United/Continental systemwide and regional upgrade reciprocity coming this summer

Per an email sent out to Mileage Plus and OnePass members:

We understand how important upgrades are to you. Currently, elite members of both programs enjoy unlimited upgrades on domestic flights on both United and Continental. This summer, you’ll be able to use your Regional and Systemwide upgrades on Continental flights (with a few limitations). And once we have completed our merger, you will enjoy your upgrade benefits across our worldwide network. Rest assured, we are working to make your upgrade experience consistent across our worldwide network, as quickly as possible.

This is great news. I suspect the “few limitations” are that there will be fare class restrictions on using systemwide upgrades, probably requiring a minimum of a “W” fare. Interestingly, at least domestically, Continental prioritizes “supported” upgrades over “complimentary” upgrades (meaning an upgrade using miles would clear ahead of a “complimentary” upgrade), so I’m curious to see which policy they go with.


  1. I’d like to see supported upgrades take priority over complimentary ones. It’s kinda like back in the day of the e500s where you can use them when you really wanted the upgrade.

  2. You missed an important step in the priority of upgrades. CO prioritizes UFC “Upgrade for Cash” ahead of supported upgrades, and in turn supported upgrades ahead of complimentary upgrades.

    I think what’s ahead is that pricing of UFC is optimized so that there are fewer of either other kind of upgrade.

    So those that “really want” the upgrade will have to use cash, unless they book 11 months ahead.

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