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Old Jun 18, 17, 2:05 pm   #1
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Help please! Advice re getting transatlantic upgrade with miles on AF/KLM?

Hello all. I need to fly ORD-ABJ (Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire) late July/early August.

Current flights (Delta numbers plus AF/KLM numbers):

July 29 - July 30

*Flight 8505 Operated by AIR FRANCE As AF Flt 153
*Flight 8574 Operated by AIR FRANCE As AF Flt 702

August 5 - August 6
*Flight 8575 Operated by AIR FRANCE As AF Flt 703
*Flight 8529 Operated by AIR FRANCE As AF Flt 1340
*Flight 9382 Operated by KLM ROYAL DUTCH AIRLINES As KL Flt 611

(OR instead of CDG-AMS-ORD, I could wait 9 hours in Paris and take DL 8494 Operated by Air France 144)

Client will only pay coach but allows upgradable fare. Spent hours on the phone with agents who said I could upgrade with miles on return KLM flight AMS-ORD so I purchased a $5300+ (refundable) ticket; but once he transferred me to SkyMiles they said that upgrade wasn't available, nor was any other Europe-US route available for upgrade with miles. I can use 10,000 miles to upgrade on ABJ-CDG but it seems that only gets me from economy to premium economy, which hardly seems worth it. Do any members of this wonderful community have experience or advice on this? Is it worthwhile to keep calling back and trying for the upgrade with miles? Should I buy the ticket from Air France instead of Delta? I'm told I can't get it on the nonstop from CDG-ORD either (I would if I could, even if it means a 9 hour layover in Paris). Is there a hotel where I can get a day room if I take the CDG-ORD and have that 9 hour layover? I'm Silver medallion on Delta (lifetime gold on United and lifetime platinum on American). All wisdom and advice welcome, thanks, Judy

Last edited by JudyBlueEyes; Jun 18, 17 at 8:35 pm
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Old Jun 18, 17, 2:57 pm   #2
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Just because the ticket is upgrade eligible does not mean that there is upgrade inventory, which is often quite limited for mileage upgrades.

Normally KLM should allow Y-J upgrades, if there is upgrade inventory, on YBM fares. Air France also allows upgrades, if there is inventory, on YBM fares but only one class of service, ie Y-W, W-J, not Y-J.

It's not entirely clear what exactly you've booked and how. For us to help you more you should specify your flight numbers in your itinerary it sounds like you booked through Delta?
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Old Jun 18, 17, 3:04 pm   #3
  
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Also, I don't want to be "that guy" but your title should say TATL - not transcon. I was confused when I saw it wondering why you were taking a transcon (i.e. NYC-LA) on AF/KLM
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Old Jun 18, 17, 7:26 pm   #4
  
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I see D1 ORD-ABJ flights in your timeframe for $4500. Your client won't pay for that because its business yet they'll pay $5300 for a coach ticket?
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Old Jun 18, 17, 7:57 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by TomMM View Post
I see D1 ORD-ABJ flights in your timeframe for $4500. Your client won't pay for that because its business yet they'll pay $5300 for a coach ticket?
I was wondering what the business fare would be, thanks for posting it.

Seems like it would be a better deal for everybody to just get the $4500 business fare and refund the $5300 ticket. This is unless the project or the client requires a flexible ticket.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 8:11 pm   #6
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If an airline agent told you to buy a FULL Y fare, they're probably thinking about the SkyTeam upgrade awards, not the slightly better terms of upgrades with miles across DL/AF/KLM.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 8:17 pm   #7
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Thanks to those of you who responded

I'm grateful for the correction (of course I meant trans-Atlantic, not transcon -
apologies). I've edited the initial post to show the specific flights. I don't know if I can get appproval for buying a business class ticket even if it's cheaper - but one idea, if I understand correctly, is to submit reimbursement for the economy class ticket but then get it refunded, and pay for the business class one myself without submitting it? Clever! The only problem is that the economy one I bought fir $5300 is refundable, while the business one at $4500+ is changeable but not refundable, so if the trip doesn't happen (violence in the country would cancel the workshop I'm leading, for example), I'd be stuck paying anyway, correct? All other advice welcome. Many thanks, I benefit so much from the wisdom of this community. Judy

Last edited by JudyBlueEyes; Jun 18, 17 at 8:48 pm
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Old Jun 18, 17, 8:39 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudyBlueEyes View Post
... one idea, if I understand correctly, is to submit reimbursement for the economy class ticket but then get it refunded, and pay for the business class one myself without submitting it?
there are lots of threads with lots of back-and-forth from lots of people (few of whom admit to being in either the legal or accounting professions) about the ethics of doing this ... while the likelihood of anyone having issues on a one-time basis is probably very small, audits can lead to very uncomfortable situations for individuals and corporations and government organizations
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Old Jun 18, 17, 8:45 pm   #9
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If you buy a ticket for reimbursement and then change it to a cheaper ticket while still requesting reimbursement for the more expensive ticket, this could lead to big trouble because you would be getting reimbursed for more than you actually paid. I definitely wouldn't do this even once.
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Old Jun 18, 17, 8:58 pm   #10
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could someone clarify this difference please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If an airline agent told you to buy a FULL Y fare, they're probably thinking about the SkyTeam upgrade awards, not the slightly better terms of upgrades with miles across DL/AF/KLM.
What is the difference between SkyTeam upgrade awards and upgrading with my miles?
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Old Jun 18, 17, 9:01 pm   #11
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right, I don't want to do this

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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If you buy a ticket for reimbursement and then change it to a cheaper ticket while still requesting reimbursement for the more expensive ticket, this could lead to big trouble because you would be getting reimbursed for more than you actually paid. I definitely wouldn't do this even once.
I'm not happy with the idea of tricking the client into paying more than the ticket actually costs - ie submitting the higher Y fare for reimbursement and getting it refunded, making a profit when buying a business class fare that's cheaper than Y. Plus the refundable business class fares are far more expensive than the nonrefundable ($4500) fare, so buying the nonrefundable business ticket doesn't solve my need to be able to cancel the flights without being stuck with the charge.
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Old Jun 19, 17, 1:02 am   #12
  
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how much more is the refundable biz ticket than the refundable coach ticket? If it's $1k will you spend it?

Also, if there is something like violence in the country, chances are decent that delta would refund even a no refundable ticket.

Could you ask the client if you could buy a coach ticket and then You pay to upgrade yourself and if it happens to be cheaper you will pay them back the difference? Might work.
Of course if they are paying for you to have a refundable ticket you'd have to take the loss if you needed to cancel, not them.
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Old Jun 19, 17, 5:16 am   #13
  
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how much more is the refundable biz ticket than the refundable coach ticket? If it's $1k will you spend it?
A refundable ticket is around $8500.
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Old Jun 19, 17, 5:55 am   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JudyBlueEyes View Post
I'm not happy with the idea of tricking the client into paying more than the ticket actually costs - ie submitting the higher Y fare for reimbursement and getting it refunded, making a profit when buying a business class fare that's cheaper than Y. Plus the refundable business class fares are far more expensive than the nonrefundable ($4500) fare, so buying the nonrefundable business ticket doesn't solve my need to be able to cancel the flights without being stuck with the charge.
It is not "tricking." It is plain and simple wire fraud and may also result in tax evasion or filing a false income tax return if you later fail to report the differential as income.

You should seek the advice of an attorney before doing this. Or you could read about the NBA refs who did this wound up in federal prison for this.

Besides this, if the client does not want this to happen and it does and it learns of it through any number of channels, you lose the client.

This is a better question to the client's A/P people as to what the client would consider acceptable behavior. If the client is OK with the purchase of the Y ticket and you then upgrading, might the client consider simply reimbursing you the Y fare, leaving you to pay any difference.

If there is a cheaper J than Y fare, it likely has to do with flexibility. Thus, make sure that any Y-to-J comparison is apples-to-apples.
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