Wednesday, January 13, 2010

United's Global Services Program - Part II

I talked about how Nick had received an invitation to United's premier frequent flier program in this post.

I am happy to report that the Global Services program is amazing.

Typically they do not allow people to upgrade from economy to business on flights using miles.  It doesn't matter if business class is empty.  It doesn't matter if you have tons of free upgrades associated with your frequent flier number.  No upgrades period.  We were able to upgrade to business class on 3 out of our 4 United flights.  And it was magical.  We had a 13 hour flight to Tokyo and then a 7 hour flight to Bangkok in a row to get there.  Flights back were a little shorter and we broke them up by staying in Tokyo one day.

Plus the lovely United people in Tokyo booked us on the nonstop flight back to Chicago instead of the layover we originally had in San Francisco, getting us home several hours earlier.  Global Services gets a big thumbs up from me.

Since Global Services seems to be almost a secret (or at least not well publicized program), it seems several United employees don't know the rules or what's going on.  One guy in Bangkok insisted you can't upgrade.  A guy in Tokyo on the way there was confused as well but a last minute upgrade ticket came through for me once I'd been settled back in economy already for 30 minutes.

I hope Nick flies enough (or spends enough of his company's money flying) this year that he requalifies next year as well.  Or at least until we've done a trip to New Zealand or South Africa.