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Do you have some expiring upgrades or airline perks that you don’t plan to use? Or perhaps you’re in need of some for an upcoming flight? Scroll on down to swap your benefits expiring this winter!
Update: One reader has written in to say that United has opened an investigation after he applied Global Premier Upgrades to the reservations of several commenters below. The airline’s terms and conditions do state that GPUs are transferrable, but please be aware if you’re planning to share United upgrades specifically. Note that you may never exchange GPUs (or any other elite perks, or miles) for cash.
In case you haven’t noticed, 2015 is rapidly drawing to a close. Yesterday I wrote about various credit card perks and elite status benefits that may be expiring at the end of December, but there are many more that will expire in early 2016 as well (like American’s Systemwide Upgrades for example). Just like in past years, we want to make sure that these benefits don’t go to waste, so today we’re launching the 2015 iteration of our upgrade and perk exchange.
Here’s how it works: If you have a perk or benefit that you absolutely won’t be able to use before it expires, post a comment on this post with details — include a description of the item, the expiration date and any other restrictions. Provide your email address for readers to contact you directly (I would strongly encourage you to set up a separate email address for this purpose). Then, when you have successfully transferred a benefit to a reader, post a follow-up reply to your original comment with the word “COMPLETED” so other readers know that the benefit is taken and not to contact you.
If you’re a reader and interested in a perk listed in the comments, contact the poster directly with a description of why you need it — or, if you don’t see a benefit listed that you’d like to have, add a request, including an email address of your own. Please include any applicable details (like travel dates, class of service, etc.) to make sure you can actually use the benefit. Be brief and respectful, and recognize that the individual with the benefit has complete discretion to decide who should receive it.
Here are some additional ground rules for the exchange:
- This is not meant to encourage the purchase of benefits. Most programs expressly forbid you from selling upgrade certificates, miles or other perks, so if you’re seeking some type of compensation for giving away your expiring benefit, be sure to work out some type of bartering agreement.
- Be sure you’re only posting transferable benefits. There are many perks out there that are specific to the individual traveler. I wish I could’ve given away the 7 SPG Platinum Suite Night Awards that I had to let expire back in 2014, but sadly those are only able to be used when the Platinum member is traveling. However, other benefits (like Alaska Gold Guest Upgrade certificates) are fully transferable.
- Make sure both parties fully understand the restrictions of the benefit. Most upgrade certificates require specific fare classes or inventory in order to be used. Make sure that both the giving and receiving party have done their due diligence in researching the benefit. ExpertFlyer (and the site’s award inventory alerts) can be a big help in making sure there’s upgrade inventory on your flight(s), and you can also use the search box on this site to find detailed posts on these perks.
While there’s no way to come up with a truly exhaustive list of perks and benefits that might apply, here’s a sample of ones that you could post:
1. Alaska Gold Guest Upgrades: MVP Gold and MVP Gold 75K flyers (including those who used a status match) receive four Guest Upgrade certificates that can bump any traveler to first class when booked in Y, S, B, M, H, Q, L, V and K on Alaska-operated flights. These are fully transferable – all you need is the number from the certificate.
3. United Global Premier Upgrades (GPUs) or Regional Premier Upgrades (RPUs): United offers its elite members two different upgrade instruments. When you qualify for Premier Platinum status, you’ll earn two RPUs that are valid on most short- and medium-haul United-operated flights. When you hit Premier 1K status, you’ll earn another two RPUs and six GPUs (valid on all United-operated flights, as well as certain Lufthansa flights). You can also earn more certificates by earning additional premier-qualifying miles beyond the 1K threshold. You can sponsor another MileagePlus member on either type of upgrade. Just be aware that certain deeply discounted fare classes aren’t eligible for GPUs.
Of course, there are many other perks out there, so feel free to post anything that is transferable to another traveler!
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards