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Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively [ARCHIVE]

Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively [ARCHIVE]

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Old May 12, 18, 3:12 am   -   Wikipost
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Types of Upgrades

UA's Upgrades overview

UA has multiple methods for upgrading to a higher cabin. Examples include: Economy to Domestic F, Economy to International Business or Business (ex-p.s. flights) or Polaris Business to Polaris First (select 3-cabin planes).

In this regard, seating in Economy Plus is considered Economy.

Not all upgrade methods are available on all flights (see table).
Paid/cash upgrades are a different mechanism and are only available if confirmable -- no waitlisting. Depending on methods, paid upgrades can clear into P/Z/A or R/RN/PN/ZN. The later group can show up on the cleared upgrade list.

RPU, GPU, and MUA (also called "miles+cash upgrades") are collectively referred to as instrument-supported upgrades, as they are considered with equal priority once applied. They may also be used on Copa (CM) flights.

Waitlisting for a premium cabin award and all forms of Economy Plus are not considered upgrades.


Upgrade Priority and Required Inventory

All upgrades other than CPU may clear immediately if the required inventory class is available. If you request an upgrade when there is not inventory to confirm your upgrade immediately, you will be added to the upgrade waitlist. The required inventory classes are as follows:

PN class is required for Instant Upgrades from Y, B, and M fares for Premier 1K members, and for all upgrades from Economy of any type for Global Services members.
R/RN class is required for all other upgrades from Economy except CPUs.
ON class is required for all upgrades from Business except CPUs.

Passengers with unconfirmed upgrade requests will be added to the upgrade waitlist. This is not the same as the upgrade standby list which you can see on the Flight Status page. You cannot see this list by any means. The ordering of the upgrade waitlist is as follows:
  • All Global Services members (presumably prioritized similar to other members below), including those awaiting a CPU.
  • For CPU eligible flights, Premier 1K members on eligible Y-, B- and M-class fares that were not cleared at time of booking are prioritized by fare class and then time of request.
  • All travelers on waitlisted Global Premier Upgrades, Regional Premier Upgrades (where valid) and MileagePlus Upgrade Awards: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler, then fare class and then time of request. There is no priority difference between GPU, RPU & MUA requests.
  • For CPU eligible flights all remaining Premier members: Prioritized by Premier status of the traveler and fare class (award tickets are considered the lowest fare class)

United will periodically run sweeps from this list. The required inventory class for your upgrade does not need to be available in order to be upgraded from the standby list; passengers on the list will be upgraded at the discretion of United's systems. (You can also think of it as space was opened and then you immediately took it.)

Once check-in starts a new waitlist will be generated for use at the gate. The pre-gate list will continue to process until the flight goes to the gate, typically one to three hours prior to departure. This new list is the visible one on the Flight Status page. Generally they will have the same order, but there can be some differences in priority ordering of the two lists -- usually due to the time tiebreaker -- which is time of request for the pre-gate list and time of check-in (sequence number) for gate list. The visible (upgrade standby) list has only checked-in passengers and is not used until the flight is under gate control and the gate agent manually processes an upgrade.

The upgrade list sometimes also shows passengers who have been upgraded. For non-CPU flights, cleared instrument supported upgrades will not show on the gate list as cleared -- only gate cleared upgrades will display with a green checkmark. On CPU-eligible flights, the gate list will show any passenger that cleared (green checkmark) into R/RN/PN -- this includes any instrument supported upgrades (including pre-gate), some paid upgrades and any early CPU. Gate cleared upgrades will also show. (Confirmed ->) JN standard awards will also show with a green checkmark.

For both cases, display cleared upgrades will appear in alphabetic order and regardless if checked-in (as long as a seat has been assigned). Uncleared, waitlisted requests will appear, once checked in, in priority order. But until all have checked in, the visible gate waitlist is incomplete.


Upgrades and Companions
Main article: Comprehensive Companion Upgrade Questions

The following applies ONLY to the invisible upgrade list.

Up to one companion on the same PNR as you is entitled to a CPU based on your status. However, because PNRs must consist only of passengers with the same itinerary, you will only be eligible for an upgrade if all passengers on your PNR have the same upgrade eligibility. For CPUs, you may extend your CPU status to one companion, and then the system will take the status of the lowest passenger on the reservation.

This is a little complicated. Here are some example PNRs:

1K and non-status companion: both are eligible to CPU as 1Ks
1K and two non-status companions: no one is eligible to CPU
1K, Gold, and non-status companion: the companion gets "1K CPU status" but the Gold cannot, so all three pax have Gold priority

The situation for instrument supported upgrades is slightly different. Waitlisting an instrument is also all-or-nothing on the PNR. Either all pax must have a waitlisted upgrade, or none may. If you have a waitlisted upgrade for a multiple passenger PNR, it will have the priority of the highest Premier status on the reservation. Thus:

1K and non-status companion, 2x GPU applied: both are eligible as 1Ks with GPU
1K and three non-status companions, 4x GPU applied: all four are eligible as 1Ks with GPU

Multi-pax PNR upgrades are all or nothing - you may (or may not) be skipped over if there are fewer available seats than members in your party. If you do not like the treatment of your PNR, you may split it into smaller pieces at any time and be treated as smaller groups or individuals.


Now, what happens if you haven't cleared by check-in?

Multiple pax PNRs are not eligible for the (visible) upgrade standby list. If you wish to be added to the list, you must split the PNR at check-in. This often happens even if you didn't intend to. Note, however, that the hidden list is active until 3 hours before departure and splitting your PNR changes it. Therefore, you may wish to delay check-in until the airport. On the other hand, the tiebreak for the gate list is time of check-in, so you may wish to do so immediately. It depends on your situation.

Companions may be eligible for the upgrade standby list even after splitting the PNR, if it is split at check-in. The behavior of your companion(s) depends on whether the reservation had instruments applied. You may have one CPU companion, who will be waitlisted with your Premier priority but with an effective fare class below X (namely, last). If your companion was on a different PNR originally, or you want to designate a different companion, an airport agent can do that for you. Therefore, the list of 1Ks might be:

1) 1K on an S fare (you)
2) 1K on a K fare
3) Your no-status companion
4) Plat on a B fare

If your reservation had instruments applied, however, this process is different. In this case, if the reservation is auto-split at check-in, all travelers will have your Premier priority with their fare class. Say you are a 1K with three non-status companions, all with GPUs applied. Then you have

1) 1K on a V fare, GPU applied
2..5) you (1K) and your three companions on W fares, ordered by sequence number
6) Plat on a Q fare, miles+cash applied


Frequently Asked Questions

I was #1 on the upgrade list, but someone else got the upgrade instead. What happened?
The most likely answer is that the upgraded passenger was not checked in. Remember that the upgrade standby list (the visible list) only shows passengers who have checked in.

I'm #1 on the upgrade list but seats in the forward cabin keep disappearing. No one is being upgraded. What's going on?
There are two major sources of this. First, once your flight is within 24 hours of departure, it is eligible for SDC. Passengers with paid premium tickets can change to your flight and take seats. Many experienced flyers, especially FT members, underestimate the volatility of flight loads on the day of departure. Additionally, United usually makes a time-of-departure upsell offer available at check-in. Purchasers of this upgrade may often appear similar to last-minute revenue bookings.

I was waitlisted for I (or IN) class and did not clear. Am I now eligible for an upgrade?
"Upgrade" is the wrong terminology. You should be automatically placed on the standy list for business or first (whichever applies). Historically there have been problems with this occurring automatically, but that seems to have mostly been fixed. The exact priority compared to passengers who are waitlisted for an upgrade is unclear and a matter of some dispute. See discussion of GG ONESTANDBY lines 32-55.

Who are these people who are on standby lists for both Business and First?
These are non-revs (i.e., UA employees and family members) - either NRPS (non-rev positive space) or NRSA (non-rev standby). Non-revs can list for any cabin. NRPS are traveling on company business (e.g., deadheading pilots) and will clear into open space ahead of upgraders. NRSA travel standby and will be last in priority after all paid passengers. Why would someone be listed on both standby & upgrade list(s)?

Can you have one companion on a different PNR?
Yes, but only at the airport/gate and some agents are not familiar with the process. They are at the bottom of your status group.

Related threads
Ever see (+X blocked) in booked column on upgrade list?
Consolidated "Waitlist for Award Seats Questions/Issues"
[Consolidated] Chance of upgrade clearing on my flight
Decoding the alphabet soup - fare buckets for UA

Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively [Archive]
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Old Jun 22, 12, 5:03 am
  #1  
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Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively [ARCHIVE]

Hello I have a question I am wait listed on a domestic flight for an upgrade I am a 1k and using a regional upgrade.
How do they clear when a seat is avaliable first the people on the waitlist or the complementary upgrade to elites
Basically what is better to stay in the list or drop the list and see to get an upgrade via complementary upgrades for 1K
Thank you

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Jun 22, 12 at 7:08 am Reason: one word thread titles = BAD
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Old Jun 22, 12, 5:45 am
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Having the RPU on the record prioritizes you above CPUs.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 6:02 am
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That is great thank you so I will stay with the Regional.
Who has more prioraty regional or global upgrades when they are on a domestic flight waitlist.
Thank you for all your help I still have 4 SWU I will not use them what can I do ?
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Old Jun 22, 12, 6:11 am
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don't change. i believe RPUs are same priority as GPU, so switching wouldn't improve your situation.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 6:14 am
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Exclamation

You may not clear like you should on an RPU (automatically). Very important you check R availability every day. If you see R is available, CALL res and have them either force it manually, or take out your RPU request and then put it right back. SHARES does not clear upgrades the way UA used to. They "say" there is a sweep. But when? Daily, weekly, monthly? If R is avail it should be yours w a GPU/RPU
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Old Jun 22, 12, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
You may not clear like you should on an RPU (automatically). Very important you check R availability every day. If you see R is available, CALL res and have them either force it manually, or take out your RPU request and then put it right back. SHARES does not clear upgrades the way UA used to. They "say" there is a sweep. But when? Daily, weekly, monthly? If R is avail it should be yours w a GPU/RPU
Very true and I've had to do that twice since 3/3.

Amazing and let's hope this is for the long haul but was waitlisted for an IAH-BOS using a regional for next week and received an email this morning that the waitlist upgrade cleared - never received an email like that before aside from the sporadic UDU email back in the day.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 8:25 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
They "say" there is a sweep. But when?
Actually, for RPU/GPU clearance there is no sweep process. It is supposed to be handled immediately when the inventory is released by RM. There were definitely issues with one of the systems not handling it properly but I believe those are mostly resolved at this point.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 9:17 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Actually, for RPU/GPU clearance there is no sweep process. It is supposed to be handled immediately when the inventory is released by RM. There were definitely issues with one of the systems not handling it properly but I believe those are mostly resolved at this point.
But in "real time". If a NF/NC became available, UA used to apply it directly to the wait list. It never went into availability, even for a second unless there was no wait list. You say it's been resolved. Is it working like pmUA used to do it?
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Old Jun 22, 12, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by chinatraderjmr View Post
But in "real time". If a NF/NC became available, UA used to apply it directly to the wait list. It never went into availability, even for a second unless there was no wait list. You say it's been resolved. Is it working like pmUA used to do it?
It is supposed to be. Basically there is a process which is supposed to run as RM opens up those buckets and checks to see if there are any pending waitlists. Last I heard it was functional and they had addressed a few problems it was having. That said, I haven't had any personal experience in the past couple weeks.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 9:28 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
It is supposed to be. Basically there is a process which is supposed to run as RM opens up those buckets and checks to see if there are any pending waitlists. Last I heard it was functional and they had addressed a few problems it was having. That said, I haven't had any personal experience in the past couple weeks.
What if RM doesn't open up the buckets (i.e., someone cancels and the space goes back to R1)?

The problem with CO's design is they don't always cover all the possible scenarios. PMUA's design was a true, real-time waitlist. As soon as the space opened, for whatever reason, it cleared the next person.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by channa View Post
What if RM doesn't open up the buckets (i.e., someone cancels and the space goes back to R1)?


In what world does someone canceling an award immediately see the inventory go back into public availability versus operating under the same formulae and considerations as the rest of the RM process??
Originally Posted by channa View Post
As soon as the space opened, for whatever reason, it cleared the next person.
And my understanding is that the current system is designed the same way.

I really do love reading about how the company hasn't considered things which don't actually happen as a means to fabricate differences between systems which don't actually exist.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 10:00 am
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have R=1 on pending flt and am in the window for a CPU...no upgrade as of yet...

mysteries of the upgrade process..sure not like it used to be..could count on it like clockwork when the window opened.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 10:03 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post


In what world does someone canceling an award immediately see the inventory go back into public availability versus operating under the same formulae and considerations as the rest of the RM process??

And my understanding is that the current system is designed the same way.
If you're saying that's part of the same process, that's great. I've seen things go back immediately to inventory on several occasions.


Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
I really do love reading about how the company hasn't considered things which don't actually happen as a means to fabricate differences between systems which don't actually exist.
We've seen a number of examples post-3/3 where they have not taken scenarios into consideration that have stalled their rudimentary business processes.

Given the quality we've seen from this technology group in the past few months, questioning whether they've accounted for various scenarios is perfectly legitimate.
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Old Jun 22, 12, 10:15 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
It is supposed to be. Basically there is a process which is supposed to run as RM opens up those buckets and checks to see if there are any pending waitlists. Last I heard it was functional and they had addressed a few problems it was having. That said, I haven't had any personal experience in the past couple weeks.
I've had to cal and manually clear upgrades on 6 ps sectors since 3/3

The last being about a week ago.
The problem is not fixed!
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Old Jun 22, 12, 10:32 am
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Problem was fixed on my flight today--a few days ago as soon as i saw R become avail i was about to immediately call when I got the email saying Regional had cleared.

Previously I was 0/3 using regionals because the system was not clearing them. Maybe there is improvement.
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