United adds Global Services perk and extends upgrade expiration

United has made a few customer friendly changes over the past several days that are worth mentioning.

First of all, United is now offering Global Services members traveling BusinessFirst internationally (and business class on Premium Service) access to their seven Global First lounges. I’m surprised United didn’t have this feature earlier as a way to differentiate Global Services from 1K status. American, on the other hand, has long offered their Executive Platinum members access to their international first class lounges whenever traveling on an international ticket. If anything I’m kind of surprised by the restriction that Global Services members must be traveling BusinessFirst in order to access the Global First lounge. Either way, a great improvement.

The other two positive changes involve confirmed upgrades:

  • Newly-earned GPUs and RPUs will be valid longer. Starting later this month, when newly earned GPUs and RPUs are deposited into your account, they will be valid through the end of the following Premier program year instead of just one year from the date of issue. So, for example, all GPUs and RPUs earned in 2012 will be valid through January 31, 2014; those earned in 2013 will be valid through January 31, 2015 and so on.
  • Unused GPUs and RPUs earned in 2012 will also be extended. For those of you who currently have GPUs or RPUs in your account that were earned based on 2012 travel, these will also automatically be extended and will be valid through the end of the next Premier program year (January 31, 2014). This includes GPUs and RPUs that are waitlisted or redeposited. Upon redeposit, the extended validity date will be reflected.

So Global Premier Upgrades and Regional Premier Upgrades are now valid through the end of the program year after which they’re earned, which is awesome. It’s also quite generous of United to extend all confirmed upgrades earned this year for an entire year. Not sure why they’re doing that, but it sure is generous. Though in theory I suppose it could also mean upgrades will be even tougher to clear next year, as more people have confirmable upgrade instruments to burn.

Kudos to United for these changes!

Comments

  1. German Expat says

    I for one was quite annoyed when my 6 upgrades posted in June with the early expiration date in 2013 and wrote to them.
    It is just more or less in line now with what AA is doing and they are still harder to use (more expensive fares). Unfortunately can’t use them on LH Z fares anymore which is a really big loss.

  2. ffi says

    It also means that upgrades will not clear in Jan-Feb, much like AA where the supply of upgrade instruments is high in the last few months but the chance to use them is going away.
    I liked the old UA system where you had 12 months to use them and there was a more steady supply and demand each month

  3. lucky says

    @ ffi — But I haven’t really found that to be the case with American. I’ve actually had the easiest time clearing upgrades in January and February, as it’s (way) off season for all their non-Latin America destinations.

  4. John777 says

    The UA First lounges must be more tranquil than the AA Flagship Lounges given the limited access

  5. UA-NYC says

    Lucky – they’re doing it as they’re losing valued customers, as evidenced by their continually abysmal monthly PRASM reporting. Texas Cowboy way can only last so long!

  6. George says

    Just discovered my GS status when I printed my ticket earlier this week. Am I supposed to get a letter or something? I was able to get into the IAF FC lounge, but found it underwelming. Moreover, when I asked for a complementry upgrade on UA 860 this week, I was tols “25,000 miles and $500″. So much for GS!!

  7. lucky says

    @ George — Sounds like you got an end of the year nomination, so I’d expect to hear from them soon.

  8. Riy says

    153k miles and 54 segments in 2012 but global services says its only based on revenue generated… not hopeful

  9. Charles says

    George – Nobody gets comp upgrades on international flights, not even GS members, unless the airline needs the Economy seats for operational reasons on the day of travel. And that’s understandable. The fare delta between Economy and Business is many times higher on international routes than domestic. No need to be cheap about it – the whole reason you get invited to GS is supposed to be that you are willing to spend a LOT of money to get there.

  10. says

    Changes in united’s global upgrades continue. But are unannounced.i recently flew west coat to Berlin and back on a bclass fare. I request upgrade each way with global upgrades. I was asked to pay $50 for each upgrade. I did this. Later I called global services to ask about refund because only one cleared. They told me fee was European airport luxury tax. New one for me!
    I then asked why I could not use global upgrade on P class business fare SFO to icn. The agent had to look up …. Turns out P class is new discount business code and like the Z class you can’t upgrade with GPUs. These upgrades are getting lessinvalue and more difficult use. Makes AA VIP upgrades look like diamonds.

  11. says

    Changes in united’s global upgrades continue. But are unannounced.i recently flew west coat to Berlin and back on a bclass fare. I request upgrade each way with global upgrades. I was asked to pay $50 for each upgrade. I did this. Later I called global services to ask about refund because only one cleared. They told me fee was European airport luxury tax. New one for me!
    I then asked why I could not use global upgrade on P class business fare SFO to icn. The agent had to look up …. Turns out P class is new discount business code and like the Z class you can’t upgrade with GPUs. These upgrades are getting lessinvalue and more difficult use. Makes AA VIP upgrades look like diamonds.

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