Airfares Rocketing – Saver Awards Non-Existent. Want to Upgrade to a Premier Seat or Business Class – Slim Chance

259 0
259 0
Register for a free webinar

The key to loyalty programs is allowing frequent customers to redeem points earned.  It is very frustrating trying to redeem points on United.  Buying a coach ticket and using miles to upgrade to Premier or Business Class is ideal for deriving the highest value for the points earned.  For International flights for the past several years, all seats are “wait list only.”  Before the Pandemic, you could buy a coach ticket, peal miles, and obtain an immediate confirmation of an upgrade from Premier to Business Class.

Now, the waitlist is cleared only 120 hours before a flight for Global Service passengers and 96 hours in advance for 1K.  The probability of being upgraded is based on a complicated formula that includes:

  1. United Global Services® requests
  2. PlusPoints upgrades and MileagePlus Upgrade Awards
  3. Premier status of the traveler*
  4. Fare class
  5. Chase United MileagePlus Club cardholders and Presidential Plus cardholders
  6. United Corporate Preferred participants
  7. United Chase Cardmembers with $25,000 in annual spending
  8. Date and time of request

United also awards “Perks Plus Points” to Global Service and 1K Customers.   The same rules apply.

Six months ago, the business class fare to Dublin was $5,200. Last week, the business class fare for the same flight was $12,750. A Coach Premier ticket has risen from $1,250 to over $4,000 during that period. I have a friend who paid over $3,000 for a Premier Seat two months ago, which requires them to depart at 5:50 a.m. in Dublin and fly to Frankfurt with a five-hour layover to catch a flight to Denver.

If one could locate an award seat seven months ago, 345,000 miles were required. Two months ago, 420,000 miles were needed.

More and more, the best a traveler can find is redeeming 1 point per $0.01.  The rule of thumb used to be $1 per was worth $0.04.

Who wants to sit in the back of the bus for an > 8-hour flight? While this is a first-world problem, it is frustrating in the hours spent trying to redeem points when one has spent over $100,000 to earn.

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.