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Frustration With Only 6 GPU’s on United
Hi Everyone… This is my first time posting. I have been a United 1K flyer for the past 7 years. I receive my 6 GPU’s and the frustration I have is this: After using the 6 GPU’s on just 3 trips, I’m then at a loss on how to upgrade to Business. I fly globally about 5-6 times a year. I use my miles for free tickets for family so I cannot do it that way. I’m baffled as to why United would not give 1K flyers an opportunity to receive an upgrade (as they do on Domestic flights) when there is obviously availability. Am I missing something on how to play the Upgrade Game? It’s so frustrating.
Hi Jeff, can you clarify a bit more on what you’re trying to do? The GPUs are valid for one-leg, so your 6 GPUs could upgrade you on 3 round-trips, as you mention. And you’re curious how to snag the upgrade on the remaining flights you take each year?
[QUOTE=”rickyw, post: 58590, member: 1436″]Hi Jeff, can you clarify a bit more on what you’re trying to do? The GPUs are valid for one-leg, so your 6 GPUs could upgrade you on 3 round-trips, as you mention. And you’re curious how to snag the upgrade on the remaining flights you take each year?[/QUOTE]
Hi Rickyw – Thanks for the response. Yes, like I said in my post, I get 6 GPU’s that I can only use on 3 trips. Yes… I would normally take 2 to 3 more trips but my GPU’s were used on the first 3 trips I take and then I have none left for any additional trips that year. It’s so frustrating.
If you fly a lot, you should earn an additional 2 GPUs for every 50,000 Premier Qualifying Miles you fly once qualifying for 1K
You can also use miles + cash copay to upgrade. The chart can be found here:
I think if you are batting 1.000 on GPUs clearing, then you are one of the lucky ones. Most people tend to not clear every time, so that makes the GPUs seemingly stretch farther.
I’d also make sure to use your GPUs on the flights where the upgrade benefits you the best. For example, if you fly from the US to Europe, I’d always choose the outbound overnight flight, when I could sleep on a flat bed. Maybe skip the upgrade on the return, when it’s easier to sit in back with extra legroom for an 8 hour, daytime flight.
My flights are typically to Asia. Denver to Tokyo then a 6 hour flight from Tokyo to Phnom Penh, Cambodia on ANA (where I cannot upgrade-ugh). I am always upgraded on the Denver/Tokyo flight and return (Tokyo/Denver). I take that trip 5 times a year. Like I said in my original post, I use my miles for free tickets when my wife can travel with me to various places domestically, so miles and cash would not work.
Got it. Sounds like your best bet would be to either strive to hit that next threshold on United and earn the extra GPUs by flying another 50,000 PQM.
Or, if you’re looking to build a stash of miles, you could consider one of the Chase brand of credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards. Those can transfer instantly to United, so you’d be able to combine those with what you currently have to upgrade more often with miles + cash.
Last idea would be to start purchasing tickets that originate in Cambodia, instead of Denver. You could outright purchase business class tickets that way at a significantly lower cost than originating in the US. For this to work, your dates would have to be pretty set because you’d be buying segments for two separate trips at once.
I wish there were more tricks to get more upgrades… but that’s all we’ve got!
[QUOTE=”Dr. Jeff, post: 58593, member: 3361″]I use my miles for free tickets when my wife can travel with me to various places domestically, so miles and cash would not work.[/QUOTE]
I might actually look at getting some different miles for domestic travel. You’re using
25k-70k miles for each of her trips in the US (assuming you’re booking at the saver level), I’m guessing?
It might make more sense to use a cash-back style card for her trips — even something like the Sapphire Reserve and redeem through the portal for 1.5¢ towards travel — as a way of getting more value out of the miles you have. If you value United at 1.4¢ each (like we do), that means you’re paying a minimum of $350 for a round-trip economy ticket. If the tickets would cost less than that in cash, then using UA miles may still be a good deal, but there are many other options.
You probably wouldn’t want to use a GPU given your DEN-TYO upgrade success, but technically you can use GPUs on certain ANA flights: The following ANA fare classes are eligible for Global Premier Upgrades: C, D, J, Y, B, E and G.