United Airlines Upgrade Scam: Tip-of-the-Day #314

Just found myself victim to the latest "scam" of sorts, issued by United and Continental Airlines. The skinny: if you are traveling in economy and place yourself on an upgrade list, you will be charged for the upgrade on the day you wait-list yourself, regardless of whether that upgrade ever clears!

I was just in NY for business and I upgraded to economy plus on the outbound and was wait-listed for First class on the return. I agreed to the charge of $125, plus 15,000 miles, should the upgrade clear. Well, the upgrade didn't clear and I just noticed on my recent credit card statement that I was charged for the upgrade anyway!

I quickly Googled this issue, knowing that in the universe of travelers someone must have experienced the same, and sure enough it's been going on for several years now. Apparently a policy change disrupted the way upgrades were processed, upon check in, and instead now processes the upgrade ahead of time irregardless of delivery of service!

The worst part: it can take weeks to get your money and miles refunded!

Not sure what you can do about this except avoid wait-listing yourself and suck it up in coach. Buh.

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