Good news for holders of confirmed upgrades instruments on United and Continental: your upgrade options will soon widen.
This morning I received the following e-mail from United:
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.
As Lucky suggested, I suspect that the systemwide upgrades will be restricted to "W" fares and above. The other question remains whether these upgrades will have priority over complimentary upgrades on UDU routes flights. Currently, CO clears "supported" upgrades before "complimentary" upgrades. On the other hand, once the 120 hour mark (prior to the flight) hits on United, all upgrades are cleared according Mileage Plus (and now Continental OnePass) status. That means a Premier Executive trying to use a systemwide upgrade on a LAX-SFO flight would not clear before a 1K vying for a complimentary upgrade. I personally like that policy, but from a commercial perspective I understand that CO’s model makes more sense.
I look forward to giving CO’s BusinessFirst product a try without having to shell out $$$ or miles for the ticket.