While I am sure this is something that people see quite often in their bookings with United, I did want to mention this in case there are people that do buy up to BusinessFirst with United at the time of purchase. While most people traveling with miles and points probably do not pay for business class tickets, I recognize that there are some that may do that from time to time. By waiting just a few minutes instead of taking the “offer” from United at the time of purchase, you could save big money!
United Drops My Cost Of A Business Class Upgrade Over 50% AFTER Booking
I purchased a ticket recently for Europe to the US roundtrip (this is the first time in as long as I can remember that I bought a United ticket for/from Europe – I always redeem) and when I got through the process, I was offered the “opportunity” to buy up to BusinessFirst (both legs of the trip were on United flights). The price for the upgrade to business class was actually cheaper than if I had searched specifically for business on the reservation (so, it would have made sense for me to book coach and wait for the offer if I really wanted BusinessFirst). But, it was still not cheap by any stretch! To be clear – I did not take either option offered for the upgrade!
Price Of The Outbound Upgrade – Much Cheaper To Wait!
The price to upgrade the outbound segment to BusinessFirst at the time of purchasing the coach ticket was $3,898! That was just the one way. The return segment would have cost $1,269. That means to upgrade both segments to BusinessFirst was going to cost me $5,258. Not cheap for a roundtrip European business class ticket!
However, after purchasing the coach ticket, I was checking some things on my ticket and decided to check the upgrade options. I will say – I never really have looked at that part for international tickets so I cannot speak to what the prices normally look like. Obviously, it had the option to upgrade with miles and a co-pay but the cost to upgrade the ticket to a straight BusinessFirst ticket (just like if I had purchased) cost only $1,598 – a difference of $2,300 over upgrading the ticket at time of purchase! That means that, if I was interested in doing so, I could have upgraded for over 50% less by waiting only a few minutes for my ticket to be ticketed!
Price of the Return Upgrade – More Expensive To Wait
On the flip side, the return ticket’s upgrade price actually went up $200! So, buying the return in business at time of ticketing would have cheaper while it was the opposite for the outbound.
United flyers, do you have the answer to the vast difference in price for upgrading? How about the return flight? In the end, I did not upgrade either flight being content with my Economy Plus seating. If I had paid to upgrade, I would have received an instant upgrade and received an upgraded fare class that would award additional miles. But, I am not paying that much just for extra miles! 🙂
If you want to find the price of your own upgrade, sign in to your United account and go to your reservation. Below the trip details will be the tab for Redeem Upgrade.
Editorial Note - Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Some of the links on this site are affiliate links that will support this site. Thank you for your support.