Changes to the Continental REVUP Hawaii upgrade pricing

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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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


    1. There is no doubt that the BF service is lesser on the HNL routes. And during DST when the flight departs HNL after 8pm the meal service is even further reduced. Still, at these prices (which are less than I usually pay for the ticket to HNL) it is hard to resist splurging for the upgrade. The extra space really is nice.

      That said, if I can get food prior to departure and get the bulkhead window in the mini-cabin I can be almost as happy for a lot less coin. Especially while I still have drink coupons left. About all I’d be missing is my ice cream sundae.

  1. Thanks for the great chart.

    I do the HNL-SFO run a a lot on CO and I’m wondering if I need to call the reservations desk when I check in or can I purchase from the gate agent? Unfortunately I don’t quite make Elite so I’m wondering if I should get to the airport early to purchase.


    1. Andy:

      As of right now the SFO-HNL route is not included in the REVUP scheme. I even asked about the SFO and DEN flights that are switching to the Continental 767-400 later this year and he said it wasn’t in the documentation yet. So as of now your best bet is to hope that there are seats available during check-in that aren’t otherwise going to an elite customer and that they’re willing to sell to you at a discount. But it is not quite as specific or formalized of a program.

  2. If the UDU policy des not continue on United for Hawaii flights, Mileage Plus elites are going to raise their ire. The earnings of CR1s will be reduced by 50 percent next year with the first pair posting after 75K EQMs and the second after 100K EQMs. Does CO really want to anger United flyers at the start of the merger?

    1. I think that the chances of the UDU policy going away while they’re still using the domestic config planes is virtually zero. The real question in my mind is whether they’re going to keep the mixed policy depending on the aircraft and whether they are going to keep the mixed fleet or switch to all domestic or all international. Continental didn’t have the fleet to do all domestic or they probably would have. Then again, the CO764 showing up in San Francisco and Denver is an interesting signal.

      The real question is whether having upgrades to Hawai’i no longer being free but with better service is an upgrade or a downgrade.

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