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United Not Able to Upgrade on Partners Using Miles?

I’m going to Australia next month, and I’ve booked the trip on Air New Zealand in Premium Economy (yes, I’m traveling for an extra 6 hours instead of flying on Qantas because of the miles, sue me). I called United today to upgrade the trip using United miles. I learned 2 things I thought I would share:

1) I know that you can only upgrade Star Alliance partner flights from coach to business if you booked in Y or B class. I was hoping that I could upgrade Premium Economy classes as well, and that perhaps they’ve just never adjusted their rules since ANZ added Premium Economy. Answer? You can’t upgrade Premium Economy classes (A or O, in Air New Zealand’s case) using miles.

2) More importantly, my Auckland-Sydney flight is in B class, so it is upgradable. But the United rep told me their systems for upgrading partner flights using miles “has been down for 6 weeks.” Has anyone else encountered this? 6 weeks?

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