Wait times for phone support are starting to drop closer to something like normal. Miles are posting from combined accounts. Some elite miles that posted on Saturday are now starting to disappear (like mine; see below). Various other glitches abound, like the fact I got a class-of-service bonus on my domestic upgrade Saturday morning. Maybe the agent just bypassed the normal UDU process and booked me into paid F instead. Whatever, I’ll take it! 😀
On the whole I think most of the hypothetical doomsday scenarios failed to materialize. All I saw on my travels over the weekend were the frazzled staff and glitchy computers you would expect after such a monstrous undertaking. Anyone who was projecting a perfectly smooth transition was lying to him- or herself, but it certainly was as good as could be expected. If anything, employees were friendlier than normal.
My 1K card finally arrived on Monday, so I’m the proud owner of two luggage tags and 10 drink coupons. I also now have the list of global 1K telephone numbers and have already sent off my first complaint to 1KVoice for the problems on my return trip from Bahrain. Any of them individually would be tolerable, but I don’t like it when I have enough material to start writing a list.
I think it’s unfortunate that Gold members like Megan don’t get any drink coupons. They’re the ones who suffer from fewer upgrade opportunities and are more likely to be stuck in back. In fact, I much prefer the policy Delta uses, where you get the voucher at the airport if you fail to be upgraded. I don’t need drink vouchers if I’m clearing days in advance. And only one luggage tag for Gold? Really? Way to save 25 cents…
Along with the hiccups that will be resolved in the coming weeks, the new computer system also brought along several changes in the fare classes used by United. Darren shares a great breakdown of the new upgrade and award fare classes at Frequently Flying. The system is a bit more complicated than before, not only because of new codes replacing the old XF/NF/XC/NC but also because of changes in how the availability differs with elite status.
While general members (and sometimes low-level elites) share one set of upgrade and award fare classes like R, X, I, and O, elite members have access to separate buckets labeled RN, XN, IN, ON, and the like. Also, there are separate upgrade buckets for full-fare Y tickets and for slightly discounted M- and B-fares. Remember, only Premier Platinum and Premier 1K members are able to upgrade M-fares at the time of booking. The one time I’ve been able to take advantage of this, I had to access my reservation and manually request an upgrade; it is not automatic like an Unlimited Domestic Upgrade.
Just exactly how do you find out if upgrade inventory exists (or any other fare class inventory)? In an earlier post I outlined a roundabout method of booking a fake award trip in expert mode on United’s old website. However, the new United-meets-Continental version has been upgraded with improved fare class availability information. Check out Seth’s walkthrough at The Wandering Aramean. He’s also written a GreaseMonkey script to make this information a little easier to find and decipher quickly, although I have yet to check it out myself.
Oh, and don’t forget all the other new terms. United is adding the word “Premier” to just about everything, so EQM becomes PQM (Premier Qualifying Miles, not that I’ll ever use that term), UDU becomes CPU (Complimentary Premier Upgrade), SWU becomes GPU (Global Premier Upgrade), and so on. Those of you who have managed to keep your heads stuck in the sand, be sure to check out the Merger Updates page for more information on the new MileagePlus program.
Confused about which regions qualify for a free upgrade? Me too! Here’s a screenshot from the updates page specifically related to that topic. Remember, just because it’s international doesn’t mean you can’t get a CPU, nor are you automatically entitled to one on every domestic flight.