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Old Oct 29, 2013, 4:27 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: ZZ100
Is it possible to buy a (cheap) upgrade on Cathay Pacific upon check-in?

The short answer is no.

Cathay, as a general rule, does not allow you to purchase last minute upgrades if there are empty seats in Y+, J or F. The only way to upgrade a ticket is to pay the fare difference between your current ticket, and an available fare class in the higher cabins. Note that if your current ticket has restrictions (cancellation fees, non-refundable) these still apply.

There are been stories of people who have been offered cheap upgrades by Cathay, but this is more an exception than a common occurrence.


If I upgrade my ticket using asia miles, do I still earn miles?

Yes, you will earn miles for the original fare class that you booked, not the upgraded cabin.

How do I get a free upgrade / operational upgrade (op-up)?
Cathay Pacific does not upgrade passengers just because there are empty seats in higher classes. Upgrades will only occur where there is overbooking in lower classes.

The order of upgrades when required is believed to be:
  1. VIP (Heads of State, Government Bodies, or Canto Pop/Movie stars)
  2. CX Diamond Plus
  3. CX Diamond Invitation, Diamond
  4. CX Gold
  5. CX management staff on travel duty
  6. oneworld Emerald
  7. CX staff on duty nominees , other airline staff nominees, CX staff on personal travel
  8. oneworld Sapphire
  9. CX Silver
  10. oneworld Ruby
  11. CX Green
  12. Asia Miles
  13. Non status
In the event of a tiebreak being needed, generally those with lower "Boarding Numbers" will take precedence (lower BN takes priority). The earlier you check in, the lower your BN. Asking for an upgrade at check-in will not work, so don't. This is definitely one case of where "if you don't ask, you don't get", does NOT apply. The amount you paid for your ticket or the fare class of your ticket does not appear to affect your upgrade chances.


I am travelling on an award ticket. Will I still be considered for a free upgrade?

Yes - there are many stories of passengers on award tickets, or who upgraded a class using miles, getting (additional) upgrades.



What happens if the aircraft has 4 or 3 cabins, but is only selling Business and Economy seats?

It is likely if you have Marco Polo status, and to a lesser extent oneworld status, you may be able to sit in either First Class seats (if booked in J) or Premium Economy (if booked in Y) with service of the original cabin. There doesn't appear to be consistency yet as to how these semi-upgrades are allocated. Some people have been able to choose seats in the higher cabin during online check-in, or some will get them on request at check-in. However, there is no entitlement to these seats.


Will I get an upgrade on my Birthday, or for my membership anniversary, or for reaching xx number of lifetime club miles?

Please see this link for members' experience with these kinds of upgrades: Marco Polo Anniversary Upgrades


I want to use Asia Miles to upgrade a BA flight. How do I do this?

As of 22 June 2018, it is no longer possible to upgrade BA flights with Asia Miles.


How do I upgrade a CX flight using miles?

If you already have issued your original ticket:
  1. Try upgrading using Manage My Booking on the website (not always successful)
  2. If self-service doesn't work, try calling Marco Polo hotline to check availability
  3. If there is availability, you will need to issue the upgrade immediately to secure it. They may give you a few days grace before isssuing the upgrade, but this is now rarely given.
  4. In a few days, or longer if they are busy, your miles will be deducted, and you will be emailed a new e-ticket with the upgrade class details on it, and your online booking for your original booking class will disappear.

If you have not made any booking yet, and you want to check availability:
  1. Call Marco Polo club to check for availability on the flights/dates you want, or check for normal redemption availability on the website.
  2. Book a revenue ticket in the class of service for which you will be paying. Do NOT do this via the website -- call a CX telephone sales number/travel agent.
  3. Put the booking on hold.
  4. Call the Marco Polo/Asia Miles Service Center. Have them book the upgrade and give you a deadline to have the ticket issued. (It's usually about 72 hours).
  5. Have telephone sales/travel agent issue your revenue ticket.
  6. Call Marco Polo/Asia Miles back. Give them the revenue ticket number against the PNR and ask them to issue your upgrade.
  7. In about two or three days, you'll get a new ticket with the upgrade showing.

If you don't receive a new e-ticket before departure, call up Marco Polo club to double check if the upgrade has been issued.
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The Ultimate Upgrade Question thread

Old Dec 9, 2013, 6:59 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by CrazyJ82
I think it is now the same as would be required for an upgrade if you were on CX as per the award chart.

Before CX introduced its own premium economy and revised the award chart accordingly, there used to be a complicated formula for calculating the mileage requirements for premium economy redemptions or upgrades to or from premium economy on other carriers, but that appears not to be the case anymore.
Thanks..
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Old Dec 10, 2013, 6:32 am
  #17  
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On Facebook CX Secrets page

Status Update
By CX Secrets
#534

With Amex Centurion/Gold giving out so many fake DM and GO status respectively. I find myself giving more and more op-ups and seat preferences to SL members who most likely earned their status the hard way. Does anyone else feel the same?
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Old Dec 10, 2013, 7:07 am
  #18  
 
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Posts: 1,581
Originally Posted by mayodave
On Facebook CX Secrets page

Status Update
By CX Secrets
#534

With Amex Centurion/Gold giving out so many fake DM and GO status respectively. I find myself giving more and more op-ups and seat preferences to SL members who most likely earned their status the hard way. Does anyone else feel the same?
But how much discretion do they have, versus whatever the computer algorithm spits out at them?

Anyway, obnoxious if true. While these AmEx handouts have been a bone of contention around here, I'm sure we could all agree that any decisions like this should be made at the corporate level, not by frontline staff. While op-ups are an unpublished benefit and not something to be expected, if we're honest it's part of the program that encourages our loyalty. This GO who earns his status the hard way would be disappointed to discover staff are favoring less loyal customers in a misguided attempt to reward loyalty.

All that said, my op-up percentage this year improved noticeably compared to last year.
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Old Jan 13, 2014, 9:07 pm
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Is there such a thing as an op-up to a later flight?

I'm booked on CX889 this Saturday, which is showing:
F0 A0 J1 C1 D1 I1 W9 R9 E0 Y9 B9 H9 K9 M9 L9 V8 S2 N1 Q0 O0

But CX837, later in the day, is showing:
J9 C9 D9 I7 W8 R7 E6 Y9 B9 H9 K9 M9 L9 V9 S9 N9 Q9 O5

I'm CX Gold, but I've never tried this approach with CX. I'm assuming it's a very long shot but some here would certainly know better!

Thanks!
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Old Jan 13, 2014, 9:29 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by yvrgary
Is there such a thing as an op-up to a later flight?

I'm booked on CX889 this Saturday, which is showing:
F0 A0 J1 C1 D1 I1 W9 R9 E0 Y9 B9 H9 K9 M9 L9 V8 S2 N1 Q0 O0

But CX837, later in the day, is showing:
J9 C9 D9 I7 W8 R7 E6 Y9 B9 H9 K9 M9 L9 V9 S9 N9 Q9 O5

I'm CX Gold, but I've never tried this approach with CX. I'm assuming it's a very long shot but some here would certainly know better!

Thanks!
Are you flying J or Y? Looking at either of these classes, I think you are going to get on the original flight. If they can get you on the original flight, then you will travel on that original flight. Otherwise they will request for VDB (voluntary deboarding) and entice you with money and upgrade coupons. But I don't think that is going to happen in this case.
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Old Jan 13, 2014, 10:21 pm
  #21  
 
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Yes, we're ticketed Y on 889. Just wishful thinking.
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Old Jan 13, 2014, 10:49 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by yvrgary
Is there such a thing as an op-up to a later flight?

I'm booked on CX889 this Saturday, which is showing:
F0 A0 J1 C1 D1 I1 W9 R9 E0 Y9 B9 H9 K9 M9 L9 V8 S2 N1 Q0 O0

But CX837, later in the day, is showing:
J9 C9 D9 I7 W8 R7 E6 Y9 B9 H9 K9 M9 L9 V9 S9 N9 Q9 O5

I'm CX Gold, but I've never tried this approach with CX. I'm assuming it's a very long shot but some here would certainly know better!

Thanks!
Originally Posted by yvrgary
Yes, we're ticketed Y on 889. Just wishful thinking.
Forget about it.

Y is wideeeeeeeeeee open on both flights. Why would CX want to opup you up to PEY?

Op-up is short for operational upgrade. With so many seats still for sale in Economy, CX has no need for your current seat / thus any incentive to move you up the plane.

Of course, if this was some kind of milestone / birthday / anniversary, that's a different story.
CanucksHKG is offline  
Old Jan 14, 2014, 12:27 am
  #23  
 
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Honeymoon, but I doubt that counts for much.

One assumes that this near, those last seats are unlikely to all go?

We did splash out for exit-row seats before I hit Gold, so it's not the end of the world. I'm not the shortest guy in the world, but I'm grateful not to be on one of AC's punishing 777HDs.
YOWgary is offline  
Old Jan 28, 2014, 6:48 am
  #24  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Programs: CX MPC Gold
Posts: 62
The Ultimate Upgrade Question thread

Would call them and mention the fact it's your honeymoon. The ball and chain and I got upgraded (she has no status) on our own honeymoonI made a point of telling the CX agent a few days before flying. Flight was not full. But was only short haul.
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Old Feb 23, 2014, 4:49 pm
  #25  
 
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A little confused on this one. Colleague and me were on the same short haul flight yesterday, both booked in V class. Flight was zeroed out on KVS. I’m a DM and was upgraded to PEY before online check in opened. After check in, my BN was 7. He’s a MPO GR and checked in at airport, BN 200+ with a Y boarding pass. At the gate, he was upgraded from Y to J. He doesn’t fly very often and I don’t begrudge him the upgrade, just seems a little odd to me. Possibly his charm and wit at check in enable him to jump the upgrade queue? We were laughing about his luck over mine and he said he didn’t have any friends at CX or notice any special treatment at check in. Is there a new nuance to the excessively discussed pecking order of CX operational upgrades? Or just a random case of right place at right time?
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Old Feb 23, 2014, 6:28 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by frankyguy
A little confused on this one. Colleague and me were on the same short haul flight yesterday, both booked in V class. Flight was zeroed out on KVS. Iím a DM and was upgraded to PEY before online check in opened. After check in, my BN was 7. Heís a MPO GR and checked in at airport, BN 200+ with a Y boarding pass. At the gate, he was upgraded from Y to J. He doesnít fly very often and I donít begrudge him the upgrade, just seems a little odd to me. Possibly his charm and wit at check in enable him to jump the upgrade queue? We were laughing about his luck over mine and he said he didnít have any friends at CX or notice any special treatment at check in. Is there a new nuance to the excessively discussed pecking order of CX operational upgrades? Or just a random case of right place at right time?
I have no idea what the real reason is, but I can imagine a scenario where there were 2 people who wanted to sit together and somehow your colleague's seat was the one targeted. A lazy ground staff probably found it easier to move your colleague to J (one transaction), rather than move you and then move him (two transactions).
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Old Feb 23, 2014, 8:13 pm
  #27  
 
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upgrade cathay pacific question

I am going to be traveling from LA to Hong Kong in March and was wondering if there are similar programs like AA has where there are VIP upgrade certificates available for purchase?
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Old Feb 23, 2014, 8:28 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by breaking80
I am going to be traveling from LA to Hong Kong in March and was wondering if there are similar programs like AA has where there are VIP upgrade certificates available for purchase?
Sorry, no.
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Old Feb 23, 2014, 10:33 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Bizarre Upgrade?

Hi, just wondering if anyone can shed some light on an upgrade my girlfriend got flying HKG-SYD on 9JAN14. Here are details.......

-Ticket was issued by CX and paid for Y.
-Has no status with CX (not even signed up to the program and first time on CX)
-Checked in online the day before flight
-Went to the electronic boarding pass printer but would not accept ticket.
-Lined up, check in agent took an age, tapping away on the computer (saying nothing) Gives her the boarding pass without saying anything of the upgrade to Y+
-My girlfriend didn't even notice the upgrade until 10mins later due to not even being told anything at check in.

We are just curious as to why the upgrade was given. She arrived at the airport very early and would of been one of the first to check in. Also, she had pre-selected a special meal (if this makes any difference) and there was no equipment change. Plane was very full.

So was she just extremely lucky or is there something else in the CX upgrade world that determines who gets the upgrade? Cheers
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Old Feb 23, 2014, 11:31 pm
  #30  
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Originally Posted by midkemia
So was she just extremely lucky or is there something else in the CX upgrade world that determines who gets the upgrade? Cheers
One possible possibility could be your gf's seat was originally beside a DM / baby / elder / etc. And that party wish to be seated together with another pax, thus needing her seat.

Since your gf was travelling as a single pax, it was easier to move her around. At the same time, CX does not want to anger anyone by reseating her to a random Y seat. So since there was an availability in PEY - they chose to just op up her.
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