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AA Or UA Best For Upgrades?

Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:07 am

I am Platinum on AA this year after being exp for many years, and recently got a status match on UA to prem.-ex. I live in Boston, and travel mostly domestically. I am pretty familiar with both programs, but I am wondering how UA's upgrade percentages compare to AA's in my elite level. I understand UA's domestic upgrades are free and AA's I need to use the stickers, that doesn't matter to me, I just want to be chose the airline I will "on average" get upgraded the most on? Any thoughts? thanks!
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RE: AA Or UA Best For Upgrades?

Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:44 pm

It's hard to say. As you said, until recently, UA required you to have 500-Mile Upgrade Certificates Domestically. They have a very large Premier base in Boston. I have pass benefits on UA through my spouse who still works for them, it used to be very easy to get first non-reving. I flew IAD-LAX on a 777 the week they introduced unlimited free upgrades, the night before I checked the loads First had 8/12 seats open, business had 25/49 seats open, and Economy had 95/197 seats open. We get to IAD and First and Business were completely full! AA though, has a much more sizeable operation in BOS than UA does, so they may have more AAdvantage Silver/Gold/Platinum flyers hungry for those F seats. Sorry for the long winded vague answer.

On a similar note, CO is horrible to get upgraded on. Every flight i've tried to non-rev on, the list was about 20 people deep. The merger may mean more loooooong upgrade list, also keep in mind you will have the 1K's, and Global Services ahead of you on the upgrade list.
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RE: AA Or UA Best For Upgrades?

Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:59 pm

There is a website that tracks United upgrades.

You can check out the routes you frequent often and see how fellow MP members managed.
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RE: AA Or UA Best For Upgrades?

Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:22 pm

Depends on the route.

That being said, BOS-SFO on United is legendary for its difficulty in upgrading - if you don't use miles or a CR1/SWU, you will likely be sitting in the back - it's quite common for Globals to not even clear here.
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RE: AA Or UA Best For Upgrades?

Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:00 pm

Agree with the above - oh so dependent on the route. For example, ORD-MIA...must imagine UA would be easier because they have elites largely on one end of the route, whereas AA would have them on both as they are both hubs.

You say you live in the Northeast...I must imagine more UA/Star frequent fliers up there, meaning it might be more difficult to get upgrades. Speculation, of course.

[Edited 2011-03-25 12:01:08]

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