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did united ever offer complimentary upgrades on international routes?

did united ever offer complimentary upgrades on international routes?

Old Jul 22, 19, 3:18 pm
  #1  
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did united ever offer complimentary upgrades on international routes?

i was have been wondering this for a while and though that flyer talk was a good place to ask it

1- was was this perk offered if it was (if it was)
2-when did this perk end
3-do any other airlines in the world offer this(i have heard maybe latam offers this)
4-do any secret united teirs get this perk, maybe chairmens circle
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:48 pm
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I don't recall if United every offered it but I know TWA did this on occasion. I got upgraded more than once for IAD-FCO and back but it was not guaranteed.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:49 pm
  #3  
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I don't know of any major carrier which offers freebies along the line of UDU's, other than US carriers on domestic routes. As a general matter, pretty much all carriers dole out OPUPS, but those are for the operational convenience of the carrier, not a perk for a passenger.

Back in the very old days before audits picked this stuff up and when GS meant something, agents might occasionally sneak a passenger they knew into F. But, that went out with more sophisticated software and the end of GS as a secret program.

The reality is that the US domestic programs allowing upgrades without cost, e.g. paid, miles, some form of special certificate, are fairly unique to the US and came about largely during the financial crisis. UA, by way of example, awarded and sold what amounted to upgrade certificates based on miles and then shifted into the UDU mode when the bottom fell out of the market.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
and came about largely during the financial crisis. UA, by way of example, awarded and sold what amounted to upgrade certificates based on miles and then shifted into the UDU mode when the bottom fell out of the market.
CO, NW, and HP all had unlimited domestic upgrade policies in place as early as ~2000. DL followed not long thereafter, IIRC.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:02 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
1- was was this perk offered if it was (if it was)
Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
2-when did this perk end
Yes. And it is still an active program - Complimentary Premier Upgrades or CPU.

Certain international routes, as listed by UA below, are eligible for CPU on space available basis:

https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly...e.html#regions

These routes are generally short/medium-haul and do not offer lie-flat Polaris business class on regular basis.

Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
3-do any other airlines in the world offer this(i have heard maybe latam offers this)
Not that I know of.

Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
4-do any secret united teirs get this perk, maybe chairmens circle
No. It depends on the availability. So even Silver can score the upgrade if available (although slim).
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
did united ever offer complimentary upgrades on international routes?
If you exclude op-ups, don't believe any major major carrier does this as a regular feature (in the past 30 years)/

Years ago, special upgrades for VIPs or special situations, could occur --- but as a matter of normal operations, no -- protecting the value / revenue of premium cabins on long hauls has been SOP.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:05 pm
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it makes since that they wouldn't give them out for free but it also looks like some airlines give out PE on international routes for free do you think this will also go away in the future (aa and ana come to mind)
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:07 pm
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avianca and copa offer complimentary upgrades to their elites
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:10 pm
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Some carriers (DL for example) still give space available free upgrades on particularly short international routes without genuine international business class service or amenities. Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America might be included depending on your FF program's rules. IIRC DL elites can be upgraded for free on certain flights operated by AM.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
... UA, by way of example, awarded and sold what amounted to upgrade certificates based on miles and then shifted into the UDU mode when the bottom fell out of the market.
I thought UA changed to the complimentary upgrade method when CO management took over and implemented their model.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 4:48 pm
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Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
it makes since that they wouldn't give them out for free but it also looks like some airlines give out PE on international routes for free do you think this will also go away in the future (aa and ana come to mind)
AA's page states that they give Plat Pro / Exec Plat complimentary upgrades to PE on flights to/from Alaska and Hawaii. So, really, it's just ANA that meets your criteria, and I wonder if that might be a result of them creating a larger PE cabin originally.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by 1kBill View Post
I thought UA changed to the complimentary upgrade method when CO management took over and implemented their model.
Prior to UDU, UA used e500s
UDU was announced in Oct 2009, a year before the merger was announced -- United's Unlimited Domestic Upgrades Program (Data through March 18, 2010) [Merged]
One can debated if UDU was implied in anticpation of the merger but the first merger candidate in 2010 was US, CO came later.

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Some carriers (DL for example) still give space available free upgrades on particularly short international routes without genuine international business class service or amenities. ....
As does UA (CPU) but it pretty clear the OP was asking about GPU routes, TPAC/TATL. ...
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jul 22, 19 at 5:14 pm Reason: merging consecutive posts by same member
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Old Jul 22, 19, 5:33 pm
  #13  
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Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
it makes since that they wouldn't give them out for free but it also looks like some airlines give out PE on international routes for free do you think this will also go away in the future (aa and ana come to mind)
End of service of "Changing to Premium Economy"

Service of Changing to Premium Economy for ANA Diamond Service, Platinum Service and Super Flyers Members will no longer be available for flights after September 30, 2019 (JST).

Premium Economy Complimentary Upgrade Campaign is planned for these members for flights during the period from October 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.
For flights from April 1, 2020, upgrades from Economy Class to Premium Economy will be available on eligible flights by using Upgrade Points or Miles.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 6:07 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
If you exclude op-ups, don't believe any major major carrier does this as a regular feature (in the past 30 years)/

Years ago, special upgrades for VIPs or special situations, could occur --- but as a matter of normal operations, no -- protecting the value / revenue of premium cabins on long hauls has been SOP.

Mrs Shagu and I got lucky flying home from Venice last year, they comped us to the front when they scanned our boarding passes. Dunno why, but the gate staff in Venice was very nice.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 6:52 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Prior to UDU, UA used e500s
UDU was announced in Oct 2009, a year before the merger was announced -- United's Unlimited Domestic Upgrades Program (Data through March 18, 2010) [Merged]
One can debated if UDU was implied in anticpation of the merger but the first merger candidate in 2010 was US, CO came later.
.
The old model was to charge for upgrades via certs and give you 4 500 mile certs for every 10,000 miles you flew. I recall this on UA in the mid-90s. In the mid-90s a few airlines which were in distress started programs of doing upgrades if you were on a top fare grade; i.e. a "Y-up" or "B-Up" fare (I think TWA was the first, and that had a lot to do with the weirdo deal left over from Carl Ikon's take over of them).

CO, shortly followed by NW, after this started offering " unlimited elite upgrades" to domestic first. The difference was the "unlimited" part. In CO's case it was because of financial distress, and NW then followed them. HP was close to CO/NW at the time, and I think they adopted their policies in an effort to get traffic from their elites. I am trying to recall when Alaska started giving upgrades, and as I recall it was in this very early time frame, as I recall getting an upgrade to Mexico in the late 90s. I think Delta was the last airline to offer them, and then it was a response when they went into BKR in the 2001-2 period.

UA and AA kept using certs, until the bottom fell out of the travel market c2008. However,by the mid-2000s both had started doing "Y-up" fares. But it was only the 2008 crash that finally caused them to give up on certs and go with "elite upgrades" They were losing too much high value Y traffic to airlines who would then put you into First.
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