Best chance at upgrade flying to Europe?

Old Sep 21, 12, 6:27 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Best chance at upgrade flying to Europe?

Hi everyone. This is my first post b/c I finally made it to Top Tier Elite (not Prestige) status (thanks to a business trip to Seoul this year!). So that means that I earned top tier elite privileges for 2012. I need to book a flight TODAY from YUL to CPH for next month. I want to maximize my chances of getting an upgrade (either through eUpgrade or star alliance upgrade-- i have the miles to spare right now). Here are my questions:

1) Outbound: I can either fly Air Canada Tango Plus (S class) (to London or Frankfurt) and try to get an eUpgrade 4 days before or I can fly Lufthansa to Munich and try to use miles for a *A upgrade. Any thoughts on the chances?

2) Aircanada.com does not have a desirable return flight home for me, but expedia is showing a flight that looks much better. So, if I buy my ticket on expedia, with the outbound as an air canada flight (S class still), will I still be eligible to use my eUpgrade credits? Yes, right? As long as I use my aeroplan number?

3) I also saw a slightly cheaper fare if I technically booked the whole trip as a Lufthansa trip even though the outbound leg is operated by Air Canada. If I book it as a Lufthansa flight but it's operated by AC, will I be eligible to use eUpgrade credits?

Okay, thanks. All thoughts welcome. Is there anything that being *A Gold gets me in these cases?

Last edited by jfishma; Sep 21, 12 at 6:35 am
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Old Sep 21, 12, 7:18 am
  #2  
 
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I would expect that your best routing for an upgrade is YUL-YYZ-CPH although a lot depends upon the day of the week for the other TATL routes.
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Old Sep 21, 12, 7:36 am
  #3  
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Thanks. I don't see a nonstop from YYZ-CPH (or maybe it's sold out). I'm flying on a Tuesday afternoon/evening.
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Old Sep 21, 12, 7:53 am
  #4  
 
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FRA is always a tough route to upgrade, and I believe that you need a higher fare class even to be eligible for a *A upgrade. There are multiple flights to LHR from YYZ, as well as the YUL and YOW flights, and LHR is usually fairly easy for u/gs. I'd aim for a 777 or 333 out of YYZ, (although check the loads first), and then contemplate doing a same day change if you see space available on a different flight.

And welcome to FT.
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Old Sep 21, 12, 8:11 am
  #5  
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Thanks! This is super helpful.

I have one other n00b question. If I check the "eligible for upgrade" box and it shows me flights that have an upgrade available, they will upgrade me when I book my ticket (and not wait until 4 days before)? I am unclear! Right now, it's showing that the YUL-FRA flight has seats available for upgrade (a blue square) with my Elite status.
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Old Sep 21, 12, 8:18 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by jfishma View Post
Thanks! This is super helpful.

I have one other n00b question. If I check the "eligible for upgrade" box and it shows me flights that have an upgrade available, they will upgrade me when I book my ticket (and not wait until 4 days before)? I am unclear! Right now, it's showing that the YUL-FRA flight has seats available for upgrade (a blue square) with my Elite status.
Only if you buy a Latitude fare you can upgrade at time of booking (assuming there´s availability indicated by a blue box)

To answer your other questions:

- forget about the LH option as you´d have to purchase a B or Y fare + use miles + find a flight that has business class award availability (booking class I)
- upgrades with Expedia bookings are possible at the T-4d window if the flight is booked as an AC flight number
- if it´s booked as a codeshare flight, you can only request the upgrade at the airport
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Old Sep 21, 12, 8:24 am
  #7  
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Thanks!

So, it seems like *A upgrade awards are a little like spotting a unicorn, huh?! I have so many miles and little opportunity to use them!
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Old Sep 21, 12, 8:30 am
  #8  
Moderator: Le Club Accorhotels
 
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Originally Posted by jfishma View Post
Thanks!

So, it seems like *A upgrade awards are a little like spotting a unicorn, huh?! I have so many miles and little opportunity to use them!
Pretty much. If there´s business class award space it typically makes much more sense to just get a business class reward ticket instead of buying a terribly expensive B fare and spending a good amount of miles on-top.
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Old Sep 21, 12, 9:08 am
  #9  
 
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Welcome to FT!

Best chance for a TATL upgrade might well be YUL-CDG or or perhaps YYZ-CDG, then connect to CPH on SAS. CDG is served by 777 aircraft, and is primarily a holiday route rather than one used by business travelers. I've had good success upgrading this route as an E, from both YYZ and YUL. The airport can be a pain to navigate for connections, but if the upgrade is important, it may be a worthwhile option.

YYZ-FRA is said to be a very difficult route to upgrade on, given its popularity with business travelers and the resultant high numbers of SE and flight pass users. My own upgrade experience with it as an E has been mediocre.

Edit - this may also be of interest: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/air-c...pain-sale.html

Last edited by Symmetre; Sep 21, 12 at 9:18 am Reason: added link
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Old Sep 21, 12, 3:12 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by jfishma View Post
Thanks. I don't see a nonstop from YYZ-CPH (or maybe it's sold out). I'm flying on a Tuesday afternoon/evening.
it looks like AC882 is only daily until Oct 1 after which it bounces between 3 & 5 days a week.


Daily 20:55 Pearson, Toronto (YYZ) 1 10:35 Copenhagen (CPH) 3
AC 882 Non-stop Boeing 767-300 (763) 7:40 Valid until 2012-10-01

Mon,Thu-Sun 20:55 Pearson, Toronto (YYZ) 1 10:35 Copenhagen (CPH) 3
AC 882 Non-stop Boeing 767-300 (763) 7:40 Effective 2012-10-04 through 2012-10-18

Mon,Thu,Sat,Sun 20:55 Pearson, Toronto (YYZ) 1 10:35 Copenhagen (CPH) 3
AC 882 Non-stop Boeing 767-300 (763) 7:40 Effective 2012-10-20 through 2012-10-25

Tue,Thu,Sat 21:55 Pearson, Toronto (YYZ) 1 10:45 Copenhagen (CPH) 3
AC 882 Non-stop Boeing 767-300 (763) 7:50 Effective 2012-10-27 through 2012-11-03

Tue,Thu,Sat 20:55 Pearson, Toronto (YYZ) 1 10:45 Copenhagen (CPH) 3
AC 882 Non-stop Boeing 767-300 (763) 7:50 Effective 2012-11-06 through 2012-12-15
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Old Sep 21, 12, 9:38 pm
  #11  
 
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I would concur that the direct YYZ-CPH flight is the easiest to get an upgrade on. Otherwise I would go with LHR. Avoid FRA, it's probably the hardest EU destination to get an upgrade on. I'm quite surprised by the other comment about CDG -- I thought that was a pretty J heavy destination actually but I have no first-hand experience with it.

Since you're booking on short notice I would look for a flight that has R space *now*. Then book and request the upgrade and it should clear immediately. The easiest route to do this on is LHR because there are just so many flights. I reread your post and realized you're booking today but not flying until next month. If you can justify the extra expense for an M fare then you might consider waiting since M fares rarely fill up and then you can do this but if the budget matters then this isn't an option.

As a side-note I would recommend flying YYZ-CPH anyways since it's easier to deal with connections early. When you land from the long flight you always just want to go to the hotel and rest. Dealing with another connection after a long flight is a pain.


Originally Posted by jfishma View Post
1) Outbound: I can either fly Air Canada Tango Plus (S class) (to London or Frankfurt) and try to get an eUpgrade 4 days before or I can fly Lufthansa to Munich and try to use miles for a *A upgrade. Any thoughts on the chances?
You can't do a *A upgrade without spending a lot more money (in which case you should just wait until four days before and pay for an M fare). If you're willing to break the terms of the program you can trade your eupgrade credits for a UA 1K's SWU in paper form and do a standby upgrade on LH to MUC. This is an easy route to get an LH upgrade on but it's still standby so there's no guarantee.

2) Aircanada.com does not have a desirable return flight home for me, but expedia is showing a flight that looks much better. So, if I buy my ticket on expedia, with the outbound as an air canada flight (S class still), will I still be eligible to use my eUpgrade credits? Yes, right? As long as I use my aeroplan number?
Yes

3) I also saw a slightly cheaper fare if I technically booked the whole trip as a Lufthansa trip even though the outbound leg is operated by Air Canada. If I book it as a Lufthansa flight but it's operated by AC, will I be eligible to use eUpgrade credits?
In the past you could use them on a codeshare but only at the airport. You couldn't request the upgrade at the 4-day window. I'm not sure what the current status is as everything changed with eupgrades.

Okay, thanks. All thoughts welcome. Is there anything that being *A Gold gets me in these cases?
Well yes. If you're into trying all the benefits of AC*E you might consider booking a longer connection than necessary in LHR and using both the arrivals and T1 *A lounge.There's no good reason to use both -- notably they both have showers and the *A lounge has better food. But just for kicks...

2) Use the Senator lounge in FRA or MUC on your connection as well as YYZ if you're there.

3) Use the SAS lounge in CPH on your return -- make sure to allow a few minutes for passport control. Usually it's minimal but it does occasionally turn into a few minutes delay.

4) check three bags containing 32kg of bricks, just to maximize your baggage allowance. j/k...

Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Only if you buy a Latitude fare you can upgrade at time of booking (assuming there´s availability indicated by a blue box)
And to emphasize this point, I wouldn't even put much weight in flights that have R space today (== blue box). Definitely not when comparing flights to different destinations. AC seems to control R space 7+ days out completely independently from R space <7 days out, treating Latitude and non-Latitude tickets entirely separately.

You have better odds on a LHR flight that's Z9R0 than a FRA flight that's Z9R9 imho. Z9R0 to London means there are lots of seats that for mysterious reasons that only make sense to AC they will only release at the airport. Whereas if there's R space to FRA it'll probably be gone by the time you fly and any seats they release will probably go to SEs who will be ahead of you.

Last edited by zkzkz; Sep 21, 12 at 10:02 pm
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Old Sep 22, 12, 9:24 am
  #12  
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You guys are awesome!

I have to fly on a Tuesday, so there was no direct YYZ-CPH, so I did book the YUL-LHR-CPH. I would have opted for FRA if it weren't for all of your advice, so thanks again. I was able to book the return this way (CPH-YYZ-YUL).

And I do have a 2+ hour layover in LHR-- ample opportunity to use the lounge(s). I am flying out of T1, I believe, so it sounds like the *A one will work out great. And good call on the SAS lounge for my return. I have to admit that I don't know what the Senator lounge is-- off to go look that up for when I get to YYZ.

Thanks again!
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Old Oct 19, 12, 3:56 pm
  #13  
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Just reporting back that I did in fact get the upgrade for my outbound, YUL-LHR. It made all of the difference in the world to arrive having gotten some sleep. I'm waitlisted for an upgrade on my return (CPH-YYZ). We'll see what happens. So thanks again!
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