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Last-Minute Upgrades (LMUs) - information and data points - 2022 onwards

Last-Minute Upgrades (LMUs) - information and data points - 2022 onwards

Old Jan 1, 22, 1:27 am
  #1  
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Last-Minute Upgrades (LMUs) - information and data points - 2022 onwards

[Skip this intro section if you just want to get straight in to to the overview of LMUs - the intro primarily provides context for those who have been on FT a while and want to know the purpose of this thread]

Intro, a.k.a. "What is this thread for?"

Having heard feedback from the AC FT community about diminishing the number of mega-threads on the board, this thread is meant to serve as a consolidation of and replacement for our two very long-running LMU threads:
  1. LMU (Last Minute Upgrades) fare discussion & questions
  2. Post your LMUs (Last Minute Upgrades) here.

In the past, there was an attempt to distinguish (i) general questions and discussion of LMUs from (ii) data points on LMU pricing. In practice, this separation was impossible to maintain. Members would often post general questions in the data thread and data points in the general discussion thread. The moderators would try to move posts back and forth as needed, but (a) this was a lot of work, and (b) the discussion of general questions and specific data points was often pretty intertwined.

So for 2022, let's try a new approach. We'll kill the mega-threads and start fresh, but see how it goes combining the data points with the more general discussion. Post anything and everything LMU-related here - a basic question about how LMUs work, what you were offered an LMU for on a recent flight.

What is a last-minute upgrade (LMU)?

When AC has unsold seats in the business class (J) cabin or premium economy (PY) cabin, when check-in opens for a flight, it may (but is not guaranteed to) offer customers the opportunity to purchase them in exchange for a cash payment.

AC only sells LMUs for flight it operates, e.g. if your first leg is with AC and the second with Lufthansa, AC will not be able to sell you an LMU for the Lufthansa flight (although LH might). Conversely, other airlines can't sell you LMUs for a flight operated by AC.

What do I get with an LMU? What don't I get?

The AC website has a detailed explanation of the benefits of purchasing an LMU.

In summary, you will get most of the benefits of J or Y, at the airport and on the plane, including:
  • Priority security
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access (MLLs only; applies only to J LMUs)
  • Sitting in the J/PY cabin (obviously!)
  • J/PY meals and beverages

You won't get any of the other benefits of buying a business class ticket, such as:
  • Earning status miles or Aeroplan points at the business class rate (you will earn miles based on your original ticket)
  • Free same-day change or standby

Who gets offered LMUs?

Pretty much anyone who's not confirmed in the highest cabin on a flight can be offered an LMU.

Will LMUs definitely be offered on my flight?

NO. A flight could be sold out in premium cabins. Or it could be close to sold out and AC wants to keep the seats for (a) last-minute ticket sales, (b) elites already on the waitlist for eUpgrades, (c) a variety of other reasons. Or AC might not want to offer you an LMU based on the ticket you purchased.

Do LMUs have a fixed price?

NO. LMU pricing is dynamic. It varies based on the route, the load on that specific flight, and what you paid for your ticket - you might see different LMU pricing for different people on the same flight, or from flight to flight throughout the same day on the same route, or on the same flight/day of the week in different weeks.

Then how are they priced?

The unhelpful, but most correct, answer is that AC sets LMU prices to maximize profitability. A short flight with a lot of open premium seats on a route with little business travel will likely have LMUs for sale cheaper than a long-haul flight with very few unsold seats on a route with a lot of business traffic.

So, in general, you should expect to pay a lot more for an LMU on YYZ-LHR (transatlantic route with lots of business travel) than on YYC-LAS (much shorter route with mostly leisure passengers). But that doesn't mean that AC hasn't, at some point, offered a YYC-LAS LMU for $899 and a YYZ-LHR LMU for $799.

Last edited by Adam Smith; Jan 12, 22 at 6:14 pm
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Old Jan 5, 22, 9:01 am
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by Altaflyer View Post
Was offered and accepted a LMU from a standard fare to Dreamliner J class pod on YVR-OGG and return. Felt it was a great value at $297 CAD TO Maui and $202 USD for the return. Will note that on the outbound there were people on the upgrade list when I got my upgrade. The price to Premium Y was roughly half the J amount so also a good value.
Offered and accepted a LMU at close to T-24 from Aeroplan Economy Standard Reward for $191.50 USD + tax/seat ($200.66USD or $262.46CAD) to Dreamliner J class pod on AC590 HNL-YYZ on Jan 2/22. No one was on the upgrade list at the time I got my upgrade for 2, but the list went upto 8 at T-1 and I don't believe any of them cleared. The price to Premium Y was I believe $101.50USD + tax. Original economy redemption reward was 20,000 Aeroplan/seat (with the discount from holding Amex Aeroplan Reserve card)
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Old Jan 5, 22, 9:04 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by Mystic_Champion View Post
Offered and accepted a LMU at close to T-24 from Aeroplan Economy Standard Reward for $191.50 USD + tax/seat ($200.66USD or $262.46CAD) to Dreamliner J class pod on AC590 HNL-YYZ on Jan 2/22.
I really should pay attention to LMUs, at least for now... seems a better deal than using eUps... well at least on this route perhaps.
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Old Jan 5, 22, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Mystic_Champion View Post
Offered and accepted a LMU at close to T-24 from Aeroplan Economy Standard Reward for $191.50 USD + tax/seat ($200.66USD or $262.46CAD) to Dreamliner J class pod on AC590 HNL-YYZ on Jan 2/22. No one was on the upgrade list at the time I got my upgrade for 2, but the list went upto 8 at T-1 and I don't believe any of them cleared. The price to Premium Y was I believe $101.50USD + tax. Original economy redemption reward was 20,000 Aeroplan/seat (with the discount from holding Amex Aeroplan Reserve card)
Originally Posted by yyznomad View Post
I really should pay attention to LMUs, at least for now... seems a better deal than using eUps... well at least on this route perhaps.
Congrats Mystic_Champion 👍👍

No kidding yyznomad, almost spit out my morning cuppa at first read 😲😲

200 USD for 8.5 hr flight into pods?
What is this, United TODs?!? 😳😳
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Old Jan 5, 22, 1:13 pm
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Yeah, definitely think I got lucky. I was on a Aeroplan Latitude Reward fare for 29,700 Aeroplan/seat going there on AC589 on Dec 24th and had my eupgrades cleared Nov 27th 6:30am shortly after Omicron went viral in the news. Coming back was also challenging with the 72 hour rule and that falling on New Years Eve, New Years Day, and Sunday resulting in a lot of people probably unable to get a test/test result for the flight. I did the free PCR test 5pm Hawaii time on Dec 31st and didn't get results back until 9:20pm Hawaii time on Jan 2nd for the 11:55pm flight. I ended up having to use my portable RT-LAMP kit around 7:30pm (1hr total from unpackaging to getting test result) not knowing my Dec 31st test would actually come in after 6pm on a Sunday. I guess I got lucky that AC's algorithm's priced this upgrade low due to limited flight history on this route in combination with the unique passenger behaviours surrounding Omicron and the testing requirements.
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Old Jan 5, 22, 4:11 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by Mystic_Champion View Post
Offered and accepted a LMU at close to T-24 from Aeroplan Economy Standard Reward for $191.50 USD + tax/seat ($200.66USD or $262.46CAD) to Dreamliner J class pod on AC590 HNL-YYZ on Jan 2/22. No one was on the upgrade list at the time I got my upgrade for 2, but the list went upto 8 at T-1 and I don't believe any of them cleared. The price to Premium Y was I believe $101.50USD + tax. Original economy redemption reward was 20,000 Aeroplan/seat (with the discount from holding Amex Aeroplan Reserve card)
Actually I was on that flight too and on the upgrade list in positions 1 & 2 and we cleared from PY to J at T-55 minutes. I think spots 3 & 4 cleared into J as well. My original booking was made with Priority Rewards for a 50% rebate into the PY cabin, so overall an amazing redemption considering the e-upgrade to J.
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Old Jan 5, 22, 4:33 pm
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Originally Posted by plankton View Post
Actually I was on that flight too and on the upgrade list in positions 1 & 2 and we cleared from PY to J at T-55 minutes. I think spots 3 & 4 cleared into J as well. My original booking was made with Priority Rewards for a 50% rebate into the PY cabin, so overall an amazing redemption considering the e-upgrade to J.
Great to hear you got through too! I think this route has provided some spectacular deals for redemptions, e-upgrades, and last minute upgrades. Enjoy it while it lasts!
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Old Jan 11, 22, 11:39 pm
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YYZ->BOG

New to the forum, and also new to flying anything other than the cheapest fare, so please forgive me if this isn't posted right.

I'm making semi regular last minute trips from YYZ to Bogota (6 hour red eye flight, Airbus A330-300). The prices when I booked were (CAD):

Flex economy: $928
Lowest premium economy: $719
Lowest business: $2089
​​
Economy is usually almost full, premium economy mostly full, business basically empty.

I purchased a Premium Economy ticket and a check-in was offered an upgrade to Business for $344.

I took the offer the first time as I'd never flown business before, for the novelty. My questions are:

1 - I assume this is a good upgrade price? Lower than I've seen on some shorter flights before. To be honest I only found the benefit to be fairly small, since I slept for most of it and I have no trouble sleeping in a Premium Economy seat and had nothing urgent the next morning.
2 - Since prices have been exactly the same multiple times in a row, is it more cost effective to purchase an Economy ticket and upgrade to Business? ... If I purchase my ticket earlier and Economy is cheaper than Premium Economy, that is.

Thanks!

Last edited by Adam Smith; Jan 12, 22 at 6:30 pm Reason: Off topic
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Old Jan 12, 22, 6:59 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by User8181416 View Post
New to the forum
Welcome

assume this is a good upgrade price?
Value is in the eye of the beholder - it's a good price if you think it is

Lower than I've seen on some shorter flights before.
Since the old LMU threads were old and stale, I threw together the overview that's now the first post of this thread. That might give you some context on how AC prices these things. But it comes down to what AC thinks people will pay. Some routes just have less demand for paid J and are more likely to have open seats, and have them available for LMU at a reasonable price.

But I think pax volumes are also quite low to BOG right now, and AC is mostly making its money on the cargo. I used to fly there a lot, and the J cabin was typically quite full of paid J traffic (or paid PY traffic, while it was rouged), so I'm not sure LMUs would have been very cheap.

Since prices have been exactly the same multiple times in a row, is it more cost effective to purchase an Economy ticket and upgrade to Business? ... If I purchase my ticket earlier and Economy is cheaper than Premium Economy, that is.
First, there's no guarantee an LMU will be available at all next time, let alone at the same price.

Second, AC usually usually charges more for LMUs to people who buy cheaper tickets. So if you buy a ticket in Y instead of PY, they might ask for, say, $500 for the LMU instead of $344. (We don't know exactly how the LMU pricing algorithm works, so it's also possible that cabin plays a role, e.g. with the numbers from when you booked, even though the person who bought that ticket in PY would have paid less for their ticket than the person in Flex, the person in PY might be offered an LMU for less than the person in Flex).

It's a risk/reward tradeoff, ultimately. You might save a few bucks by buying Y and hoping to LMU, but you might also get stuck in Y if the LMU isn't offered at a price you want to take.
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Last edited by Adam Smith; Jan 12, 22 at 7:16 pm Reason: Corrected typo
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Old Jan 12, 22, 7:04 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
It's a risk/reward tradeoff, ultimately. You might save a few bucks by buying PY and hoping to LMU, but you might also get suck in Y if the LMU isn't offered at a price you want to take.
Ignoring the typo about how Y sucks, I really hope you don't buy PY and get stuck in Y
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Old Jan 12, 22, 7:18 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Ignoring the typo about how Y sucks, I really hope you don't buy PY and get stuck in Y
Didn't you hear about AC's new LMD program?

But yes, those were some pretty silly typos
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Old Jan 12, 22, 7:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Didn't you hear about AC's new LMD program?
Don't give them any ideas.
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Old Jan 13, 22, 7:25 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Didn't you hear about AC's new LMD program?
On my last LMD, I refused to board and ended up receiving an e-transfer for $150 plus a couple of meal vouchers. Hopefully they don't do it often, because that's hardly worth the 2 or 3 hours I had to wait for the next flight.
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Old Jan 26, 22, 2:20 pm
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I have a question, which I am not sure if this is the right place to address it: When you book in economy class cheapest fare bucket and you upgrade to business class on online check in special discounted offer for upgrade. Will the miles posted in Aeroplan account will be the upgraded business class fare or just the original class of booking in economy class?
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Old Jan 26, 22, 2:32 pm
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Originally Posted by NA-Flyer View Post
I have a question, which I am not sure if this is the right place to address it: When you book in economy class cheapest fare bucket and you upgrade to business class on online check in special discounted offer for upgrade. Will the miles posted in Aeroplan account will be the upgraded business class fare or just the original class of booking in economy class?
Always the original fare you booked.
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