Aero0729 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 76 posts, RR: 0 Posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 7607 times:
United and American have stuck to a segment upgrade program while Continental, Delta, Northwest and US Airways offer unlimited Comp. upgrades. Although during peak travel times an upgrade can be tough to get on the Unlimited carriers, it also offers Gold and Platinum Elites many more upgrade oppurtunities. Any thoughts of which one works the best?
I know that many are angry with the Continental/Delta programs now that neither program gives customers full credit for flying, even if on discounted Economy fares. American has a unique system that gives all AAdvantage frequent flyers credit for all their flights flown at full mileage-flown levels, but also rewards elite members who fly on full-fares with a unique 'Points' system. In addition, I believe United and Northwest still allow customers to earn full mileage-flown, butt-in-seat credit for all their flights, regardless of the fare class, even if it is a discounted or deeply-discounted Economy Class fare.
TVNWZ From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 2273 posts, RR: 2 Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 7565 times:
Quoting Commavia (Reply 1): believe United and Northwest still allow customers to earn full mileage-flown, butt-in-seat credit for all their flights, regardless of the fare class, even if it is a discounted or deeply-discounted Economy Class fare.
And it is precisely for this reason I fly NW and Skyteam. I get upgraded almost all the time as Gold Elite. A friend of mine comparably elite on AA and DL gets upgraded far, far less.
Aero0729 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 76 posts, RR: 0 Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 7524 times:
The nice thing about Delta is that they have a nice ratio of First to Coach seats on most planes and a good chance of an upgrade, even as a Silver. HINT!!! The day of the flight, you can go online and see what flights still have free upgrade availability. If a flight has upgrade availbilty, call Delta and change it for the $25.00 fee-within 3 hours(free for Gold and Plat). Delta also now allows ANY change to the return trip of a domestic itnerary on any fare for only 50.00, confirmed anytime after original travel starts, this is a very nice rule. CO and NW also offer the 25.00 confirmed.
FCYTravis From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1191 posts, RR: 6 Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 7467 times:
It really comes down to a choice of what you want out of the program and where you live. There's no one "best."
United has a strong F-cabin product, Economy Plus and reasonable mileage redemption. But even top-tier 1K flyers must purchase 500-mile certs to upgrade, and with small F-cabins on a lot of aircraft (8F in the 737s and A319s) upgrades can be tricky - especially given the vast numbers of elites that Mileage Plus has.
Continental has free upgrades for everyone and a very good domestic F-cabin, but the upgrades are notoriously hard to come by. Even Platinums are often completely shut out, thanks to lots of reasonably-priced F-fares. If you're a CO Silver, count yourself lucky to be upgraded one out of every ten flights. Also, mileage redemption is very, very difficult - their program didn't get the nickname NonePass on FlyerTalk for nothing.
US Airways also has free upgrades for everyone, and the upgrades are *very* generously lavished out. Top-tier Chairman's members get upgraded up to a week before the flight date, and even Gold and Silver members report 50-75% upgrade success. The flipside is that the F-cabin product is not particularly lavish and, especially on the East Coast, there's zillions of RJs with nowhere to upgrade to anyway. (This is also true for Continental.)
Northwest, I've heard, has a reputation for lots of upgrades, but again, the F-cabin product is definitely not industry-standard. Pitch is tight, the seats a bit uncomfortable and, domestically, the product overall is pretty bad (no IFE on any domestic flight.)
USAir A321 service now departing for SFO with fuel stops in CAK, COS and RNO. Enjoy your flight.
Aero0729 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 76 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 7421 times:
I agree, it depends on where you live and what you want! Being in Orlando is great for Delta Elites, not good for United due to so many Ted flights with no F Cabin. As a silver on Delta this year I have upgraded 17 out of 21 flights! My father has flown over 30 legs as a Plat. and has not missed one!
No different really then most airlines in the US, infact its got more pitch on comparable aircraft then CO's. Also NW has a minimum of 16 FC seats, more then any other carrier on comparable aircraft sizes.
"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
Aero0729 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 76 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 7391 times:
Northwest seats are fine, they arent great but they are good. NW offers a nice meal service on many flights even under 1000 miles (ex: all FL markets to DTW) Their food service is better or comparable to CO, but their flights in ECON are terrible and lack of inflight ent. leaves economy passengers with much to desire.NW and CO Elites can upgrade on each others flights!
FURUREFA From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 784 posts, RR: 2 Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 7381 times:
I don't know which one is the best, but I as an AAdvantage gold member, can still upgrade on very full/popular routes (BOS-ORD, DFW-ORD on the wed. before thanksgiving). AA used to be VERY generous with trans-atlantic upgrades (25K miles, almost any fare), whereas now it is $250+25K miles one way. AA also has a large # of F seats on it's S80s (16F, 120Y).
Sllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6 Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7306 times:
It definitely depends on the type and quantity of flying you do.
NW, for example, tends to make getting upgraded very easy on domestic flights. However, international flights can only be upgraded from the two highest coach fare classes (Y and B) and even those upgrades can be tough. International Business class awards can be very very tough as well.
AA has some good international upgrade availability, although it will cost $250 each way in addition to miles if the upgrade clears (except for Y/B fares). Domestic upgrades will cost money, however, unless you fly more than 100,000 miles (or as little as 67,000 miles if you fly on premium fares). If you go make AA top tier, you will also get 8 one way upgrade certs (which take the place of miles+fee for upgrading). One downside, of course, is that you can't earn or redeem miles on BA over the Atlantic. So if you live on the west coast that means you will have to fly the last leg home in a domestic aircraft (and, of course, go throgh security one more time).
UA sort of splits the difference. There's no limitation over the Atlantic or the Pacific, but their mileage earning on partners isn't as good as AA's, and you get fewer upgrade certs for International that are more restricted than AA's. Domestic upgrades also aren't free. You do earn domestic upgrade credits, but only for the flying you do on UA/US metal. The main reason I chose AA over UA was that much of my paid-for (business) flying is over the Pacific to Asia, and you earn less when you are flying NH or SQ. Whereas traveling business class on Cathay Pacific earns the same as travelling on AA (or AA's extensive codesharing with JL).
WesternA318 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 5490 posts, RR: 24 Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7285 times:
Quoting FCYTravis (Reply 9): Continental has free upgrades for everyone and a very good domestic F-cabin, but the upgrades are notoriously hard to come by. Even Platinums are often completely shut out, thanks to lots of reasonably-priced F-fares. If you're a CO Silver, count yourself lucky to be upgraded one out of every ten flights. Also, mileage redemption is very, very difficult - their program didn't get the nickname NonePass on FlyerTalk for nothing.
ive flown almost 85 segments this year domestically, and every single time Ive been upgraded, and Im just a Silver Elite
Next trip: SLC-JFK-LHR-ATL-LAX-SLC...my wife's first time on DL's 764!
Gokmengs From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1115 posts, RR: 2 Reply 19, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 7250 times:
I don't know why DL has a bad rep. about this. I'm a PM(most of my flying is international) but I fly domestic around 10-15 round trips a year and not once have I not been upgraded. I have to add that half those roundtrips were with my girlfriend and I got the companion upgrade every single time.
Dutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 58 Reply 20, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 7219 times:
The forums in Flyertalk probably have more exact information for you on this topic.....you can read lots of discussions (complaints!) about each of the airlines programs.
As with most things like this, there is no set answer.......each program has its advantages and disadvantages and a lot of what you hear is very personal and based upon individual experiences. For example: Our friend above was upgraded nearly all the time as a SIlver Eilite on CO, so he is very happy with the OnePass program - while others will tell you that in many cases even OnePass Platinum members are not getting upgraded and are therefore unhappy with the program. To be honest, I think that with very full airplanes and airlines keeping a close eye on their bottom lines.....none of the programs offer big advantages unless and until you are a premium elite member. If you are a casual flyer, then just pick the program for the airline that offers the most convenient service from your hometown airport and hope for the best.
Aero0729 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 76 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7196 times:
Delta is the only airline to offer unlimited companion upgrades to Silvers, even on some discount fares. After reading about some of the havoc in dealing with segment upgrades, I love that ever Delta flight I take, even to the carribbean, alaska or MEX gives me a fair shit at an upgrade.
Kaukau From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 106 posts, RR: 0 Reply 24, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 7161 times:
Hi everybody! Hawai'ian Airlines offers Pualani Platinum members (HA has two elite levels - Gold and Platinum): 100% bonus (double miles), on all paid tickets, free inter-island u/g to F, trans-Pac u/g to F for $150 (5-6 hour flight; HA 767 F seats have footrests and 4 adjustment buttons: seat back, lumbar, raise/lower footrest, extend/retract footrest; HA maintains a fantastic full meal/full bar service on all x-Pac flights!), elite TSA screening line at HNL, free Club access, no charge for changing same-day, inter-island flight times, free extra baggage, priority boarding, priority seating, and more, at 40K butt-in-seat miles. (About 8 trans-Pacs.) I think these benefits are on a par with the benefits the Legacy Carriers give at 100K, but I could be wrong. Anyway, Mrs Kaukau and I both really love being HA Platinum!!!!!