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Partially Canceling MileagePlus Upgrade... Question

Partially Canceling MileagePlus Upgrade... Question

Old Sep 10, 19, 8:24 pm
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Partially Canceling MileagePlus Upgrade... Question

Will I be assessed a fee for partially canceling a MileagePlus upgrade?

I booked a cheap flight to NRT in November. Instead of upgrading to economy plus, I decided to confirm into premium economy for $30k miles and waitlist into Business for the same 30k miles plus a $600 co-pay. At this time, I知 still waitlisted for Business. I知 considering canceling my business class upgrade while maintaining my premium economy. Will united refund me the $600 without charging a fee?

I hold no status with United.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 8:58 pm
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Originally Posted by reelknead1 View Post
....
I booked a cheap flight to NRT in November. Instead of upgrading to economy plus, I decided to confirm into premium economy for $30k miles and waitlist into Business for the same 30k miles plus a $600 co-pay. At this time, I知 still waitlisted for Business. I知 considering canceling my business class upgrade while maintaining my premium economy. Will united refund me the $600 without charging a fee? ...
Your the first that I am aware of to ask that question, so can not give you an answer. Easiest enough to call and ask.

Originally Posted by reelknead1 View Post
....I hold no status with United.
... .
Probably not too much of a chance of the upgrade to Polaris clearing in most cases. Unless you are flying at an unusually lite-elite time.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 9:08 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Your the first that I am aware of to ask that question, so can not give you an answer. Easiest enough to call and ask.

Probably not too much of a chance of the upgrade to Polaris clearing in most cases. Unless you are flying at an unusually lite-elite time.
Thats what I知 figuring after a bit more research. The flight is a Friday IAD to NRT leaving around noon.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 9:51 pm
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Per United if your upgrade does not clear into Polaris, they'll refund you the Polaris upgrade cost and charge you the Premium Plus price which I believe is just miles (no co-pay). The question you should be asking yourself is whether Premium Plus is worth it. I would argue that on many wide body planes a good Economy+ seat will beat a Premium Plus seat (i.e. you'll have so much legroom you can stretch your legs out fully and there would still be room to set your luggage there).

Now to your second question. It really depends. Yes status can help but not always. If a flight is nearly full in business even if you're a 1K you'll likely not have that upgrade clear. There are tons of battlefield stories of this happening, including upgrade lists that stretch to over 100 passengers! To give you an example : today I flew LHR > ORD > YYZ on UA. I did a milage upgrade award (20,000 miles + $650 co-pay & UK ADP fee) and requested that upgrade 2 days ago. At the time it said I was on the waitlist. However, once check in opened low and behold my upgrade for LHR > ORD cleared. When I was about to fly out of LHR I learned my ORD > YYZ upgrade cleared. Walking into the cabin I could see why : of the 40+ seats in J on that 767 there was only about 16 people in that cabin. Hence, there was tons of space available when the seats became available during check-in. Keep in mind just like you I was booked in K the cheapest, dirtiest fare United makes available that allows upgrades.

Another factor to consider is the fare basis. Sometimes it makes sense to purchase a Premium Plus seat or a high fare economy seat (i.e. W fare or above) for a couple reasons. One it reduces or even eliminates the co-pay. Second, you can earn more qualifying miles (at least for Premium Plus). Third, you'll be at a higher pecking order than other travellers trying to upgrade from dirty K fares like myself. Fourth, certain free upgrade certificates like GPUs require a non-dirty economy fare. Case in point, I'm travelling back from KIX next month and have a friend who gifted me one of her GPUs. I was booked into a W fare and was able to apply the GPU to that flight to request a free upgrade to Polaris. 2 weeks later I check my reservations and lo and behold I'm now seated in Polaris from KIX > SFO (upgrades pending for SFO > DEN and DEN > YYZ).

Safe Travels,

James

Last edited by j2simpso; Sep 10, 19 at 9:53 pm Reason: Including details from horses mouth
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Old Sep 10, 19, 10:33 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I would argue that on many wide body planes a good Economy+ seat will beat a Premium Plus seat (i.e. you'll have so much legroom you can stretch your legs out fully and there would still be room to set your luggage there).
The primary benefit of P+ vs E+ is seat width, not pitch.
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Old Sep 10, 19, 10:48 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The primary benefit of P+ vs E+ is seat width, not pitch.
Fare enough but for many people it's the pitch that makes all the difference! For those curious here's my "pitch" on why a good E+ seat on a wide body makes all the difference:


Combine that with one of those inflatable ottomans and you have yourself a proper lie-flat seat . Also and folks can correct me if I'm wrong here, but the pitch of this E+ seat is greater than the pitch found on international first class products in the 90s (which were usually between 40 to 50 inches in pitch). Again, don't mean to over-pitch the benefits but they are there!

-James
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Old Sep 10, 19, 10:56 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
The primary benefit of P+ vs E+ is seat width, not pitch.
Agreed Plus greater recline, a decent pitch over most of E+ and a so-so leg rest. Personally, there is no E+ seat that I would take over any non-middle PP (but there is a small cost for the better PP seats).

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 10, 19 at 11:05 pm Reason: non-middle
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Old Sep 10, 19, 11:36 pm
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I guess my question for OP is why bother cancelling out the Polaris upgrade part? IMHO Polaris is easily worth the $600 copay for such a long flight. I can't comment specifically on Premium Plus but suspect an arguement could be made that the difference between Premium Plus and Polaris is much greater than that of E+ and Premium Plus. Lie flat seats, Polaris lounge, decent meals and booze.

If the Polaris upgrade doesn't clear they should only charge you the Premium Plus cost which I believe is purely miles (correct me if I'm wrong here)

-James
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Old Sep 11, 19, 7:20 am
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
I guess my question for OP is why bother cancelling out the Polaris upgrade part? IMHO Polaris is easily worth the $600 copay for such a long flight. I can't comment specifically on Premium Plus but suspect an arguement could be made that the difference between Premium Plus and Polaris is much greater than that of E+ and Premium Plus. Lie flat seats, Polaris lounge, decent meals and booze.

If the Polaris upgrade doesn't clear they should only charge you the Premium Plus cost which I believe is purely miles (correct me if I'm wrong here)

-James
You池e correct, P+ is just miles. Looking at it as a value per mile, the upgrade to Polaris is way more valuable.

I was just curious how the fees worked if I did cancel the upgrade. I don稚 normally fly international so Polaris would be a real treat. Last time I flew international was ORD-HKG-SIN in a lazy boy upstairs on a 747-400. It was a great experience but it would be nice to checkout the lie flat seats.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:12 am
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Originally Posted by reelknead1 View Post
Thats what I知 figuring after a bit more research. The flight is a Friday IAD to NRT leaving around noon.
Give this ZERO chance of clearing given the inputs
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:14 am
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Fare enough but for many people it's the pitch that makes all the difference! For those curious here's my "pitch" on why a good E+ seat on a wide body makes all the difference:


Combine that with one of those inflatable ottomans and you have yourself a proper lie-flat seat . Also and folks can correct me if I'm wrong here, but the pitch of this E+ seat is greater than the pitch found on international first class products in the 90s (which were usually between 40 to 50 inches in pitch). Again, don't mean to over-pitch the benefits but they are there!

-James
Unless your are 6'4" or taller, and/or want to be first off the plane in any scenario, I think this is one of the worst seats on the plane. Too busy and no under seat storage.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by Collierkr View Post
Unless your are 6'4" or taller, and/or want to be first off the plane in any scenario, I think this is one of the worst seats on the plane. Too busy and no under seat storage.
I have taken this seat in a pinch and have found it better than most (not all) E/E+ seats. No under seat storage is almost never an issue for me but it can be a busy area and that is probably my biggest complaint about this seat. Exiting first has its benefits. I suspect they would NOT allow you to use one of those inflatable "ottomans" at this seat but I will let others debate that. I should add I am over 6 foot but not 6"4".
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Old Sep 11, 19, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
I have taken this seat in a pinch and have found it better than most (not all) E/E+ seats. No under seat storage is almost never an issue for me but it can be a busy area and that is probably my biggest complaint about this seat. Exiting first has its benefits. I suspect they would NOT allow you to use one of those inflatable "ottomans" at this seat but I will let others debate that. I should add I am over 6 foot but not 6"4".
Being 6 5, all legs, I知 all about the extra legroom. The thing I like most about P+, at least on paper, is that the outer seats are in pairs. This avoids a third wheel when traveling with someone else.
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Old Sep 11, 19, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by reelknead1 View Post
Being 6 5, all legs, I知 all about the extra legroom. The thing I like most about P+, at least on paper, is that the outer seats are in pairs. This avoids a third wheel when traveling with someone else.
A lot of this comes down to the aircraft that is servicing this route. There are some aircraft UA has in its fleet where certain rows are two across towards the back of the plane, and those seats may also be emergency exit meaning tons of leg room. Here's an example of one such configuration per ExpertFlyer that might be your flight:



As you can see seats 20A, 20B, 20J, and 20K are marked Economy Plus, is an over-wing exit (and have plenty of leg room) and is just two across. Others may be right about Premium Plus, I await the point in time where I can try out that product. But having the type of leg room I had on the 777, I was more than satisfied. I suspect OP may notice this benefit even more than myself given I'm just 5'9" in height.

I suppose the question for those on the forum may actually be:
  1. Is it possible for OP to use some instrument (i.e. points) to pay for the E+ upgrade? I'm guessing it's not possible for a fellow United Elite to sponsor his E+ seat? Having once been a non-Elite, I can certainly appreciate the cost of the seat upgrade and once paid $300 for such a seat upgrade going AKL > SFO.
  2. Is it possible to cancel the upgrade to Premium Plus if OP doesn't actually get the Polaris upgrade (and receive a refund on the points)?
  3. If OP secures an E+ seat now and his upgrade to Polaris clears, can he receive a refund on the cost (i.e. points) of the E+ seat they're no longer using?
Cheers,

James

-James
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Old Sep 11, 19, 4:39 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
.... Here's an example of one such configuration per ExpertFlyer
that is the 3-class pmuA 772 -- it is being retrofitted and unlikely by the end of the year will still be in service, and very few are still operating
Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Is it possible for OP to use some instrument (i.e. points) to pay for the E+ upgrade?
No
Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Is it possible to cancel the upgrade to Premium Plus if OP doesn't actually get the Polaris upgrade (and receive a refund on the points)? ...
Yes (but was not the OPs question)
To downgrade a confirmed upgrade requires the original fare class to still be available or you can do at the gate (with a poor choice of seats) And there will be $125 mileage redeposit fee and adding in the E+ access fee, the cost for the E+ seat would exceed the present cost of the superior PP seat
Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
If OP secures an E+ seat now and his upgrade to Polaris clears, can he receive a refund on the cost (i.e. points) of the E+ seat they're no longer using?
Yes, standard UA policy to refund E+ fees if upgraded (except for CPU)

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Sep 11, 19 at 4:46 pm Reason: redeposit fee
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