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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 Feb 23, 2014, 11:55 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: LHR
Programs: BA Silver/ows, CX AsiaMiles (not even GR anymore!) missing my GO days
Posts: 1,581
Originally Posted by CanucksHKG
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.
Exactly. Although we tend to view op-ups as a frequent flyer benefit, and CX does make some effort to prioritize on that basis, don't forget that the "op" is short for "operational." At the end of the day, CX will upgrade who they need to in order to accommodate a range of requests from pax, simplify life for the ground crew and get the flight out on time.
CrazyJ82 is offline  
Old Apr 23, 2014, 4:07 am
  #32  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LHR
Programs: CX GO, BA Gold, OZ*G, IHG Spire RA
Posts: 316
No AM U/G on KA if purchased from CX website?

I purchased an H fare for KA192 (HKG>DAC) from the CX website. Ticket was sold as CX6192. After checking in at the AE station in the morning I decided I wanted to upgrade using AM. J was wide open so I didn't expect any issues. I was first denied at the KA check-in counter at HKG. They said this could not be done as the ticket was purchased from CX.

I checked again at The Wing F lounge and was initially told it does not matter where the ticket was purchased but only the fare class. As I was on an H fare I figured great.

Later the lounge person came back and told me the same thing as the check-in agent.

Is this normal? I didn't see this requirement anywhere in the T&C on the AM site.
DieselYVR is offline  
Old Apr 23, 2014, 5:21 am
  #33  
Ambassador, Hong Kong and Macau
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: HKG
Programs: Non-top tier Asia Miles member
Posts: 20,056
Originally Posted by DieselYVR
Is this normal? I didn't see this requirement anywhere in the T&C on the AM site.
https://www.asiamiles.com/am/en/redeem/charts#2

"3. Awards are not available on any codeshare flights."?

Bit of a harsh interpretation...but a compliant one.
percysmith is offline  
Old Apr 23, 2014, 9:34 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: LHR
Programs: CX GO, BA Gold, OZ*G, IHG Spire RA
Posts: 316
Thanks percysmith. I missed that one and didn't really consider it to be a codeshare but, yes, technically it is. Will make sure to book all KA flights from their website.
DieselYVR is offline  
Old May 2, 2014, 9:35 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Programs: NZ Elite
Posts: 100
One sector upgrade without a mortgage

Hello wise Cathay folk,

I have a return business trip from Auckland to London on Cathay coming up in July. of the 4 long haul sectors, 3 currently show no first class with CX254 being the exception. (CX only fly old style biz on 777-200 between HKG & AKL).

As I've heard wonderful things about CX first, I called the call center to find out how much it would be to pay the fare difference to upgrade to first from LHR to HKG on the return leg. To my surprise I was told that I would have to buy a completely new fare - for $28,000 NZD(!). For comparison this is roughly twice the price of a return Emirates first class for all 4 sectors instead of 1

Unsurprisingly I declined.

Anyway, I know in the wiki for this thread it states that it's highly unlikely to be able to pay for a 'cheap' upgrade on check in, but my question is; what about a regular priced upgrade?

I am more than willing to pay a fair price for this sector if given the opportunity, but the marginal cost of this upgrade is an absurd $17,000

Maybe I'm totally wrong in my thinking, but I thought it was worth asking.

Thanks in advance
MattNZ is offline  
Old May 2, 2014, 10:09 pm
  #36  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,377
Use points? Should only take 50,000 Asia Miles.
CanucksHKG is offline  
Old May 3, 2014, 7:28 pm
  #37  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Programs: NZ Elite
Posts: 100
Originally Posted by CanucksHKG
Use points? Should only take 50,000 Asia Miles.
Sorry should've clarified, Only joined Asia Miles recently on booking this flight so points aren't an option.

Essentially just wanted to know if cash upgrades on the day / at check in are an option at all, not just 'cheap' upgrades as per the wiki.
MattNZ is offline  
Old May 6, 2014, 1:00 pm
  #38  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: SJC
Programs: AA 2MM PLT, HH Gold, Marriott Silver
Posts: 613
Any thoughts on my chances for an upgrade? I'm a OWS (no MP status) flying SFO-HKG on the afternoon flight (879) in a few days in PE. PE has been zeroed out for a week now, so I would guess that it is oversold. This is a 747, so there are 26 PE seats. Y still shows some availability (Y4), but it's tight up front - F2J1 right now.
JHunter is offline  
Old May 12, 2014, 12:19 pm
  #39  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: SIN
Programs: JL GC | Marriott LT Silver | Global Entry | SQ Silver
Posts: 6,821
My first upgrade to Premium Economy

I was upgraded to Premium Economy today for my return flight from HKG-SIN. Flight was delayed for about 2 hours+. There were massive delays in HKG today due to weather as well as technical glitches with the toilet (so they said).

I was upgraded during boarding. First time I've ever been upgraded on a flight and this is the second time I've flown on CX (first time was from SIN-HKG just a few days before). When the scanner beeped red, I kinda panicked.... The staff gave me a new ticket which read Premium Economy.

I'm guessing flight was oversold? I'm only a normal Asia Miles member. The SEQ number on the ticket reads 90.
lcpteck is offline  
Old May 13, 2014, 4:48 pm
  #40  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Programs: CX Silver
Posts: 88
Hi everyone. Me and my fiance will be on our honeymoon in Aug. I have booked a return flight from HK to LAX on PEY with R fare for 8/24/14. I've requested to be upgraded to business, however, are being placed on the waitlist in the mean time. I checked and it seems business are all wide open... any reason they cannot accommodate the upgrade now? Also, what would be my chances of getting the upgrade cleared?

TIA
tchen811 is offline  
Old May 13, 2014, 11:01 pm
  #41  
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,377
Originally Posted by tchen811
Hi everyone. Me and my fiance will be on our honeymoon in Aug. I have booked a return flight from HK to LAX on PEY with R fare for 8/24/14. I've requested to be upgraded to business, however, are being placed on the waitlist in the mean time. I checked and it seems business are all wide open... any reason they cannot accommodate the upgrade now? Also, what would be my chances of getting the upgrade cleared?

TIA
Why?
Simple, because CX thinks they can still sell the revenue tickets with over 3 months left.

Plus, end of August + HKGLAX = you might be faced with school kids returning back to school after a summer in HK/Asia.
CanucksHKG is offline  
Old May 15, 2014, 4:50 am
  #42  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: CX GO (in hibernation mode), AA EXP, SPG GO, HH DM
Posts: 316
Originally Posted by tchen811
Hi everyone. Me and my fiance will be on our honeymoon in Aug. I have booked a return flight from HK to LAX on PEY with R fare for 8/24/14. I've requested to be upgraded to business, however, are being placed on the waitlist in the mean time. I checked and it seems business are all wide open... any reason they cannot accommodate the upgrade now? Also, what would be my chances of getting the upgrade cleared?

TIA
most flights to/from LAX have J class pretty much filled. reason why they won't grant you the upgrade right now is exactly what canuckshkg has stated in that they believe they can sell the ticket to last minute travelers. you need to remember that J class tickets and up are what create profits for CX so there's not incentive for them to grant you the upgrade so far out in advance.
dek526 is offline  
Old May 17, 2014, 8:55 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,593
Can I upgrade from J to F using CX miles and still have my AA miles EQM credited ?
CGRA is offline  
Old May 27, 2014, 12:03 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 1
Upgrading to PE

Im flying to Perth via Hong Kong, arriving on BA and dep on CX, can i purchase an upgrade to PE, and any idea of how much this will be?

Thanks,

Sam
smelnyczuk is offline  
Old May 27, 2014, 4:47 pm
  #45  
sxc
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Posts: 10,780
Originally Posted by smelnyczuk
Im flying to Perth via Hong Kong, arriving on BA and dep on CX, can i purchase an upgrade to PE, and any idea of how much this will be?

Thanks,

Sam
As per the wiki at the top of the page:

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
.
sxc is offline  

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