Experience with 1k "guest" upgrades?

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Aug 21st, 2010, 07:26 AM
  #1
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Experience with 1k "guest" upgrades?

A good friend has "given" me one of his 6 systemwide upgrades for the year--he is United 1k member. I'm traveling RT SFO to Rome and bought an upgradeable Economy Plus ticket.

One leg--IMO the most important one-upgraded almost right away (the ORD--FCO leg). Any sense of what to expect, and when, for SFO-ORD, FCO-Dulles, Dulles-SFO legs? I'm FF on Delta, and only have 130k miles on United, so general member. The flights are outbound Sept 18 and return Oct 3.
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Aug 21st, 2010, 08:58 AM
  #2
 
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I BELIEVE (and the super experts can correct me) that if the other legs do not clear before your travel date that they won't clear with just the one SWU.

There is also some anecdotal reporting that agents at the airport require the donor to be available by phone EVEN THOUGH the process was handled and the U/G's cleared. SO if there's any possibility to have the donor available by phone I'd suggest it. At the very least you should know his email, phone and UA Mileage Plus number.
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Aug 21st, 2010, 08:59 AM
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PS you also do need one SWU each direction.
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Aug 21st, 2010, 01:00 PM
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Thanks; sounds less smooth than my friend thought....
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Aug 21st, 2010, 02:08 PM
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This is pretty much what you should expect. First, you do need one SWU for each direction. My experience (I'm 1K) is that all legs on your itinerary initially appear as waitlisted and they often don't clear until pretty close to the day of the flight, or even not until I'm at the gate. Your main risk is that a "minor" leg clears but the "major" leg doesn't and your SWU is sort of wasted, but you can police this to protect yourself. In your case, the more important leg has cleared, so you're okay on this. Your SFO-ORD upgrade is in the highest priority group. What kind of plane is flying SFO-ORD? If it's a 757 or larger, you should consider the upgrade pretty safe. If it's an A320 (12 F seats), a little iffy, but likely to clear. An A319 (8 F seats), then you may get the E+ you paid for.
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Aug 21st, 2010, 08:09 PM
  #6
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Thanks so much, Eric. Very helpful. I'll see if my friend used 2 or 1swu's. The other key leg 4 me is of course. fCO -dulles; do you know if the swu on the way out gives any leverage (halo effect) for upgrading with miles on return?
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 02:11 AM
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No, they're completely separate.

Have you checked your itinerary? If you're waitlisted for the return upgrade, then they sponsored you for upgrades both ways, but you should ask nonetheless.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 06:52 AM
  #8
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Yes, I am listed as wait listed for all other segments for th fc/business and confirmed in the Econ plus seats.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:44 AM
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does an SWU get you into E+? I was not aware of that....
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 11:01 AM
  #10
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No I paid for E-plus.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 02:33 PM
  #11
 
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I think that if your upgrade clears, it will clear according to your status and not the status of the person who gave you the SWU. If you have no status it may be very close to the time of the flight. Even with the SWU, as a General Member you would not clear until the 1Ks, 1Ps, 2Ps clear. It could be earlier if the flight is pretty empty up front and not many people trying for upgrades.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 02:47 PM
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It appears that UA changed their upgrade prioritization about a year ago. They used to use the sponsor's status, but they now use the traveler's status. This was news to me, but I haven't sponsored anyone in over a year.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 04:16 PM
  #13
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Oh no! Bad luck for me with the new policy.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 05:55 PM
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You and your upgrade sponsor ought to read this:
http://tinyurl.com/39z7zc3
Especially: "2. The tried-and-true old fashioned way to sponsor upgrades" and the part about the auditor's coupon.

You are obviously not on the 6AM SFO-ORD flight because that flight has lots of upgrade seats available.

Be sure to read the part about "Changing itinerary, dates, etc." in section 3.

You can expect the domestic upgrade to not clear because there will be lots of GS and 1K fliers (and 2P, 1P) between those city pairs, including connections to/from Europe and S. America. But there is hope.

You can expect FCO-IAD to not clear, but maybe. FWIW, economy has only 11 seats available and business class has 21. I am surprised to see that it is a 777.

Your FCO-ORD is a new-config 767 with the lie-flat seats in C.

It is possible that IAD-SFO clears but FCO-IAD does not. Some would consider it to be a waste, which it would be if your sponsor could use it (maybe for you) on an international flight. The SWU would otherwise be expired on January 31, 2011.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 05:57 PM
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I would be checking just about every day to see if there was a schedule change, equipment change, or change in waitlist status for each flight.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 07:18 PM
  #16
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Yes I am definitely checking daily --

Thanks much for the inside scoop; here's the itinerary for now:

San Francisco, CA (SFO) Chicago, IL (ORD)
Flight Depart Arrive Cabin Seats
United 0134 SFO 08:35 AM
Sat, Sep 18, 2010 ORD 02:58 PM
Sat, Sep 18, 2010 First (NF) Flight: Waitlisted
Upgrade: Waitlisted N/A
Select seat(s)

San Francisco, CA (SFO) Chicago, IL (ORD)
Flight Depart Arrive Cabin Seats
United 0134 SFO 08:35 AM
Sat, Sep 18, 2010 ORD 02:58 PM
Sat, Sep 18, 2010 Economy (W) Flight: Confirmed 10D
Economy Plus

Chicago, IL (ORD) Rome, Italy (FCO)
Flight Depart Arrive Cabin Seats
United 0904 ORD 06:05 PM
Sat, Sep 18, 2010 FCO 10:20 AM
Sun, Sep 19, 2010
Arrives next day Business (NC) Flight: Confirmed
Upgrade: Confirmed 06K

Rome, Italy (FCO) Washington, DC (IAD)
Flight Depart Arrive Cabin Seats
United 0967 FCO 11:10 AM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 IAD 03:09 PM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 Business (NC) Flight: Waitlisted
Upgrade: Waitlisted N/A
Select seat(s)

Rome, Italy (FCO) Washington, DC (IAD)
Flight Depart Arrive Cabin Seats
United 0967 FCO 11:10 AM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 IAD 03:09 PM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 Economy (H) Flight: Confirmed 21H
Economy Plus

Washington, DC (IAD) San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Flight Depart Arrive Cabin Seats
United 0975 IAD 05:30 PM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 SFO 08:13 PM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 First (NF) Flight: Waitlisted
Upgrade: Waitlisted N/A
Select seat(s)

Washington, DC (IAD) San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Flight Depart Arrive Cabin Seats
United 0975 IAD 05:30 PM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 SFO 08:13 PM
Sun, Oct 3, 2010 Economy (H) Flight: Confirmed 17J
Economy Plus
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 08:08 PM
  #17
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The SFO-ORD is listed as a 752; last 2 listed as 777's.
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Aug 22nd, 2010, 09:29 PM
  #18
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My friend surfaced (been traveling) and indeed used 2 of his upgrades.
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Aug 24th, 2010, 11:23 AM
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I meant to write:
Your ORD-FCO is a new-config 767 with the lie-flat seats in C.
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Aug 24th, 2010, 10:27 PM
  #20
 
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annw, your itin info that you posted looks good. You are confirmed on all four flights and waitlisted for upgrades on three. Your fare bases W and H are correct. No more upgrade certs are needed.

You just need to get your upgrade sponsor to the airport and sign a document and get a copy of it. Right?
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