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The way of the Dodo? - 1K upgrades, PP or CPU

Old Jan 27, 2024, 4:51 pm
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The way of the Dodo? - 1K upgrades, PP or CPU

Old Oct 2, 2023, 8:42 am
  #1066  
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Originally Posted by mfirst
Is spending $69 for a buy-up on a sub-90 min flight worth it?
It might not be worth it to you or me, but it sure is worth it to someone, no matter the flying time or the aircraft. Recently, someone on the same flight as me paid $59 to upgrade to a better recliner seat for 40 minutes.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 8:51 am
  #1067  
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Originally Posted by mfirst
exerda - why should UA tweak their algorithms to your best interests when they appear to be working quite well for their best interesting - meaning, the seats in F are full.
but, I do tend to agree with you..... and maybe in the end, I am just getting worn out by all of this since it appears to random and out of my control.

If I am traveling for work on OPM - the ticket that gets purchased is typically in a fare class that I have zero control over - and while I might get a buy-up offer, that comes out of my own pocket (non-reimbursable) - and even if someone else is paying, sometimes it just isnt worth the silly amounts that they want for moving a few feet closer to the front door?

Is spending $69 for a buy-up on a sub-90 min flight worth it?

-m
Originally Posted by Repooc17
It might not be worth it to you or me, but it sure is worth it to someone, no matter the flying time or the aircraft. Recently, someone on the same flight as me paid $59 to upgrade to a better recliner seat for 40 minutes.
For pax without status, that buy up can equal the price of checking their two bags. Then for them the seat, etc are free. But for pax with status, all you're getting is a wider seat on a short flight plus maybe an extra drink service (roll of dice). Not worth it. And that is how elite stays in back and general member goes in front.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 8:59 am
  #1068  
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Originally Posted by fumje
For pax without status, that buy up can equal the price of checking their two bags. Then for them the seat, etc are free. But for pax with status, all you're getting is a wider seat on a short flight plus maybe an extra drink service (roll of dice). Not worth it. And that is how elite stays in back and general member goes in front.
Agreed. It's all perspective. For some of us, it's just another flight; for others, it might be one of the few flights in their lifetime. We take it for granted some time while others will splurge and savor every moment of it.

Btw, that $59 upgrader got the upgrade at the gate, as I saw the seat availability go down by 1 right after he conversed with the gate agent. Likely paid on top of any checked bag fees

On a separate flight (red-eye), wide open F, two pax (one next to me, and another across from him) also upgraded at the gate was having the time of their lives, it seemed; from the airline food to the adult beverage. They even took both blankets home
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 9:10 am
  #1069  
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Originally Posted by mfirst
exerda - why should UA tweak their algorithms to your best interests when they appear to be working quite well for their best interesting - meaning, the seats in F are full.
but, I do tend to agree with you..... and maybe in the end, I am just getting worn out by all of this since it appears to random and out of my control.

If I am traveling for work on OPM - the ticket that gets purchased is typically in a fare class that I have zero control over - and while I might get a buy-up offer, that comes out of my own pocket (non-reimbursable) - and even if someone else is paying, sometimes it just isnt worth the silly amounts that they want for moving a few feet closer to the front door?

Is spending $69 for a buy-up on a sub-90 min flight worth it?

-m
For me, UA should know they will get me to pay for it with a high probability at a price point likely higher than a non-status pax, and dial in the price accordingly. (They sometimes succeed at this--more often, I find the buy-up is priced higher than the delta in fare, and just go and refare my ticket to F--win-win as they get more $$ and I don't play the upgrade game.)

I hope but don't know that UA factors more into their algorithms than a single dimensional expected value calculation--in other words, it would be nice if they factored in overall spending patterns (do I buy F often but rarely take the buy-up offer, or do I always wait with instruments applied, or try for CPUs, for example?) to help hone the values offered. Maybe they do--but that's where I think they could hone it to both increase my (and pax like me, as they can surely generalize) probability of purchaser so as to maximize my value.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 9:13 am
  #1070  
 
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but, it is not just the SDU or BU upgrades - it is the random MilePlay rewards and Chase/MP CC spending bonus that make me feel like I am sometimes the cat chasing the laser pointer.......
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 9:20 am
  #1071  
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Originally Posted by exerda
in other words, it would be nice if they factored in overall spending patterns (do I buy F often but rarely take the buy-up offer, or do I always wait with instruments applied, or try for CPUs, for example?) to help hone the values offered.
None of this would be nice. Let me translate that for you: "Please try to improve your ability to extract as much of my money as possible."

Besides FCM going away, which isn't happening, what would be nice would be for UA to agree that offering personalized pricing is worse for their reputation than not doing so, and to offer everyone the same price. For a long time, UA seemed to do this; while there were occasional anecdotes from somebody who was "sure" that somebody else must have gotten a really good price that they'd never seen, there weren't any confirmed reports, and there were lots of counterexamples. Now, however, it seems undeniable that UA is offering personalized pricing, and they need to tread carefully. Personalized pricing is borderline scandalous -- it feels dishonest, and it seems to stir fairly strong emotion. Amazon famously tried it in 2000 and had to discontinue it immediately as customer backlash was intense. In the airline world, people are more used to paying different prices for the same product, but it's still dangerous; while you obviously don't feel that UA was trying to take advantage of you, not everyone in your position would feel the same sympathy toward a company that just tried to charge them 7x what they were charging someone else, at the same time, for the same thing.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 9:50 am
  #1072  
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Personalized pricing is borderline scandalous -- it feels dishonest, and it seems to stir fairly strong emotion.
"I given them $24k a year and a passenger who flies once a year on a $200 economy ticket buys the F seat out from under me for 1/5 the price I was offered. And let's not even talk about how this impacts my ability to use PlusPoints, which are supposedly my most valuable 1K benefit . . . ."

Sounds like a good reason to switch carriers to me.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 10:13 am
  #1073  
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Originally Posted by Kacee
"I given them $24k a year and a passenger who flies once a year on a $200 economy ticket buys the F seat out from under me for 1/5 the price I was offered. And let's not even talk about how this impacts my ability to use PlusPoints, which are supposedly my most valuable 1K benefit . . . ."

Sounds like a good reason to switch carriers to me.
Exactly. Giving your best price to a new customer, rather than to an existing customer, is a strategy that's common in, say, the cell phone and cable TV industries -- and who doesn't love their cell phone or cable companies? AT&T even had to run an entire ad campaign about how they were offering the same price to new or existing customers, as too many people must have been going from carrier to carrier every time they saw an attractive promo.

If UA really wants to extract every last dollar from its customer, but in a way that's not as brazen as what you've described, they should set a common upgrade price, and then, at check-in (which is where these deep discounts normally seem to show up), offer a sliding scale based upon status, e.g.: 10% off for Silver, 20% for Gold, 30% for Plat, 40% for 1K, 50% for GS. "We value your business and understand that some customers may not want to wait for their complimentary upgrades to clear; as a courtesy, we're offering you a special X% discount if you'd like to purchase a buy-up now." As we've discussed recently on this thread, the upgrade is less valuable as your status increases anyway, so this is represents better economic alignment -- but it's also better emotional alignment too.
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 10:31 am
  #1074  
 
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Assuming UA's revenue management programs benefit from improvements in AI technology, there will come a point in the future where FCM will become so efficient at extracting additional revenue through behavioral historical and predictive analysis that "free" UGs will effectively disappear as a benefit. The handwriting is on the wall.
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Last edited by zombietooth; Oct 2, 2023 at 12:18 pm
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Old Oct 2, 2023, 9:32 pm
  #1075  
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Originally Posted by mfirst
.......... and maybe in the end, I am just getting worn out by all of this since it appears to random and out of my control.....
Originally Posted by mfirst
but, it is not just the SDU or BU upgrades - it is the random MilePlay rewards and Chase/MP CC spending bonus that make me feel like I am sometimes the cat chasing the laser pointer.......
This is intentional, because if you could predict what and when it is happening, UA loses the FOMO factor.
These programs are mend to be unpredictable Because with predictable it means UA can not get folks to make impulsive, irrational purchases which favor UA. This not uncommon in much of retailing. If you know the price is always lower on friday, you will only purchase on friday.
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Old Oct 4, 2023, 11:28 am
  #1076  
 
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UA 1231 Oct 3. I was originally scheduled to fly on Oct 4, change it within the 24 hr window to UA1231, applied PlusPoints and got the second and last upgrade. A very lucky upgrade on the high density 777-200 HNL-LAX.
On a related note, UA mentions 28 first class seats but their seat map shows, correctly, 32 seats. I am guessing UA1231 on Oct 3 was a 77O (777-200ER) and today's (Oct 4) UA1231 is a 77G or 77M according to Aerolopa.
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Old Oct 4, 2023, 11:52 am
  #1077  
 
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On the original topic:
I am flying SFO-BOS tomorrow. 752 - 16F seats, 16 booked.
Fare Class: S
PP applied
I am 17/53 on the upgrade list as a 1K. I think that tells me that there are at least 16 other GS/1K who either booked Y/B/M or applied plus points on a plane with 170 seats.
Ouch.
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Old Oct 4, 2023, 12:00 pm
  #1078  
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Originally Posted by The Man in Seat 9A
On the original topic:
I am flying SFO-BOS tomorrow. 752 - 16F seats, 16 booked.
Fare Class: S
PP applied
I am 17/53 on the upgrade list as a 1K. I think that tells me that there are at least 16 other GS/1K who either booked Y/B/M or applied plus points on a plane with 170 seats.
Ouch.
Or 1K with fare bucket higher than S + PP.

SFO is usually where upgrades die.

Safe travels.
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Old Oct 4, 2023, 12:11 pm
  #1079  
 
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SFO-DEN on a saturday afternoon (who flies on saturday afternoon?)... 1K G fare with PP. During pre-boarding my FirstMiddle was called to the desk - hurrah! alas, just one seat and traveling with my 1K wife so back to Y*. I'll end January with my full allotment unused the way things are going.

The Hague has designated SFO as a points plus mass graveyard.

*yes I offered, she declined to split up
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Old Oct 4, 2023, 12:12 pm
  #1080  
 
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1K upgrade cleared at 96 hours for Saturday MCO-EWR using points.
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