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USA: Upgrade international airline ticket with Membership Rewards points

USA: Upgrade international airline ticket with Membership Rewards points

Old May 1, 19, 1:34 pm
  #1  
mia
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USA: Upgrade international airline ticket with Membership Rewards points

How it works
  1. Select your airline.
  2. Enter your reservation details to see if your itinerary is eligible to upgrade.
  3. If eligible, use Membership Rewards points to place an offer towards an upgrade.
  4. Your offer will be accepted or declined by the airline, usually within 5 days of your flight. Whatever the airline's decision, American Express will communicate the result to you via email prior to your departure.
  5. If your offer was accepted, visit your airline's website or call your airline to obtain a copy of your updated itinerary.
Good to Know
If your upgrade offer is accepted, the dollar amount of your offer will be charged to your Card account. Points will be deducted from your Membership Rewards account and a credit for the corresponding dollar amount will be applied to your Card account.
Full terms here: https://global.americanexpress.com/c...de-with-points

Participating airlines listed here (no USA-based airlines participate):

https://upgrade.americanexpress.com/airlines/UMreLZAX
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Old May 1, 19, 2:01 pm
  #2  
mia
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It appears this feature uses $0.01/point fixed valuation. I checked Platinum, Gold and Everyday.

https://global.americanexpress.com/rewards/calculator
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Old May 1, 19, 9:57 pm
  #3  
 
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Interesting. I have a super discount ticket on TAP and it lets me make an offer. Dead minimum is 62,622 per person, per segment.

Not a great deal, not terrible.

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Old May 14, 19, 2:48 pm
  #4  
 
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"Upgrade with Points" offer?

Got email today hyping opportunities to bid MR points for upgrades on a selected list of airlines. The T&C's weren't clear on details, saying that you would be billed a cash amount if your bid was accepted, and then points would be redeemed for cash and credited to your account at a rate that didn't seem at all defined. I randomly picked Qantas as a candidate airline, and their T&Cs only mentioned cash, nothing about Amex MR.


Experiences/enlightenment would be appreciated.
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Old May 14, 19, 3:02 pm
  #5  
mia
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Originally Posted by JohnAx View Post
.... T&Cs only mentioned cash,....
American Express would pay them in money, and deduct points from your account at the rate $0.01 = 1 point.
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Old May 14, 19, 4:13 pm
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
American Express would pay them in money, and deduct points from your account at the rate $0.01 = 1 point.
Ouch. Amex is careful not to mention that (or obfuscated it enough to hide it from me.) I keep hoping for at least a couple of cents per point for long-haul premium.

Of course the value would be enhanced if the airline accepted a low cash offer for the upgrade.

Amex says to expect to hear from the airline up to 5 hours before schedule, though 'usually 1-5 days before scheduled'. QF said you could cancel bid up to 8 hours before.
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Old May 14, 19, 11:19 pm
  #7  
 
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Will be interesting to see what effective value this offers based on accepted upgrade bids.

I wonder:

i) What details the airlines will see beyond details already included in the flight reservation (e.g. Is the AMEX card being used the same as the one used for the original booking, is it in the name of the lead PAX, what flavor of card is it? Cent, Plat, Gold etc.?)

ii) Will flights be upgraded into paid inventory classes or award inventory classes?

iii) How will FF earnings be affected (ie FF earnings based on original booking class, will earn based on upgraded class, no earnings(!)

iv) Are upgrades for next class of service only? ie Y-C, C-F? What about Y-Premium Economy where applicable?

v) Will upgrades be easier/harder than direct upgrades with the airline using bids/points/miles?

One of the most valuable uses for MR points in my experience is for upgrades on Emirates. Instant transfers to Skywards and Emirates flexibility for Elite Skywards members to use miles to upgrade day-of-departure on a space available basis is a great combination. Interesting that Emirates donít appear on the list of partners for this...
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Old May 15, 19, 8:21 am
  #8  
mia
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Originally Posted by Dambus View Post
....Instant transfers to Skywards and Emirates flexibility for Elite Skywards members to use miles to upgrade day-of-departure on a space available basis is a great combination. Interesting that Emirates donít appear on the list of partners for this...
This is not a mileage upgrade program. All you are doing in redeeming points to offset the cost of a paid upgrade, if your bid is accepted.
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Old May 15, 19, 8:31 am
  #9  
 
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Does this work for UK cards?
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Old May 15, 19, 8:55 am
  #10  
mia
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Originally Posted by GodAtum View Post
Does this work for UK cards?
Does it appear on the UK website? Login is required to use the benefit.
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Old May 15, 19, 9:00 am
  #11  
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At least some of these airlines already participate in a scheme to bid to pay cash for an upgrade. I wonder whether AmEx is just submitting what the airline would view as a typical bid, and therefore how such bids through AmEx would be prioritized.
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Old May 15, 19, 10:06 am
  #12  
mia
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
At least some of these airlines already participate in a scheme to bid to pay cash for an upgrade.
I assume this is an outsourced/re-branded feature, and that Membership Rewards is NOTHING other than a different way to pay. I speculate that if you work your way through the process the name of the entity that operates the service will be disclosed.
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Old Jun 6, 19, 2:03 am
  #13  
 
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Airline Upgrades with AmEx Points

This looks to be a new offer for Platinum card holders, and possibly others. Bid for upgrades on 21 airlines (including SQ, EY) with AmEx points.
I would be very interested to see the results of any bidding (successful or not).
For the same route (say LHR – JFK) I would imagine it would differ by airline, no? As well as the upgrade category (Cattle class to PE, PE to Biz, etc.).
Among the T/Cs: Offer open to holders of all US-issued AmEx cards. You can bid for another person. Bids can be a combination of points and cash. You may or may not be eligible to use the airline’s lounge. You may or may not receive a refund for cash paid for seat reservation on original ticket.
If this thread already exists, apologies for posting, and please point me to it.
Thanks!

Last edited by spainflyer; Jun 6, 19 at 3:30 am
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Old Jun 6, 19, 1:29 pm
  #14  
 
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No difference than using the airlines' own bid upgrade programs (typically outsourced, such as PlusGrade - " The market-leading provider of upgrade solutions, a key segment of the ancillary revenue and merchandising sector in the global travel industry "), and you pay for the bid using MR points, at the same 1 cent/ point. You can use your MR points to pay for anyone's travel expenses.

Perhaps the AMEX bid program includes a wider list of airlines.


>> Bid for upgrades on 21 airlines (including SQ, EY) with AmEx points.

Existing bid programs for these airlines:

SQ MySQUpgrade " Make your bid for an enhanced travel experience. Make your bid within 7 days. If your flight is eligible, you'll receive an invitation to bid seven days before departure. "

EY " There are multiple ways to upgrade including using your Etihad Guest Miles, submitting an offer through our bidding system on applicable flights, ..."
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Old Jun 6, 19, 2:01 pm
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Is there anywhere to see in advance if there are restrictions on the fare classes that can be upgraded? Do you have to have a minimum fare class to be eligible, or can one bid for an upgrade even with the least expensive non-flexible ticket?
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