Continental has historically been opposed to selling discounted upgrades for cash on their BusinessFirst premium cabin flights. They’ve also mostly been opposed to processing upgrades on the day of departure so as to protect their yields. But there has been one exception to this trend: Honolulu.
The Honolulu market is the only one where Continental offers a set rate for upgrades on the day of departure, and the prices have always been pretty good. The system, known as a REVUP allows passengers to buy into the forward cabin on the day of departure (inside 24 hours for elites; inside 2 hours for non-elites) if there is inventory available in the Z fare bucket.
With loads higher than ever finding a flight with seats can be difficult, but it is definitely possible. Check out my Inventory Search Tool if you want to check the Z inventory for a particular flight. Assuming there are seats available in Z a quick call to the reservations desk and paying the fee should have you in the forward cabin. If the agent doesn’t know what you’re talking about ask them to "look up GG REVUP in SHARES" and go from there.
As of a couple weeks ago the rates changed, with some increases and some decreases and generally a more complicated system. In addition to the route traveled day of departure now comes into play.
The above prices are for passengers with elite status; non-elites pay $50 more per person.
This is still a great benefit and one that hopefully survives the merger (assuming that the flights do not convert to all free upgrades like they are on United Airlines right now). With the most recent change to the award charts that went into effect this week these fees are generally lower than the cash component of the miles+cash option. But it is also a riskier approach as the forward cabin does sell out in advance quite often.
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