Booked EVA with UA miles—no upgrades

Old Sep 5, 19, 5:40 pm
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Booked EVA with UA miles—no upgrades

I just booked round trip ORD-TPE-CEB regular economy on Eva Air with my UA miles, thinking I could upgrade to premium economy paying $$$. But lo and behold! After talking to both Eva and UA, to my surprise this is not allowed!! I could only upgrade if it was an actual bought ticket, but mileage-paid ticket is not upgradeable per Eva. And United could not do anything about it. I just find this so illogical and stupid. You would think any airline would welcome more money from its customers. Any thoughts? Thank you.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 6:06 pm
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My thought is that is too long in economy and to cancel that ticket and re-book in premium economy. Do you have any GPU's? Lots of better ways to get to CEB than riding in Economy.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 6:09 pm
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Book what you need. You never know if upgrades will be sold or available. I found lots of BR biz awards last month.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 6:11 pm
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Why would an airline upgrade someone who spent miles from a different airline's program over their own paying customers?
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Old Sep 5, 19, 6:18 pm
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Welcome to FT, rlagtapo!

Originally Posted by rlagtapo View Post
You would think any airline would welcome more money from its customers.
They will. You can always pay the full Premium Economy fare if that's where you want to sit. To my knowledge, United doesn't allow it even on their own metal (they offer paid upgrades to F, but AFAIK not to PE). In general, when you book an award ticket on any airline, expect to fly it as booked.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by keitherson View Post
Why would an airline upgrade someone who spent miles from a different airline's program over their own paying customers?
Because the OP is offering to pay and might not completely understand how all of this works.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by rlagtapo View Post
I just booked round trip ORD-TPE-CEB regular economy on Eva Air with my UA miles, thinking I could upgrade to premium economy paying $$$. But lo and behold! After talking to both Eva and UA, to my surprise this is not allowed!! I could only upgrade if it was an actual bought ticket, but mileage-paid ticket is not upgradeable per Eva. And United could not do anything about it. I just find this so illogical and stupid. You would think any airline would welcome more money from its customers. Any thoughts? Thank you.
This is a fairly standard rule for various FF programs.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 8:43 pm
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It's generally a good idea to check the rules before you buy your ticket.
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Old Sep 5, 19, 11:45 pm
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Originally Posted by rlagtapo View Post
I just find this so illogical and stupid. You would think any airline would welcome more money from its customers. Any thoughts?
It would be rather difficult to establish exactly how much such an upgrade would/should cost.
Seems logical and sensible to disallowed it, IMO.
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Old Sep 6, 19, 7:56 am
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Originally Posted by narvik View Post
It would be rather difficult to establish exactly how much such an upgrade would/should cost.
Seems logical and sensible to disallowed it, IMO.
Fully concur in the current landscape but once the programs transition to a fare-based redemption model (vs. fixed points/zone) redemption it would be an easier calculation — I don’t think though that that will have an (immediate) change in policy especially for cross-airline redemptions as in the OPs case — aside from the technical issues there are very practical business reasons to disincentivize this even for your own passengers to protect the value of the seat
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Old Sep 6, 19, 11:03 am
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This is pretty standard procedure, though it still seems illogical. I can understand EVA prioritizing their own customers, so it would be reasonable if they denied your upgrade until closer to flight time. But why on earth would any airline let a premium seat remain empty when somebody is willing to pay additional cash for that seat? Many years ago, Delta would offer cash upgrades at the gate to fill up vacant first class seats. Depending on the route, they might start the offer at $200. If there were no takers, they would gradually lower the price until they sold off those seats, sometimes going as low as $50. I bought several of these last-minute upgrades from AUS, which put a few more dollars in Delta's pocket with no significant cost on their part (except for a frozen dinner and one bloody mary).
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Old Sep 6, 19, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by jrpallante View Post
But why on earth would any airline let a premium seat remain empty when somebody is willing to pay additional cash for that seat? Many years ago, Delta would offer cash upgrades at the gate to fill up vacant first class seats. Depending on the route, they might start the offer at $200. If there were no takers, they would gradually lower the price until they sold off those seats, sometimes going as low as $50.
The airlines would go bankrupt (again) if they offered that scheme, because people would quickly learn that there was no need to pay for premium seats in advance. This is precisely why there's no* true first class in the domestic US market (and why the price differential between economy and first is so low).

* certain transcontinental flights excepted
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Old Sep 6, 19, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by rlagtapo View Post
I just booked round trip ORD-TPE-CEB regular economy on Eva Air with my UA miles, thinking I could upgrade to premium economy paying $$$. But lo and behold! After talking to both Eva and UA, to my surprise this is not allowed!! I could only upgrade if it was an actual bought ticket, but mileage-paid ticket is not upgradeable per Eva. And United could not do anything about it. I just find this so illogical and stupid. You would think any airline would welcome more money from its customers. Any thoughts? Thank you.
Very simple - you have the following choices, and this is how it works.

1. keep the economy ticket, and if PE seats are unsold at check-in, you can pay a per-segment upgrade fee at the EVA counter in ORD and again in TPE to upgrade into PE - but if PE is sold out, you will be stuck in coach
2. cancel the economy ticket and redeem a PE or J ticket

You cannot pay to upgrade a free mileage ticket....and this is the case on virtually every airline in the world.
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Old Sep 6, 19, 12:17 pm
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I agree with OP it's quite arbitrary, and with everyone else that it's well documented.
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Old Sep 7, 19, 6:07 am
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Originally Posted by bocastephen View Post
Very simple - you have the following choices, and this is how it works.

1. keep the economy ticket, and if PE seats are unsold at check-in, you can pay a per-segment upgrade fee at the EVA counter in ORD and again in TPE to upgrade into PE - but if PE is sold out, you will be stuck in coach
2. cancel the economy ticket and redeem a PE or J ticket

You cannot pay to upgrade a free mileage ticket....and this is the case on virtually every airline in the world.
I was thinking OP was thinking about airport stand-by upgrade, which I thought was available on BR for everyone like BocaStephen said. I was not even thinking OP was thinking about advanced upgrade, which of course is not possible.

Does anyone know how much the stand-by Y -> PE upgrade is for BR?
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