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How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?  
User currently offlineGusNYC From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 143 posts, RR: 5
Posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 16129 times:

OK... let's say that I will make a long trip. I don't have miles in United Mileage Plus, but I bought the ticket with an American Express Platinum card.

There is any way to get a (free) upgrade, from Economy Plus to, let's say... business?

I never been lucky getting an upgrade, and I wonder if there is something I could do to get one.

Thanks for your suggestions!

Gus

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMolykote From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1340 posts, RR: 29
Reply 1, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 16112 times:

This topic seems to come up routinely (you might get results if you search for "upgrade").

It's basically a slim to zero possibility. Many people think the more you ask the more likely you are to end up in the middle seat of row 53. I don't fault you for asking about this but many on this forum probably will (and proceed to talk about how it's people like you that have destroyed the industry, etc).

I have the same card you speak of and I don't believe upgrades from Y are part of the deal (for any airline). Most of the perks associated this card are tied to full price hotels, etc. Much of the time I'd be better off going to travelocity or hotels.com to book a room. However, given that you're in economy plus, you've probably got a better chance than at least some people on the flight. I don't often fly United so I can't offer much in the way of advice.



Speedtape - The asprin of aviation!
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4621 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 16104 times:

No idea... I've only been upgraded once, from AA Y to F, but it was only a 30 minute sector and I'm oneworld Sapphire, so that helped.


I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineBDKLEZ From Ireland, joined Jun 2005, 1735 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 16072 times:

Quoting GusNYC (Thread starter):
and I wonder if there is something I could do to get one.

Yeah, pay for it!  irked 



Trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again!
User currently offlineGusNYC From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 143 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 16064 times:

Well, I don't know why are you so sensitive. Everybody like perks. I didn't know that I could use some lounges using my Amex Platinum, I learned that reading these posts. So, I asked about the upgrades using Amex.

I paid for the Economy Plus, it was not an upgrade. Why all of the sudden do I have to deal with the enemies of free-upgrades?

Gus


User currently offlineBDKLEZ From Ireland, joined Jun 2005, 1735 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 16058 times:

Quoting GusNYC (Reply 4):
Everybody like perks.

Perk • noun, informal: a benefit or privilege to which an employee is entitled.

Source: Oxford English Dictionary.

As you are neither an employee nor are you automatically entitled to a free upgrade, the use of the word "perk" is incorrect.

Again, I refer to my first thoughts on the subject; pay for it.



Trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again!
User currently offlineClassicLover From Ireland, joined Mar 2004, 4621 posts, RR: 23
Reply 6, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16044 times:

Quoting GusNYC (Reply 4):
I paid for the Economy Plus, it was not an upgrade. Why all of the sudden do I have to deal with the enemies of free-upgrades?

I paid for an F upgrade on Alaska... I have no qualms about it. Then again, I am a loyal Business Class passenger and will do anything to stay in Business really...

If you have high status it's easier to get a free upgrade for your loyalty. If you're just flying Y all the time and expect it, it's a different story.



I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
User currently offlineBDKLEZ From Ireland, joined Jun 2005, 1735 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16044 times:

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 6):
If you're just flying Y all the time and expect it, it's a different story.

Well said!

 highfive 



Trespassers will be shot; survivors will be shot again!
User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16041 times:

Quoting GusNYC (Thread starter):
I never been lucky getting an upgrade, and I wonder if there is something I could do to get one.

Three possibilities:

1. Pay for the upgrade

2. Collect miles and use them for an upgrade

3. Get elite status and hope that the flight is overbooked (happens quite often to me)

Patrick


User currently offlineGusNYC From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 143 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 16004 times:

Thanks Sabena,

That is the kind of answer that I was waiting for.

Gus


User currently offlineBA0284 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2005, 299 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 15982 times:

I think its really random sometimes...I flew BA last year from LHR to SFO and bought a business ticket using redeemed BA miles. I payed nothing for this ticket and when i got to the gate, i was upgraded to first class for no reason! I'm the lowest status on BA executive club!!

I think a section of it is pure luck!!!! Just keep wishing and flying!!

BA0284  Smile


User currently offlineVega From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 15963 times:

I never understood why anyone would pay $400/year for an AMEX credit card, other than the International (Full Fare) C/J or F Companion offer. Anyway, it may be too late now since you already have your ticket, but next time use the special travel service Amex offers for your card to make a reservation and ask them if there is any way to upgrade to Business class with out paying the full upgrade fee. If they say they have no method of doing so, then ask for the best seat in your Class. If they can't do either, cancel your card and get an $80-$90/year Visa Signature or World MC airline affinity card and rack up the miles.

User currently offlineLincoln From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 3887 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 15863 times:

If you're bound and determined not to pay for an upgrade, the one unusual method I've had success with

1) Be a technology geek
2) Be near the podium
3) Hope and pray for something that you can intervene and help with
4) Ask if you can try to correct the problem
5) Fix the problem
6) Walk away.

On one of my last CO mainline flights (actually, coincidentally, the filght where I hit the 25000 EQM mark for elite status), I was sitting next to the podium* and noticed that the agent was kind of struggling with the printer, and her calls for help on the radio and phone were going unanswered. After a few minutes, I explained my qualifications and asked if I could take a look at the problem. She [suprisingly] said "Sure, if you think you can fix it, have at it". I fixed the problem, the flight paperwork started printing. I said "There you go" and started walking away.

She said "Thank you; may I see your boarding pass?" -- a few minutes later, she walked up to me, gave me a different boarding pass, said "Thank you again, have a nice flight" and walked away.

If that doesn't happen on your flight (and I've flown for 16 years -hoping- for something like that before it happend to me), you can hope that your flight is oversold and then volunteer for a later fight; I know CO will almost always gaurntee a first class seat on the later flight, and if the original flight winds up having extra seats in first, the volunteers will (usually, in my experience) be upgraded to first in the order that they volunteered.

Lincoln

* - Best place to do people watching... It's amazing to watch how people behave.



CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4971 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15832 times:

Yes, find the cutest agent and bust a mack. Tell her sweet nothings, and bring a box of emergency chocolates. Get a coupon for whip cream, and tell her that you have reserved a bottle for your return. Then she will likely upgrade you on the way back.

Works for me! LOL!

Oh yes, don't do this if you are flying on Southwest. You will have wasted a good box of chocolates.  Wink

[Edited 2006-03-19 04:18:08]


I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12090 posts, RR: 49
Reply 14, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15805 times:

Quoting F9Animal (Reply 13):
Oh yes, don't do this if you are flying on Southwest. You will have wasted a good box of chocolates.

Same could be said for Frontier and JetBlue as well. Mom always said, "people who live in glass houses should not throw stones".



You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4971 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15805 times:

Okay, option number 2. BTW- If this works, you owe me $50.00.

Before arriving to the airport, buy a 6 pack of beer. Pour all six packs of beer on your jacket, and let it air dry for a little while. Then go to the airport, and check in with the meanest looking old hag of an agent. Slur a little, and let the scent of beer go over the counter. The old hag of an agent will deny you to fly, because you will be accused of being intoxicated. Argue! Argue big time. Then the old hag will call the police and say that your a drunk. Offer the officer an explanation that your coat fell into a big puddle of beer, and that you don't drink.

Then!!!! Ask for a manager, and demand that you will have jobs over this, and let me know what you get!

Oh man, I am done giving away tricks!



I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineFCYTravis From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1191 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15793 times:

Fly enough miles to be a valued elite frequent flyer on that airline so that you have access to the cheap/free upgrade paths, such as 500-mile certs on UA/AA or comp automatic upgrades on CO/DL/US/NW/etc.


USAir A321 service now departing for SFO with fuel stops in CAK, COS and RNO. Enjoy your flight.
User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4971 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15789 times:

Alright!!! Last one!!! I promise!!!!

Stop at a local McDonalds and get a few packs of ketchup. Get a dress shirt you are going to get rid of, and squirt the ketchup all over your shirt.

Arrive at the airport, and splash water all over your face (don't forget to ask for a cup of water while at McDonalds!)

Proceed to a pregnant ticket agent, and act worn and exhausted while checking in. When she asks how you are, explain that you just delivered a baby on the way to the airport on the side of the road, and still made your flight on time. Tell her that you saw a lady in labor, and wanted to help. Explain how amazing child birth is, and see what happens!


Good luck!

Please dont flame me guys!



I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 4971 posts, RR: 28
Reply 18, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15789 times:

Quoting Luv2fly (Reply 14):
Same could be said for Frontier and JetBlue as well. Mom always said, "people who live in glass houses should not throw stones".

LOL! I knew someone would throw that one at me. My appologies. But!!!! That could be a way on Frontier to get free Direct TV!!!

[Edited 2006-03-19 04:32:11]


I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlineJpdflymhtmlb From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 75 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 15702 times:

My military ID has worked the last 5 flights I've flown on to get me upgraded from cattle car section to first, so if you have one of those, I recommend it. I was also told by as US gate agent that they normally upgrade servicemen/women in uniform to First when space is available...so from now on, I'm just going to the airport in uniform!

Fly



Landings are just controlled crashes.
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8440 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 15702 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I never ask for upgrades, it just seems tacky.

However, on a recent SAA flight JNB-LHR I was upgraded from Y to C without asking for it. I had pre-reserved a window seat on the 744 and when I arrived to check in I was given a boarding pass for 47J, a middle seat. At first I was steaming mad, but after a few minutes I went to the reservations counter, where they gave me a printout confirming my window seat assignment. I went to speak to the check-in supervisor and politely explained my predicament; she apologised and bumped a platinum card holder to F and gave me his seat in C.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3697 posts, RR: 28
Reply 21, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 15667 times:

Quoting GusNYC (Reply 4):
I paid for the Economy Plus, it was not an upgrade. Why all of the sudden do I have to deal with the enemies of free-upgrades?

Ooo, you paid about $100 extra for E+ and now think it is worthy of attempting an upgrade to J which is worth closer to $4000 in a number of cases!

Quoting GusNYC (Thread starter):
I don't have miles in United Mileage Plus, but I bought the ticket with an American Express Platinum card.

And? This isn't FHR here...you won't get a free breakfast either  Wink

Quoting Andz (Reply 20):
I never ask for upgrades, it just seems tacky.

 thumbsup  And likely to harm any chances of being upgraded.

I've been upgraded a few times, but only as a result of being mid tier elite with the airline in question. If you don't have elite status with the airline or within alliance you are flying then it is down to pure luck.



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlinePetmbro From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 260 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 15660 times:

I'm glad this was asked since I was wondering this too. Over the course of 15-20 years my dad has earned a lifetime of over 500k on UA. In April I'm flying to Mexico for spring break and I was wondering if I could upgrade to first if the current balance on the car is 125k. And if I can't use miles, what's the actual $ cost of upgrading?


"don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!" - Judge Judy
User currently offlineAMSMAN From Ireland, joined Jan 2002, 1016 posts, RR: 6
Reply 23, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 15639 times:

I never ask either but man would I sure love to be upgraded but then on the other hand, I usualy fly EI to the US then AA (if connecting). EI's 'premium' wouldnt really be anything to write home about. AF's CDG - MIA would have been a nice upgrade but one can still dream!


Aer Lingus, Proud to be Irish.
User currently offlineAMSMAN From Ireland, joined Jan 2002, 1016 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (8 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 15621 times:

Also, how does the upgrade pricing work? If I decide I want to upgrade at check in and proceed to the ticket desk, how much extra would the charge me? Is there a set fare? Would it be the difference in fares at the time of booking? How does it work?

AMSMAN



Aer Lingus, Proud to be Irish.
25 ClassicLover : Depends on the airline. With Aer Lingus, they will charge you the full usual Business Class fare to upgrade when you're ticketed in Y. Alaska charges
26 Nicogagne : I once was upgraded from economy to business, that was from IAD to MUC with United. The flight was fully booked and once in the boarding area they wer
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