PLEASANT SURPRISE BY A BENEFIT OF THE MARRIOTT-UNITED AIRLINES PROMOTION THAT I WAS UNAWARE OF.
The agreement between United and Marriott that awarded Platinum members with United Silver Elite status enticed me to try United as I was fed up with American.
Although I have accumulated many qualifying segments towards the next level I was quite aware that I had a ways to go before reaching the next level (Gold).
Last week booked a round trip between Los Angeles and New York. When attempting to purchase upgraded "Economy Plus" seats (at $99 extra each way) I couldn't understand why it wasn't charging me the additional fare. (I am aware that these seats, on the day of departure, are free to Silver Elite but didn't want to risk the chance of availability on a long flight).
I completed the booking and payment process without the added seat charges. Although puzzled I wasn't going to argue when offered a service or product for free.
Then, by accident, I noticed that I was no longer United Silver Elite but had been elevated to Gold. This status allows immediate access at no cost to Economy Plus seating (at the time of booking).
I was quite aware that I had not yet met the qualifications for Gold status, but, once again wasn't going to argue with an additional benefit saving me money.
It wasn't until I returned from my business trip that I received the explanation. In the mail during my absence was a letter from Marriott/United advising that this elevation to Gold Elite was a benefit of achieving Platinum Premiere status.
ONCE AGAIN, THE MARRIOTT BUREAUCRACY FAILING TO ADVISE REWARD MEMBERS OF A VALUABLE BENEFIT. Why did it take months for this communication. Surprisingly this is the first concrete benefit of being rewarded with Premiere status that has worth!
MY QUESTION TO THE COMMUNITY - HAS ANY OTHER PREMIERE BEEN ADVISED OF THIS BENEFIT? AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHY DO I CONTINUALLY FIND OUT ABOUT THESE BENEFITS ACCIDENTALLY.
I AM, AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE, A LOYAL MARRIOTT CUSTOMER. WITH IT'S PROBLEMS I FIND IT TO BE ONE OF THE BEST LOYALTY PROGRAMS AVAILABLE AND THE FLEXIBILITY OF THE POINTS EARNED IS APPRECIATED AND EASY TO USE.
What I can't understand is why there is such a lack of communication between Marriott Rewards and it's top level members. AN IMPROVEMENT IN COMMUNICATION WOULD PLACE IT EVEN HIGHER ON MY LIST AS WELL AS MANY OTHER MEMBERS.
I WOULD WELCOME THOSE WITH SIMILAR EXPERIENCES AS WELL AS OTHER OPINIONS ON MY COMMENTS.
Congrats on your Premier Gold status on UA. You will find a few more benefits than what Silver gets and access to EconPlus in one of them. Also, your First Class complimentary upgrades process sooner and you have a slightly better chance of getting them as well as more bonus miles for flights.
Wanted to comment on IAH - haven't been there since I traveled regularly on CO - must admit that the food choices and quality might be number one in the country!!!
So I've heard, but we don't eat at the airport often if at all unless it's to grab a Subway salad to take on an E145 someplace since they don't have meals or any food to speak of on those airplanes.
Oh and good to see you again, it's be quite a while since you've graced us misterchk.
Funny, I received the mailer saying that I would be given United Gold as a reward for being a plat Prem Elite as well, but I have not in fact been given United Gold status. I called Marriott to inquire, and their "liaison" told me that I was Gold, however on my United acct online I show Silver, and the call center is also telling me I am silver.
I found out when I received "economy Plus" seats for free! Noticed that my United account stated I was Gold. The letter/or I believe pamphlet arrived after it showed up on my account.
Be interested to know what happens - keep me (and other interested parties) up to date.
Interesting theory....the idea of PP's getting upgraded to Gold because they were already silver on United. I'm PP and was only upgraded to silver. When I checked with UA CS, they referred me to the website which said that both Plat and PP's are eligible for silver on UA, not gold.
I'm PP and I still am silver on United. I emailed United CS and they referred me to the United website, which says that Marriott Plat and PP receive silver. I know others have experienced otherwise, but that's the line that United is using.
I agree that some of these benefits are often found out "accidentally". It seems like they would be more highly sought after if they were well-communicated and published.
Just want to clear up all the posts - are there any Platinum Elite (NOT PREMIERE) that received Gold from UA?.
Supposedly this elevation from Silver to Gold was only give to Platinum Premier. AND, from the numerous comments, there are in fact PP's that haven't hear from United. ( I will assume that those PP's that haven't been upgraded to Gold are not now or never have been a member of.......or sorry that was years ago - LOL)
So the focus should be on my UA is taking so long in rolling out the elevation to Gold to ALL PP's. Maybe there are many more PP's than we thought.
I was advised, (actually found out accidentally) that I was Gold on UA but it took three months to be notified in the mail.
It's amazing that all these companies that expanding their marketing with alliances don't prepare for the administration of the campaign.
Ask for an upgraded room or suite at check-in. There are many factors that go into upgrades but asking for one increases your chances dramatically. I think one thing many people forget to realize, is that many properties (FS Marriott brand and above) have very few suites. A hotel may have between 300-500 rooms, but less than 10 suites. Compound that with the fact that many properties have PP, Plat, and Golds staying at them, and that's why you don't get suites. This is in the US anyway. Outside the US I hear many people get upgrades. I think the biggest variables are the actual room inventory (US properties with literally 6 suites in the building, and the occupancy rates being high). Just my two cents.
The criteria are vague but since all properties are different and having so many brands with different room types, it's tough to know what an upgraded room is. You are probably getting them but they just seem like a regular room. Upgrades are higher floors, rooms with views (even if nothing special and the room is the same size and amenities), corner rooms, etc. If you get a 2nd floor room with a view of the trash bin next to the highway you weren't upgraded, but if you have a 6th floor room with a view of the office park across the street, then you were even though it doesn't seem like it.
That complimentary EconPlus is when available and for Premier Silver it is not available until you check-in.
Not sure how much EconPlus costs to purchase as a Silver, but it might be worth the purchase depending on the number of EconPlus seats are left a few days before you are able to check-in.
Economy Plus seats are NOT discounted for UA Silver members. This is one of the major differences between AA and UA, the former which discounts 50% for E+ (equivalent) purchases. UA Silver members may purchase E+ seats for the same price as non-Elite members until 24 hours prior to departure (check in), when they become free.
phctourist, I think UA will give you an immediate economy plus seat upon booking if the fare is in certain categories (i.e., you're paying a lot). But I might be getting this benefit through my United Club Card with Chase and not through the RewardsPlus Silver status with MR. At any rate, it does make sense to see if you can switch to a better seat upon check in or ask the gate agent.
Silver - free access to Economy Plus at Check-in and seat upgrades the day of departure
Gold - free access to Economy Plus at Booking and seat upgrades 48 hour in advance
Platinum - free access to Economy Plus at Booking and seat upgrades 72 hours in advance
1k - free access to Economy Plus at Booking and seat upgrades 96 hours in advance.
clebert, UA will not give an immediate E+ seat for free upon booking unless you have UA Gold or higher status., an E+ subscription (paid), pay an upgrade fee for E+, or are on a full-fare ticket. You are not getting any such benefit with your United Club card, which gives no E+ benefit at all.
ndn, thanks for the info. It must be tied to the fare class, then, because I only have Silver status through Marriott's partnership with UA and/or through qualifying by flying a lot, depending on the year. I fly for business and often get stuck with very high last-minute fares, and I am sometimes allowed to select economy plus seats right during the booking process. A gate agent once told me that some fares will allow you to get an economy plus seat at no additional cost, so perhaps that's it.
The blue arrow means CPU eligible. They won't clear until day of travel. Getting a CPU to clear when UA silver means flying off peak or unpopular routes. MCO is an unpopular destination for elites and first-class travelers, so that makes sense.
If you are booking on Y or B fares, you would be able to request an instant upgrade to first.
Good to know. Thank you. Delta must award first class to full fares if it's empty. I have no status with Delta but have been bumped into first a couple of times when I paid $900 for a half hour flight while traveling solo for business. Have also gotten some very inexpensive last minute first class upgrades for a fee on AA, but those are hit and miss. AA is otherwise much more expensive for first class than UA or DL on the routes I fly. Because of my tiny home airport I can only fly AA, DL, UA, Frontier or Allegiant. My other home (our second home) airport is RSW, and that's not much better - it has more carriers but still expensive and not a large airport with tons of options.
PS - I have to fly to ORD quite a bit from my small regional airport on last-minute notice for a particular client, and those flights end up being the full fare. But with the EMB 145 no first class. I can take AA or UA to ORD direct from my airport, and I use both. Once I paid about $1000 for a one-way to ORD on the single-class EMB 145 because it was literally a last-minute trip where I showed up at the gate right before the cabin door closed and bought a ticket. The flight was an hour long. But, it was the only way to get there, and the client said money was no object. So I guess the airlines are making some money off of me, or my clients, that is.
The ERJ-145s are pretty uncomfortable I agree. I think my new favorite plane is the ERJ-170/90. I really think they are pretty darn comfortable. Standard bins, good space, less turbulence, many have a FC cabin that is quite comfy. I look to fly them whenever taking flights to DTW and ORD.
The E170/175/190 are all wonderfully comfortable and the E175/190 you can even take a legal size roll-a-board on the plane and have it fit in the overhead bin. Even though I'm not a big strapping guy at 5"11 3/4" (trying to get to 6') and 195 lbs I have no issues with the RJ's even the 145's if I am in 1A or 18A when traveling alone as there is plenty of leg room. The CRJ2 I avoid like the plague however: do love the CRJ7/9's.
I have had a couple rough CRJ-200 flights in the past. One CLT-EWR was particularly bad. It was an old America West plane and the seat was the most uncomfortable airplane seat I have ever had the displeasure of sitting in. It literally felt like sitting on a concrete bench. There was absolutely no cushioning whatsoever. I realize they are never truly "comfortable" but this was was particularly bad.
Actually meant to say "trying to get to 5'12" like I did when I arrived in Texas long ago the drivers license office lady asked for my height and since I was almost 5'12" that's what I told her. Well when I my license showed up a few weeks later guess what was listed for my height? Yep, 5'12"!!!
1A in the Embraer RJ 145 is almost like first class, right? I fly that plane a lot and get all the good airline dirt by eavesdropping on the pilots and flight/ground crew if I'm seated in 1A or 2A. The really weird thing is that some of the flight crew for the regional carriers (i.e. Air Wisconsin, etc., flying under one of the legacy carrier brands) actually works on multiple airlines. For example, I'll get the same flight attendant on a Delta flight that I had on a UA or AA flight the week before. I asked her if she changed jobs, and she said she had two sets of uniforms at home and flies on whatever plane they tell her to. So I'm not sure if some of the regional carrier fly under multiple legacy carrier brands or whether the flight crew contracts with multiple carriers, or what. It is a fascinating industry.
They operate their own airplanes under their company operating certificate and are contract to the mainline airline.
Take SkyWest for example, they operate regional aircraft for most of the legacy carriers so Day One and Day Two of a two day trip the crew may be flying for UA. Their next trip may be a Three Day and they fly it all for DL, yes same airplane (CRJ7 maybe) in the DL livery while the first trip they were flying an airplane painted in the UA livery. Also, the Pilots and Flight Attendants do not necessarily fly the same schedule for both days of a Two Day or all of a Three Day trip.
The concept does sound strange yet I can see it happening particularly when their is a shortage of Regional Airline pilots.
IAHFLYR, thanks for the info. So interesting. There is a pilot named Doug that turns up on at least a third of my flights, but he is never flying the plane or in the cockpit. He's always in his pilot uniform and seems to have to wait around until everyone is seated before they let him on the plane, then he sits wherever is left over and sometimes even a jump seat. He's a super guy, and since the airlines LOVE to strand me in various hubs, I've gotten to talk with him a bit. He turns up on all the carriers, and I haven't figured out which carrier(s) he flies for. He's always wearing a name badge, and I suppose it says what airline but I think it's some obscure name (i.e. a regional carrier). I do know that the plane he flies doesn't even fly out of my tiny rural airport, so the various airlines take turns shuttling him to ORD or DEN or MSP where he can fly his plane. Along with DEN and ORD, UA hubs through MSP at some of the small rural airports around here. Doug (Captain Doug?) lives out in the middle of nowhere, but apparently the airlines don't care where he lives and are willing to fly him around as necessary. Whenever we get stranded or delayed, he helps everyone figure out what's going on as he seems to be able to get inside info. Sometimes I'll have 2-3 pilots deadheading on one of my tiny EMB 145 flights from home to a big hub. It never ceases to amaze me how the airlines are constantly piecing things together to get the job done. It must be quite a crazy lifestyle for these pilots!
Your most welcome. Your buddy Capt. Doug is most likely commuting from his home to his crew base in one of those HUB cities and while commuting he is on Stand-by so if the flight is full he is could take the Jumpseat if the flight isn't weight restricted which some can be. If he doesn't chose to utilize the Jumpseat then he waits for another flight.
When a crew member is deadheading they are give an assigned seat so no Stand-by issue. They are actually getting paid for the deadhead while Capt. Dough commuting is doing so on his own time.
Looks like I get SkyWest for DL and UA at my home airport which explains the flight attendant situation! This also explains why sometimes the F/A don't seem to even know what carrier they're flying on or where they're going. They get on the PA system and there are long pauses sometimes that make me think the flight crew can't remember what they are supposed to say...completely understandable when you consider the lifestyles they lead. I'd barely remember my name if I were them. Sometimes I get to a Marriott in a big city, and it looks just like any other Marriott, and I honestly can't remember what city I'm in Also explains why the F/A seem to know a lot about the differences between/among different airlines.
I just got Lifetime Platinum on Marriott (yay!), therefore Silver on United. As I work for the government I always get the full "Y" fare. Flying from ONT to JAX thru IAH next month, and have already received upgrades for 3 out of the 4 legs of my trip. 2 out of 2 United trips with upgrades so far, so this new partnership is working great for me!
Good for you iestrikesback,
Be careful though of how you book your govtrip trips, that is if they are still using govtrip. I was a long long long time government traveler and got caught up in the silly govtrip nonsense once. I booked my Y fare and immediately got my upgrade to First Class as I was a Platinum on Continental then 1K on United. The upgrade was so fast that before the ticket was issued it showed me buying a First Class ticket and the kaaaaahhhkaaaaah hit the fan. Some three months later and a couple of conference calls with the D.C. office paying for my travel it all worked out.
Make sure you ticket your Y fare first and get the receipt and then go back to book your upgrade as it will save you many hours of silly government not understanding how an upgrade works.
Thanks for the info IAH. DTS is the new system for gov't travel, and it allowed me to upgrade immediately upon ticketing, the same as my first time over a year ago. As long as United is the "contract" carrier between city pairs, you will get the fully refundable "Y" fare, thus allowing you to upgrade if seats are available. For American, who we usually fly, the "Y" fare does NOT qualify for automatic upgrades, as they recognize it as a government fare, so I have to use earned 500-mile upgrades, and usually stand by for the upgrades, as I'm Gold on American.
On my trips to PHL Continental then United was NOT the contract carrier, it was U.S. Airways. We'd get around that problem by flight schedules in that the CO/UA had more flights from IAH to PHL that fit with our needed arrival times due to finishing the travel day with an in-brief.