are waitlisting for a GPU?
You can't until T-24 when people get added to the public UG list, and even then the data are often inaccurate (some people don't check in till just before departure). But I know TATL well enough to know FRA-SFO is one of the harder routes to clear in the system, made worse by the 77W.

Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
also - Isn't the point of paying 56k for a full ticket is I am above the GPUs? Why do you say they would upgrade before me since I paid techinically full fare. Seems dumb to do then since there would almost always be lots of elites on long international flights.
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Not sure I would agree that it's "dumb" for UA to give waitlist priority to customers who spend at least $12K per year (and in many cases much more) on UA tickets.
This. You are not "full fare". You are requesting a very specific fare class -- saver business, the last type of business fare class to be made available. Traditionally R has ranked above IN b/c there's good reason an airline should "value" an elite who paid (often quite a lot thanks to the W upfare) some money for their seat over someone who just used miles. Honestly PR-1 as it is described makes little sense to me. If R>I under EUA and RM, it should be at the gate too.

And the comparison becomes even more important given often only a few people clear on TATLs, because J demand is so high. I've missed an upgrade enough times on SFO-LHR to confirm that there are not "lots of elites" clearing into R, at least not at peak times.

[edit to add response to this:]

Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
I was told by the supervisor I cleared ahead of them - are you sure you are even right that GPUs clear above this strategy? Otherwise as you point out it would be entirely pointless on long haul international routes.
As discussed here, an award waitlist request is lower priority than an upgrade request until T-2 (since R>IN in almost every case). However, there is speculation (inconsistently confirmed by FTers) that IN waitlisters are ranked higher on the gate upgrade list, used to clear people manually at and after boarding. That's what I mean by PR-1 (priority 1), a status level on the upgrade waitlist (reportedly) for those who are 'supposed' to be in business because they 'paid' for it.

TL;DR: You will almost certainly be below upgrade waitlisters until 2 hours before the flight; after that, you might be ahead of them.
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Old Oct 18, 17, 3:34 pm
  #996  
 
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
also - Isn't the point of paying 56k for a full ticket is I am above the GPUs? Why do you say they would upgrade before me since I paid techinically full fare. Seems dumb to do then since there would almost always be lots of elites on long international flights.
As noted by Kacee 57.5k miles is far from a good value for UA - they would be booked internally as $575 which is less than many Economy tickets, not including the upgrade instruments supporting them.

Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
I was told by the supervisor I cleared ahead of them - are you sure you are even right that GPUs clear above this strategy? Otherwise as you point out it would be entirely pointless on long haul international routes.
Prior to the gate, you are waitlisted for I class. This is an inferior inventory class to R, so in essence you are "behind" anyone who is waitlisted for R class and thus behind all supported upgrades of any flavor.

It's UAs choice to prioritize upgrades over Saver mileage tickets, but I think it pans out in a cost/benefit analysis.

At the gate, you will be added to the upgrade standby list when you check in. This priority will be used by the GA right before boarding only; prior to that you still clear from the waitlist (and on domestic flights can be jumped by CPUs). Your place on this waitlist is uncertain; I have seen things in this thread to suggest placement either ahead of or behind all supported upgrade requests.

Last edited by findark; Oct 19, 17 at 1:46 am
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Old Oct 18, 17, 4:24 pm
  #997  
 
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Originally Posted by Hollandair View Post
R and RN are RPU's right?
RPU, GPUs, $/mile upgrades
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Old Oct 18, 17, 7:07 pm
  #998  
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
I have seen things in this thread to suggest placement either ahead of or before all supported upgrade requests.
Did you mean "ahead of or behind" supported upgrade requests? I thought your recent reports suggested a much more nuanced waitlist coding, which takes into account status and instrument vs. award (which sounds way more sensible to me than giving a credit-card churner on the waitlist PR-1 status).
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Old Oct 18, 17, 11:14 pm
  #999  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
As noted by Kacee 57.5k miles is far from a good value for UA - they would be booked internally as $575 which is less than many Economy tickets, not including the upgrade instruments supporting them.



Prior to the gate, you are waitlisted for I class. This is an inferior inventory class to R, so in essence you are "behind" anyone who is waitlisted for R class and thus behind all supported upgrades of any flavor.

It's UAs choice to prioritize upgrades over Saver mileage tickets, but I think it pans out in a cost/benefit analysis.

At the gate, you will be added to the upgrade standby list when you check in. This priority will be used by the GA right before boarding only; prior to that you still clear from the waitlist (and on domestic flights can be jumped by CPUs). Your place on this waitlist is uncertain; I have seen things in this thread to suggest placement either ahead of or before all supported upgrade requests.
weird since usually airlines maximize revenue per seat mile. If it doesn't clear and they give it to an upgrade it will be less revenue since it will refund. if a gpu doesnt clear there is no revenue impact.

The supervisor claimed only a paid ticket or a non saver or a higher elite saver ticket would clear above- not GPUs or the like. I think I read a few posts saying the same too. bummer- i think my chances are a lot lower if this is true.
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Old Oct 19, 17, 1:49 am
  #1000  
 
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
Did you mean "ahead of or behind" supported upgrade requests? I thought your recent reports suggested a much more nuanced waitlist coding, which takes into account status and instrument vs. award (which sounds way more sensible to me than giving a credit-card churner on the waitlist PR-1 status).
Yes, meant "behind". The other 'b' word

My experiences do suggest that the system auto-lists below supported upgrades; however it's not conclusive and I got some pushback when I suggested this. I'm starting to regret not doing science and buying a dummy revenue ticket, checking it in, and then trying to get an instrument waitlist applied (or maybe just an M fare to see if PN waitlist went ahead of it). Alas, I didn't want to mess with UA by buy/cancel inside of 24hrs just to poke at the upgrade list

IME the waitlist thread contains sparse reports of pax bullying an agent into listing them PR-1 by specifically asking, and reports of "we got added to the waitlist but last...". However there is enough missing transparency it's hard to tell.
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Old Oct 19, 17, 2:04 am
  #1001  
 
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
weird since usually airlines maximize revenue per seat mile. If it doesn't clear and they give it to an upgrade it will be less revenue since it will refund. if a gpu doesnt clear there is no revenue impact.
What? GPUs presumably are encoded with some value to UA. A waitlister who fails on the list nets UA 1) a redeposited GPU, which represents another opportunity for you to get a pricey J seat later, and 2) the delta between whatever discount fare was on sale when you bought the fare and W, which is the price to play the 'GPU lottery'. I can certainly imagine the combination of those two -- even excluding elite loyalty value -- being worth more to UA than 27,500 miles.
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Old Oct 19, 17, 3:54 am
  #1002  
 
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Originally Posted by sfo789 View Post
What? GPUs presumably are encoded with some value to UA. A waitlister who fails on the list nets UA 1) a redeposited GPU, which represents another opportunity for you to get a pricey J seat later, and 2) the delta between whatever discount fare was on sale when you bought the fare and W, which is the price to play the 'GPU lottery'. I can certainly imagine the combination of those two -- even excluding elite loyalty value -- being worth more to UA than 27,500 miles.
Marginal revenue on a cashed in award is >0. A GPU has no marginal revenue the airlinine. Also fairly logicical -even the lowest business class code would prioritize higher than an upgrade from coach. That said - i do realize lots of people here may know quite a bit more than waht travel blogs say which is why i posted the question here.

That said- there are multiple travel sites that say only paid tickets are prioritized higher. Every one frankly that discusses this strategy which is why I was surprised when folks here made the case that it was untrue.


That said- I found some saver space on the dreamliner back to SFO from CDG so I'm covered if this doesn't clear in 3 days So if Sunday it doesn't clear I'll cancel and take the dreamliner next day from Paris.
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Old Oct 19, 17, 7:11 am
  #1003  
 
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
Marginal revenue on a cashed in award is >0. A GPU has no marginal revenue the airlinine. Also fairly logicical -even the lowest business class code would prioritize higher than an upgrade from coach. That said - i do realize lots of people here may know quite a bit more than waht travel blogs say which is why i posted the question here.
It’s this kind of thinking that has caused a number of the problems that United has had with retention of elite travelers. The marginal value of an instrument may be zero (I disagree — see below) at the time it’s used, but perhaps thousands of dollars later in the year when that person steers his travel to UA in order to earn more GPUs next year.

And, your logic is incorrect — full stop. Buckets are listed in priority order in the search results, and I (saver business class award) is after (lower priority than) R (upgrade from coach). Before the gate, there is no question whatsoever that passengers on upgraded tickets will get priority before saver awards. The only question is what happens at the gate, and frankly nobody is sure because UA has never told us. We (as a community) have been able to infer quite a few things, but they’re contradictory enough that it’s difficult to make any hard and fast rules about what happens.

Finally, as to the value of an instrument — first of all, there are massive copays included in mileage upgrade awards. Someone who purchased a discount coach ticket and then waitlisted an upgrade will be out as much as $600, depending on route and fare class, plus the miles. Your point of view would have UA prioritize this — real cash revenue — over a business award. Second, if you think of the purchase holistically, it’s entirely possible that UA may prefer to be paid with a W fare plus a GPU as opposed to a boatload of miles. The more times the W fare fails to clear, the more likely the passenger is just look for a G or K fare next time.

Last edited by jsloan; Oct 19, 17 at 9:45 am Reason: Grammar
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Old Oct 19, 17, 9:43 am
  #1004  
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
if you think of the purchase holistically, it’s entirely possible that UA may prefer to be paid with a W fare plus a GPU as opposed to a boatload of miles.
This is absolutely true. UA will regularly sell a W TPAC into an overbooked Y cabin, with R open, and I zero. In other words, UA will take the marginal revenue from a W fare, knowing the sale will fill a business class seat, while at the same time not allowing a business saver redemption.
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Old Oct 19, 17, 10:31 am
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Originally Posted by gadgetfreaky View Post
Marginal revenue on a cashed in award is >0. A GPU has no marginal revenue the airlinine...
Other than buying W or higher to use it when cheaper tickets are usually available? UA doesn't want to discourage that. You seem to think a free ticket user in coach looking for a saver award in business brings more value to United than a $ fare-paying 1K? Good luck with that logic.
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