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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!
It seems hard to believe that 2016 is quickly coming to an end. Hopefully you’ve taken advantage of the various perks of your elite status(es) this year, but if not, some of those benefits may be expiring on December 31 or in the first couple of months of 2017. Just like in past years, we want to make sure that these perks don’t go to waste, so today we’re launching the 2016 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 below with details — include a description of the item, the quantity you have to give away, the expiration date and any other restrictions associated with it. Provide your email address for readers to contact you directly (it might be a good idea 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 an explanation of how you’ll put it to use — 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, and even exchanging them could be frowned upon. We even had a reader last year let us know that United opened an investigation when he applied some Global Premier Upgrades to readers’ reservations, so just be careful if you try to trade with someone.
- 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 you have done your due diligence in researching the benefit, regardless of whether you are the giver or the recipient. For flight awards, 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.
Benefits You Might Want to Share
While it’s not practical to come up with a truly exhaustive list of perks and benefits that might apply, here’s a sample of some 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. You also may have selected two additional upgrades last December as a thank you gift. 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, certain Lufthansa flights and now ANA flights as well). You can also score more certificates by earning additional premier-qualifying miles beyond the 1K threshold. You can sponsor any United passenger using either type of upgrade. Just be aware that certain deeply discounted fare classes aren’t eligible for GPUs, and this isn’t a guarantee of a bump to first or business class, as you’ll still need upgrade space available.
4. Drink certificates and lounge passes: Many programs offer elite members complimentary drink coupons or one-day club passes, and this can even extend to low- or mid-tier status levels. For example, I received four passes to the Alaska Board Room when I status matched to MVP Gold 75K, but since I get complimentary access with my Priority Pass membership (courtesy of the Citi Prestige Card), I gave them away to friends before they expired. While not nearly as valuable as the previous three perks, it’s best to not let them go to waste!
Of course, there are many other perks out there, so feel free to post anything that is transferable to another traveler!
Featured image of Lufthansa business class.
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