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Best way to purchase / upgrade into this specific flight?

Best way to purchase / upgrade into this specific flight?

Old Aug 22, 2022, 6:59 pm
  #1  
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Best way to purchase / upgrade into this specific flight?

I need to fly from EWR to PHX on October 7 (dates, airports, etc non-negotiable). I usually fly Delta but it seems UA or AA will be a better choice for this flight. It's a morning flight and due to requirements; I would love to fly F and arrive fed/ready to go. However, flights seem to cost $1,000+ (both AA and UA), which seems steep for a non transcon F ticket.

1) My preferred flight (departing at 10:59 AM) says I can waitlist for a first class upgrade with 17,500 miles and a $75 copay. How likely is this upgrade to clear? I have no status, no credit card with United, no experience with mileage upgrades on United (I have used them to upgrade to F from J in AA transcon)

2) Is traditional "saver" inventory likely to be released on this route? I would go 50K, maybe up to 75K for an award booking on this route. I would be transferring points from Chase.

3) Should I just suck it up and buy the ticket in cash?
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Old Aug 22, 2022, 7:52 pm
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Book the flight in coach and see if the the website offers you a buy-up right after purchase. If not, cancel within the 24 hour window. Odds of a non status mileage upgrade are minimal...
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Old Aug 22, 2022, 7:55 pm
  #3  
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Unlikely, unlikely, and yes if you need to be on that flight in that cabin.
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Old Aug 22, 2022, 7:56 pm
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Just checked and the buy-up offer was $850. That'll save you $150 over booking first outright.
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Old Aug 22, 2022, 8:21 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Adelphos
I need to fly from EWR to PHX on October 7 (dates, airports, etc non-negotiable). I usually fly Delta but it seems UA or AA will be a better choice for this flight. It's a morning flight and due to requirements; I would love to fly F and arrive fed/ready to go. However, flights seem to cost $1,000+ (both AA and UA), which seems steep for a non transcon F ticket.
You might want to check the UA meal thread before you make any decisions. I arrive equally well fed in Y or F, because I bring my own food on either way.

On that date, you're seeing a combination of two things. Friday is generally an expensive day to fly, and you've picked a flight where they've already sold out most of the F cabin with 6 weeks to go. Out of 20 total F seats, they've sold 14 already, which is fairly unusual. In fact, even the economy seat map looks pretty full. Whatever event you're going to in Phoenix seems to be popular.

Originally Posted by Adelphos
1) My preferred flight (departing at 10:59 AM) says I can waitlist for a first class upgrade with 17,500 miles and a $75 copay. How likely is this upgrade to clear? I have no status, no credit card with United, no experience with mileage upgrades on United (I have used them to upgrade to F from J in AA transcon)
Essentially zero.

Originally Posted by Adelphos
2) Is traditional "saver" inventory likely to be released on this route? I would go 50K, maybe up to 75K for an award booking on this route. I would be transferring points from Chase.
On this route? Sure. On this flight, no. F will sell out -- in fact, barring a cancellation by somebody, the price is more likely to increase than decrease, in my opinion.

Originally Posted by Adelphos
3) Should I just suck it up and buy the ticket in cash?
I see four choices: $947 for the 7 AM flight in F, $539 for the 10:59 flight in Y, $687 for the 10:59 flight in Economy Plus, or $1508 for the 10:59 flight in F. Personally, I'd probably go for Economy Plus (economy service, extra legroom seat, but not a separate cabin like Delta C+). If you absolutely have to fly in F -- what's four hours of sleep worth to you?

As noted, you may be able to get a discount by buying a coach seat first and then looking for a buy-up, but note that the money spent on the buy-up may not be transferrable if you change your plans.
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Old Aug 23, 2022, 10:00 am
  #6  
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I would add that long before an upgrade or saver award would occur, the price of an F ticket would likely come closer to the $5xx lowest published fare.
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Old Aug 24, 2022, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by skylane
Just checked and the buy-up offer was $850. That'll save you $150 over booking first outright.
Just be aware that using this strategy, if you have a voluntary flight change you will technically forfeit the $850 upgrade fee altogether. Not sure if in practice folks have been successful in getting these refunded, but for this reason alone I never take the buy-up offer over booking/changing the paid F-class ticket so that I keep flexibility for changes, same day flight changes/standby, etc. To me, the flexibility is worth the additional $150 in this case.
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Old Aug 24, 2022, 9:45 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by skylane
Just checked and the buy-up offer was $850. That'll save you $150 over booking first outright.
Don't your have to add the cost of the original purchased fare to the $850 to make an apple to apple comparison?

I got CPUs (comp upgrades) on EWR to PHX and also the return flight flight earlier this month (August), but I was traveling on the last flight of the day on the outbound and a red-eye return. I paid $340 for the roundtrip and booked into L fare bucket both ways. Surprisingly, it was cheaper booking two one-ways than one roundtrip ticket (more than $400).

October the leisure crowd should die down a bit.
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Old Aug 24, 2022, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by jsloan
Whatever event you're going to in Phoenix seems to be popular.
Eagles playing the Cardinals in Az that weekend. Probably a lot of Phily fans going via EWR.
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Old Aug 24, 2022, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by TXJeepGuy
Eagles playing the Cardinals in Az that weekend. Probably a lot of Phily fans going via EWR.
I'm there for something else, but this makes sense. Phoenix is generally popular in the fall too.
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Old Aug 24, 2022, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by TXJeepGuy
Eagles playing the Cardinals in Az that weekend. Probably a lot of Phily fans going via EWR.
If they are in Southern Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area, can catch a nonstop from PHL on AA.
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Old Oct 7, 2022, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by TXJeepGuy
Eagles playing the Cardinals in Az that weekend. Probably a lot of Phily fans going via EWR.
Originally Posted by Adelphos
I'm there for something else, but this makes sense. Phoenix is generally popular in the fall too.
Originally Posted by Repooc17
If they are in Southern Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area, can catch a nonstop from PHL on AA.
To close the loop on this - I eventually booked an AA award from EWR to PHX. Seems like the entire plane is Eagles/Phillies gear wearing fans going to the game. Funny that we are in a recession but people are spending thousands on discretionary trips to watch football
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Old Oct 7, 2022, 10:35 am
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Originally Posted by Adelphos
Funny that we are in a recession but people are spending thousands on discretionary trips to watch football
Everybody is not poor all of of a sudden.
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Old Oct 7, 2022, 1:27 pm
  #14  
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Originally Posted by Adelphos
Funny that we are in a recession but people are spending thousands on discretionary trips to watch football
Recession is just a word economists use to justify their jobs.
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Old Oct 7, 2022, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH
Everybody is not poor all of of a sudden.
My Tuesday night red-eye HNL-SFO was sold out in F on a 777-300 a full week before the flight. Think about it - 60 F seats either purchased or used with a lot of miles on a Tuesday night during the slowest time in Hawaii a week before the flight.

People still have serious cash to burn.
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