Upgrade Waitlists (UA)

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Upgrade Waitlist (UA)

(working summary of FT common wisdom)

If an upgrade does not clear upon booking, it will be waitlisted. There are two waitlists

  • PA -- the higher priority list, all those on this list will be cleared first
  • PB

additionally, e500s before their "clearance window" will be listed as

  • Pending


Process for different upgrade instruments

  • Independent of status, all upgrade requests using SWUs or CR1s will be placed on the PA list in order of submission. A reported exception is sponsors will clear before those they sponsored.[1]
    • Some recent reports that PA/PB prioritization has been changed to Status, Fare and is no longer FIFO [2][3]
    • On united.com this is stated for upgrade instruments - "If upgrade space becomes available, requests will be prioritized by Mileage Plus status, original booking class purchased, and, in a tie-breaker situation, by time of request."" example[4] -- unknown when this first appeared
  • GS/1Ks when using miles will be placed on the PA list based on submission time regardless of the source of the miles (some uncertainty on this)
  • All those that are sponsored by GS/1K miles will be place on PA in order of submission
  • All others will be placed on the PB based on submission time. This is essentially 1P or less status passengers using non-GS/1K miles.
  • At the e500s' window clearance time for their sponsor's status, e500 requesters are added to the end of the PA -- again based on submission time, the later of clearance time or request
    • all passengers on a PNR receive the same clearance window as their sponsor
      • passengers on different PNR can receive their sponsors e500 clearance window also - requires agent intervention
    • e500 clearance windows (before departure):
      • GS - 120 Hours
      • 1K - 100 Hours
      • 1P - 72 Hours
      • 2P - 48 Hours
      • 3P - 36 Hours
      • GM - 24 Hours


Unknowns/unclear issues

  • When does PB get merged to the end of PA???

Departure Management of Waitlists

At Departure Management (DM) time (typically 4 hours before scheduled flight time), there will be a single DM waitlist where all upgrades requests will be ranked by status, fare class and time on the DM list (check-in time).

  • Each passenger on a PNR will be prioritized based on their individual status


Status Priority for Waitlists

  • The elite status priority order is GS, 1K, 1P, *G, 2P, 3P, *S, GM
  • While some believe Million Mile (MM) status impacts Waitlist Status Priority, most evidence suggests MM status is not a factor on waitlists [5]

Additional Information

  • On a single PNR, all passengers must use the same type of upgrade instrument for a segment but they may come from different accounts.


References