Quick Poll: Would You Have Upgraded to United Global First for This Offer?

I’ve returned from a relatively quick trip to Seoul and will have a full trip report coming soon, but I’d like to quickly put this poll out there to see if any of you would have jumped on this upgrade offer.

As background, I booked an upgradable coach W-fare and applied two Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) for the roundtrip, which confirmed instantly at booking into the BusinessFirst cabin. The fare totaled $1,587.10 and I believe it was about $600ish more than the cheapest economy ticket. And if you’re unfamiliar, a W-fare is the lowest fare class in which you can use a GPU internationally.

On both the outbound and return, I received this upgrade offer prior to and during check-in:

a close-up of a price tag

United Global First upgrade offer

(Side note: You’d think they’d show an actual Global First seat, wouldn’t you?)

I was quite content with my BusinessFirst seat and didn’t even consider it on the outbound. But on the return, since it was a special flight to begin with, I thought about clicking it for a hot second.

But then reality set back in and I realized $1,379 more for an extra meal course (soup), a better amenity kit and slightly more room just wasn’t worth it. Particularly on United where my last trip in Global First earlier this year was rather underwhelming.

Also, for what it’s worth, roundtrip Global First published fares from Reno to Seoul are about $10,400 for the single connection in SFO, or about $7,800 for a double connection each way transiting SFO and Tokyo Narita on United metal.

[poll id=”10″]

– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.


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  1. Maybe for 500$ and if I had a long flight I’d do it, and only because I haven’t tried them before (I always use my miles for LH).

  2. I’ve never understood the pricing behind this. I can’t really think of anyone this would appeal to, since anyone who wants first class and has that kind of money would have already booked first class in the beginning. Anyone savvy enough to realize the cost savings relative to a prebooked first class ticket would probably also know enough to make the same judgment you did. Which means at best it might be there to catch a slim demographic between these two points, with lots of money and some but not a lot of information. Or maybe people who’ve won the lottery between booking and check-in.

    Last time I received one of those offers, it asked if I wanted to move from coach to first class on a SFO-LHR flight for the low, low price of $9,999, one-way. Needless to say, I declined, and I probably not the only one who’s been offered that ‘deal.’

    • @Chris: Wow, yeah… I’d pass on a $9,999 “upgrade” offer, too.
      @Henry: Yes, my GPU was already spent getting into BusinessFirst, so it wouldn’t have been returned for this cash offer from J to F.

  3. definitely do it

    one-way upgrade is already 30K miles (~$650 cash value) plus another $400-600 cash copay. Combined that’s like $1000-1200 already.

  4. One of my favorite things about flying on United’s Y ticket (work) is that I can buy up from Y to J for East Coast to Asia for around $599. Not a bad deal at all, I’ve even got that offer when my GPU is still waitlisted or on a lower bucket fare. I’m really guilty of the cheap Y to J, but is never pay the $1,000+ for global first on united. J is almost as good.

  5. If you want to seat on globe first, you should use us airways miles, 120000us miles, only 30000more than 90000 star alliance business seat!
    That is for round trip, so 15000miles for upgrade to first class one way! Less than 300usd worth then!

    Us miles only less than 2c you can get from 100%buy miles! 120000first class round trip, one way first class less than 1200usd(full price), you pay1100usd upgrade to first class, would you do it?

  6. @Hellohello1226: I use all of my miles on non-U.S. airlines when flying internationally, so no. 😉 But yes, the “upgrade” using miles for F compared to J is a relative bargain. And F availability using miles on 3-cabin aircraft is often much easier to come by (at least for a solo passenger).

  7. $1599 is a bit steep for incremental comfort and amenities. However, if you are connecting, it does allow you to get into the Global First Lounge. Still, that’s a pretty expensive proposition for a few hours of lounging.

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