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purchasing economy & using reward points for an upgrade to business

purchasing economy & using reward points for an upgrade to business

Old Aug 26, 19, 8:38 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2019
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purchasing economy & using reward points for an upgrade to business

This is probably an amateur question. I'm currently FB Gold. My wife and I want to purchase r/t economy tickets from AMS to SFO in Dec/Jan, and upgrade to business class using reward points ( at least on the return leg, depending on how many points it costs and how many we have available).

According to the FB person I just spoke to, the economy tickets we need to purchase are "class O" to be eligible for the upgrade. She was also adamant that there were absolutely no O class tickets available for purchase, even if we were willing to have a layover through CDG or any number of cities in the US (LAX, SLC, PDX). If they don't have anything available on the direct flights, I get it, but surely on one of those A380 flights there's got to be room for an economy to business upgrade.

Of course if there's truly nothing available, then there's no point in buying the higher class economy tickets, and I might as well get the cheapest available fair through the website.

How would folks here go about a purchase like this? Is there a trick to it? Maybe there's something more specific I should ask for? I just don't believe FB that there's absolutely nothing available.

Thanks a million.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 8:58 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
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Originally Posted by graves666 View Post
This is probably an amateur question. I'm currently FB Gold. My wife and I want to purchase r/t economy tickets from AMS to SFO in Dec/Jan, and upgrade to business class using reward points ( at least on the return leg, depending on how many points it costs and how many we have available).

According to the FB person I just spoke to, the economy tickets we need to purchase are "class O" to be eligible for the upgrade. She was also adamant that there were absolutely no O class tickets available for purchase, even if we were willing to have a layover through CDG or any number of cities in the US (LAX, SLC, PDX). If they don't have anything available on the direct flights, I get it, but surely on one of those A380 flights there's got to be room for an economy to business upgrade.

Of course if there's truly nothing available, then there's no point in buying the higher class economy tickets, and I might as well get the cheapest available fair through the website.

How would folks here go about a purchase like this? Is there a trick to it? Maybe there's something more specific I should ask for? I just don't believe FB that there's absolutely nothing available.

Thanks a million.
O class is both a revenue and an award farebucket, what the FB Agent said/should've said, is that there needs to be availability in the O Award bucket to be able to upgrade, it could very possibly be true that there is no O availability. You don't need a more expensive Y ticket to be able to upgrade, but the number of miles will be higher if you're in one of the, if not the cheapest fare bucket.

If you have enough miles, maybe check what an award ticket would cost, since it usually makes more sense to get an award ticket outright instead of upgrading an economy ticket.
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Old Aug 26, 19, 10:26 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by graves666 View Post
According to the FB person I just spoke to, the economy tickets we need to purchase are "class O" to be eligible for the upgrade. She was also adamant that there were absolutely no O class tickets available for purchase, even if we were willing to have a layover through CDG or any number of cities in the US (LAX, SLC, PDX). If they don't have anything available on the direct flights, I get it, but surely on one of those A380 flights there's got to be room for an economy to business upgrade.
As the previous poster noted, "O" is the fare class that one upgrades into. "O" previously was exclusively for redemption tickets, but now some business class revenue tickets are also sold in "O" class.

You can (in theory; not always in practice) upgrade from ANY economy fare class. However, I advise you not to attempt this. Upgrading using miles is probably the worst use of FB miles. You should always first aim to use your miles to redeem into the business cabin outright.

Upgrading with miles generally only makes sense if you travel so frequently - preferably on someone else's dime - that you are in the "lottery" often enough that, eventually, one of the flights you happen to be booked on will have an available business seat that you can upgrade into.

Additionally - why would you want to upgrade into J on the AF A380? No lie-flat seat!! If you want to fly J on AF, at least make sure it's on one of their better seats!!!!
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irishguy28 is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 8:40 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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I agree with Irishguy. Since the implementation of the new revenue based pricing 1.5 years ago, when I asked for upgrades I usually was quoted a number FB miles that was equal to booking business with miles from scratch. Or, otherwise stated, booking biz directly with miles was in miles the equal price of an upgrade. You still have to pay the higher taxes, but that obviously will not differe a lot from the price of a regular economy ticket. Recently I was quoted 135k miles for a last minute upgrade AMS-JKT (just one seat left) and passed. You most likely can have a biz seat if you book early for much less in FB miles.
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atflyer is offline  
Old Aug 28, 19, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by atflyer View Post
Since the implementation of the new revenue based pricing 1.5 years ago, when I asked for upgrades I usually was quoted a number FB miles that was equal to booking business with miles from scratch.
This.

It is just a convoluted, more expensive way to end up with a mileage J seat....with no guarantee you will be successful.

You should never think - Aha! I want to travel in J using miles! But first, I will hamper my chances by tying myself into a particular flight by buying an economy seat on that flight! And only after purchasing my ecnomy seat, looking into whether I can upgrade it!

If the flight you booked for cash in economy wasn't showing cheap availability for an outright J seat, then you can be sure your quote for a mileage upgrade will be similarly excessive.


If you have an economy seat already, well and good, try to upgrade it (and pay almost as much as you would have paid for an outright redemption direct into J). But if you are starting from a position where you have nothing booked, then it makes no sense to go via the intermediate step of buying an economy ticket, and then hoping to be able to upgrade. In that situation, you should look for, and book, a J redemption outright using miles only. Ideally, you need to be flexible when doing this, so that you can move your dates/times/destinations/origins to the extent that provides the best value.

Mileage upgrades should only be sought by those poor unfortunates who are forced to fly longhaul economy on tickets provided by their employer. For everyone else, tying yourself voluntarily to the anchor of an issued economy class revenue ticket is torpedoing your chances of getting a J seat using miles. You lose all flexibility on dates/times/destinations/origins once you have committed to that purchased economy ticket.
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Last edited by irishguy28; Aug 28, 19 at 8:52 am
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Old Aug 28, 19, 11:20 am
  #6  
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This is all great advice, which I'll heed. We'll save the miles and just get a business class flights outright. Thanks all!
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Old Aug 29, 19, 3:30 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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As they say a picture is better than a thousand words, here's an example, a flight I booked with cash for the cheapest fare (G, ~56 as half of a round-trip)


And if I wanted to straight away book the flight with miles:
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