PN vs PZ -- Why such a difference?

Old Jul 1, 19, 4:37 pm
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PN vs PZ -- Why such a difference?

I completely understand UA offering more benefits to GS vs 1K. That said, I get frustrated when I see flights like this. Why PN7 and PZ0? Is the 1K really worthy of zero upgrade benefits, while the GS gets access to 1/4 of the J cabin? I completely understand PN2/PZ0 or PN6/PZ4...but I can't understand PN7/PZ0. Seems completely arbitrarily. Is there some logic to this or simply a poorly written algorithm on the part of United IT? BTW, the flight is completely empty in J right now! SFO-BOS in late August...


Any sense of how often this brilliant algorithm refreshes? Weekly, daily?
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Old Jul 1, 19, 4:41 pm
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Could be x4-x10+ spend 1k vs GS. And no one Is saying it will remain that way. Sorry been both 1k and GS and I get this. As frustrating as it maybe.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
I completely understand UA offering more benefits to GS vs 1K. That said, I get frustrated when I see flights like this. Why PN7 and PZ0? Is the 1K really worthy of zero upgrade benefits, while the GS gets access to 1/4 of the J cabin? I completely understand PN2/PZ0 or PN6/PZ4...but I can't understand PN7/PZ0. Seems completely arbitrarily. Is there some logic to this or simply a poorly written algorithm on the part of United IT? BTW, the flight is completely empty in J right now! SFO-BOS in late August...


Any sense of how often this brilliant algorithm refreshes? Weekly, daily?
The problem is that PN is exclusively for GS, but PZ is not exclusively for 1Ks. Anytime PZ>0, Plats through GMs can use miles plus cash to upgrade immediately too. So youíre not thinking about the asymmetry correctly above.

One potential solution is to have a separate upgrade bucket just for 1Ks, but thereís a reason UA has not and likely will never do that...they donít care about 1Ks enough to worry whether we all end the year with all of our GPUs unused. In fact, thatís precisely their strategy.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 4:49 pm
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Originally Posted by saccoNY View Post
Could be x4-x10+ spend 1k vs GS...
Sorry, what does x4-x10 spend mean? Are you saying a GS typically spends 2.5x more than a 1K in a calendar year?
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Old Jul 1, 19, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Is the 1K really worthy of zero upgrade benefits, while the GS gets access to 1/4 of the J cabin?
Yes.

Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Sorry, what does x4-x10 spend mean? Are you saying a GS typically spends 2.5x more than a 1K in a calendar year?
No, that's somewhere between 4x and 10x (or more).
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Old Jul 1, 19, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by PanAmOneTwo View Post
The problem is that PN is exclusively for GS, but PZ is not exclusively for 1Ks. Anytime PZ>0, Plats through GMs can use miles plus cash to upgrade immediately too...
Ahhh, I didn't know that. I thought PZ was for 1Ks only. The RPUs in circulation are going to plummet in 2020, but if this wacky algorithm doesn't change, it won't matter.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:03 pm
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The PZ, PN issue you raise is not new -- PN was instituted a number of years ago so the GS did not have to compete for upgrade space with the riffraff

But you even hear GS complaining about lack of upgrades nowadays -- the airlines are monetizing upgrades and what is left is for elites -- GS first.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
No, that's somewhere between 4x and 10x (or more).
Let's call it 6x -- meaning the average GS spends 6x the average 1K. By that logic, the space should at least be PN6/PZ1. Not sure why you feel the upgrade availability should be 100% for GS and 0% for rest of preimium status customers.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:10 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Let's call it 6x -- meaning the average GS spends 6x the average 1K. By that logic, the space should at least be PN6/PZ1....
except PX is for all non-GS elites which on average would bring the spend for the PZ folks way down.

Also remember if PZ is used, it decreases PN.

Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Not sure why you feel the upgrade availability should be 100% for GS and 0% for rest of preimium status customers.
People are not expressing their preferences but rather reality (as harsh as it is)
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:12 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Let's call it 6x -- meaning the average GS spends 6x the average 1K. By that logic, the space should at least be PN6/PZ1.
That's not how it works. UA makes no representation that upgrade inventory will be doled out based on some presumed proportionately to spend.

Do I wish 1Ks had better access to upgrade inventory? Yes, absolutely. But I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to happen (nor banging my head against the wall).
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:13 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Not sure why you feel the upgrade availability should be 100% for GS and 0% for rest of preimium status customers.
And now you can see why people didn't agree with your valuation of a GPU at $2000.

Sadly, PN0 PZ0 and PNx PZ0 have been common at UA for many years.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Not sure why you feel the upgrade availability should be 100% for GS and 0% for rest of preimium status customers.
I didn't say I felt that way, but apparently United does. Though if United really had their way, they would sell every seat and there would be no upgrades for anyone.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:18 pm
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Originally Posted by PanAmOneTwo View Post
...The problem is that PN is exclusively for GS..
Except for YBM-ups, so there is some benefit for non-GSs travelling (in most cases) on OPM.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:21 pm
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Originally Posted by spartacusmcfly View Post
Let's call it 6x -- meaning the average GS spends 6x the average 1K. By that logic, the space should at least be PN6/PZ1. Not sure why you feel the upgrade availability should be 100% for GS and 0% for rest of preimium status customers.
This is kind of poor logic. All it's saying is that GS (and people paying for J) get first crack at those seats. If there is anything left over your upgrades will clear.

Should 1k (or, for that matter, lower level elites, like me with my Gold status) buying a month in advance be prioritized over GS buying a week in advance? I think that's it's perfectly reasonable for UA to hold onto those upgrades until they are reasonably sure that no GS will need them before giving them to everyone else.
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Old Jul 1, 19, 5:41 pm
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Yup, I get it. All the points above are well made.

Interestingly, I just made a Marriott reservation today using a free-night certificate. They don't use the concept of buckets of availability. If the hotel, has a room, you can use the cert. There is a simplicity and elegance to that type of system. I think I would prefer fewer UA instruments, with lower barriers to usage, than what we have today, but that's a discussion for another day...
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