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Wow - selling the upgrades at the gate so explicitly.

Wow - selling the upgrades at the gate so explicitly.

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Old Mar 30, 18, 4:21 pm
  #346  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I find it shocking, simply shocking, that a for-profit business with a duty to its shareholders would attempt to sell a product before giving it away.

Seriously. UA is doing exactly what it ought to be doing. Whether it is upselling from the fare paid to the cheapest fare basis which books into F or it simply establishes a price, is irrelevant.

Bottom line is that if UA can't sell the seat, it gives it away.
Umm, no, what UA ought to be doing is honoring the last publicly stated policy on upgrade transparency and the two different types of upgrade sales and the circumstances for which each is available - or coming on this forum or communicating via some other means, if a new policy has replaced the policy we were told. Based on that policy, there is a significant difference between the circumstances for which a fare difference upgrade is available vs a fixed fee, so it is very relevant.

Bottom line is UA needs to follow the policies it sets, and provide a fair and balanced approach to meeting their obligations under the published benefits of the Mileage Plus program, vs making attempts to sell excess premium seats.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 5:48 pm
  #347  
 
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I have no issues with UA attempting to sell upgrades - even last minute at the gate. My beef is elite status already provides embedded benefits (baggage allowance, priority boarding, complementary food/drink for 1k in coach ...) and as such the UA offer to elites should be priced adjusted accordingly. My experience is a non-elite will get the exact same $$ offer to upgrade as 1Ks resulting in elite flyers effectively getting hosed with a benefit adjusted higher price point.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 5:54 pm
  #348  
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
I find it shocking, simply shocking, that a for-profit business with a duty to its shareholders would attempt to sell a product before giving it away.

Seriously. UA is doing exactly what it ought to be doing. Whether it is upselling from the fare paid to the cheapest fare basis which books into F or it simply establishes a price, is irrelevant.

Bottom line is that if UA can't sell the seat, it gives it away.
I would agree with the above if UA made it clear that being a MP member meant that when you got an upgrade, it would take place if, and only if, they couldn't sell the F and J seats. But we all know that isn't the case, and that's why so many elites have soured on UA. When you tell MP members this:

On certain flights, automatic processing of upgrades, including Complimentary Premier Upgrades, may begin as early as 96 hours (four days) in advance.
It's nothing more than bait and switch when the gate agents are hawking paid UGs at boarding.

I'm one of the people buying the UGs that UA is aggressively selling. I came to the realization a few years ago that going above and beyond to reach 1K was a fool's errand,
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Old Mar 30, 18, 7:16 pm
  #349  
 
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Originally Posted by CaptainSush View Post
I have no issues with UA attempting to sell upgrades - even last minute at the gate. My beef is elite status already provides embedded benefits (baggage allowance, priority boarding, complementary food/drink for 1k in coach ...) and as such the UA offer to elites should be priced adjusted accordingly. My experience is a non-elite will get the exact same $$ offer to upgrade as 1Ks resulting in elite flyers effectively getting hosed with a benefit adjusted higher price point.
A lot of anecdotal reports over at DL have non-status passengers getting low-ball FCM offers while elites get fare difference, or none at all. DL has some pretty complex algorithms working behind the scenes to maximize revenue, that's for sure.

They know that I'm willing to buy FC outright in many circumstances, for example, so I've gotten maybe one good FCM offer in two years. It sucks, but I hardly blame them.

As others have echoed, I do take issue with providing certificates, and then not allowing elites to use them. How many top-tier elites have been forced to beg agents for cert extensions due to an inability to use them, or have been forced to burn them on short-hauls?
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Old Mar 30, 18, 7:23 pm
  #350  
 
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Originally Posted by CaptainSush View Post
I have no issues with UA attempting to sell upgrades - even last minute at the gate. My beef is elite status already provides embedded benefits (baggage allowance, priority boarding, complementary food/drink for 1k in coach ...) and as such the UA offer to elites should be priced adjusted accordingly. My experience is a non-elite will get the exact same $$ offer to upgrade as 1Ks resulting in elite flyers effectively getting hosed with a benefit adjusted higher price point.
I recall a thread about non-status and/or lower status getting better upgrade offers than people with higher status and that is why some people leave their FF off their reservation. You have noticed the same offer whether you have your FF# on your reservation or not?
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Old Mar 30, 18, 9:12 pm
  #351  
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GPU and RPU are still free upgrades, just have a higher priority.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 9:18 pm
  #352  
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
GPU and RPU are still free upgrades, just have a higher priority.
For US residents, GPU require minimum $12k in UA spend plus purchase of a W fare or higher. That's not "free" in my book.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 9:37 pm
  #353  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
For US residents, GPU require minimum $12k in UA spend plus purchase of a W fare or higher. That's not "free" in my book.
I agree that they're not "free" per se, but a GPU applied on the day of departure doesn't directly generate additional revenue to UA whereas selling an upgrade does. The W+ revenue has already been earned, as has your prior year spend. I say "directly" because I'm sure many FTers will argue that if GPU's don't ever (or very rarely) clear, pax will choose other carriers for frequent flying, ultimately resulting in a indirect decline in revenue.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 9:52 pm
  #354  
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Originally Posted by onthesam View Post
I'm sure many FTers will argue that if GPU's don't ever (or very rarely) clear, pax will choose other carriers for frequent flying, ultimately resulting in a indirect decline in revenue.
It absolutely costs them revenue. I've spent >$8K on OAL (primarily DL) since October, in significant part because I'm not really seeing the 1K value proposition any more. Gave away 4/6 GPU last year.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 9:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
For US residents, GPU require minimum $12k in UA spend plus purchase of a W fare or higher. That's not "free" in my book.
UA gives them to you free for meeting certain requirements. So when you use them UA gains no extra revenue. Thus they are free upgrades with higher priority. UA only realizes higher revenue when you pay money for an upgrade. It's not that hard to understand.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 10:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Baze View Post
So when you use them UA gains no extra revenue.
Yes, they absolutely do. First, the passenger buys an economy ticket he or she might not otherwise buy (might have either flown another airline, or not at all). Second, the passenger must buy a W fare or higher to use the GPU. The typical W premium is in the $200-500 range per roundtrip. UA keeps that money regardless whether the upgrade clears.

Originally Posted by Baze View Post
It's not that hard to understand.
That's really unnecessary. You know I understand perfectly. I just don't agree with you
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Old Mar 30, 18, 10:08 pm
  #357  
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I don't know what the numbers are, but I suspect that buy-up revenue far exceeds the revenue loss resulting from elites who shift some business to other carriers due to a reduced instrument clearance rate/devalued "1K."
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Old Mar 30, 18, 10:13 pm
  #358  
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Originally Posted by onthesam View Post
I don't know what the numbers are, but I suspect that buy-up revenue far exceeds the revenue loss resulting from elites who shift some business to other carrier due to a reduced instrument clearance rate/devalued "1K."
You're entitled to your guess
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Old Mar 30, 18, 10:29 pm
  #359  
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
You're entitled to your guess
Need to take a moment to thank you for your civil discourse, as per usual. Always refreshing.


The guess is somewhat informed in that I have presumed that UA has analyzed the economics of these practices and determined that in the end the bottom line looks better when they sell elites (the subset who pays up to W) the potential for seats and sell everyone the actual seats.

The UAL shareholder in me likes this. The 1K/FTer in me wishes UA made their decisions based on many of the opinions expressed on this forum.
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Old Mar 30, 18, 10:30 pm
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
I recall a thread about non-status and/or lower status getting better upgrade offers than people with higher status and that is why some people leave their FF off their reservation. You have noticed the same offer whether you have your FF# on your reservation or not?
This!

A 1K friend told me he was flying SFO-EWR with an non-status family member on separate PNRs.
Non-status got a $129 offer to sit up front. 1K did not.
That is how UA destroys loyalty, when they should(could) build loyalty.

The other thing UA should(could) do is recognize buying power. I buy tix for our family of 4, but the way the system is set up, there is no incentive to reward this type of buying power. I know other people who make the buying decisions for groups of flyers and spend a lot more $ than I do, but UA only gives credit for the miles an individual flies, rather than the $ of buying they control. The IT systems easily could recognize $ spent on United on a credit card when multiple tickets are purchased at the same time, on the same credit card. These are the people who control the decision to fly UA vs another airline.... IMO it's smart business to recognize those people.
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