Routing strategies to improving upgrade chances

Old Sep 19, 19, 10:52 am
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Routing strategies to improving upgrade chances

Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
Hub-to-Hub at SFO. SFO<->IAH, SFO<->DCA (no better than IAD), SFO<->DEN. Used to see upgrades on routes to/from Mexico but have been flying AS fka VX on those routes. Last year was upgraded SFO<->LAX but rarely fly that route now as my preference is OAK<->BUR on WN.
This is one of the underrated perks of living in a non-hub city. I'm connecting almost anywhere I go, so I have more mobility.

While I personally would connect on an airline where I thought I could upgrade vs. taking a nonstop on an airline where I couldn't, but I understand that not everyone would see that the same way.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:39 am
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Routing strategies to improving upgrade chances

Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
This is one of the underrated perks of living in a non-hub city. I'm connecting almost anywhere I go, so I have more mobility.

While I personally would connect on an airline where I thought I could upgrade vs. taking a nonstop on an airline where I couldn't, but I understand that not everyone would see that the same way.
Question: does that mean that you would take 3 flights instead of 2 to reach your destination if you thought you could upgrade? I'm not at that stage yet. I stick to my 2 flights instead of 3 to reduce the chances of misconnections.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by StuckinITH View Post
Question: does that mean that you would take 3 flights instead of 2 to reach your destination if you thought you could upgrade? I'm not at that stage yet. I stick to my 2 flights instead of 3 to reduce the chances of misconnections.
Oh, absolutely. I do that regularly when using GPUs. I give myself enough cushion to (try to) avoid misconnecting to the GPU'd flight. For the others, I don't lose sleep over it; if it looks like I'm going to misconnect, I'll find a backup plan.

But here I was really talking about CPUs: If I were SFO-based, and got zero upgrades for an entire year, I'd fly DL and connect instead of flying UA in Y. Because I'm in AUS, it's not really an issue; I connect almost everywhere anyway.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:56 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Oh, absolutely. I do that regularly when using GPUs. I give myself enough cushion to (try to) avoid misconnecting to the GPU'd flight. For the others, I don't lose sleep over it; if it looks like I'm going to misconnect, I'll find a backup plan.

But here I was really talking about CPUs: If I were SFO-based, and got zero upgrades for an entire year, I'd fly DL and connect instead of flying UA in Y. Because I'm in AUS, it's not really an issue; I connect almost everywhere anyway.
Yeah I use to get more upgrades as a DL SM Gold than I do as an MP Gold flying out of SFO.

But I would have HATED to have had to connect through ATL for TATL flights. I was in SM before there were dollar requirements so I always booked AF to earn on those TATL flights, so that I had one long TATL segment.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 12:14 pm
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Originally Posted by StuckinITH View Post
Question: does that mean that you would take 3 flights instead of 2 to reach your destination if you thought you could upgrade? I'm not at that stage yet. I stick to my 2 flights instead of 3 to reduce the chances of misconnections.
I often pay more to take 1 nonstop flight instead of 2 (connecting flights) if that is an option. Whenever I do not, I almost always regret it, particularly on international arrivals. Time is money and fewer flights = fewer IRROPS.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
I often pay more to take 1 nonstop flight instead of 2 (connecting flights) if that is an option. Whenever I do not, I almost always regret it, particularly on international arrivals. Time is money and fewer flights = fewer IRROPS.
So do many other people, which is why you're not getting upgraded.

I don't criticize your choice; I simply choose differently. I would rather spend the currency of time than cash for comfort; I enjoy flying and I don't really find delays stressful. (I use the extra time to help out fellow travelers, who frequently do find it stressful). To each his own, but I agree that I would not stretch for Plat in your situation (although you may hit it organically), nor would I stretch for 1K.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 1:08 pm
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I have to concur about time (and I guess we are in the majority here).

Adding a connection right on the GC route is an extra 90 minutes in almost impossibly good circumstances and usually about two hours extra.. back-connecting is even more. On an international itinerary the whole day is basically eaten by the travel and it's a "big deal" to fly that far, so I will happily fly silly routings to save money, see more things, or whatever (I did MSP-SFO-CPH-SVG-BGO because of award space and for TATL sleep, I've done SFO-FRA-BEG-ZRH-FRA - to get to FRA - for faring reasons). But for domestic travel there just isn't time for me to make connections, so I will choose my carrier based on nonstop availability and schedule. Timing is the question of "can I make this trip" (leaving from the office on a Friday), or "will I get to stay in my destination more than 24 hours"? I would love to have the time to spend all day making a domestic one-way (I do like flying), but I really don't at this point so I guess instead I'm taking away Boraxo's upgrades
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Old Sep 19, 19, 1:20 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
But for domestic travel there just isn't time for me to make connections, so I will choose my carrier based on nonstop availability and schedule.
You have the luxury of a variety of nonstop options, at the expense of a relative paucity of upgrades. From AUS, unless I want to fly WN (I'd rather not go, in most cases), I'm connecting most places anyway. However, pre-consolidation, I would fly, e.g., AUS-IAH-LAX on CO instead of AUS-LAX on AA, because CO would upgrade me and AA wouldn't. (And, I'd get more OnePass miles than AAdvantge miles, to boot).
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Old Sep 19, 19, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
I have to concur about time (and I guess we are in the majority here).

Adding a connection right on the GC route is an extra 90 minutes in almost impossibly good circumstances and usually about two hours extra.. back-connecting is even more. On an international itinerary the whole day is basically eaten by the travel and it's a "big deal" to fly that far, so I will happily fly silly routings to save money, see more things, or whatever (I did MSP-SFO-CPH-SVG-BGO because of award space and for TATL sleep, I've done SFO-FRA-BEG-ZRH-FRA - to get to FRA - for faring reasons). But for domestic travel there just isn't time for me to make connections, so I will choose my carrier based on nonstop availability and schedule. Timing is the question of "can I make this trip" (leaving from the office on a Friday), or "will I get to stay in my destination more than 24 hours"? I would love to have the time to spend all day making a domestic one-way (I do like flying), but I really don't at this point so I guess instead I'm taking away Boraxo's upgrades
I'm PHX based and (generally) fly into UA hubs, so I get the benefit of non hub origin for upgrade chances and 1K status.

Recently started a project near MCO, and had the option of WN direct (I'm A list but theres no upgraded either way) or AA (no status). I fly PHX -IAH - MCO and visa versa. Adds about an hour to the trip but I'm probably 95% on upgrades on all segments.

Boraxo - in your example you would fly WN or AA regardless to save the time (even if it resulted in a middle seat each way)? Personally indeed like I'm more productive in J, so even the lost hour is made up by not rubbing elbows while working. Regarding IRROPS, UA has saved my tail multiple times this year whereas when forced to fly on non status airlines I have gotten burned.

This thread is of interest because this year I almost started flying DL or AA mid year to get status on two airlines for options (should finish up around $35K and 275K EQM). Considering splitting loyalty next year for that purpose.
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Old Sep 19, 19, 9:22 pm
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
But for domestic travel there just isn't time for me to make connections, so I will choose my carrier based on nonstop availability and schedule.
That's my thinking as well. I don't mind making an extra stop if flying international J or F, but for domestic I pretty much always favor the nonstop.

The one exception is that being SFO based, I'll route via LAX either to enhance upgrade chances on a tcon or to Hawaii or for a significantly cheaper J fare (e.g., NRT, which is often 40% cheaper ex-LAX). Being able to grab a shower at *A lounge TBIT is an added plus, as are the relatively cheap airport hotels (100% on suite upgrades at Sheraton Gateway).
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Old Sep 19, 19, 9:45 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
This is one of the underrated perks of living in a non-hub city. I'm connecting almost anywhere I go, so I have more mobility.

While I personally would connect on an airline where I thought I could upgrade vs. taking a nonstop on an airline where I couldn't, but I understand that not everyone would see that the same way.
When UA pulled out of NZ some years ago, the only option to use UA metal was to fly across to SYD with NZ and pick up UA northbound to USA. and vice versa on return. Added a day each way to a Europe trip
but the upgrades were a welcome compensation, even with 8 across seating. Thank God for Polaris now direct from AKL
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Old Sep 19, 19, 11:18 pm
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Originally Posted by scracer14 View Post
Boraxo - in your example you would fly WN or AA regardless to save the time (even if it resulted in a middle seat each way)? Personally indeed like I'm more productive in J, so even the lost hour is made up by not rubbing elbows while working. Regarding IRROPS, UA has saved my tail multiple times this year whereas when forced to fly on non status airlines I have gotten burned.

This thread is of interest because this year I almost started flying DL or AA mid year to get status on two airlines for options (should finish up around $35K and 275K EQM). Considering splitting loyalty next year for that purpose.
Funny you should ask because recently I flew AA twice to Miami. I received temp Gold status on AA and snagged an E+ aisle seat at T-24. I had the option of flying UA (with guaranteed E+ and potential RPU/CPU and EQMs) but I decided against it because time is money and I did not like the timing.

I occasionally fly WN but never in a middle seat. I will buy EBCI or checkin at T-24 if the flight is short.

Like you my preference is to fly UA because the airline generally takes good care of me and I know all my options. But as a general matter it doesn't benefit me to schedule connections. My chances of getting upgraded for the transcon on SFO-LAX-IAD, SFO-ORD-DCA and SFO-IAD/DCA are almost nil. Similarly SFO-IAH-FLL is no better than SFO-FLL. If anything I increase my chances with a nonstop so long as the destination is not a hub.

Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
The one exception is that being SFO based, I'll route via LAX either to enhance upgrade chances on a tcon or to Hawaii or for a significantly cheaper J fare (e.g., NRT, which is often 40% cheaper ex-LAX).
I have done this a few times to save $$$ (x4 for family) and always regret it. I hate international arrivals at LAX with snarly CBP agents, and we have also had TSA issues there. At SFO we are never hassled.

I like domestic F as much as the next person, but it's only a couple of extra inches of legroom and I have plenty of drink coupons.

Last edited by Boraxo; Sep 19, 19 at 11:25 pm
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Old Sep 20, 19, 1:26 am
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
Like you my preference is to fly UA because the airline generally takes good care of me and I know all my options. But as a general matter it doesn't benefit me to schedule connections. My chances of getting upgraded for the transcon on SFO-LAX-IAD, SFO-ORD-DCA and SFO-IAD/DCA are almost nil. Similarly SFO-IAH-FLL is no better than SFO-FLL. If anything I increase my chances with a nonstop so long as the destination is not a hub.
Oh, certainly. I wasn't suggesting I'd fly SFO-IAH-IAD. Now you've turned one hub-to-hub flight into two. That doesn't buy you anything.

On the other hand, I'd judge that your upgrade chances might be decent on SFO-MSP-IAD or SFO-DTW-DCA -- because now you've turned one hub-to-hub flight into two non-hub flights. In the Bay Area, you have a much better chance of rising above the pack as a non-UA flyer, specifically because you're based in a UA hub.
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Old Sep 20, 19, 2:29 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
I don't criticize your choice; I simply choose differently. I would rather spend the currency of time than cash for comfort; I enjoy flying and I don't really find delays stressful. (I use the extra time to help out fellow travelers, who frequently do find it stressful).
I think most travelers on this board have somewhere they need to be, instead of dallying around for the experience.
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Old Sep 20, 19, 2:36 am
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Originally Posted by mduell View Post
I think most travelers on this board have somewhere they need to be, instead of dallying around for the experience.
Exactly, I spend as little time in the airport as possible.

Today I am involuntarily violating that rule because Iím playing Standby roulette trying to get back to Houston.
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