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Maximizing Expiring Elite Benefits, Perks and Upgrades – Exchange Forum

by on February 18, 2014 · 231 comments

in Elite Status, Maximize Monday

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I have posted this before, but a lot of elite perks – including American Airlines EVIP Systemwide Upgrades, expire February 28, so I thought I’d repost this in the hopes that some of you would help out fellow TPG readers with elite perks and benefits like systemwide upgrades and lounge passes that you might not use before they expire.

I can’t believe that 2013 is already winding down to a close and that we’re almost at Thanksgiving and the holidays! That means elite status and the benefits that come with it are on everyone’s mind – and a lot of folks have been emailing me and commenting on posts about what to do with their expiring elite benefits including airline upgrades and hotel suite upgrades, among other goodies.

United-BusinessFirst3

Not going to use that systemwide upgrade? Think about giving it to someone who will!

That’s why I thought I’d put together a handy resource reminding everyone of the expiration dates of their benefits as well as providing a forum for the exchange of expiring benefits – hey, if you’re not going to put that upgrade to use, why not trade with someone who will? Rather than just losing your benefits or not having time to find someone who can use them, think about helping out fellow members of the points community by exchanging or even giving them away – the good karma will come back to you!

How It Works

If you have a benefit to trade or give away, post a comment on this post with what you have – systemwides, suite upgrades, lounge passes, drink coupons, etc. – that you can give away to others. I wish I could set up an exchange marketplace, but I think it’s probably better to keep things simple.

Got a drink voucher? Treat someone else to a cocktail!

Got a drink voucher? Treat someone else to a cocktail!

If you would like to participate in the comments section of this post, leave a message with what perks you havesystemwide upgrades, suite upgrades, lounge passes, drink certificates, etc. that you can gift to others who can use them.

Include any conditions, such as: “HAVE: XYZ upgrade, expiring XYZ date. Restrictions: For example international vs domestic, fare restrictions, etc.” In your comment, list your email – I would suggest creating a special email account just for this where people can contact you, and then once your benefit has been assigned for, just leave a reply to your original comment saying: “Completed,” or something like that.

If someone posts a benefit that you’re interested in, you can email them directly and give a quick reason why you need it and make sure you include your travel dates and class of service to make sure you are eligible for the upgrade. Please be brief and respectful! Please do not email me specific benefits you are trying to get since I have no way of procuring them for you.

I am not encouraging anything illicit and I want to state very clearly that I do not condone or allow selling benefits which could have all kinds of negative consequences for both the buyer and seller including having their benefits taken away if not their entire mileage or point account deleted for good.

However, if there’s a way that I can help readers fairly use benefits that would otherwise go unused, I want to do so, so start swapping away!

For reference, here’s a handy list of deadlines of the major airlines and hotels:

AIRLINES

Use an American SWU for an upgrade.

American allows passengers to assign upgrades by calling the elite line.

AMERICAN
Upgrades that were earned based on your 2012 flight activity are valid through February 28, 2014. Upgrades will expire at 12:00 midnight (CT) on the date shown on them, and you must fly by the expiration date. Some people have reported success asking American to extend them, though generally that is not the case.

To transfer to someone else, call your Elite Service Desk in advance to make the reservation and request the upgrade (the same way you do when you claim a mileage award from your account for someone else). Then the passenger can go to the airport to check in without you being present. If you do not call your Elite Service Desk in advance, the passenger cannot be accommodated at the airport unless you are also present. The person can also make their own reservation and then you can call in later with their name, confirmation number, etc. and add the systemwide to the reservation at that point.

Use a Delta SWU for an upgrade to Business Elite.

Use a Delta SWU for an upgrade to BusinessElite.

DELTA
This is a little tougher because the systemwide upgrade holder must be traveling
, so these are much less useful than other airline upgrade certificates.

Delta’s SWU’s are valid for use within or between the 50 United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Mexico on published economy class fares booked in Y, B, M, H, Q, or K class. They are valid for use between Asia, Central America, Europe, India, Australia, North America, South America, and Africa on published economy class fares booked in Y, B, M class. Upgrades may be redeemed for the named Medallion member and up to one travel companion in the same reservation. The named member and the companion will each require a separate certificate. Valid for a one way upgrade on Delta and certain Delta Connection carrier operated flights. You can also use on Air France/KLM flights. For all terms see this page.

Delta’s SWU certificates expire twelve months from date of issue – so they’re on a rolling basis, but certificates may not be extended, reissued or returned for credit under any circumstances.

United will soon operate the largest fleet with the most lie-flat seats.

United allows passengers to sponsor upgrades for others using Global Premier Upgrades.

UNITED
Global Premier Upgrades are one-way, one-cabin upgrades, confirmable as early as time of ticketing on all United-, United Express®- and Copa Airlines-operated flights systemwide.

They are deposited at the time they are earned, and will be valid for travel through the end of the Premier program year for which they are earned. For example, a Global Premier Upgrade earned in June 2012 should be valid for travel through January 2014.

Some Global Premier Upgrades earned via 2012 activity, however, are only valid for twelve months from the date of issue – so be sure to double check because those of you that earned them at the end of last year might be coming up against an expiration date sooner than you think.

These upgrades can be used on paid, published fares for upgrades from United Economy, United Business or United BusinessFirst to the next higher cabin. Fare classes Z, P, S, T, L, K, G and N may only be upgraded on flights to select regions. See the upgrade regions chart for full details on upgrade eligibility and fare restrictions.

Once the traveler’s ticket has been issued, members can redeem Global Premier Upgrades by viewing the reservation on united.com and selecting the Upgrade Reservation link. Global Premier Upgrades may also be redeemed by contacting United Reservations.

Premier members may request an upgrade for any other traveler using a Global Premier Upgrade, even if they are not traveling on the same reservation. In order to sponsor a Global Premier Upgrade for another traveler, the sponsoring member will need to sign in to united.com using their own account, then search for the reservation using the traveling member’s confirmation number and last name. The sponsoring member can then redeem the Global Premier Upgrade by selecting the Upgrade Reservation link. Waitlist confirmation priority is based on the Premier status of the redeeming account.

US Airways Envoy

Chairman’s Preferred members receive receive 2 certificates which may be used for Envoy class upgrades on US Airways.

US AIRWAYS

Chairman’s Preferred members receive receive 2 electronic certificates each year for one way First Class/Envoy upgrades that you can use for upgrades to or from Hawaii, Europe, South America and the Middle East.

These certificates are issued each year on March 1 and expire at the end of February of the following year (so February 28, 2014). If you’re traveling with a companion, they must be booked in the same reservation and will be processed at the same time as the Preferred member.

Here’s how to use your annual electronic upgrades:

  • Purchase your ticket through US Airways or a travel agent.
  • Provide your Dividend Miles account number to a Personal Liaison at the Chairman’s Preferred desk to process the electronic upgrade for you and your companion. As always, upgrade eligibility is based on the fare you purchased and is subject to capacity control.
  • This benefit cannot be used within 1 hour of a domestic flight or within 4 hours of an international flight.

HOTELS

Hyatt

Hyatt Diamond suite upgrade certificates earned based on your 2012 activity will expire on February 28, 2014, so that’s coming right up as well. The upgrade must be requested and redeemed at time of reservation and is subject to availability. Award is not transferable, negotiable or redeemable for cash or other substitutions, so again, it will have to be under your name and Gold Passport number which limits the usefulness in using for others.

Starwood

Starwood Platinum members receive 10 suite night awards each year when they hit 50 nights, each valid for one night and confirmed up to 5 days before a stay begins. Expiration dates can vary based on when you earn them, so be sure to check your account to see how long yours will be valid, though Suite Night Awards earned in 2011 will generally be expiring on December 31, 2013 – so better get those requests in!

Any other benefits you’d like to see listed? Let me know and I can add them!

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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