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AF Never Offers FlyingBlue Upgrades With Miles in Advance

AF Never Offers FlyingBlue Upgrades With Miles in Advance

Old Mar 25, 20, 2:19 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: New York City
Programs: Delta Platinum
Posts: 95
AF Never Offers FlyingBlue Upgrades With Miles in Advance

I've been a loyal AF flyer for a while now, mainly crediting my points to Delta (where I now hold Diamond Medallion status). However I do have the AF credit card, as well as I often answer surveys in my spare time for a collection of miles there as well. I have found it nearly impossible to use DL miles to upgrade AF (even though it's possible) so I figured at least with FlyingBlue I could have a better chance. Here we are a long time later and I have only had 1 flight ever be available for upgrade, out of many annually.

Now my main route is between JFK and CDG, which is obviously their most profitable route, and usually it does fly a full J cabin, however many times they will also offer these upgrades at check-in (which I've taken advantage of), so not always are they all paid J seats. I get it in the revenue sense to be tight with the availability. But seriously? NEVER available?

This is for travel in mid-May 2020 (Yes, we are monitoring the COVID situation, but at this time I will not make any decisions until the end of April, a lot can happen in a month)

Even during this COVID crisis where the demand has dropped completely... VS opened my return space right away, but AF is still keeping it closed to mileage upgrades. I get it they want to make the most money, but as a loyalist I find it increasingly hard to be loyal to AF given that I can never use the miles to upgrade. They want more revenue, but they are risking losing loyal flyers in the process...

Does anyone have any experience upgrading the NY route? Best times to try? Etc.
I know AF is notorious for being tough on upgrades, but how can I make my chances better?

Thanks!
dbernard2000 is offline  
Old Mar 25, 20, 2:54 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: YOW
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I upgraded W to J AF009 months ago, supposed to depart this midnight, 30k Flying Blue points, no problem at all. Covid-19 got all them canceled though.

You just need to monitor the award space.
tbaiyun is offline  
Old Mar 25, 20, 5:01 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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I think AF is just closing off everything it can afford to at this point. Future liabilities are IMO of smaller concern than any extra expenditure on an award ticket or an award upgrade.
Fabo.sk is offline  
Old Mar 26, 20, 3:42 am
  #4  
 
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Originally Posted by dbernard2000 View Post
Does anyone have any experience upgrading the NY route? Best times to try? Etc.
I know AF is notorious for being tough on upgrades, but how can I make my chances better?
Thanks!
Did you saw any possibility during checkin or seat selection ?
did you asked at check-in counter or at offices in the airport ?
fifty_two is offline  
Old Mar 26, 20, 4:25 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
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Interesting, I have made a lot of miles upgrades in advance in the past (Toronto 20K, JFK 30K, SFO 35/55K, etc.) without any issue. That's true that it depends on the availability.
AlexBelt is offline  
Old Mar 31, 20, 3:28 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by tbaiyun View Post
I upgraded W to J AF009 months ago, supposed to depart this midnight, 30k Flying Blue points, no problem at all. Covid-19 got all them canceled though.

You just need to monitor the award space.
How would you recommend I monitor the space, besides ExpertFlyer? They only show the O space in the GDS for the flights NOT bettween North America and Europe.
dbernard2000 is offline  
Old Mar 31, 20, 3:30 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by fifty_two View Post
Did you saw any possibility during checkin or seat selection ?
did you asked at check-in counter or at offices in the airport ?
This is the answer I always get from phone agents. However I don't think it will offer it to me since my Delta number is on the booking (I do have a separate FB account, but I credit the mileage to DL because of the fact that I have DM status). Of course if all else fails, I will use the airport if possible.
dbernard2000 is offline  
Old Mar 31, 20, 3:33 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by AlexBelt View Post
Interesting, I have made a lot of miles upgrades in advance in the past (Toronto 20K, JFK 30K, SFO 35/55K, etc.) without any issue. That's true that it depends on the availability.
What has been your experience on the JFK route? Best times to snag the upgrade? Etc.
I know JFK is their most profitable route... therefore the most difficult

Any advice helps, thanks!
dbernard2000 is offline  
Old Mar 31, 20, 3:43 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by dbernard2000 View Post
I know JFK is their most profitable route... therefore the most difficult
I don't think JFK is the most profitable route for AF. At least it wasn't a few years ago. It is for sure a very profitable route, but it wasn't the most profitable one, a few years go. In north America, IAD was the most profitable AF route. I don't know if it is still the case.
Goldorak is offline  
Old Mar 31, 20, 4:18 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by dbernard2000 View Post
What has been your experience on the JFK route? Best times to snag the upgrade? Etc.
I know JFK is their most profitable route... therefore the most difficult

Any advice helps, thanks!
Well, globally my experience has been good so far. Let's see:

CDG-JFK: Have taken the AF022 lately. Honestly not the best catering on board...A brunch which in my opinion is not really big deal. In the other side, when you arrive immigration/luggage delivery is a breeze.

JFK-ORY: Flew on the AF019 to ORY, pretty good. Prefer to arrive to ORY as it close to Paris and immigration/luggage delivery is really quick compared with CDG.

I do think that the best flights are such in the morning or the middle afternoon. At least never had any problem finding an upgrade on them. Is kinda a hit or miss.

Cheers,

Alex
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Old Yesterday, 1:07 am
  #11  
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to the OP - there have long been "issues" with Flying Blue availability on transatlantic routes.

It is up to the frequent flyer to use miles in the best way possible - frequent flyer programmes are a "game", and you have to play it to your benefit. If you are "stuck" with travelling TATL, then you're already at a disadvantage as regards hoping to get mileage upgrades

I always tell people - using FB miles to upgrade is a BAD use of those miles, unless there is some mitigating circumstance*. If you simply decide - "I am going to use my miles to upgrade a cash ticket" - then you are not playing this game correctly.

You should, instead, aim to book a business class ticket outright using your miles. It's simpler, quicker, and cheaper than going the upgrade route and buying a cash ticket first, only then to find you have to hand over almost as many miles as you would when redeeming directly into business in the first place.

*if someone else pays/paid for your ticket, and/or you must travel frequently with no input as regards which flights you must take (i.e. you can't even do your research and select specific dates/flights where you know in advance an upgrade using miles is possible), then by all means see if you can mitigate that misery by using your own miles for such a purpose.
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irishguy28 is offline  
Old Yesterday, 8:58 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Originally Posted by dbernard2000 View Post
How would you recommend I monitor the space, besides ExpertFlyer? They only show the O space in the GDS for the flights NOT bettween North America and Europe.
Log in Air France / KLM and search for JFK-CDG oneway Purchase with Miles, business class:

Select "my travel date is flexible" and see if there is anything at 53k pts. The flight with the lowest miles requirement is definitely "upgradable", sometimes it jumped to 60k but is still upgradable according to the Flying Blue agent.

FYI: I purchased the ticket when the award space for J is 105k at that time. Flying Blue quoted me 50k pts to upgrade from W-J but I declined; about a month later, the same flight J decrease to 53k (the lowest) and I called in, upgraded W-J with 30k pts with success.
tbaiyun is offline  

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