AMDOC SOP, United Expert Mode, Free Upgrades on Y Fare Seats with UA Status

AMDOC: The TED Talk of the U.S. Navy Staff Corps, your chance to connect with top brass and interesting people!

BLUF: If you are eligible, get to AMDOC ASAP, it is the most eye opening two weeks of your Navy career. Face to face with both military medicine higher ups, as well as White House insiders such as Sid Davis who is pictured above at the First inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson after the death of JFK.

Hope to see everyone out there at AMDOC 19-55! Here is just my running timeline of what I *should* have done, and what I have done in order to make a smoother trip. Also, I put in dates for an expected timeline of events.

  1. Lodging is held at the Rockville Hilton. To ensure free breakfast, better room, and late check out, look into the AmEx Hilton Honors Aspire Card for Diamond status OR any AmEx Platinum for Gold Status. The $450 card annual fee is waived for military. You can call the hotel at (301) 468-1100 and they found my reservation based on name and group alone. I called and added my Hilton Honors number but that resulted in all 18 rooms put under my name! I had to call for them to fix it, best use the HHonors number at check in for the upgrades and free breakfast at the restaurant on weekends, lounge access, free water. The hotel and class agreement also has 15% discount on all beverages and dining which you will be on the hook for at the end.
  2. Make Sure you have elite status with United, This will give you the best chances for a full fare Y first class upgrade on booking or on standby at the gate. These upgradable seats are listed as PZ in the inventory using United expert mode. You can earn the elite status by flying or buying it with Founders Card.
  3. Make sure you Citi Govt Card is not expired and in good standing order, call Citi Gov’t line at 1-800-200-7056 to check that is active, especially three business days before your planning on departing, this is when your ticket on DTS will be purchased via CWTSatoTravel. The card is now blue, this replaces the silver Citi Card.
  4. Finish BIMDOC course found on https://learning.nel.navy.mil
  5. AMDOC course dates and applications are found here, I submitted my application 22 April 2019, committee met on 05 August 2019, Welcome email came on 19 August 2019 for a class start date of 16 Sept 2019.
  6. The welcome email will contain a welcome letter which must be promptly filled out and faxed or emailed in.
  7. An email will come to get access to the Pentagon and BUMED. This email will come twice and are identical, but are for two different visits. Make sure you go to the link and fill out the info to get registered for your visit.
  8. Another email will come for Sakai Account Registration, make sure you register CAC access and the course info shows up.
  9. Another form will come for the directorate level approval. Fill this out, get signatures and route up the local chain of command. Then upload to DTS. The LF-102 is the VA equivalent, and worked in place of this form.
  10. A guide with accounting codes will come with the command concurrence form. Follow this guide to submit the trip in DTS. Here you will book the flights
  11. The lodging will be booked by the course, it will be under a single reservation number for everyone, they will give you the room at check in based on Full Name alone.
  12. Update your profile with the most current Government Travel Card information, and choose a flight with PZ availability on United. Since DTS books contracted Y fare rates, the instant free upgrade to first will be available, see below for searching PZ class seats.

Finding PZ fare class flights for first class

The one big advantage of any United Airlines status (even silver) is that Y class economy tickets are instantly upgraded to first class, but only for PZ seats are available for the flight. There is a government contract for United to sell only Y class tickets at a deep discount contracted rate. For example the ORD to DCA is only $250 round trip. This price for the city pair is set in stone for the fiscal year and does not vary. The goal is to find availability before booking with DTS. You need to turn on expert mode on United.com to see these seats. I searched the one way ORD to DCA flights on united.com and found out the 6:00 am flight has two PZ seats open as represented by the text PZ2 (Class PZ, 2 seats):

I then booked the flight on DTS and put in my United Airlines Milage Plus number. When the flight is fully paid for (make sure the business office activates the travel card, and that you activate any new card), then you will get this option when logging into united.com, and checking the flight under reservations:

Choosing the upgrade box you now can choose a first class seat! This is of no additional cost. When you search again for the same flight in united.com you will note that PZ2 now is listed as PZ1:

If you are flying American Airlines, I have had luck getting a first class upgrade by just nicely asking to be on the priority upgrade list at check in. You can always choose a Main Cabin Extra seat at the military check in kiosk on the day of your flight.

Working Itinerary

Here I will update the current plan to maximize card benefits on this trip, (all times local):

  • Hotel Check In: (No Love for Diamond, no upgrade, ground floor)
  • I asked when rooms would open up and packed up and moved rooms on that day.
  • Lounge closed on weekend, make sure you get the free breakfast pass for diamond and gold members to eat over the weekend, You will get another pass for a free appetizer and non-alcohol drink:
Note the lounge closes all weekend from noon till sunday 17:00

Sat and Sunday Breakfast from 07:00 to 11:00

Must pick up one of these each weekend

I have a mini visit to Boston on American Airlines in the weekend between weeks at AMDOC:

  • DCA (Departure/Arrival):
    • Call in and switch Frequent Flyer number to Cathay Pacific Platinum via One World Ruby Status via from Founders Card
    • Use status for Main Cabin Extra Seats 24 hours before departure
      • Free alcoholic beverages in Main Cabin Extra
    • Alternatively use Military check in kiosk and choose MCE seat
    • American Airlines Lounge
    • AMERICAN TAP ROOM
      • Terminal C, By Gates 35-45
      • Terminal B/C Bus at 38 and 23
      • $28 Credit, Must Use Priority Pass from Citi Prestige or CSR
        • AmEx Plat Priority Pass will not work
  • Inflight American Airlines
    • Using military ID to check in at special Kiosk sometimes triggers free in flight food, FA hand held unit will reflect this (sometimes)
    • Alternatively use Barclay AAdvantage Silver Aviator Card
      • $25 daily credit for food
      • $50 WiFi credit for the year
    • Main Cabin Extra Seats include complimentary alcoholic beverages
  • BOS Arrival & Departure
    • American Airlines Admirals Club
      • Access with Citi Executive AA Card or CAC
      • Terminal B, upper level past security by gate B4
      • Use AmEx Plat Card for $200 in lounge dining
    • STEPHANIE’S
      • Term B Departures Level, opposite Gate B24
      • $28 Credit, Must Use Priority Pass from Citi Prestige or CSR
        • AmEx Plat Priority Pass will not work
    • Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill
      • Terminal C Outside Security by Alaska Airlines Check in
      • Lobster Rolls!
      • Will need same day airline ticket

I will review my stays at each hotel in DCA and Boston afterwards with photos! Stay tuned, this post will update throughout my trip.

-Derp

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