Per CO Insider on FlyerTalk:
- Good news for Platinum Elite members. Platinum members will now be eligible for instant upgrades when booking M class fares in eligible markets. This will be in addition to our Y and B class instant upgrades, which are currently offered to Elite members on flights that are eligible for complimentary Elite upgrades. Enjoy!
- Fare Class and Availability changes. B class instant upgrades and our new Platinum-only M class instant upgrades will be booked into AN class – the same fare class we use for our general EasyPass rewards. This will enable us to set some seats aside for our front cabin fare paying customers when demand is forecasted to be high. Instant Elite Upgrades for Y class will continue to be booked into CU class, which offers last-seat First Class availability.
So, what does this really mean? Well, Continental upgrades are notoriously difficult on transcons (borderline impossible), so as a Platinum you can now lock in an upgrade at the time of booking for more reasonable fares. For example, there’s an “M” fare EWR-LAX that’s $558+. Not a bad deal at all for first class!
While they added those benefits, “B” class upgrades now only book into the “standard” EasyPass bucket, which is somewhat more restrictive than before. Nonetheless, this is a valuable benefit for those Platinum members that want to fly first class but aren’t willing to pay $1,500+ for a domestic transcon.
I’m actually kind of surprised to see this, since it does nothing in the way of aligning with United, which I kind of expected all the changes to center around between now and October.