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Upgrades vs lounge access as an UA elite benefit?

Upgrades vs lounge access as an UA elite benefit?

Old Mar 21, 21, 5:56 pm
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Upgrades vs lounge access as an UA elite benefit?

I have always been curious on others opinions on lounge access vs upgrades. In Europe they donít give out any complimentary upgrades but do give out some upgrade carts. However they prioritize lounge access giving mid tier elites and above access to business class and first class lounges or better for them and a guest. So would you rather have lounge access so golds and platinums got United club access on every flight for them and a guest but no CPUs. Furthermore 1ks and global services getting access to the Polaris lounges on every flights for them and a guest but no CPUs and fewer plus points. Silvers still get nothing😀.
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Old Mar 21, 21, 6:09 pm
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It is easy to purchase domestic UC access for $500, would not get you very far on upgrades for the same amount. AND it would lead to even more crowsing in normal times. The UC system is not sized for this.

Expanded PL access will just overrun the PLs and greatly diminish the experience defeating the intent of the PLs

CPUs cost UA very little and having to increase the size of the lounges would cost a bundle.
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Last edited by WineCountryUA; Mar 21, 21 at 7:53 pm
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Old Mar 21, 21, 7:25 pm
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another way to reword this is

inventory expires when airplane takes off - so might as well give seat away to make customer happy (or upsell it as United does via ToD)
lounge doesn't expire - and as @WineCountryUA mentioned above, you have to stock more food/coffee/... and overcrowding

in Europe, some (not all though) of their "domestic" business class seats is just the same coach 3x3 layout, with middle seat blocked (and a movable curtain to separate the two)
https://thepointsguy.com/2015/08/europe-business-class/
https://onemileatatime.com/british-a...s-class-table/

not really much incentive for an upgrade (and airline can choose to "remove" business seats and sell more economy seats if needed). of course intra-europe business can still get better/free food

as to why europe gives away lounge access without the overcrowding issue, anyone chime in?
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Old Mar 21, 21, 7:35 pm
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Who knows where post-pandemic European carriers wind up. Entirely possible that the included lounge goes the way the domestic F lounge went in the US.

I would put all of this on hold until 2024 and then see what is out there.
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Old Mar 21, 21, 7:39 pm
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Europe is able to handle this because they don't sell memberships. secondly I would argue most golds and platinums don't get 500 dollars in cpus in normal time.CPUs for golds and platinums in hubs were so rare.
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Old Mar 21, 21, 8:08 pm
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Originally Posted by united 1k flyer View Post
Europe is able to handle this because they don't sell memberships. secondly I would argue most golds and platinums don't get 500 dollars in cpus in normal time.CPUs for golds and platinums in hubs were so rare.
If you are only flying between ORD and EWR, I would agree, as the UG list can be miles long even during pandemic. For the most part, however, Golds and above should get at least $500 in value in upgrades with ease.

Personally, I like being in the air, but not so much the ground experience. I'd spend the least amount of time in the airport, such as getting to the airport at boarding time. Maybe it's the overall poor lounge experience (including PL), and just people in general.
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Old Mar 21, 21, 8:55 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
It is easy to purchase domestic UC access for $500, would not get you very far on upgrades for the same amount. AND it would lead to even more crowsing in normal times. The UC system is not sized for this.

Expanded PL access will just overrun the PLs and greatly diminish the experience defeating the intent of the PLs

CPUs cost UA very little and having to increase the size of the lounges would cost a bundle.
I feel as though united offering GS the option to not take any plus points and instead have a polaris lounge membership would be a win win. The small amount of GS and the even smaller amount who would take this option would not significantly contribute to overcrowding. furthermore united could win this deal with the average GS getting about 500 plus points that's a lot of expensive skip the waitlists or PN seats that could take up revenue seats possibly.
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Old Mar 21, 21, 9:40 pm
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Not a GS, but thought a lot of GS use their upgrades for family and/or vacations -- giving those up of domestic only travel access to PL seems pretty steep tradeoff (and difficult to explain to the home team)

With their UC access, is PL on domestic worth that tradeoff?? Most are too busy to lounge around the PL. Again, not a GS.

For my domestic travel, the club/lounge visits are generally short -- long connections are rare domestically.
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Old Mar 21, 21, 10:01 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Not a GS, but thought a lot of GS use their upgrades for family and/or vacations -- giving those up of domestic only travel access to PL seems pretty steep tradeoff (and difficult to explain to the home team)

With their UC access, is PL on domestic worth that tradeoff?? Most are too busy to lounge around the PL. Again, not a GS.

For my domestic travel, the club/lounge visits are generally short -- long connections are rare domestically.
I am a GS and I agree completely. The plus points are worth it for family and friends and I'll go to the Amex Centurion lounge if I need Bette than the typical UC experience.
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Old Mar 21, 21, 10:39 pm
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I have zero interest in giving up CPUs in exchange for United lounge access.

I wouldn't even give up CPUs for United lounge access if United lounges were more like various international lounges.

And I live in a non-hub, so I'm often connecting. For people in a hub city, I assume the calculation is even more slanted -- I doubt most Premier members are getting to the airport well before their flight. (Some, yes, but I suspect most are trying to minimize the time spent at the airport, not maximize it).
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Old Mar 21, 21, 10:44 pm
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If they want to offer a new benefit for GS with regards to Polaris Lounge access, I’d say it should be Polaris Lounge Access on paid domestic F tickets - no guest privileges. Lounges would be able to handle it without much impact to crowding, and would be a meaningful benefit for GS folks.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 2:59 am
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The reason most European carriers do this is because their countries are smaller and thus their domestic traffic is smaller than in the US. If flying internationally, elites would get lounge access (*G and above) anyway. I like the US system as it helps to reduce already over-crowded lounges anyway and offers a chance at a better seat (and some type of meal) on what could end up being a long flight domestically.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 6:26 am
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Lounge space is limited. Free upgrade eligibility is unlimited. With CPU's, the lists just get that much longer and those at the bottom rarely or never get upgraded on routes that matter to them. When lounges get overcrowded, people stop going because you can get overcrowded yelling for free pretty much anywhere in an airport.

Lounges also have value for connecting passengers, but less and less value for HVC business traffic where the premium is on quick processing, e.g. dedicated check-in, Pre-Check and early boarding. Why go to the airport early?
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Old Mar 22, 21, 6:29 am
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Flights are shorter in Europe because cities are generally closer together than they are in the US. Als, US carriers monetized lounges by selling memberships. That led the upgrades/club access equation to develop differently. I'm pretty happy with the CPU upgrades as a benefit, particularly as I have a lifetime UA Club membership.
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Old Mar 22, 21, 6:36 am
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I don’t care either way. Normally my flying is all INTL so as 1K I get lounge access but I rarely visit a UC because of the crowds. CPUs are nice but my DOM legs are usually less than 2 hours so not a big deal.
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