Friday, September 07, 2007

Picking first class upgrades

I fly frequently - to one or two different cities a week. I have elite status with two major airlines. One of the benefits of frequent flying is the upgrade to first or business class.

Here is what I've learned so far as an frequent flyer with elite status:

American Airlines let's elite upgrade for $30 if a seat is available. You can ask the reservation desk to be placed on line (or at the gate). You can also upgrade on-line or at the electronic kiosk. American Airlines automatically awares automatic upgrade certificates every x,xxxx miles - but I have never received any.

United Airlines will often give a complementary upgrade to premier or more frequent flyers, however, it's up to the discretion of the gate attendent and seat availability. Otherwise, you can buy a book of upgrades of four for $200. I've met quite a few obnoxious gate agents who wouldn't gve complementary upgrades. I believe United issues automatic upgrades certificates every x,xxx miles. I have never recieved any.

Due to the uncertainty of availability, it's hard to make a preference either which way. I usually find the $30 upgrade less painful than the $50. I don't mind the $30 if I'm tired and want to sleep or need to work.

I also noticed that more and more American Airlines planes have electric power supplies under the seat - time to break out the ICE power adapter from Radio Shack.

What is your opinion / experience?

Regards, makingourway


mOOm said...

Glad to see you back. We're flying next week. To Australia. Never seen a power outlet in a plane yet. Would be nice.

Anonymous said...

hi, emjoyed reading your blogg. Do you use any software like quicken or money to help you guide along

2million said...

Welcome back.

As far as the upgrades -- you haven't received any because you haven't earned 10k miles? Once you pass the mark (i think its after every 10k) the upgrades automatically get deposited into your account. You can log into you account on online and see them.

I like Delta upgrades because they have auto-upgrades - no tracking or work on your part, makes things much easier for me.

makingourway said...

Thanks for the thoughts:

1. I'd expect international flights to have electrical outlets - you can sometimes tell in advance of your registration by learning what type of plane your flying, Moom.
2. Anon, I use Quicken.
3. $2M, they are supposed to be automatically added in for UA and AM sends stickers in the mail. I haven't received either.

Regards, m

Anonymous said...

I didn't think any of the carriers still used the stickers. I would never be able to keep up with them :-).

Anonymous said...

Also I can't speak for United, but I can for American Airlines since I use them fairly regulary. AA upgrades are auto deposited in your AA account. You can log in to to see your balance and to apply them to upcoming flights. I have never received stickers from AA.

makingourway said...

$2M, I think they all deposit upgrades automatically - just not sure why I haven't received mine yet - maybe because I haven't flow enough.

I wish quicken would track and download airline mileage or premium program points - that would be awesome!!

it was the American Airline desk people who would always ask for the stickers - maybe it's a legacy hold over from old times?

Regards, makingourway