In fairness to United… Many

In fairness to United… Many of United’s 747s have been going away, being replaced by 777s. That means the business class capacity drops tremendously (almost in half!) across much of the international route network. That means available upgrade inventory likely drops dramatically as well. So the upgrade inventory needs to be rationed somehow. Otherwise United would have had a whole bunch of flyers with upgrade certificates that could never be used, because there simply were too many coupons out there for the number of available seats. Making Systemwide Upgrades good only on pricier fares means rationing based on price.

Of course, if a competitor doesn’t restrictions use of similar certificates or reduce available business upgrade inventory, United will lose A will lose… I still think they would have been better off solving the problem in a way that didn’t seem like as drastic a cut — something like “H+ fare confirmable at booking” just as before but “lower fares confirmable within 30 days” or even “lower fares confirmable at the elite upgrade window”…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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