United Airlines Upgrade Shenanigans after Booking an Award Ticket


I just booked an award ticket for a friend from Dubai to Corpus Christi, Texas on United Airlines. It’s a one-way ticket in economy for 40,000 United miles.


After booking the flight, I came across a pay-wall type of screen which asked me if I would like to upgrade my flight to United BusinessFirst for a whopping $5,199. Mind you that my segment was automatically checked and the “Upgrade Now” button was next to the “No Thanks” button. I’m sure that if I had accidentally clicked “Upgrade Now”, it would charge to my default credit card on file where I had just paid the $40 in award taxes. In small text, it does say that if you click “Upgrade Now”, your credit card will be charged.


I went ahead and priced out a one-way business class ticket from DXB-CRP with the same date and it priced out $3,613 which was $1,586 lower than the up-sell price. With the revenue ticket, I would be paying less and be earning miles to boot!


These types of up-sells just bother me so much. Why do airlines continuously try to do this and trick the consumer into clicking the wrong button?


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Points Summary
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1 Comment on "United Airlines Upgrade Shenanigans after Booking an Award Ticket"

  1. It’s not just airlines… this UI trick has become quite common when a website is really trying to get you to do something. PayPal is another example… they try to keep you from using your credit card by putting these misleading screens in the payment process. But with them at least you don’t lost $5k if you click the wrong button.

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