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Old Jan 25, 13, 10:46 am   #1
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Not a frequent flyer, have a question regarding upgrades

Hi,

I don't fly too often however I know I will need to quite a bit this year so I thought I'd sign up.

I just had a quick question regarding upgrades.

I am flying LHR -> BLR on BA on the 9th of Feb. Economy. I was told on the phone with BA that I need 12k points + 400 to upgrade to premium economy outbound only. My question is if I want to upgrade to PE/Biz, will it be cheaper at the airport or is this my best bet to book an upgrade over the phone? I'm not a member of any type of flyer program apart from BA avois where I have 10k points, so practically nothing.

Thanks!
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Old Jan 25, 13, 10:56 am   #2
 
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Welcome to FlyerTalk LHRRHL, and in particular, welcome to this special little, somewhat eccentric corner that is the BA board! Hope you make yourself comfortable and engage in some of our discussions and perhaps some of the more lively debates on here.

I would think it is a lot of money (and miles) to upgrade from Y (economy, known as World Traveller (WT) in BA) to W (premium economy, World Traveller Plus) as it is not that great a product differential. Sure you'll get better food, and some may even find the W seat a bit more comfortable, but equally plenty who think it is a bit too hard. So it is a matter of personal preference if you think you'd spend 400 to sit in a slightly better seat with better food or save the 400 for something else. It is not business class (Club World) which has a seat that turns into a lie-flat bed.

Check-in upgrades at the airport (AUP) can be available, and not always. You can ask on the day if there are any special offer upgrades, which will be in the region of 200-350, or a fare-different upgrade price which is designed to shock people mostly (ie, should have paid for the next class in the first instance when it was cheaper).

There is a risk that upgrading your flight from Y to W that your ticket become less flexible if you do it online/phone - it is not always a like-for-like upgrade in terms of flexibility.

If using a special offer upgrade at the airport, you may need to contact BA afterwards to get the correct Avios and TPs for the new class.

I would certainly sign up to the BAEC frequent flyer programme if BA is going to be your main airline this year - although there are other frequent flyer programmes within oneWorld.

I would suggest you take a look at the stickies at the top of the BA forum.

BA Forum Dashboard (please take a moment to read this sticky)



Quote:
Originally Posted by LHRRHL View Post
Hi,

I don't fly too often however I know I will need to quite a bit this year so I thought I'd sign up.

I just had a quick question regarding upgrades.

I am flying LHR -> BLR on BA on the 9th of Feb. Economy. I was told on the phone with BA that I need 12k points + 400 to upgrade to premium economy outbound only. My question is if I want to upgrade to PE/Biz, will it be cheaper at the airport or is this my best bet to book an upgrade over the phone? I'm not a member of any type of flyer program apart from BA avois where I have 10k points, so practically nothing.

Thanks!
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Stez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jan 25, 13, 10:56 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHRRHL View Post
Hi,

I don't fly too often however I know I will need to quite a bit this year so I thought I'd sign up.

I just had a quick question regarding upgrades.

I am flying LHR -> BLR on BA on the 9th of Feb. Economy. I was told on the phone with BA that I need 12k points + 400 to upgrade to premium economy outbound only. My question is if I want to upgrade to PE/Biz, will it be cheaper at the airport or is this my best bet to book an upgrade over the phone? I'm not a member of any type of flyer program apart from BA avois where I have 10k points, so practically nothing.

Thanks!
If an upgrade to Premium Economy (WTP) is offered at the airport, or online, it will probably cost <200 and not need any points.

How much to upgrade without using points?
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Old Jan 25, 13, 11:00 am   #4
 
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If it's available you're likely to get a better deal at the airport.

But if you want to make sure you fly PE then the only way is to pay it upfront.
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Old Jan 25, 13, 11:05 am   #5
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Just a few additional points:

You can only upgrade by one cabin when using Avios (points), so no chance of business even if you had sufficient Avios
Only certain, higher economy fares are upgradeable. Do you have an expensive, flexible fare already ?
You could buy the additional 2500 Avios, but you'd need to sure that award seats were definitely available. This would also be pretty poor value.
You can't upgrade at the airport using points.

I'd get to the airport early and see if they are offering any cash upgrades, as suggested by Stez.
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Old Jan 25, 13, 11:08 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHRRHL View Post
I just had a quick question regarding upgrades.

I am flying LHR -> BLR on BA on the 9th of Feb. Economy. I was told on the phone with BA that I need 12k points + 400 to upgrade to premium economy outbound only. My question is if I want to upgrade to PE/Biz, will it be cheaper at the airport or is this my best bet to book an upgrade over the phone?
Welcome to FlyerTalk and in particular to the BA forum.

I am guessing that what you were told on the telephone was 400 to change the fare class of your economy (World Traveller, "WT") class flight to a fare class that you can upgrade using Avios (we often abbreviate "upgrade using Avios" as "UuA", which you may come across). After that, you will need 12,500 Avios to upgrade from WT to World Traveller Plus (premium economy, also known as WT+ or WTP) for LHR-BLR. It is also necessary that there is availability in reward allocation in WT+ on your flight in order to use the UuA facility.

You will not be able to use Avios to upgrade a WT ticket to Club World (CW, business class) as it is available for upgrading by a single class only.

You may be offered what is called a Proactive Online Upgrade (we often call this "POUG" or "POU") from WT to WT+ for less than 400 cash. Do look out for this deal - it is usually presented in Manage My Booking (MMB) on ba.com as "Special Offer Upgrade" or something similar. However, I recommend reading the fare conditions carefully before proceeding, as some POUG deals will render the ticket completely non-changeable, or the upgrade cost may have to be forfeited if you wish to subsequently make changes to your flight. Again, POUG is only for one class, so you will not be able to upgrade to CW.

An alternative is simply to have the fare difference calculated by BA or sometimes/often you can do this online by choosing "Upgrade the class of travel with cash" option in Manage My Booking (MMB) and pay the normal fare difference and change fees to upgrade to WT+.

Paid airport upgrade (where you pay a special price to upgrade at the airport) may be offered on some flights. Usually the reported price is 195 or thereabouts for WT to WT+. It is normally only offered for a single class upgrade, and by no means this is offered for all flights. You will not be able to upgrade using Avios at the airport as they do not offer this facility. Only cash upgrade can be processed at the airport.

Very occasionally there may be a facility to upgrade from WT to CW at the airport at a special price, but it is likely to be somewhere in region of 600 one way or more. But I believe this facility is offered only occasionally and you can't really count on it.

It all depends on how much you want to upgrade to WT+ what the best course of action is for you. Of course, the most certain way to do upgrade to WT+ is to pay the fare difference + the change fee - that way, as long as there is a seat available in WT+, you should be able to buy the upgrade. Other methods are subject to availability of reward seat or special offers and by no means guaranteed.
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Old Jan 25, 13, 11:45 am   #7
 
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Wow thanks for the replies guys, I wasn't expecting this. Much appreciated.

So the general consensus seems to be it would be hard to upgrade by 2 classes and if possible it would cost 600 more.

I think the draw to WT+ is that the seats seem to be more spacious which I want for an almost 10hr flight. If I get to the airport and it's available for <200 then I will go for it (pay in cash).
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Old Jan 25, 13, 11:54 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHRRHL View Post
So the general consensus seems to be it would be hard to upgrade by 2 classes and if possible it would cost 600 more.
It could be quite a bit more than 600 to upgrade from WT to CW at the airport even at the special offer price, if it is offered at all. It's by no means a common offering, from what I gather.

If you pay the whole fare difference + change fees you should be able to upgrade from WT to CW but it would be enough to shock most people and would be well and truly more than 600 - possibly more like even 3,000!

Quote:
I think the draw to WT+ is that the seats seem to be more spacious which I want for an almost 10hr flight. If I get to the airport and it's available for <200 then I will go for it (pay in cash).
An alternative would be to pay to book an exit row seat in WT, if there is one available. I think it's 50 for a long haul flight.
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Old Jan 25, 13, 12:21 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LHRRHL View Post
Wow thanks for the replies guys, I wasn't expecting this. Much appreciated.

So the general consensus seems to be it would be hard to upgrade by 2 classes and if possible it would cost 600 more.

I think the draw to WT+ is that the seats seem to be more spacious which I want for an almost 10hr flight. If I get to the airport and it's available for <200 then I will go for it (pay in cash).
Its not possible to upgrade from WT to Club World (CW / business)

I recently received an OP-UP to WT+ (operational upgrade) on my MAA-LHR because WT was overbooked. While the extra legroom was more than welcome, and the main meal much better (bacon vs no bacon). I found that the WT+ service on flights in and out of India was the same - if not a little worse - as WT. I was actually ignored a lot more in WT+ than in WT. Also, I found the leg rest is quite useless (though significantly less useless as the foot rest). And, unless I'm mistaken, you will have the older WT+ seats like I did. The real bonus for me was being able to deplane before the masses, and the relative calm of a smaller cabin on an ex-India flight - which can be very bus-like in the main WT cabins

I would say, save your avios for something later. Indigo is rumored to be allying with BA - In my opinion: your 10,000 (plus the additional miles you accrue on your upcoming flights) might be used better on Indigo's network (if this indeed does become a possibility). 10K avios will also get you decent one-way (or even a few roundtrip) tickets within europe or the US (American Airlines tickets usually only cost avios+$2.50)
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Old Jan 25, 13, 12:25 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
An alternative would be to pay to book an exit row seat in WT, if there is one available. I think it's 50 for a long haul flight.
I agree - not much difference between an exit row seat in WT and any seat in WT+
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Old Jan 25, 13, 1:41 pm   #11
 
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One of the big advantages of WTP is the increase in personal space, having even slim neighbours overflowing the armrest. The fact you have a maximum of 1 person to climb over or have climbing over you is another major bonus on long haul.

The legroom is a second concern, although the lack of jabbing in the back (people in WTP tend to use the handset rather than the touchscreen), and people using your seat to lever themselves out are big benefits.

The seat, at least in old WTP (not managed to get new WTP yet), is far more comfortable than the seats on the A321 mid haul, which I find unusable after about 3 hours without medication. I've been fortunate enough to avoid WT in anything longer than TLV for the last 2 years, however I did fly in economy from Delhi to Singapore on Singapore Airlines recently, and again about 3 hours in, I started having real problems with the seat.
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Old Jan 25, 13, 3:42 pm   #12
 
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I'm not sure anyone mentioned this yet, but if you have the budget for it, it's worth considering PAYING for WT+ for at least some of your long trips and then looking into upgrading to Club from WT+. It takes the same number of points to upgrade from WT to WT+ as it does to upgrade from WT+ to Club, but it's a significantly better deal (because the difference between WT+ and Club on long-haul is significant). Yes, your ticket might cost about 33-50% more than an economy class ticket but if you can secure an upgrade to Club with points, you're getting that upgrade to a significantly better experience for a relatively small sum.

I also found that my chances of getting an operational upgrade (i.e., free upgrade) from WT+ to Club were higher than my upgrade changes from WT to WT+ (maybe because the WT+ cabin is relatively small - about 40-50 people, whereas there are a lot of people in WT).

I am not sure if it's possible to book separate classes for different legs of your journey but you might, for example, consider paying for WT+ for the overnight portion of a trip and WT for the daytime portion. For example, I would fly WT+ from New York to London overnight and WT back to NYC in the daytime. If there's no real difference in timing (e.g., both daytime flights), then I usually pay to fly in the higher cabin on the return flight - feels like more of a treat than having a plush outbound trip and then having to stuff myself into economy on the way back. For example, if I'm going to San Francisco from New York for the weekend, I'll fly economy on the way there (evening but not night flight) and upgrade with miles to business on the way back (daytime flight).
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