Changes to the upgrade priority list?

Old Sep 24, 23, 2:43 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2019
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Changes to the upgrade priority list?

When the occasional free upgrade happens (presumably usually due to overbooking in a certain class), itís always a nice, albeit rare, event.

Or so it was until this month for me. I did 2 round trips (2 legs on each of the 4 journeys), and have had the pleasure of getting 3x long haul upgrades from WTP to CS, and 1x Economy to CE.

What I find interesting is that sort of stuff has been extremely rare for me in the past few years, all the while I travelled in Gold.

2 months ago I dropped to Silver and suddenly upgrades come rolling in?

I can only think of two explanations: extreme coincidence/luck or has BA changed how they prioritise these upgrades and these are based on ticket price paid now (in line with recent Avios changes), as both of these journeys were the pricier, last minute trips.

It got me wondering if anyone was aware of any recent changes to the way they prioritise upgrades?
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Old Sep 24, 23, 2:49 am
  #2  
 
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Not super recent, but I've been Silver since 2019 and have Bronze since 2017. I've never received a free upgrade until this year, and have got 2 in the span of 2 months from WT to WT+. At least recently, flights have actually been full.

Given the wet leasing, BA are clearly short on planes. Stretched maintenance could suggest aircraft going out with a certain-% of faulty seats and therefore, more people getting upgraded across the board. It certainly was the case on my first free upgrade, where a faulty seat (somewhere) resulted in only me being bumped.

Ticket price, I can assure, is definitely not a factor. The two flights I got upgraded on I paid absolutely pennies for, one of which was a redemption ticket.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 2:59 am
  #3  
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BA only upgrade when they need to generally, so a lot depends on the loading of your flights to start with. If previous trips were not oversold in your cabin then it's likely no one got upgraded.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 3:03 am
  #4  
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They do give upgrades so people can 'taste' the upgraded service in the hope of them buying if they like it.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 3:04 am
  #5  
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And to add to KARFAís answer, Ba donít do a simple criterion upgrade list - itís a very opaque algorithm which takes many different factors into account (not just status or civ, not just the ticket you bought etc). I doubt even high ranking Ba staff know or understand what the recipe is.

you mentioned the last three months, thatís peak summer which is always ďback of the plane heavyĒ with flights full to the brim. Enjoy while it lasts and donít overthink it.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 3:17 am
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No, nothing has changed.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 3:21 am
  #7  
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The over-arching factor in an upgrade isn't the traveller - this really isn't about you at all - it's about how on earth can BA pack in all the passengers who turn up at the gate. Some cabins will be oversold, some missed connections, some people somehow get lost between security and A10, staff standby - this list goes on and on. Somewhere in all of this the robots look at your shiny card, but they only look because they need to get everyone on board somehow. So if you want to overthink this, look at each flight in isolation, and see the whole aircraft capacity versus everyone at the gate, and then decide who goes where.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 3:22 am
  #8  
 
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Iíve been silver for 5-6 years. Throughout that time, Iíve had a pretty decent run of OpUps. 4 WT+ to CW, 1 WT to WT+ and 1 ET to CE. Many of these have been fairly high fare, employer funded trips but a couple have been discounted fare personal trips.

As others have said, thereís a fairly complex algorithm at work, and is only run on full or oversold services.

Iíll hit Gold this month, so will be interesting to see how that impacts my OpUp chances. One theory offered is that the algorithm incentivises mid-tier loyalty members to buy up, rather than Gold members.

Another interesting data point is that last month, I had to request to be offloaded from a flight as I wasnít feeling well. The cabin crew checked for me on the iPhone manifest and I noticed my CIV as a silver was 52, despite some reports around here that Gold starts lower. So this may (or may not) impact upgrade success rate.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 4:39 am
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There’s a whole area of data science called “uplift modelling” dedicated to deciding which customers should receive a promotion. In this case it’s a free upgrade, but could be many other things (like a 25% Uber discount, enhanced referral bonuses).

if you’re technically minded, this is how it can be done —

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/fa...plift-modeling

The idea is to take as much data about the customers as you can gather, then, based on upgrades you previously handed out, work out which customer profiles can be persuaded by the upgrade.

No clue if BA actually does this, but it’s the market leading way of doing this.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 4:51 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by Markie
They do give upgrades so people can 'taste' the upgraded service in the hope of them buying if they like it.
The only free upgrades we've had have been as a blue, WT to WT+ and a WT+ to Club. Since then we now only travel long haul in WT+ or Club, so you could say it worked for BA....
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Old Sep 24, 23, 4:58 am
  #11  
 
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With Emirates, it is quite well established that the upgrade order is:

Gold - Flex Plus
Silver - Flex Plus
Gold - Flex
Silver - Flex
Gold - Saver
Silver - Saver

i.e. The ticket type comes before the status.

It wouldn’t be surprising if BA had something similar.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 5:02 am
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Ryanardo_daVinci
With Emirates, it is quite well established that the upgrade order is:

Gold - Flex Plus
Silver - Flex Plus
Gold - Flex
Silver - Flex
Gold - Saver
Silver - Saver

i.e. The ticket type comes before the status.

It wouldnít be surprising if BA had something similar.
I honestly would not be surprised if BA used a random number generator given the state of their IT
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Old Sep 24, 23, 5:05 am
  #13  
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I never got upgraded as Gold, but did several times as Silver and Blue - including on redemptions. I suspect that some of my silver upgrades happened at the expense of golds.
​​​​
On the other hand I never really took full/popular flights when I was gold so there wasn't any need for BA to upgrade me.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 5:10 am
  #14  
formerly JackDann
 
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When me and my partner got a recent upgrade - she thought it might be because it was her Birthday.

I probably should have just let her believe this - but the reality was that it was a packed flight and as the later flight was cancelled it meant that they needed to bump people up to the front.

Iíve received 2 upgrades in hundreds of flights - 1 as Blue, 1 as Gold. Iím letting my status run down now as I only travel leisure and if I fly BA itís only Reward flights.
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Old Sep 24, 23, 6:45 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by JapesUK
I honestly would not be surprised if BA used a random number generator given the state of their IT
More likely, who needs a random number generator when you have the BA IT system!
Anyway, upgrades are always fickle. In my experience, oversold cabins are the prime reason - although I have managed a couple of upgrades with a virtually empty (<20 pax) flight. This really depends on route - my main routes are usually 100% full 100% of the time - so no chance unless some mis-connects.
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