Upgrading from Economy to Business at check-in

Old Aug 25, 19, 12:48 pm
  #1  
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Upgrading from Economy to Business at check-in

Hi everyone,

Just a quick question regarding the ability to upgrade from Econ to Biz at check in with Air France. I usually fly purchased Biz directly, but this time around, as I am late booking my flight, I can't justify the cost of Biz. So I am looking at purchasing Econ with the hope that I can get an option to purchase an upgrade at check in, but not sure how the process works, or the likelihood of getting such an option.
I understand it depends on a lot of different factors, but is it likely that I would get that option to purchase an upgrade on a JFK-CDG? Does AF often offers those options?
Any tip or experience with that would be appreciated.
Thanks a lot for the insight.
P.S. I'm Plat on AF and have been for the past few years.
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Old Aug 25, 19, 1:26 pm
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Not guaranteed...

Originally Posted by gwilly1974 View Post
Hi everyone,

Just a quick question regarding the ability to upgrade from Econ to Biz at check in with Air France. I usually fly purchased Biz directly, but this time around, as I am late booking my flight, I can't justify the cost of Biz. So I am looking at purchasing Econ with the hope that I can get an option to purchase an upgrade at check in, but not sure how the process works, or the likelihood of getting such an option.
I understand it depends on a lot of different factors, but is it likely that I would get that option to purchase an upgrade on a JFK-CDG? Does AF often offers those options?
Any tip or experience with that would be appreciated.
Thanks a lot for the insight.
P.S. I'm Plat on AF and have been for the past few years.
Hello Gwilly1974,

Upgrade upon check-in (either online or at the airport) will depend on the loading factor of the flight. If the J cabin is heavily sold, you might end up with few or no upgrade offer at all, and if so, the price (cash, miles or cash+miles) will be prohibitive!!!

I would suggest you investigate rather the route of purchasing and use your miles to upgrade, and depending on your budget:

- from Economy to Business: you need availabilities in fare class "O", and it would cost you around 25,000 miles (upgrade price in miles are not dynamic unlike outright purchase of award tickets).

- from Premium Economy, if your budget allows it, will still be 25,000 and still requires availability in "O" fare class, if you are booked in either PremEco fare class "A", "S" or "W". If you book in "W" (around ~$300 more expensive than the "A" fare), as a Platinum, you can tap into the "Z/award" inventory, where your likelihood of availability is higher. The upgrade cost would then be 22,500 miles. I do that all the time.

Why don't you call the Plat line so they can check with you, among all the JFK-CDG flights that day which one has the best availabilities in either "O" or "Z/award"? They can issue your regular ticket in Econ/PremEcon, and take care at the same time of upgrading for you with the miles. They are really good and know the drill.

Good luck!
Vinnyc
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Old Aug 26, 19, 11:49 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2018
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Originally Posted by vinnyc View Post


Hello Gwilly1974,

Upgrade upon check-in (either online or at the airport) will depend on the loading factor of the flight. If the J cabin is heavily sold, you might end up with few or no upgrade offer at all, and if so, the price (cash, miles or cash+miles) will be prohibitive!!!

I would suggest you investigate rather the route of purchasing and use your miles to upgrade, and depending on your budget:

- from Economy to Business: you need availabilities in fare class "O", and it would cost you around 25,000 miles (upgrade price in miles are not dynamic unlike outright purchase of award tickets).

- from Premium Economy, if your budget allows it, will still be 25,000 and still requires availability in "O" fare class, if you are booked in either PremEco fare class "A", "S" or "W". If you book in "W" (around ~$300 more expensive than the "A" fare), as a Platinum, you can tap into the "Z/award" inventory, where your likelihood of availability is higher. The upgrade cost would then be 22,500 miles. I do that all the time.

Why don't you call the Plat line so they can check with you, among all the JFK-CDG flights that day which one has the best availabilities in either "O" or "Z/award"? They can issue your regular ticket in Econ/PremEcon, and take care at the same time of upgrading for you with the miles. They are really good and know the drill.

Good luck!
Vinnyc
Itís unfortunately not the case regarding the dynamics on upgrades by miles.
They are very dynamic and that makes it unpredictable.
AF will make you think: if I want to fly J, I need to buy J.
I have been traveling around 10 years with AFKL and never had a long haul upgrade of 25k miles from Y to J. That is maybe the case when you buy a very expensive Y ticket in the Y,B or M fareclass.
Normally it follows roughly the award scheme and that often 50/60.000.
But you are right, TO needs to call PSL and they will tell.
irishguy28 likes this.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by vinnyc View Post

- from Economy to Business: you need availabilities in fare class "O", and it would cost you around 25,000 miles (upgrade price in miles are not dynamic unlike outright purchase of award tickets).
In the last published upgrade chart, that came into force in 2013, these were the mileage amounts required for an upgrade from Economy to Business on Europe-North America:

15,000 miles: Fare Class Y to Business O
25,000 miles: Fare Classes B/M/U to Business O
35,000 miles: Fare classes K/H to Business O
45,000 miles: Fare classes L/Q to Business O

Given that there is no upgrade chart anymore, I would be very, very surprised to see an amount of as few as 25,000 miles being sought for an upgrade on a transatlantic sector, unless perhaps the economy ticket was issued in the most expensive (Y/B) classes.

The price will, of course, depend on the underlying economy fare. Where from 2013 the number of fare classes that could be upgraded from was raised to 8, the current system supposedly allows upgrades from ANY economy fare class. Clearly, the lower the economy fareclass, the more miles would be required.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 2:30 pm
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Originally Posted by BobTL View Post

Itís unfortunately not the case regarding the dynamics on upgrades by miles.
They are very dynamic and that makes it unpredictable.
AF will make you think: if I want to fly J, I need to buy J.
I have been traveling around 10 years with AFKL and never had a long haul upgrade of 25k miles from Y to J. That is maybe the case when you buy a very expensive Y ticket in the Y,B or M fareclass.
Normally it follows roughly the award scheme and that often 50/60.000.
But you are right, TO needs to call PSL and they will tell.
Originally Posted by irishguy28 View Post
In the last published upgrade chart, that came into force in 2013, these were the mileage amounts required for an upgrade from Economy to Business on Europe-North America:

15,000 miles: Fare Class Y to Business O
25,000 miles: Fare Classes B/M/U to Business O
35,000 miles: Fare classes K/H to Business O
45,000 miles: Fare classes L/Q to Business O

Given that there is no upgrade chart anymore, I would be very, very surprised to see an amount of as few as 25,000 miles being sought for an upgrade on a transatlantic sector, unless perhaps the economy ticket was issued in the most expensive (Y/B) classes.

The price will, of course, depend on the underlying economy fare. Where from 2013 the number of fare classes that could be upgraded from was raised to 8, the current system supposedly allows upgrades from ANY economy fare class. Clearly, the lower the economy fareclass, the more miles would be required.
I hear you BobTL and irishguy28, and yet, my personal experience is that those are the upgrade price in miles that were quoted and applied to me.

I know about the upgrade chart from 2013 and that everything has become dynamic, and yet, I can assure you that:
  • no later than in March 2019, I offered a RT CDG-JFK flight for a friend of mine, which I booked in Economy (U/R) and used 25,000 miles to upgrade him to business class since there was availabilities in "O".
  • for my own trips, I always purchase in Premium Economy in "W" both legs and upgrade into business class using availability in "Z/award" for FB Elite.
I have mentioned this many times already in other posts (this one for example). I remember reading in another post somewhere here that for some reasons, the price applied to upgrade in advance using miles doesn't always follow the dynamic pricing rules. I will try to find it again and quote the FTer who wrote that.

See attached the screenshots of the upgrade for my friend (25,000 miles, trip in March 2019) as well as my own upgrade for 22,500 miles back in January 2019.

Cheers,
vinnyc



Initial Fare = U

Upgraded Fare = O

Cost of Upgrade from U to O

Confirmation Email from Flying Blue

Cost of Upgrade from W to Z/award
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Old Aug 27, 19, 10:24 am
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Same here, 60k to upgrade to J (from fare bucket V in Economy)
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