What am I doing wrong? (upgrades)

Old Apr 2, 2024, 12:48 pm
  #1  
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What am I doing wrong? (upgrades)

I only recently started flying more (I'm only going to get BA Bronze this month). Because I'm in Spain and flying to the east Coast of the US (usually North Carolina), I figured 'hanging my hat' with BA was the right move, since IAG incorporates BA, AA, and IB. However, rarely have I been on BA metal. It's typically American going transatlantic, and then Iberia for the Spain --> UK legs.

However, when I've tried for any kind of upgrades on flights I've booked, it's a nightmare. Avios upgrades are never available, and paid upgrades.. well, 3,000€ to upgrade MAD to LHR is delusional, when I could just buy a ticket outright in first for 500€.. Nevermind trying to upgrade from PE to business.

Should I be booking differently? Should I have worked towards status on AA instead? I have around 250,000 avios available (Thanks to Cap1) and it seems like I'll never be able to use them.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 12:56 pm
  #2  
 
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So there's a few types of upgrades:

UuA: upgrade using avios
AUP: airport upgrade
POUG: pro-active online upgrade
Fare difference: what is says on the tin

The 3,000€ that you're quoted fro MAD to LHR sounds like a fare difference quote - presumably you've either done self service online or phoned them to get that price.

As you're booking connecting flights, it is highly unlikely you'll see POUG offers (which appear in manage my booking). However for MAD-LHR this would usually be around €175 - €250.

You can ask at the airport about an AUP. These can be bought at check-in desks or BA lounges. For MAD-LHR they may be between €125 and €250, sometimes more, very occasionally less. You obviously have to wait until the day of the flight to find out whether you can buy these.

To upgrade using avios you have to book with a BA ticket number (125 ticket stock). If you're booking on the AA or Iberia website then you'll not be able to upgrade using avios. You can upgrade AA and IB flights with avios but you have to be on a BA ticket. Obviously there has to be avios availability, which depending on your route could be hard to come by. You might have better luck on LHR-JFK say than LHR-PHL.

If you post an example itinerary that you'e booked we can help a bit more.

EDIT: There's obviously on more type of upgrade and that is the coveted "op-up". To be honest, you've already done the most you can do by booking into Premium Economy which usually has the most op-ups, however if you're lucky, one day BA may have to upgrade you for operational reasons.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 1:04 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by c1223
So there's a few types of upgrades:

UuA: upgrade using avios
AUP: airport upgrade
POUG: pro-active online upgrade
Fare difference: what is says on the tin

The 3,000€ that you're quoted fro MAD to LHR sounds like a fare difference quote - presumably you've either done self service online or phoned them to get that price.

As you're booking connecting flights, it is highly unlikely you'll see POUG offers (which appear in manage my booking). However for MAD-LHR this would usually be around €175 - €250.

You can ask at the airport about an AUP. These can be bought at check-in desks or BA lounges. For MAD-LHR they may be between €125 and €250, sometimes more, very occasionally less. You obviously have to wait until the day of the flight to find out whether you can buy these.

To upgrade using avios you have to book with a BA ticket number (125 ticket stock). If you're booking on the AA or Iberia website then you'll not be able to upgrade using avios. You can upgrade AA and IB flights with avios but you have to be on a BA ticket. Obviously there has to be avios availability, which depending on your route could be hard to come by. You might have better luck on LHR-JFK say than LHR-PHL.

If you post an example itinerary that you'e booked we can help a bit more.

EDIT: There's obviously on more type of upgrade and that is the coveted "op-up". To be honest, you've already done the most you can do by booking into Premium Economy which usually has the most op-ups, however if you're lucky, one day BA may have to upgrade you for operational reasons.
If you are on a connecting interary it may be that the €3000 will be to upgrade mad lhr xxx. A fare difference upgrade on a connecting flight, not sure if it can be done by sector, but almost cerrainly involves all segments in that direction being repriced
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 1:40 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by Xkmo
when I could just buy a ticket outright in first for 500€.. Nevermind trying to upgrade from PE to business.


Which route is €500 in First?
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by irishguy28


Which route is €500 in First?
Suspect OP meant MAD - LHR in Club Europe
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 1:56 pm
  #6  
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If you want to upgrade with avios you should check award availability in the upgraded cabin before you buy. Bear in mind there may be significant costs in avios or cash depending on upgrade type.

in terms of paid upgrades, they are never guaranteed to be available, even less to be good value. In a nutshell, ba doesn’t need your (or my) upgrade money or avios. At the moment j and f are routinely full on many routes so I guess the advice would be forget hoping for upgrades, buy what you are happy to fly from the start and never count on decent upgrade options - if there is any that tempts you, just treat it as a bonus.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 2:03 pm
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In simple terms and sorry to be blunt what you are doing wrong is not booking the cabin your want to fly in when there is a sale on (very frequent).. As an example I have 3 LHR- US(NYC,SFO,LAX) all booked in F for £3k each this year.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 3:26 pm
  #8  
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Wow, thanks for all the replies already, and I've got a thick skin, so feel free to be blunt. I appreciate it. Looks like the only thing I'm doing right is that my tickets are all BA tickets. 😂

Yes, I should have just booked F when I initially booked, I just didn't want to spend 3k in cash, but right now I'm wishing I had!

Ideally I'd be flying VLC - RDU, but nailing one down on my "must fly on weekends" timeline has been tough. MAD - CLT is a *lot* more common. This one is 14apr - 21 apr, MAD-CLT.

I'll definitely check at check-in to see if anything is available.. The group 8 boarding crap is for the birds - intra-euro flying is quite an experience as I'm learning. It's worse than what I experienced flying domestically in the US.

Live and learn, right?
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by scottishpoet
If you are on a connecting interary it may be that the €3000 will be to upgrade mad lhr xxx. A fare difference upgrade on a connecting flight, not sure if it can be done by sector, but almost cerrainly involves all segments in that direction being repriced
Been here, done that. Tried to upgrade NCL-LHR and got a £2000+ quote. If this is the case then a (long) phone call can fix it and divorce the segments.

POUGs do appear for married segments and connected itineraries, this may be a fairly recent change as there was some surprise when I posted the offers I personally received in the poug thread.

As some have already said, the more details you can give the more the collective wisdom of FT can be brought to bear. And, yes, sometimes a tough hide can be a benefit in this neighbourhood, however the residents are amazingly wise people who will go above and beyond to help others that are truly in need.
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Old Apr 2, 2024, 3:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Xkmo
I only recently started flying more ...
Should I be booking differently? Should I have worked towards status on AA instead? I have around 250,000 avios available (Thanks to Cap1) and it seems like I'll never be able to use them.
You may check AA forum regarding upgrades. Your best chances for upgrades will be if you reach 175,000 loyalty points (2 system wide upgrades or SWUs) and then 250,000 loyalty points for 4 more SWUs. Each SWU will cover up to 3 segments in 1 direction on both AA and BA and will not require a co-payments except extra taxes for premium fares (e.g. charged for flights originated in UK). But 250,000 LPs is a lot of flying on OW and/or a lot of spending with AA and partners. Note that AA allows you to upgrade from coach (any fare) to business if on AA metal.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 1:24 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Xkmo
IAvios upgrades are never available
To upgrade using avios, it's easiest to do at the time of booking.
You need reward availability in the class you want to upgrade to, so booking 6 months ahead at least or ideally 355 days ahead if you want to upgrade to J on a popular route.
Upgrading to proper long haul F is very difficult if you are not BA Gold Guest List (to release an A class F ticket for a reward) because althoigh some J seats are garaunteed to exist for rewards at some point on BA flights, there is no garauntee you will ever see F rewards available.
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Old Apr 3, 2024, 1:29 pm
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Xkmo
I'm only going to get BA Bronze this month
Originally Posted by c1223
the coveted "op-up". .
If you've just got Bronze for the first time, there is some anecdotal evidence that some back office magic picks a few people in this situation for op up to see if they like business and can be convinced to pay for it
I am sure I have jinxed that for you though.
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