Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Ways to search for upgrade space at booking?

Ways to search for upgrade space at booking?

    Hide Wikipost
Old Dec 24, 21, 11:08 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Wiki Link
Until 18 Oct 2018, upgrade space for RPU/GPUs was "R" ("PN" for GS), starting 19 Oct 2018 "R" has been replaced by "PZ"
Changes to UA's Fare Classes (19-20 October 2018)
"R" upgrade / fare class is missing! (replaced by PZ)
Expert Mode Update: better upgrade visibility and opt-in to see fare bucket data.

When using Expert to find upgrade space, check segments individually because checking multiple segments may defaults to reporting the less inventory (such as zero) of any segment for the multi-segment result
R / PZ Avail changes depending on how you search flights
Segments clear individually based on their upgrade space

UA provides Advance Search options for Mileage Upgrades or GPUs or RPUs -- There are complications with those searches, so if used to find space best to just record the flights and then book without the extra search options.

If you expect for an upgrade to clear after booking and it does not, remember you can cancel within 24 hours with no cancellation fee.

There are no tools available for searching for more than one day or one route at a time. UA has blocked any attempts by third parties to provides such tools,
Print Wikipost

Old Nov 24, 17, 7:28 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 90
Ways to search for upgrade space at booking?

Is there a way to check for guaranteed upgrade space for GPUs or RPUs? Basically, do those book into a specific fare class, kinda like "I" is theoretically business class upgrades, thus if you see space in I-class then you can buy an economy and upgrade? I'm happy using the United site or using ExpertFlyer, for the record.

I'm asking because I'm trying to buy a route that is showing 100% availability in the front cabin (2cabin flight, literally no seats are booked yet according to the United sites' seats-available-per-cabin info) but is also showing zero GPU and zero RPU guaranteed seats (it only shows "waitlist").

Caveat: I know there are a bunch of threads on upgrades, I know there are a bunch of threads about EF. I have searched both here in the forums and via Google and I can't find this exact question, so if you know where I can find the answer I'll happily accept a link directly to the answer!
bruinflyer is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 7:47 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Honolulu Harbor
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 12,545
Originally Posted by bruinflyer View Post
Is there a way to check for guaranteed upgrade space for GPUs or RPUs? Basically, do those book into a specific fare class, kinda like "I" is theoretically business class upgrades, thus if you see space in I-class then you can buy an economy and upgrade? I'm happy using the United site or using ExpertFlyer, for the record.

I'm asking because I'm trying to buy a route that is showing 100% availability in the front cabin (2cabin flight, literally no seats are booked yet according to the United sites' seats-available-per-cabin info) but is also showing zero GPU and zero RPU guaranteed seats (it only shows "waitlist").

Caveat: I know there are a bunch of threads on upgrades, I know there are a bunch of threads about EF. I have searched both here in the forums and via Google and I can't find this exact question, so if you know where I can find the answer I'll happily accept a link directly to the answer!
You're looking for R, not I. An empty cabin does not mean United doesn't expect to sell most, if not all of the seats. UA doesn't put out a lot of upgrade seat availability out there - doesn't matter that the cabin is empty - that has nothing to do with it - what matters is how United thinks the cabin will fill as the flight date approaches. If you want guaranteed (at the time of booking), look for R on united.com. Expert Flyer is of no use in that respect. United puts seats out for upgrades if it expects not to sell all of them. The only upgrades that might be awarded could be as late as the departure date..

Fare classes:
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/united-airlines-mileageplus/1270547-decoding-alphabet-soup-new-fare-buckets-ua.html
sgopal2 and bruinflyer like this.

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; Nov 24, 17 at 7:57 pm
IAH-OIL-TRASH is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 7:55 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Programs: UA 1K; *G, AA Plat
Posts: 1,695
Originally Posted by bruinflyer View Post
Is there a way to check for guaranteed upgrade space for GPUs or RPUs? Basically, do those book into a specific fare class, kinda like "I" is theoretically business class upgrades, thus if you see space in I-class then you can buy an economy and upgrade? I'm happy using the United site or using ExpertFlyer, for the record.

I'm asking because I'm trying to buy a route that is showing 100% availability in the front cabin (2cabin flight, literally no seats are booked yet according to the United sites' seats-available-per-cabin info) but is also showing zero GPU and zero RPU guaranteed seats (it only shows "waitlist").

Caveat: I know there are a bunch of threads on upgrades, I know there are a bunch of threads about EF. I have searched both here in the forums and via Google and I can't find this exact question, so if you know where I can find the answer I'll happily accept a link directly to the answer!
What's your route? For RPUs? And for GPUs? We may be able to assist better with more information as well as dates/time frames.
Best advice: Be flexible on the dates and you'll find some.
laxmillenial is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 8:40 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,282
Originally Posted by laxmillenial View Post
What's your route? For RPUs? And for GPUs? We may be able to assist better with more information as well as dates/time frames.
Best advice: Be flexible on the dates and you'll find some.
Also, keep in mind that its common for upgrade space to be (even) more restricted on domestic feeder flights than on transoceanic flights. Expert Mode will show you the lowest number of seats applicable to all legs, so make sure youre searching for flights one at a time when youre looking for R space.
jsloan is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 9:19 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 90
Sure. Here's the goal, but we're looking at flying in a few days early and there's flexibility to maybe stop over in LAX for a day or two on each end (which is a common stopover, so it doesn't seem to cost anything according to my search).

20170407 IAD->OGG
20170414 OGG->IAD

I've got both RPUs and GPUs. In this case I can use RPU but I was trying to ask the question for the future too - I've come across this because and want to learn how to be smarter about these upgrades that... kinda like lots of folks... I end up not using because I get waitlisted all the time (and never clear the waitlist).

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
You're looking for R, not I... If you want guaranteed (at the time of booking), look for R on united.com.
^ this is the solid gold answer I was looking for!

--------

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
Expert Flyer is of no use in that respect.
Why do you say that? I would normally go set an alert for R-class on EF and see if something shows up...

--------

Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post
Neat! I had a different chart saved (locally, not a FT link) that was missing some info. Thanks!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; May 29, 19 at 1:41 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
bruinflyer is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 9:28 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,282
Originally Posted by bruinflyer View Post
Why do you say that? I would normally go set an alert for R-class on EF and see if something shows up...
Because nothing will ever show up. EF doesnt have access to UAs R inventory, so the alert will never be sent. The best that you can do is to set an alert for I space, as I is generally >= R. But I is even more rare than R is.
bruinflyer likes this.
jsloan is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 9:35 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 90
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Because nothing will ever show up. EF doesnt have access to UAs R inventory, so the alert will never be sent. The best that you can do is to set an alert for I space, as I is generally >= R. But I is even more rare than R is.
That's a pretty darn good reason then. I had a similar experience trying to book J inventory a few years back - turns out EF doesn't understand J either but once I learned to look for I everything worked swimmingly (I set alerts and ended up using them exactly as intended - called UA and bought a Ycabin then used miles to upgrade instantly).

Thanks all!
bruinflyer is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 10:08 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NRT / HND
Programs: AA EXP, NH Plat, Former UA 1K
Posts: 4,735
I forget if you have to switch United.com to advanced mode anymore or not. That used to be required to see R. (Google search if so). From then all you have to do is look at your route on United.com (revenue ticket, not award) while you are logged in, then click the "details" dropdown and you'll see everything listed there. If R is 0 then there is no confirmed space, anything higher than 0, then you can book it then and there and confirm an upgrade as soon as you get a ticket number.

One point to note, if you're looking at an itinerary with multiple segments, then look at your longest segment first by itself. United.com will only show the lowest of all segments on the itinerary, so for example if you have DEN-LAX-OGG, if LAX-OGG has R open but DEN-LAX doesn't, then you'd still see R0 even though you'd clear instantly on LAX-OGG if you bought the ticket and went to the upgrade screen in your reservation.
dvs7310 is offline  
Old Nov 24, 17, 10:18 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: CHS
Programs: UA GS, Bonvoy Amabassador, Hertz PC
Posts: 2,408
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Because nothing will ever show up. EF doesnt have access to UAs R inventory, so the alert will never be sent. The best that you can do is to set an alert for I space, as I is generally >= R. But I is even more rare than R is.

This is what most of us do as it isn't the same, but it is close and gives a good indicator that it is time to start checking daily, or at least on Sundays that things may be changing for the better.
Hipplewm is offline  
Old Nov 25, 17, 12:41 am
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX/SFO
Programs: AA EXP; AS 75K; WN A List; UA 1K 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott AMB; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 50,345
Originally Posted by Hipplewm View Post
This is what most of us do as it isn't the same
"most of us"? Not me. That's a recipe for needlessly missing upgrades.
Kacee is offline  
Old Nov 25, 17, 3:44 am
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 16,282
Originally Posted by Hipplewm View Post
This is what most of us do as it isn't the same, but it is close and gives a good indicator that it is time to start checking daily, or at least on Sundays that things may be changing for the better.
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
"most of us"? Not me. That's a recipe for needlessly missing upgrades.
Maybe Hipplewm meant setting an alert for P space? If you set an alert for I space, you wouldnt need to start checking daily, since I being open almost always means that R is open. But a transition from P=0 to P>0 might be an indication that you should start looking for R on a regular basis.
jsloan is offline  
Old Nov 25, 17, 4:28 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Plat, Marriott Gold
Posts: 11,734
Originally Posted by bruinflyer View Post
I'm asking because I'm trying to buy a route that is showing 100% availability in the front cabin (2cabin flight, literally no seats are booked yet according to the United sites' seats-available-per-cabin info)
How dumb do people think the airlines revenue management is?

"Golly, we haven't sold any business class seats 6 months in advance, may as well start giving out upgrades." No sense in looking at historical sales curves...
mduell is offline  
Old Nov 25, 17, 6:33 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: CHS
Programs: UA GS, Bonvoy Amabassador, Hertz PC
Posts: 2,408
Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
"most of us"? Not me. That's a recipe for needlessly missing upgrades.
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Maybe Hipplewm meant setting an alert for P space? If you set an alert for I space, you wouldnt need to start checking daily, since I being open almost always means that R is open. But a transition from P=0 to P>0 might be an indication that you should start looking for R on a regular basis.
Maybe I need to expound....if I need to take a trip to Asia sometime in late April, I tag basically 30-40 possible flights that will get me there, or close with a small final flight at the end. ie - if going to HKG - flying business to TPE, then whatever to HKG isn't too bad.

I go to expert flyer and tag all those flights and look for I, X, and P (if not already available) and wait. If I get an email, generally it means they are opening seats - I start looking daily on those flights for R space using United.bomb
is it anal - yes, does it take a fair amount of time - yes, is it worth it to everyone - I dunno, can't answer that. Have i missed possible upgrades, maybe - I can't say as I have been upgraded on every flight so far. Same trick worked to get my whole family upgraded RT IAD-HNL-IAD this summer.
I have used 14 GPU so far, they all cleared. Maybe I just got hella lucky over and over, I dunno

I generally have a very flexible travel schedule though. If you have a much more rigid schedule, there is probably not much you can do.
Hipplewm is offline  
Old Nov 25, 17, 6:59 am
  #14  
PPM
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Posts: 189
I have written multiple times about GPUs and RPUs in this forum. First of all, United provides these instruments as a result of miles flown by elite members. They are not "free" with respect to United deciding to "give them away". We pay for these multiple times over with our paid tickets. Second, I have also been frustrated with a completely empty business class cabin and no confirmable upgrades months in advance for off-peak travel (London Heathrow from Chicago in February, mid-week). I do not agree that there should not be some confirmable space for upgrades on these flights months ahead. However, that said, I just booked a confirmed GPU on this route two days ago because I checked multiple times weekly about availability since June, 2017. Usually weekend days are the best chance to secure a confirmed upgrade, but I have also had lots of success in the past during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is how I was able to confirm the ORD-LHR GPUs.
PPM is offline  
Old Nov 25, 17, 7:01 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Programs: UA 1K, BA Gold
Posts: 1,888
Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Maybe Hipplewm meant setting an alert for P space? If you set an alert for I space, you wouldnt need to start checking daily, since I being open almost always means that R is open. But a transition from P=0 to P>0 might be an indication that you should start looking for R on a regular basis.
Not exactly. Im usually looking for R on specific dates. I check pretty much every day on UA.com anyway. But if I have seen no R or I for a long time, then get an EF alert on I, usually overnight, there is a good chance R was also opened overnight, telling me to log in and grab it first thing in the morning before it is gone. If they release only 2 or so, you may need to act fast.
Artpen100 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread