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trying to understand BA book and upgrade fare breakdown

trying to understand BA book and upgrade fare breakdown

Old Oct 27, 18, 12:58 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 2
trying to understand BA book and upgrade fare breakdown

I'm looking at flights SEA to LHR departing the second last week of February and returning ~2 weeks later. Business class tickets are about $3k USD. Premium Economy are $1200ish USD. I have enough Chase UR points that I can transfer to BA but haven't flown BA all that much. From what I've read, using Avios to book flights outright is very costly, but I've heard that buying a premium econ ticket and using Avios to upgrade to business is a good value.

Having said that, the book and upgrade from a premium econ ticket on the BA web site isn't making much sense to me. Because I don't have any Avios, the web site won't let me see the full fare breakdown. But what I'm seeing is that it will cost 55000 points plus $2800 USD to do a cash + points ticket and upgrade to business.

Can anyone explain what's going on? I thought using points like this was a better conversion rate? This is $3k cash vs $2800 + 55000 points -- seems like a terrible deal.
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Old Oct 27, 18, 1:07 pm
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: a 30 taxi to LHR
Programs: BA Gold, SPG Lifetime Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 674
Hi - I am sure a more informed answer may come but believe this has something to do with how the website prices these tickets, very much in BA's favour and I have been caught out by it pre joining Flyertalk. I think you should expect it to be the standard PE price plus a small uplift in taxes and the relevant avios. You will likely need to call to book, probably not a bad thing as not sure I consider the BA website safe/secure until further notice. They should waive the phone fee if the booking impossible via the website.
EDIT: also remember seeing something recently about change in carrier YQ for J/F.. perhaps this is the reason and in which case not worth it at all.

Last edited by lavajava; Oct 27, 18 at 1:15 pm
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Old Oct 27, 18, 1:18 pm
Moderator, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges, and Ambassador, British Airways Executive Club
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Welcome to Flyertalk and welcome to the BA forum dotdots, it's good to see you here, welcome on board.

I can see how you got the Avios figure, that sounds about right, but the cash component seems too high to me. You don't need to have Avios in your account, you can work it out the taxes and fees from revenue tickets too. So a UuA (upgrade using Avios) would be the WTP fare, plus the difference in taxes and fees between CW and WTP. Without exact dates it is difficult to be definitive about this about this, not least because I can't see a $3k ticket in CW during this period, but from some random checks it looks to me that you're looking at $1200 for the WTP ticket and about $600 for the extra fees (carrier surcharge difference). Now this isn't the very best value UuA since the gap between WtP and CW on your numbers isn't huge. Also note that the UUA hangs on to (broadly speaking) the change conditions for WTP rather than CW, so it may be that the WTP ticket is more flexible that that $3K CW ticket.
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Old Oct 27, 18, 3:26 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 2
Thanks for the replies.

I had a google flights window open a few days with a business class ticket that was $3100 SEA to LHR, but after refreshing it, the fare has jumped up. So I guess that point is moot.

For the above UuA I'm looking at SEA to LHR on BA0052 21 Feb 2019, returning BA0053 on 7 March. This a premium econ ticket upgrading to club world. As you said, it's at least $1000 more than I would have expected.

Will I get a better result by phone?
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Old Oct 27, 18, 3:32 pm
formerly inlogan
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Washington, DC
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 81
I just did one of these upgrades this week but from IAD to LHR. I booked the premium economy seat online and then called to upgrade it. If you try to do it all at once online you get an inflated fare due to something called a Dual Inventory Fare (DIF) which the website has issues with.

In this case to calculate the difference before booking, I checked the exact itinerary on Matrix ITA and looked at the taxes and fees for a premium economy seat and then a business seat. In this case the taxes and government fees were the exact same between the two, but the YQ surcharge that BA levies was $370 for the premium economy seat and $1106 for the business seat. The difference is $736. So when I called in after booking the premium economy flight on the website (it wouldn't let me upgrade it online after the booking, and of course I did check seats were available before booking) the agent calculated the Avios amount which I already knew, and then calculated the extra cash needed and it was the exact $736 that I had calculated already.

So basically the amount you'll have to pay in cash is the difference in surcharge between the premium economy seat and the business seat.
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Old Oct 28, 18, 3:50 am
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 45
Yes you're right, it is in fact the most economical use of Avios to upgrade a flight to the next cabin but the exact cost of the upgrade is calculated as you book. It's not, for example, as set round amount to move up a class.
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