Has anyone had a "favorable experience," trying to utilize an Air Line's Frequent Flyer Miles to upgrade from Coach to First Class? I am Philadelphia based so you can probably guess the airline. I carry two of their credit cards and am in their highest category of travelers, but unless I right a letter to their President I never seem to to get an advance upgrade and have never been able to use miles to upgrade. They always say the open seats are being held for revenue passengers. Any body have any strategies that have worked in the past? This is very frustrating.yyerNorth A
Welcome to Insiders! I can't personally answer your question as I have never done it (not a FF), but I will suggest reading the below article to see if it might shed any light on your situation. Perhaps others will weigh in with some suggestions based upon personal experience.
I'm guessing that the airline, based on the PHL base, is US Airways. I am Platinum with them and have almost always been upgraded on the flights I take (I fly out of Florida). Their upgrade system is restricted by the type of ticket and they do have particular tickets that are not eligible for an upgrade. But, those are tickets bought through wholesalers or at the wholesaler rates. I always buy the best (and lowest) fare ticket and, in most instances, don't have an upgrade issue. Are the flights you are attempting to upgrade for US travel? If the issue is not the type of ticket, you should ask them (based on your statement of 'in their highest category of travelers'), why you do not receive the program upgrades.
Here is the program regarding upgrades on US Airways:
In addition, here is the 'mileage upgrade' program as adjusted February, 2012:
Hope this helps.....and that I guessed right about the airline!
Thanks for your response. The links you provided, I am aware of. You guessed correctly on the Air Line. I have been at the highest level for more than 6 years in a row. I do receive program upgrades when available, but I guess a lot of people must be flying on near, or full coach tickets. I am buying direct tickets usually a month out which means my prices normally heavily discounted but upgradeable. I am just trying to determine if a Chairman is on a discounted ticket and a Gold is on a near, full coach ticket; should I assume that since the Gold Ticket is more expensive than mine, then will the Gold get upgraded before me? I don't think that is right. In terms of total money spent over the program I have certainly spent more. I am just trying to figure out how lower levels of preferred customers repeatedly get upgraded before me. I can only conclude it must be based on individual ticket prices.
I am a million miler + and FF with Atlanta's home town carrier and they base their upgrades, I am told, on a number of factors: 1) price, 2) catagory such as Y, K, L, U etc 3) FF status silver, gold, diamond etc 4) if you have been delayed on a leg or part of your flight. Having said that I suspect all airlines follow such a procedure--if so, you should be able to obtain a list of the rules from your airline. If you do find the rules post the site to them as occasionally I fly other than the main carrier here in ATL........Bill
All airlines post their particular upgrade process and prioritization, but they can be a bit challenging to find and interpret. As it has been noted, the general order is fare/status level/time of check-in. Also, auto-upgrade "windows" start opening up prior to the check-in time, going out up to 5 days prior to the scheduled flight, depending on status.
Moon phases and animal sacrifices have also been rumored to influence all this.
Depending on the fare class, "instant" upgrades may also be allocated. For example, most airlines have what is referred to as the"Y-Up" fare, meaning if you purchase a full-fare Economy ticket (Y), an upgrade may be granted at the time of ticketing. Sometimes that's extended downwards in fare classes as you go up in status. With United, as a 1K I can get the instant upgrades with Y, B, and M-class fares. Conversely, if I book well in advance and end up at a sub-W fare, upgrades probably aren't going to happen.
I don't know about Delta or USAir, but since United inherited Continental's PSS, I can "force" a minimum fare class when booking, regardless of the advance timing (assuming that fare bucket has any availability), ensuring either the instant upgrade or just avoiding a shutout.
Oh, and I always—always—check-in at the 24-hour mark, unless my upgrades have already cleared through all segments.