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CPU Clearance Experiences - Archive

Old Jan 4, 2016, 9:46 pm
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Honolulu / DC
Programs: UA 1K /2mm / Marriott Lifetime Titanium , Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,059
Flying SAN to ATL next week, I find the best fare for the flights I need in economy is 12 dollars less then the up front fare ($362 v. $374). Pretty aggressive P fare pricing. This has become common (and I thus buy P and Z fares all the time). Down side is that there are far less seats free for CPUs.

That said, when available, you still clear. My son, a silver, cleared HNL to SEA via SFO recently. No one was more surprised than he was.....except his dad.
cmculp is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2016, 9:47 pm
Join Date: May 2012
Programs: Delta Plat, UA Plat, Hilton Diamond, SPG Gold
Posts: 258
Well I think buy ups screwed the system over. In 2015, i upgraded to first sometimes out of houston for a measly 69 to EWR, and my friends were offered that sometimes. This is random, sometimes my offer is 300, while a no status is offered 150. When the ticket cost 300-400 more technically, the buy ups are going to be bought if they are messed up. This cuts down on available seats, which I did notice a downturn in my percentage. I was about 25% out of IAH in 2014, but I was 15% ish in 2015. It was pretty much 0 if I did not get upgraded 4 days out of the flight, maybe sneaked in 1 flight that I cleared on the plane last year. Who knows, maybe there are a lot of GS out of IAH.
critten is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2016, 10:42 pm
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Colorado
Programs: UA Gold 1MM, Marriott Gold
Posts: 1,158
As a Gold, I can share that out of 55 domestic flight segments in 2015, I rode up front a grand total of 9 times...6 of these were CPU and only 2 were on mainline aircraft (737 on a Tuesday). The other 4 CPU were UX flights on either Q400 or CR7 regional jets. The rest were upgrades paid with miles.

2014 was about the same while 2013 was closer to 50% (Gold). For comparison I was 1K from 2009-2012 and my upgrade rate was >85%.

If you're getting 33% CPU rate out of SFO then you're either doing mid-week non-hub trips or you should go buy Lotto tickets.
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Old Jan 4, 2016, 10:57 pm
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,863
I was 2/4 in 2015 - cleared MEX-SFO and PHX-SFO. Did two buy-ups at check-in to avoid Y.

2015 was clearly much harder than prior years. I was 100% in 2013 and somewhere in the 90s for 2014.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2016, 10:59 pm
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: NYC, SLC, LAX
Programs: AA EXP, UA Plat
Posts: 3,953
IIRC I cleared CPU on a total of 4 segments in 2015 on CPU: SEA-SFO, SFO-SAN, SFO-BWI, and LAS-EWR. That was about 25% of segments that were UG eligible, not instrument supported, and not utilizing SDC.

Routes/times definitely play a huge part in it.
DWFI is offline  
Old Jan 4, 2016, 11:00 pm
Join Date: Mar 2014
Programs: 1K
Posts: 223
As a 1K I get tons of upgrades on shorter flights, but on hub to hub during business travel forget about it. Also on popular "commuter" routes serviced with CRJ7's upgrades are very unlikely. The other perks make it nice and I've had good success with RPUs.
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Old Jan 4, 2016, 11:59 pm
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Just outside Big D, or many other places in big metal tubes
Programs: WN Rpd.Rwrds, AA, was longtime CO very top Elite tier, Overentitled UA Lifetime 1K (since 2012)
Posts: 1,334
This is so dependent upon day, time, route, and fare purchased. Many companies have strict rules about what fares may be purchased, so this can affect one's priority for CPUs within a Premier level. I feel sad for those of you who get a small CPU rate.

My 2015 CPU rate was over 90%. I have leeway on when I travel and have studied routes I take to get an idea of trends. I also take less full flights. I almost always travel with just me on the reservation. There doesn't seem to be as many 1KS or GS flying from DFW since DFW was never a hub for UA (or for CO from before the merger, as I was in the CO OnePass program before the merger.) If more persons are purchasing First Class, it really has not impacted my CPUs much.

Since I connect through UA hubs, I can check in much earlier for the second segment, which puts me on the airport upgrade list earlier (a tiebreaker) and I tend to purchase tickets 3-4 weeks in advance. For my routes, there are usually more upgradeable seats available at the 96 hour upgrade window. My CPUs normally clear 72 hours out, although sometimes at 96 hours. A few times, CPUs have come at 48 hours, or under 24 hours. A few times they have come at the gate. I realize I am lucky, compared to reports by others. When I don't get upgraded, I have a nice seat in E+ staked out. Now, it is nice to get a free first alcoholic beverage when in E+. I have noticed FAs are not so picky about just limiting the comped drink to one drink.

I check often for schedule or aircraft changes to be on top of things so I can adjust accordingly.

However, I can also fly OAL and compare to see what is my best upgrade chance. (I also can fly WN from DAL and although no First Class, first row offers more legroom and I usually get first row, and pick less full flights. There is mostly a middle seat unoccupied, allowing me more room.)

Last edited by mkr; Jan 5, 2016 at 7:25 am Reason: Clarity
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Old Jan 5, 2016, 12:17 am
Join Date: Jul 2007
Programs: UA Silver
Posts: 794
This depends so much on your routes. Out of 31 eligible segments, I had 7 CPUs as a Silver in 2015. I believe my percentage was even higher as a Gold last year. This is way higher than most posts here would lead you to believe, but I also live in LAS.
horse glasses is offline  
Old Jan 5, 2016, 12:51 am
Join Date: Jan 2010
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott-Gold
Posts: 621
Really cheap buy-ups messed it up. I spoke to a GA in PHL last week who said the same - much later confirmed upgrades, alot of them happening after boarding (alot more work for them) and its making loyalty to an airline less important. She was not happy about it and I can't imagine many people are. I find myself buying flights on other airlines this past year.
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Old Jan 5, 2016, 4:12 am
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Morris County, NJ
Programs: UA 1K/*G, Avis Pres, Marriott Plat
Posts: 2,318
Honestly, I had a pretty fantastic 2015. Very few flights in Y - many CPUs.

I'm already 2/2 in 2016 on CPUs clearing.

Guess it's just my routes, but I'm lucky that way I guess.
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Old Jan 5, 2016, 1:37 pm
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: SLC
Programs: UA 1K
Posts: 240
Likewise, I had 9 eligible flights not clear. I batted ~84% CPU success in 2015. Being a 1K in SLC has a lot to do with that.
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Old Jan 5, 2016, 2:11 pm
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DEN
Programs: UA 1K (MM), DL, AA, AS, HHonors, SPG, Kimpton, Hyatt, IC PC, Marriott Titanium (LT PLT), Hertz PC
Posts: 7,231
I was 25/44 on upgrade-eligible flights, but of these 25, 17 were instrument supported... So, only 8 CPUs for me in 2015...
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Old Jan 5, 2016, 2:19 pm
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: LIM
Programs: United Premier 1K, Hilton Diamond, Bonvoy Gold, AmEx Plat
Posts: 559
As a Silver, I had 0/3 CPUs. One of them was an INVOL Y and I ended up 4th on the UG list. The other one was I believe an L MCO-IAH and I ended up second. Pretty much to my surprise.
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Old Jan 5, 2016, 2:58 pm
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 19,617
17/40 (42.5%) on CPU-eligible flight segments as Premier Gold.

Longest was IAH-SAN
Most surprising was ORD-IAH on a 737-700 (I thought they'd been retired) on an 'N' fare.
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Old Jan 5, 2016, 4:57 pm
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: iad/dca
Programs: UA Million Mile Gold, Club, AA, Delta, Marriott, Hertz G, A/Club
Posts: 1,106
I scored a few toward the end of the year IAD-HOU, Den-IAD, BWI-Den and Den-BWI return.
iquitos is offline  

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