The new united.com primer: How to find upgrade inventory


Welcome to the new United.com website. For folks used to the old continental.com site things should look pretty similar. For folks surprised to find that things are different this week, well, surprise! There are a few common features that are very useful to be able to do and which are not particularly well documented. So here’s the documentation. I’ve got a couple of these posts in the works and if there are any particular steps you are having trouble with let me know and I’ll put something together for them.

There are four different types of upgrade space available in the new United:

  • Miles/Instrument Coach->Biz (R/RN)
  • Top Elite B/M->One cabin higher (PN)
  • All Elite Y->One cabin higher (JN)
  • Miles/Instrument Biz->First (ON)

While that’s a lot to go searching for, the good news is that it can all be found on the same single search results page, and there are no special custom profile settings or parameters that you need to set, though there is one which can help, detailed at the end of this post.
So, here’s the drill, and it really is quite simple.

  • Do a normal revenue search for the flight you’re interested in. One way or round trip doesn’t matter. You just need a REVENUE fare search page that shows the results for the flight/date you are interested in.
  • On the results page look in the right-most column. The third row should say something like "Fare Class: United Economy (W)" on it. Note that the words Fare Class are a hyperlink:
  • Click that link and you will see all the inventory buckets for the flight:

That’s all there is to it. Piece of cake.

If you want to get a bit more fancy and make it even easier – AND if you have a browser which supports GreaseMonkey scripts – I’ve created a script which causes the inventory to always be displayed for all flights and which highlights the award buckets. The downside is that there is no "X" button to close it (though clicking on "Fare Class" will do it) and it obscures some other information, but I like the inventory info more so that’s how I roll. For more information on that script check out my post here. Version 6.1 of the script is the first to support the new United.com and PSS site in it; older versions need to be upgraded.

This is what the page looks like with the script enabled:

Note the red/green coloring of the award buckets. Easy, at-a-glance information on upgrades and awards without too much effort at all.

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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, LinkedIn and .

22 Comments

  1. What about for regular award inventory? Would still going through the award search on the site be the best option?

    1. You can use this method for regular award searches but it has some limitations. Most notably, it won’t show partner inventory nor do you get the calendar showing alternate dates. On the plus side, this method does show the actual number of seats available rather than just a yes/no based on what you searched.

  2. Looks like a nice toll, I’ll give it a test run tonight.
    @Scott: Even if there is a way to see award inventory on this page, I would say the full award search is better because you can see a month’s worth of data on which redemption options are available.

  3. Much better than expert mode .bomb 🙂 so do the inventory number change when u log in as 1k?

    1. The inventory numbers don’t change as a 1K but access to book some of them – namely IN and ON as an award – will change.

  4. Thanks, Seth! I can think of why United doesn’t already offer what your script does (too many people get overwhelmed by the data), but it’s the kind of thing that appeals to me, too.

    1. United does offer the data and, quite frankly, what they offer is overkill for most folks. The number of people “like us” who want this level of detail is very small. We should be grateful they do it at all.

  5. I think United.com is changed. I don’t see “Fare Class” as hyperlink and hence no way to find the available inventory. Is there any other way?

    1. You must be logged in to your account for it to work. As and added bonus, the UA site has two levels of “logged in” and you have to be in the version which is fully logged in. If you haven’t typed in your PIN/Password in the current session then you aren’t logged all the way in. Log out and back in and it should work.

  6. Yeah I don’t see “Fare Class” as a hyperlink either, despite logging out and back in several times. How do you know if you are fully logged in?

  7. I love your solution, but my technical skills are not that great. Have you created this sub-routine for Safari?

    Denise

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