United Airlines and ANA are Star Alliance, codeshare, and joint venture partners. Now United Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) can be used on ANA flights to upgrade from economy to business or business to first, wtih some caveats…
Here’s the new verbiage on united.com—
Global Premier Upgrades on ANA-operated flights are valid for one-segment, one-cabin upgrades on any multi-cabin international flight operated by ANA and marketed by ANA or United. Upgrades are subject to availability and valid for paid, published fares only. The following ANA fare classes are eligible for Global Premier Upgrades: C, D, J, Y, B and E. Please see the terms and conditions below for specific eligibility rules
1K members receive six GPUs per year.
The eligible economy fare classes are the three highest — E, B, and Y so really the only “break” a MileagePlus member will receive is the ability to upgrade an E-class ticket to business class.
First class upgrades are potentially a much more lucrative proposition. ANA does have some discounted D-fares and the ability to upgrade to first class may prove quite valuable.
Once you book your ticket, you can visit this page to upgrade. Note that ANA upgrades can be requested between eight weeks and 24 hours prior to travel (to compare, Lufthansa upgrades can be requested between 331 days and ten hours prior to travel). ANA is one of those carriers that often releases space far in advance, albeit usually one seat, so it is a shame an upgrade cannot be confirmed until travel draws near.
Still, we just booked an Award Expert client on ANA for a trip next week so the 24-hour cutoff should be sufficient in most cases for last-minute space.
Each segment will require a separate GPU, so if you are traveling from LA to Tokyo to Bangkok two GPUs would be required to upgrade. Upgrade space tracks to award space, so you need “I” class to upgrade to business or “O” class to upgrade to first class.
While it would have been great to be able to upgrade all fare classes, this news will be positive to many United flyers who fly ANA and does make United GPUs incrementally more valuable.