gusnyc
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How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:16 pm

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
 
Molykote
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:02 pm

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 aspirin of aviation!
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:31 pm

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!
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:35 am

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!
 
gusnyc
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:45 am

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
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:55 am

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!
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:48 am

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!
 
BDKLEZ
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:50 am

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!
 
Sabena332
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:56 am

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
NZ1's mother is a disgusting crack-whore and his father is a worthless alcoholic!
 
gusnyc
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:20 am

Thanks Sabena,

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

Gus
 
BA0284
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:30 am

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
 
vega
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 8:40 am

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.
We are but a moment in this vast Universe and when gone we will never have existed.
 
lincoln
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:51 am

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
 
F9Animal
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:17 pm

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!!
 
luv2fly
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:22 pm

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
 
F9Animal
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:23 pm

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!!
 
FCYTravis
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:26 pm

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.
 
F9Animal
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:27 pm

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!!
 
F9Animal
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:29 pm

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!!
 
jpdflymhtmlb
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:03 pm

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.
 
andz
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:04 pm

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...
 
fbgdavidson
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:47 pm

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
 
petmbro
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 2:51 pm

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
 
AMSMAN
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:03 pm

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.
 
AMSMAN
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 3:15 pm

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.
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:53 pm

Quoting AMSMAN (Reply 24):
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?

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 50US for flights up to a certain amount of miles, then 100US for the next tier, and so on. Bargain if you ask me!

I've only asked once, and I'd had two hours sleep and was feeling very seedy from a night of boozing in Orlando and couldn't face flying Y. At check-in they said no, at the podium next to the gate they upgraded me no problems. However that was only because of my FF status and the fact I was ticketed all around the rest of the country in J and F.
I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
 
nicogagne
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RE: How Do You Get A Free Upgrade?

Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:40 am

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 were looking for volunteers to give up their seat and fly the next day. I went to the lady and told her that I was willing to give up my seat. She took my boarding pass, called an agent on the ground to unload my bags from the aircraft etc. She asked me to wait until boarding was finished before she could find me a hotel room and a flight for the next day.

Boarding was 99.9% complete, the plane was running late and they were still waiting for ONE business class passenger. They made at least 15 final calls and eventually gave me the remaining business class seat!!!! YEAH!!! It took quite a while before we could leave Dulles because they had to load my bags onto the aircraft again.

I was supposed to fly economy so the UA lady asked me not to say to the business class passengers sitting next to me that I had paid $600 for my ticket .

As a conclusion I'd say that if they are looking for volunteers to fly the next day, take advantage of it - if you can, of course - because you might end up in a nice hotel with travel vouchers or cash money or in business or first class!

Just my 2c...

Nicolas
@ MPL

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