Update: United/Continental Systemwide Upgrades Now Valid on Both Carriers!

UPDATE (11:10AM 7/26): Recently posted information by UA Insider on Flyertalk, mentions that CO SWUs are also valid on UA. UA Insider also went on to mention that CR1 support is coming soon.

"Hi Everyone, as has been mentioned, earlier today we soft-launched the ability for customers who Systemwide Upgrades the ability to use for travel on both United and Continental-operated flights. The option to redeem these upgrades between carriers is only available by contacting us over the phone.

  • If you want to use your Systemwide Upgrade to travel on:
  • United – Please contact United Reservations
  • Continental – Please contact Continental Reservations
  • Both carriers – You may contact either United or Continental Reservations
  • During our soft-launch, hours will be limited. Currently you can contact us over the phone to redeem your Systemwide Upgrade between carriers from 10:00am to 6:30pm. In early August, we’ll expand this to have 24 hour coverage.

  • Regional Upgrades are coming soon. We’re not quite yet ready to handle Regional Upgrades between carriers, but, you can bet that this will be a fast follower.

Thanks for your patience and feedback as we work through the next week or so of our soft-launch phase.

Shannon Kelly
Director, Customer Insights and Metrics
United Airlines"

Discussed on FlyerTalk, and confirmed by multiple agents at the 1K Desk, United System-wide upgrade certificates (SWUs) can now be used on flights operated by Continental. While I am unsure if Continental SWUs can be used on UA flights, this is a step in the right direction. I've always wanted to visit Tel Aviv, but United never flew there. However, they do have 777 service on Continental via Newark.

To request an upgrade on a Continental flight, give the United 1K Desk a call, between 10:00am-6:30pm, and an agent will contact CO to manually process the upgrade. And, unlike doing a Star Alliance upgrade, you will be able to waitlist if the flight does not have any upgrade space available.

The "rules" will be the same as if you are upgrading a UA flight:

  • Fare class must be W or higher (Y, B, E, M, U, H, Q, V and W)
  • Has to be a true CO flight- No UA code-shares

According to the agent I spoke with, we should be able to use our regional upgrades on Continental in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

Happy Travels!


Jim December 31, 1969 at 07:00 pm
Very cool... Stockholm has always been on my list & now can use SWUs on Continental!-----Delhi and Athens are two of the other CO destinations that I'd like to visit. Even nicer that we can waitlist, as opposed to calling back each day to check on availability!-----Athens was my first overseas trip (2 weeks in Greece) at the age of 12 in 1979. It's what got me started on traveling the world.-----