Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Flying up front:Upgrade fee may be more or less then up-faring/purchase directly,Why?

Flying up front:Upgrade fee may be more or less then up-faring/purchase directly,Why?

Old Dec 24, 2023, 8:13 am
  #31  
Moderator, Omni, Omni/PR, Omni/Games, FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Between DCA and IAD
Programs: UA 1K MM; Hilton Diamond
Posts: 67,301
Originally Posted by cerps343
Do you all just call in and ask what the rate would be? I was thinking you do a mock booking and see what the flight would cost for F, then cancel your ticket for an ETC and use that towards buying another fare, but that seems too complicated and possible for something to go wrong along the way.
I often do the latter, or a version of it.

I check a mock booking, but I usually don't cancel and use ETC to rebook--instead, I use the "Change Flights" link and pick the F flights. It should almost always be the same price as the mock booking showed; if it's not, you can always call in. This is where my normal domestic booking process of 2x one-way itins instead of a single roundtrip comes in handy, as I don't run into any issues with changes to the outbound impacting the return (though that's rare IME anyway). I have done a few single roundtrip bookings recently that worked out for other reasons (like irrops on tight turns), but I generally keep the itins separate to make it easier to change them individually.

Canceling and using ETC risks having your cancelation potentially impact inventory, or someone snagging the last fare in the cheap bucket while you are canceling, searching, and rebooking. It would be rare that either of these impact the process, but I still would avoid that risk in most cases. The upside to canceling and using ETC is that if you have more than one ETC, you can combine them to pay for the new F ticket, whereas if you go through "Change Flights," you have to pay the difference with new money and not prior flight credit.
SPN Lifer, cerps343 and sgtbalski like this.

Last edited by exerda; Dec 24, 2023 at 8:19 am
exerda is offline  
Old Dec 24, 2023, 9:02 am
  #32  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,722
Originally Posted by cerps343
Do you all just call in and ask what the rate would be? I was thinking you do a mock booking and see what the flight would cost for F, then cancel your ticket for an ETC and use that towards buying another fare, but that seems too complicated and possible for something to go wrong along the way.
Just check the price of a new ticket in F. The difference between that and what you've already paid is the cost to upfare. There's no need to call.
IMissThe747 likes this.
Kacee is offline  
Old Dec 24, 2023, 10:21 am
  #33  
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Latin America and USA
Programs: UA 1K, Marriott Gold
Posts: 459
Originally Posted by cerps343
Do you all just call in and ask what the rate would be? I was thinking you do a mock booking and see what the flight would cost for F, then cancel your ticket for an ETC and use that towards buying another fare, but that seems too complicated and possible for something to go wrong along the way.
Originally Posted by Kacee
Just check the price of a new ticket in F. The difference between that and what you've already paid is the cost to upfare. There's no need to call.
Agreed with Kacee.

If you do prefer to call, just ask the cost to upfare to Z and they should be able to tell you. No need to cancel, rebook, deal with ETC, etc.

Online or with the app it's easy, just do change flight and search for specifically what you want.
SPN Lifer and commaspace like this.
IMissThe747 is offline  
Old Dec 27, 2023, 11:11 am
  #34  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Honolulu / DC
Programs: UA 1K /2mm / Marriott Lifetime Titanium , Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,057
Originally Posted by ijgordon
You also dont need to call in, just change flight and you can choose the higher class of service on the same flight/date/time.
This has been erratic recently. As often as not I dont get shown any fare on my current flight. I thought that function was deliberately removed, but it worked properly yesterday.
cmculp is offline  
Old Dec 27, 2023, 3:06 pm
  #35  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,722
Originally Posted by cmculp
This has been erratic recently. As often as not I dont get shown any fare on my current flight. I thought that function was deliberately removed, but it worked properly yesterday.
You don't get same flight in same class of service, but you should get same flight in higher class of service.
Kacee is offline  
Old Dec 27, 2023, 3:58 pm
  #36  
Moderator, Omni, Omni/PR, Omni/Games, FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Between DCA and IAD
Programs: UA 1K MM; Hilton Diamond
Posts: 67,301
Originally Posted by Kacee
You don't get same flight in same class of service, but you should get same flight in higher class of service.
I've had it be erratic a few times recently. Booked in Y, went to "change flight," picked the same origin/destination, same date... and the flight I was booked on showed up as "unavailable" in both Y and F in the search results. If I went to "book flight" and treated it like a new itin altogether, I could see the prices just fine for both Y and F on the flight. I can't figure out a correlation; a few times, it happened after I made a change from a connecting flight to a nonstop for part of the itin (still in Y, rather than upfaring), and suddenly it went from "IAD-BOS" or "IAD-BTV" to "IAD-IAD." But I also had it happen on mileage award itins (one of which I ended up flying; the other 2 I ultimately canceled).

The majority of the time, though, I've had zero issue using "change flight" and having it show all the options. And I've probably changed 90% of my itineraries this year from what I originally booked--yes, I love no longer having change fees.
hurnik likes this.
exerda is offline  
Old Dec 27, 2023, 4:01 pm
  #37  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: BOS, PVG
Programs: United 1K and 1MM, Marriott Ambassador
Posts: 10,000
A friend booked Premium Economy PVG-SFO-LAS, SFO-PVG for 2/12-2/25/2024. Fare is $4,000.

When we tried to see upgrade offer, united.com wanted merely $17,000.

This brings the total fare to $21,000.





Current business class round trip fare for the identical dates is about $8,600.

This is crazy.
kb1992 is offline  
Old Dec 27, 2023, 5:50 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: NYC
Programs: BA Silver, UA 1K, DL Platinum
Posts: 699
I always check reprice versus upgrade offer. Just did it for a EWR DEL because I couldnt take the risk of the PP from R not clearing and I noticed they released 4 P and the upgrade offer dropped from 4k to 1.2k. The Z refare was cheaper

I much prefer it because you can still make changes whereas the upgrade offers dont allow so I would still take a modestly higher refare to keep that optionality.
SPN Lifer and exerda like this.
rather_be_on_a_griffin is offline  
Old Dec 27, 2023, 10:55 pm
  #39  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,722
Originally Posted by kb1992
This is crazy.
Not sure I would expect this to work for a PVG originating international round-trip.

Trying to change a RT international ticket, you may well run into fare rule restrictions. May be better off just cancelling and rebooking, assuming no change fees (and I don't know the rules for a China-originating ticket).
Kacee is offline  
Old Dec 28, 2023, 8:15 am
  #40  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: DEN
Programs: UA MM Plat; AA MM Gold; HHonors Diamond
Posts: 15,867
I routinely book business trips in Economy in order to generate a receipt for the expense report and then immediately change to flight(s) to FC. It's been my experience that the upgrade offer is rarely < the upfare cost. Equal...at times, but not usually.
Bonehead is offline  
Old Dec 28, 2023, 9:13 am
  #41  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: PHX
Programs: AS 75K; UA 1MM; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott LTP; Hilton Diamond (Aspire)
Posts: 56,722
Originally Posted by Bonehead
I routinely book business trips in Economy in order to generate a receipt for the expense report and then immediately change to flight(s) to FC. It's been my experience that the upgrade offer is rarely < the upfare cost. Equal...at times, but not usually.
It will be lower when only higher economy fare buckets are available, since it's calculated based on the underlying fare differential. So if you bought a T and now W is lowest available economy, the upgrade will be cheaper than the upfare.
SPN Lifer, fly2nrt and IMissThe747 like this.
Kacee is offline  
Old Jan 10, 2024, 7:44 pm
  #42  
txp
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Texas
Programs: UA, AA, DL, BA, Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Hyatt
Posts: 1,300
Why are upgrade offers generally more expensive than the fare difference?

Hi everyone,

My apologies if this has been discussed in the past.

I have noticed, over the years, that paying the fare difference between the lowest Y fare and the lowest F fare is (typically) cheaper than accepting the "upgrade" offer at the time of ticketing. This feature seems to be unique to UA. In the case of DL and AA, the upgrade offer typically corresponds to the fare difference.

Could anyone explain the logic beyond UA's pricing model for upgrades?

Thank you!

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jan 10, 2024 at 8:05 pm Reason: moved to existing discussion
txp is offline  
Old Jan 10, 2024, 8:13 pm
  #43  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Programs: AS 75K, DL Silver, UA Platinum, Hilton Gold, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Platinum + LT Gold
Posts: 10,601
Originally Posted by txp
Hi everyone,

My apologies if this has been discussed in the past.

I have noticed, over the years, that paying the fare difference between the lowest Y fare and the lowest F fare is (typically) cheaper than accepting the "upgrade" offer at the time of ticketing. This feature seems to be unique to UA. In the case of DL and AA, the upgrade offer typically corresponds to the fare difference.

Could anyone explain the logic beyond UA's pricing model for upgrades?

Thank you!
I don't think any definitive conclusion can be drawn.

I will use my own itinerary as an example:

I have EWR to SFO coming up later this week, I paid $164 for the one way flight. I am currently seeing the following:

Upgrade to PE: $225 -> total cash outlay with paid upgrade: $389
Current PE fare for the same flight: $634

Upgrade to business: $845 -> total cash outlay with paid upgrade: $1,009
Current business fare for the same flight: $1,200
Repooc17 is offline  
Old Jan 10, 2024, 10:22 pm
  #44  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 21,647
Originally Posted by txp
Could anyone explain the logic beyond UA's pricing model for upgrades?
Sure. They often offer discounts for purchases made as upgrades. However, they realize that this is bad from a game theory perspective, as they could train their users not to purchase a premium cabin fare and just wait for a discounted upgrade, so sometimes they will post offers that are higher than the fare difference would be. Theyre not really expecting anyone to take those offers, although they will certainly accept the money if someone does. The purpose is to make sure that theres not a mechanism to buy that is sometimes a discount but no worse than a push.
SPN Lifer and Kacee like this.
jsloan is online now  
Old Jan 11, 2024, 8:30 am
  #45  
txp
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Texas
Programs: UA, AA, DL, BA, Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Hyatt
Posts: 1,300
Originally Posted by jsloan
Sure. They often offer discounts for purchases made as upgrades. However, they realize that this is bad from a game theory perspective, as they could train their users not to purchase a premium cabin fare and just wait for a discounted upgrade, so sometimes they will post offers that are higher than the fare difference would be. They’re not really expecting anyone to take those offers, although they will certainly accept the money if someone does. The purpose is to make sure that there’s not a mechanism to buy that is sometimes a discount but no worse than a push.
I understand.

I think there is another reason as well. It's a form of price discrimination to benefit from people who don't buy their own tickets.

Scenario 1:

I buy my own ticket. Lowest economy fare is $250, P-fare in first is $320, and the upgrade offer is $150. After buying the ticket in economy I reissue it in first and pay the $70 fare difference.

Scenario 2:

The company buys the ticket at the lowest economy fare of $250. I do not have the option of re-issuing the ticket in first class (P) as this would involve the corporate travel department. The only option is the $150 upgrade offer.
txp is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.