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Help with C upgrade: Plan B vs W fare or higher w/ GPU?

Help with C upgrade: Plan B vs W fare or higher w/ GPU?

Old Jul 20, 17, 2:30 pm
  #1  
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Help with C upgrade: Plan B vs W fare or higher w/ GPU?

I need to book LAX-LHR RT and have a travel allowance for about $2000. I can:

1. Book a W fare or higher (currently V fare is one better than W fare, and runs about $1300 RT) and apply a GPU and hope for the best (travel is in February)

or

2. Try Plan B, with Saver Economy, deducting 57.5K x 2 = 115K, and again hope for the best.

I don't care much about using up 115K miles vs 2 GPUs, and since my allowance covers a higher economy fare, out of pocket is not an issue at this point. I just want to give myself the highest chance for successfully getting into C.

Knowing the fare buckets are apples-to-oranges for each option, which do you think has the highest likelihood of successfully making it to C? I can provide more specifics if that will help the assessment of buckets to determine my chances.
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Old Jul 20, 17, 2:32 pm
  #2  
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An instrument upgrade is substantially more likely to clear than a waitlist for a saver business award.
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Old Jul 20, 17, 2:49 pm
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3rd option:

Book Lufthansa Premium Economy on LAX-FRA/MUC-LHR and apply a GPU. Should be around $2k. Higher chances of clearing into C than on UA, and worst case you end up in PE.

Downside is you have a connection, it can be a pain to ticket PE on a 016 ticket, and your travel policy may not let you book PE.
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Old Jul 20, 17, 3:31 pm
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by jmanirish View Post
3rd option:

Book Lufthansa Premium Economy on LAX-FRA/MUC-LHR and apply a GPU. Should be around $2k. Higher chances of clearing into C than on UA, and worst case you end up in PE.
And if the upgrade doesn't clear, you have a better than average seat.
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Old Jul 20, 17, 3:53 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by jmanirish View Post
3rd option:

Book Lufthansa Premium Economy on LAX-FRA/MUC-LHR and apply a GPU. Should be around $2k. Higher chances of clearing into C than on UA, and worst case you end up in PE.

Downside is you have a connection, it can be a pain to ticket PE on a 016 ticket, and your travel policy may not let you book PE.
That is news to me, and very helpful. I have used GPUs with LH (mostly for C-->F) and while they are a pain to do online (I usually have to call), when it finally takes, it has worked well for the UG. But I didn't know that the chances to upgrade were that much higher for LH than for UA.

Out of curiosity, since LHR is only an intermediate stop on my way to the EU, will the likelihood change for an UG from Y-->C if it was LAX-LHR vs LAX-LHR-EU? I can book the last leg separately but would prefer to have it all on 1 PNR.
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Old Jul 20, 17, 3:57 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by weezl View Post
Out of curiosity, since LHR is only an intermediate stop on my way to the EU, will the likelihood change for an UG from Y-->C if it was LAX-LHR vs LAX-LHR-EU? I can book the last leg separately but would prefer to have it all on 1 PNR.
No; upgrades clear on a segment-by-segment basis, whether you're talking about LH or UA. Additional segments won't matter.
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Old Jul 20, 17, 4:01 pm
  #7  
 
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Originally Posted by weezl View Post
That is news to me, and very helpful. I have used GPUs with LH (mostly for C-->F) and while they are a pain to do online (I usually have to call), when it finally takes, it has worked well for the UG. But I didn't know that the chances to upgrade were that much higher for LH than for UA.

Out of curiosity, since LHR is only an intermediate stop on my way to the EU, will the likelihood change for an UG from Y-->C if it was LAX-LHR vs LAX-LHR-EU? I can book the last leg separately but would prefer to have it all on 1 PNR.
Each leg on LH takes a GPU, so I would say whatever is closest MUC, FRA or LHR, go there with GPU and fly whatever class intra-europe. Not sure LHR to CDG is worth a GPU
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Old Jul 20, 17, 5:33 pm
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Originally Posted by weezl View Post
That is news to me, and very helpful. I have used GPUs with LH (mostly for C-->F) and while they are a pain to do online (I usually have to call), when it finally takes, it has worked well for the UG. But I didn't know that the chances to upgrade were that much higher for LH than for UA.

Out of curiosity, since LHR is only an intermediate stop on my way to the EU, will the likelihood change for an UG from Y-->C if it was LAX-LHR vs LAX-LHR-EU? I can book the last leg separately but would prefer to have it all on 1 PNR.
My advice to you is to ONLY apply the GPU to the TATL flight LAX-FRA or LAX-MUC and sit in economy on the flight from Germany to London. Lufthansa requires a GPU for each flight segment in order to upgrade.
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Old Jul 21, 17, 7:14 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by jmanirish View Post
3rd option:

Book Lufthansa Premium Economy on LAX-FRA/MUC-LHR and apply a GPU. Should be around $2k. Higher chances of clearing into C than on UA, and worst case you end up in PE.

Downside is you have a connection, it can be a pain to ticket PE on a 016 ticket, and your travel policy may not let you book PE.
This is a great option if you’re not going for GS status, but if you are remember they only look at PQDs from UA-operated flights.
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Old Jul 25, 17, 12:36 am
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For my trip, PE on LH is an option, and FRA or MUC works equally well logistically. Is the GPU success generally better with LAX-FRA or with LAX-MUC?

Also, LAX-FRA is an A380 with PE in the front of the plane, and LAX-MUC is an A340, with PE in between Y sections; is there much of a difference in comfort/experience, in case the GPU fails?
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Old Jul 25, 17, 2:46 am
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Originally Posted by weezl View Post
.. is there much of a difference in comfort/experience, in case the GPU fails?
No but IMO the 340 PE is slightly nicer than the 380 one.

You can also risk LH coach=>biz on GPUs (Q class or better) but then the A380 is much better when you end up in coach.
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Old Jul 25, 17, 12:08 pm
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I would not risk LH coach. At least on UA, he has e+. So, going off of the worst case scenario (GPU doesn't clear), I'd rank your options in this order, from best to worst:

1) LH PE to MUC (A380 business is nicer than A340 IMO, but the transition from wherever the hell LH decides to park at FRA to the B gates for your LHR flight can be a pain)
2) LH PE to FRA
3) UA E+ (this is a 787, right? The seat width sucks, but is still better than LH E-)
4) LH E-
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Old Jul 25, 17, 1:18 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
An instrument upgrade is substantially more likely to clear than a waitlist for a saver business award.
Is this definitely true? (Observed cases?) It seems like I should open up at the same time as R, if not before.

And *should* it be true? From perspective of payment, technically a saver wait-list you've paid for biz, so you should come before R upgrades. Hence the whole P-1 displaced passenger bit about the plan B award and "upgrade" priority.

From perspective of united, miles are a bigger liability on the balance sheet than GPUs (since miles are much closer to cash....when you're guaranteed last seat award availability as an elite). So they should prefer to clear the biz award and remove the miles from the balance sheet over clearing a GPU. (This neglects any negative impact on customer loyalty that could result).
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Old Jul 25, 17, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by bigwings8 View Post
Is this definitely true? (Observed cases?) It seems like I should open up at the same time as R, if not before.

And *should* it be true? From perspective of payment, technically a saver wait-list you've paid for biz, so you should come before R upgrades. Hence the whole P-1 displaced passenger bit about the plan B award and "upgrade" priority.

From perspective of united, miles are a bigger liability on the balance sheet than GPUs (since miles are much closer to cash....when you're guaranteed last seat award availability as an elite). So they should prefer to clear the biz award and remove the miles from the balance sheet over clearing a GPU. (This neglects any negative impact on customer loyalty that could result).
Yes, it's definitely true; Mon 7/31 SFO-PEK is currently R6 I0. Generally, the order you see within expert mode is the order that you'll see availability; business class is J JN C D Z ZN P PN R RN IN I. Typically, J = JN ≥ C ≥ D ... etc. That's not a requirement, but it does represent the usual practice.

As for their reasons -- one assumes UA would rather receive a $500 W fare plus a cert (or miles + copay) vs. 70K miles. Cash is king, and the downside to carrying the paper liability isn't that great. It depresses profits (and hence taxes) but doesn't have a large material affect on operations because UA controls the redemptions. If they're low on cash, they tighten award inventory; if they need some paper profits, they open award inventory and drain some liability.

Last edited by jsloan; Jul 25, 17 at 2:01 pm Reason: ≥
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Old Jul 25, 17, 1:57 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by itsMoe View Post
I would not risk LH coach. At least on UA, he has e+. So, going off of the worst case scenario (GPU doesn't clear), I'd rank your options in this order, from best to worst:

1) LH PE to MUC (A380 business is nicer than A340 IMO, but the transition from wherever the hell LH decides to park at FRA to the B gates for your LHR flight can be a pain)
2) LH PE to FRA
3) UA E+ (this is a 787, right? The seat width sucks, but is still better than LH E-)
4) LH E-
Thanks. I should make it clear that my budget is $E2500, so I'm not going to book Y, it will be PE on LH. My prime objective is to get to C because I can't sleep in the back...
Btw doesn't picking Q or higher get you into PE? On LH website I thought when I picked PE it quoted a Q fare.

I don't care about where we park at FRA. If the A380 has more C seats and higher likelihood of UG then I'll pick it. Does it?

And thanks for clarifying the GPU vs miles priority. I'm glad I can finally use some of these GPUs.
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