United Expert Mode and United Fare Codes
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TravelSort reader Amy writes "How do I access United Expert Mode, and what do the various United fare codes mean?"

United Expert Mode allows you to see the various fare codes and award fare codes available for a given United flight. After the United Continental merger it was initially taken away, then brought back in September 2012 due to popular demand.

To access United Expert Mode, simply log into your United MileagePlus Account the go to your United Search Preferences where you can check a box to enable it.

After enabling it, you can search as usual. If you're searching for a paid flight, your results page will include a "Fare Class" text link that you can click on to view the fare classes. Note that you do need to click, it won't appear if you just mouse over it. The number of available seats appears next to the fare code. For example, for the flight below, X1 means 1 economy class saver award seat is available, although there are plenty of standard economy class awards available for more MileagePlus miles.

United Expert Mode and United Fare Buckets

 

Here are the United fare codes for paid tickets, along with number of redeemable miles (RDM) you receive when flying on a given fare code:

Class of Service

Fare Code

Award Miles (RDM)

First Class (3 cabin)

F (Full Fare)

A (Discount First)

250%

First Class (2 cabin)

F (Full Fare)

A (Discount First)

175%

Full Fare Business Class

C, D, J

175%

Discounted Business Class

P

150%

Deep Discounted Business Class

Z

150%

Full Fare Economy Class

B, Y

125%

Discounted Economy Class

E, H, M, Q, V, W

100%

Deep Discounted Economy Class

G, K, L, S, T

100%

A few things to note:

  • The maximum number of seats that will appear is 9, even if the flight is completely empty. You'll never see a greater number than 9.
  • R is the upgrade fare code for economy to business class, and RN is the upgrade fare code for economy to business class for elites
  • ON is the upgrade fare code from business class to first class
  • Most deeply discounted fares, such as Z, G, K, L, S and T aren't eligible for United MileagePlus promotions or for SWU upgrade certificates

How about fare codes for MileagePlus award tickets? As you probably know or suspected, United top-tier elites have their own award fare bucket ending in an "N" for those coveted saver awards, although ON for Saver First Class on 3 cabin aircraft (First, Business Economy) was eliminated on 1/31/13 (HT: Dan), leaving just IN for Saver First Class on 2 cabin aircraft (Economy, BusinessFirst) or for Business Class on 3 cabin aircraft.  

Class of Service

Premier Status

Saver Award

Standard Award

First Class (3 cabin)

Global Services

Premier 1K

Premier Platinum

O

(ON eliminated 1/31/13)

FN

First Class (3 cabin)

Premier Gold

Premier Silver

O

FN

First Class (3 cabin)

United Credit Card

O

FN

First Class (3 cabin)

No Elite Status or United Credit Card

O

FN

First Class (2 cabin)

Global Services

Premier 1K

Premier Platinum

IN

JN

First Class (2 cabin)

Premier Gold

Premier Silver

I

JN

First Class (2 cabin)

United Credit Card

I

JN

First Class (2 cabin)

No Elite Status or United Credit Card

I

ZN

Business Class (3 cabin)

Global Services

Premier 1K

Premier Platinum

IN

JN

Business Class (3 cabin)

Premier Gold

Premier Silver

I

JN

Business Class (3 cabin)

United Credit Card

I

JN

Business Class (3 cabin)

No Elite Status or United Credit Card

I

ZN

Economy Class

Global Services

Premier 1K

Premier Platinum

XN

YN

Economy Class

Premier Gold

Premier Silver

XN

YN

Economy Class

United Credit Card

XN

YN

Economy Class

No Elite Status or United Credit Card

X

HN

 

Some caveats: As the United Web site itself warns you when you sign up for Expert Mode, the information isn't perfect, and the elite upgrade process certainly isn't. A few things to note:

  • Availability in Expert Mode May Not Be Up to Date (occurs more often with partners)
  • Not all upgrades are cleared in real time. Our process of clearing upgrades varies based on the type of upgrade and when the upgrade inventory becomes available. Upgrades that are not able to be cleared in advance will be managed at the departure gate, subject to availability and in priority order.
  • Our phone agents will not clear pending upgrades. Our representatives do not have complete visibility into the upgrade priority order for a given flight. Because we would not want to potentially clear customers in the wrong order, upgrades are only processed by our automated system, or at the gate prior to departure.
Nevertheless, it can be helpful to use Expert Mode when you're trying to gauge your chances for an upgrade as an elite, or to check how a flight is filling up before booking.
 
Have you enabled United Expert Mode for your searches?
 
Related Posts

Understanding Upgrade Co-Pays and Airline Fare Codes
 
United Economy Plus Upgrade Tips

United Business First Review

United Club Card Annual Fee Waived: Worth It?

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