United/Continental New Fare Buckets and Mileage Earning

The Wandering Aramean put together a chart of the revenue, award, and upgrade fare buckets at the new United (i.e. post- Continental merger).

Some of the changes are already in place, others are in progress, but his chart will be the new normal going forward.

For the most part, it appears that the United fare buckets in economy stay the same, we get more business class fare buckets from Continental, and we migrate over to Continental’s fare buckets for upgrades and awards. That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but seems right at first blush.

Of course, along with the changes to elite qualifying and redeemable bonuses for higher-priced tickets which were announced recently.

The change I’m most interested in is United publishing its domestic first class awards into the “I” fare bucket. This is important because several Star Alliance frequent flyer programs, including now notably Air Canada’s Aeroplan, will only book domestic segments on international business class awards into coach or business — not into whatever is deemed “first class’. Since “I” is business class in Star Alliance parlance, that means international business class awards will get their North American segments included in the forward cabin when available. United had previously published its front domestic cabin as “O” or first class, while Continental published theirs into “I”.

Here’s Seth’s chart:

Revenue Fare Buckets

Class of Service Purchased Fare Class Award Miles Elite Qualification Miles Elite Qualification Points
First Class (3-cabin) F, A 250% 150% 1.5
First Class (2-cabin) F, A 175% 150% 1.5
Full Fare Business Class J, C, D 175% 150% 1.5
Discounted Business Class P 150% 150% 1.5
Deep Discounted Business Class* Z 150% 150% 1.5
Full Fare Economy Class Y, B 125% 150% 1.5
Discounted Economy Class M, E, U, H, Q, V, W 100% 100% 1
Deep Discounted Economy Class* S, T, L, K, G 100% 100% 1

*Most fares in the “Deep Discounted” buckets are ineligible for MileagePlus promotions. They are also not eligible for GPU (formerly known as SWU) upgrades on longhaul routes marketed with a premium cabin.
** The N fare bucket is currently flagged as unused in the system; it is the only letter as yet unused.

Award Fare Buckets

Redeemed Cabin Premier Status SaverPass/Saver Award Bucket EasyPass/Standard Award Bucket
First Class (3-cabin) Premier 1K/Global Services ON FN
First Class (3-cabin) Premier Gold/Silver/Platinum O FN
First Class (3-cabin) Chase CC Holder O FN
First Class (3-cabin) Non-Elite O FN  
First Class (2-cabin) Premier 1K/Global Services IN JN
First Class (2-cabin) Premier Gold/Silver/Platinum I JN
First Class (2-cabin) Chase CC Holder I JN
First Class (2-cabin) Non-Elite I ZN  
Business Class (3-cabin) Premier 1K/Global Services IN JN
Business Class (3-cabin) Premier Gold/Silver/Platinum I JN
Business Class (3-cabin) Chase CC Holder I JN
Business Class (3-cabin) Non-Elite I ZN  
Economy Class Premier 1K/Global Services XN YN
Economy Class Premier Gold/Silver/Platinum XN YN
Economy Class Chase CC Holder X YN
Economy Class Non-Elite X HN


Upgrade Fare Buckets

Redeemed Cabin Premier Status Award Bucket
Biz to First (3-cabin) All Passengers ON
Economy to Business (3-cabin) All Levels RN
Economy to Business (3-cabin) Non-elite R
Economy to First (2-cabin)* All Levels RN
Economy to First (2-cabin) Non-elite R

*This includes Complimentary Premium Upgrades (CPUs) which were formerly known as UDU or EUA.

He plans to keep it updated in the form of a Wiki.

Thanks for doing this, sir!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thanks! (and thanks Seth…)

    When does this go in to effect? As soon as they have their ‘single certificate’?

  2. This should be interesting for Hawaii. US Air will not for some reason (up until now) book into I class JFK-SFO for a first class hawaii award – saying it’s against the rules. This change should make for some interesting agent roulette.

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