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Cpi-Web Forums Thread Wiki: Questions About Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) on UA [Merged]
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Guide to CPUs

In order for you to receive a CPU, four conditions have to be met at the same moment in time:

(NB: The following does not apply to GS members, whose CPUs process at least somewhat differently, out of the PN bucket.)

1. The flight must be within the relevant CPU window:
  • GS: 120 hours
  • 1K: 96 hours
  • Plat: 72 hours
  • Gold: 48 hours
  • Silver: 24 hours

If the flight is scheduled to depart after midnight central time, all of these windows open 24 hours early, due to a system glitch.

2. There must be CPU availability. CPUs for non-GS members draw from an invisible bucket that is often (but not always) pegged to roughly one or two less than the R bucket. At the gate, all remaining seats are released.

3. You must be high enough on the relevant upgrade list.

There are two separate upgrade lists, used during the two different upgrade processes described in (4) below. Understand how these lists work is one of the things people struggle with the most.

The Pre-Gate List (a/k/a the "sweeps list" or "EUA list")

This list is used in the pre-gate process described in (4) below. Your presence on the list is indicated by the CPU Requested icon/language on your reservation, but you cannot find out what position you are on this list through any public method. The list is sorted in this manner:
- Displaced first-class passengers (Bought two-segment F ticket, F wasn't available on this segment at time of purchase)

- GS using any method (note GS clear out of PN)

- Uncleared instant upgrades, sorted by fare class* and status (Only 1K Y/B/M, clears out of PN)

- Waitlisted instrument/mile upgrades, sorted by status of highest elite on the PNR, fare class, and then time of request (e.g.: 1K in N upgrading using miles, Plat in S using RPU applied on Tuesday, Plat in S using RPU applied later on Friday)**, after check-in, time of checking is used vs time of request

- CPUs, sorted by status of highest elite on the PNR, fare class, and time of purchase (e.g.: 1K in E, 1K in N, Plat in E, Plat in X***, Gold in G purchased in November, Gold in G purchased in December), after check-in, time of checking is used vs time of request

*The coach fare classes, in the order that is relevant to this whole discussion, are: Y, B, M, E, U, H, Q, V, W, S, T, L, K, G, N, YN/HN/XN/X

**Note: The upgrades above CPU can clear using R space, CPU appears to be a subset, so R space alone is not sufficent for CPU clearing.

***CPUs are only available for mileage tickets for certain credit card holders. It's a complicated issue that is generally beyond the scope of this thread. There is a separate thread for it.
The Gate List (a/k/a the "visible list")

This list controls upgrades at the gate. It is semi-visible to the public on the status page for a flight, but the status page only shows checked in passengers. Even if you appear first on the list, you might actually be fifteenth by the time everyone checks in.

This list is in the same order as the list above, except that the time-related tiebreakers (such as time of purchase) are replaced with sequence number (which is related to time of check-in). Additionally, certain non-revs (airline employees and family traveling for free or at low cost) are put on the gate list, at the end.

4. One of the two upgrade processes must run.

The Pre-Gate Process (a/k/a the "sweeps" or "EUA")

This process runs at certain times in the days leading up to the flight. It typically runs at 24 hour intervals leading up to T-24, at which point it begins to run more often. It is unclear exactly how often it runs, or when it stops running. There are reports of upgrades that seem to have been given by the pre-gate system even once boarding has begun.

The Gate Process

This process is manually accomplished by the GA, typically once if there are empty seats after check-in has closed, and again if there are no-shows in F. In the latter case, the GA may come onto the plane to give the new boarding pass to the passenger.

Sometimes the GA might not run the process, which makes them a Very Bad GA. On very rare occasions, they might fiddle with the process to upgrade their friends, which we call "shenanigans." That makes them a Mega Bad And Very In Trouble GA. Both of these situations should be reported in the relevant FT thread and directly to UA.

CPU FAQ

I'm number one on the upgrade list on the flight status page. Does that mean I'm first in line for the upgrade?

No, unless the check-in window has passed and the flight is under gate control.

There are seats available in F, why have I not been upgraded yet?

That's not how it works. See above.

There is R availability, why haven't I been upgraded yet?

That's not how it works. See above.

Will the time that I check in affect my ability to get an upgrade?

Probably not. It is the third tie-breaker on the gate list only. See above.

Do I need to check in to get an upgrade?

No. Except at the gate. But if you're not checked in by that time, you have bigger problems.

Who are all these people on the standby list and the upgrade list(s)?

Non-revs. See above.

But the website says that the Silver window opens the day of departure, not at T-24!

Ignore that.

But the website says that there is a "transfer" of the lists at T-24!

Ignore that.

But the agent said ____________________________!

Ignore them.

DidItClear

If the DidItClear website is going to be effective, it needs more members and trip upgrade data!

Please visit https://diditclear.com/ and include your trip experience with CPU's, RPU's, GPU's and any other means of upgrading available on United.

The better the data, the better the search results and experiential history.

Related threads
Understanding the United Upgrade List Comprehensively

Comprehensive Companion CPU Questions

To split or not to split PNR
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Old Jan 5, 15, 8:39 am #1
Original Poster

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Questions About Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) on UA [Merged]

Flying today, Domestic on a V fare from a hub city to non-hub city. 737-900 (20 seats in FC) and I am 16th on the upgrade list. Whats the point??? (Rant over, thanks in advance for the over entitled comments)
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Old Jan 5, 15, 8:40 am #2

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Monday morning
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Old Jan 5, 15, 8:53 am #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyr2299 View Post
Flying today, Domestic on a V fare from a hub city to non-hub city. 737-900 (20 seats in FC) and I am 16th on the upgrade list. Whats the point??? (Rant over, thanks in advance for the over entitled comments)
Check the price of first. If P is around $300 (which it often is, one way), people will just buy first class and nobody will get upgraded.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 8:54 am #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyr2299 View Post
Whats the point??? (Rant over, thanks in advance for the over entitled comments)

And to further jasonp622's comments: The first Monday morning of the calendar/business year.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 9:06 am #5
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all valid points... doesn't mean I like it!
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Old Jan 5, 15, 9:42 am #6

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So far I'm 3/4 getting upgraded right at T-96 on this week's trips EWR-DEN-SMF.

Only the DEN-EWR return leg (on a BF-configured 752) hasn't cleared yet... still mildly hopeful but we'll see.

Nice way to kick off the year - no complaints here ...
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Old Jan 5, 15, 10:03 am #7

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"Questions About Complimentary Premier Upgrades (CPU) on UA" Thread [Merged] (2015)

First of all, it is a CRJ700 so only 6 F seats. I am flying SNA-SFO at 12:48. Tried to SDC last night but nothing available earlier - flights were all CRJ700. When I looked before going to sleep, F was Booked:5, Checked in:0 and I was 4th on list as a 1K. Really didn't think 4 people would take other flights but I was wrong. Woke up today and all 6 F seats were filled from Upgrade list. Not complaining but thought it was odd.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 10:14 am #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierranevada View Post
First of all, it is a CRJ700 so only 6 F seats. I am flying SNA-SFO at 12:48. Tried to SDC last night but nothing available earlier - flights were all CRJ700. When I looked before going to sleep, F was Booked:5, Checked in:0 and I was 4th on list as a 1K. Really didn't think 4 people would take other flights but I was wrong. Woke up today and all 6 F seats were filled from Upgrade list. Not complaining but thought it was odd.
6 F seats on a flight to a hub. I would expect there to be at least 6 elites.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 11:04 am #9
formerly repcool

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyr2299 View Post
Flying today, Domestic on a V fare from a hub city to non-hub city. 737-900 (20 seats in FC) and I am 16th on the upgrade list. Whats the point??? (Rant over, thanks in advance for the over entitled comments)
Upgrade chances are all about route and timing. I flew MTJ-DEN-OMA all of last year and got upgraded about 70%+ of the time. When I fly to SFO or EWR I often find myself halfway down the list. That is what RPU, GPU and points are for, to bump yourself higher on flights you really want\need to be up front. You could also make a habit of buying more expensive fares to increase your chances.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 11:19 am #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyr2299 View Post
Flying today, Domestic on a V fare from a hub city to non-hub city. 737-900 (20 seats in FC) and I am 16th on the upgrade list. Whats the point??? (Rant over, thanks in advance for the over entitled comments)
Ha! Try flying hub to hub on a Monday morning, like ORD-SFO... It feels like almost everyone in E+ is a 1K on those flights!

Like others said, though, it completely depends on routing and timing. It's possible if you took the second flight of the day (if there is one on that route) you'd have been upgraded.

If I can be flexible in my flights then I'm usually upgraded. When I can't be flexible I'm usually not sitting in F unless I buy up or something.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 11:53 am #11

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I'm eighth out of 20 on a CR7 from IAD-BOS
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Old Jan 5, 15, 12:03 pm #12

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDS747 View Post
Ha! Try flying hub to hub on a Monday morning, like ORD-SFO... It feels like almost everyone in E+ is a 1K on those flights!

Like others said, though, it completely depends on routing and timing. It's possible if you took the second flight of the day (if there is one on that route) you'd have been upgraded.

If I can be flexible in my flights then I'm usually upgraded. When I can't be flexible I'm usually not sitting in F unless I buy up or something.
I just flew it this morning and was upgraded as a 1K. Actually, there were only about 30 on the list this morning and a ton of people received their CPU, including me.

Though, this is not the norm for a Monday morning ORD-SFO. The list is usually 70-90 and there was one time I was in the 30's using an RPU and on an H fare.
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Old Jan 5, 15, 12:11 pm #13

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Quote:
Originally Posted by repcool View Post
Upgrade chances are all about route and timing. I flew MTJ-DEN-OMA all of last year and got upgraded about 70%+ of the time. When I fly to SFO or EWR I often find myself halfway down the list. That is what RPU, GPU and points are for, to bump yourself higher on flights you really want\need to be up front. You could also make a habit of buying more expensive fares to increase your chances.
RPU or GPU waitlist only marginally increases your chances, unless you're GS and can access PN inventory. For the rest of us, if RN doesn't open up you're out of luck. At the airport you're behind anyone flying on a B fare or above (M for 1Ks), including cheap government YCA fares.

Last edited by Explore; Jan 5, 15 at 12:16 pm
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Old Jan 5, 15, 10:51 pm #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyr2299 View Post
Flying today, Domestic on a V fare from a hub city to non-hub city. 737-900 (20 seats in FC) and I am 16th on the upgrade list. Whats the point??? (Rant over, thanks in advance for the over entitled comments)
This has been well documented ever since March, 2012 when one pass took over M+. Most 1Ks saw CPU success rates decline. If you want to sit up front you need to move your 100K+ miles of business to AA or DL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Explore View Post
RPU or GPU waitlist only marginally increases your chances, unless you're GS and can access PN inventory. For the rest of us, if RN doesn't open up you're out of luck. At the airport you're behind anyone flying on a B fare or above (M for 1Ks), including cheap government YCA fares.
Agreed if applying the RPU 5 days out or less. If the rpu is applied at time of booking weeks to months before departure, then it dramatically increases chances. That's because R space can open any time.

Last edited by mre5765; Jan 5, 15 at 10:57 pm
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Old Jan 5, 15, 11:17 pm #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyr2299 View Post
Flying today, Domestic on a V fare from a hub city to non-hub city. 737-900 (20 seats in FC) and I am 16th on the upgrade list. Whats the point??? (Rant over, thanks in advance for the over entitled comments)
If it makes you feel better, on a Saturday a few weeks ago, H fare on a flight from a non hub city on a 739, #11 on the list with RPU that was applied 1.5 months in advance.
golfingboy is offline Reply With Quote
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