The Ultimate Upgrade Question thread

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Old Feb 20, 19, 7:43 am   -   Wikipost
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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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Old Mar 16, 16, 8:40 pm
  #406  
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Mea culpa but I didn't expect they can sell 6 seats so close-in
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Old Mar 16, 16, 9:10 pm
  #407  
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Originally Posted by percysmith View Post
Mea culpa but I didn't expect they can sell 6 seats so close-in
Maybe OP's upgrade cleared? The number of W seats increased.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 12:11 am
  #408  
 
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Will they "break" a booking group to upgrade only one member?

My family is booked together on one booking code (all business class). The flight is showing that they will be using a 4-class 77W on my flight. Theoretically, can they upgrade me to first (I'm MP gold) and leave everyone else behind in business (everyone else is MP green). There are three of us traveling together.
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Old Mar 17, 16, 2:51 pm
  #409  
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Data point: got opup today on 807 W->J. All 9s in Y so was reasonably surprised! Will report back more later
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Old Mar 17, 16, 4:44 pm
  #410  
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
Will they "break" a booking group to upgrade only one member?

My family is booked together on one booking code (all business class). The flight is showing that they will be using a 4-class 77W on my flight. Theoretically, can they upgrade me to first (I'm MP gold) and leave everyone else behind in business (everyone else is MP green). There are three of us traveling together.
They may break a group, or they may not. I was offered op-ups by myself (at check-ins and in lounges), and was once offered op-ups for two (out of my family of 4 traveling).
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Old Mar 23, 16, 12:53 pm
  #411  
 
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Originally Posted by cxfan1960 View Post
According to the chart http://www.asiamiles.com/am/en/redeem/charts, you can only do one-way full redemption but not one-way upgrade on BA. In fact, one-way upgrades can only be done on CX & KA flights.
So I finally got the stars to align- award available on both outbound and return, showing on both BAEC and Asia Miles systems for standard awards (so it *is* OW standard availability), called in to MPC to be flat out told that the return isn't available.

Am I being given the run-around here? HUACAed but only getting through to the Philippines callcentre.
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Old Apr 6, 16, 9:56 pm
  #412  
 
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I notice that there is always one row of business seats at the back blocked.

These seats show up as occupied on the CX seat map, and blocked on expert flyer. Is there any chance these might be released to waitlisted mileage upgrade people?

I'm flying CX 885 on April 22. Booked on PY, waitlisted for mileage upgrade to business. Expertflyer shows 9 unassigned business seats + 4 blocked at the back. EF also shows first with only 1 assigned. I keep calling MPC, and they always say to wait for an email if availability pops up.
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Old Apr 7, 16, 3:30 am
  #413  
 
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
I notice that there is always one row of business seats at the back blocked.

These seats show up as occupied on the CX seat map, and blocked on expert flyer. Is there any chance these might be released to waitlisted mileage upgrade people?

I'm flying CX 885 on April 22. Booked on PY, waitlisted for mileage upgrade to business. Expertflyer shows 9 unassigned business seats + 4 blocked at the back. EF also shows first with only 1 assigned. I keep calling MPC, and they always say to wait for an email if availability pops up.
although it *often* can be useful, the seatmap is ultimately an unreliable metric. it is good for a headfake because it's sometimes a good indication of a low load...but othertimes not.

CX885 that day looks decent, but you'll just have to wait and see. It's J7 C7 D7 I5, and IME when there are <6 I fares available for sale this far out, they're not going to release J award inventory yet. Working in your favor is F seems wide open. Working against you is W is also wide open....so they don't have any urgency from below to push you into J. They're going to try their best to sell those J seats. Just sit tight. Jury is still out if CX prefers partner awards to Asia Miles upgrade awards in this situation. In principle, I darn well wish they'd prioritize AM upgrade redemptions here, but knowing CX I wouldn't put it past them to book a partner award into straight J over your redemption W-J, because CX knows they've already got your revenue in W and the incremental contribution is probably higher from the partner given the lower (30k?) Asia Miles burn to upgrade your ticket. In essence, CX can keep your cash revenue in W and get a higher incremental sale from the partner redemption in J. Overall you're more valuable, but incrementally the partner carries the weight because the Asia Miles required to go W-J is so low. This is just a theory, based on a few folks on here say they're seeing partner availability but not Asia Miles award inventory. If you happen to see the partner award redemption show up on the BA website but you don't clear your waitlist, I'd call Asia Miles and call them out on the bullshixt...I'd bet on it CX would release to you in that situation.

Put it this way, I don't think it's surprising you haven't heard yet. Y-J and J-F upgrades would be a lock at this point, but PEY-J not so much unfortunately. Just keep your fingers crossed.

Last edited by QRC3288; Apr 7, 16 at 3:38 am
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Old Apr 10, 16, 12:57 am
  #414  
 
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Question regarding using my asia mile points to upgrade. I've had two separate successful upgrades from PE Flex to Business and one companion award, but this time around I want to know if this will work.

I have two PE Flex tickets purchased for my fiancee and I and this time around I want her to upgrade with her own points and I'll use my own.

In the past I've used my own points to upgrade both of us to business, I just wanted to know if this time around the fiancee can upgrade using her own points.
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Old Apr 11, 16, 5:43 pm
  #415  
 
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Originally Posted by QRC3288 View Post
although it *often* can be useful, the seatmap is ultimately an unreliable metric. it is good for a headfake because it's sometimes a good indication of a low load...but othertimes not.

CX885 that day looks decent, but you'll just have to wait and see. It's J7 C7 D7 I5, and IME when there are <6 I fares available for sale this far out, they're not going to release J award inventory yet. Working in your favor is F seems wide open. Working against you is W is also wide open....so they don't have any urgency from below to push you into J. They're going to try their best to sell those J seats. Just sit tight. Jury is still out if CX prefers partner awards to Asia Miles upgrade awards in this situation. In principle, I darn well wish they'd prioritize AM upgrade redemptions here, but knowing CX I wouldn't put it past them to book a partner award into straight J over your redemption W-J, because CX knows they've already got your revenue in W and the incremental contribution is probably higher from the partner given the lower (30k?) Asia Miles burn to upgrade your ticket. In essence, CX can keep your cash revenue in W and get a higher incremental sale from the partner redemption in J. Overall you're more valuable, but incrementally the partner carries the weight because the Asia Miles required to go W-J is so low. This is just a theory, based on a few folks on here say they're seeing partner availability but not Asia Miles award inventory. If you happen to see the partner award redemption show up on the BA website but you don't clear your waitlist, I'd call Asia Miles and call them out on the bullshixt...I'd bet on it CX would release to you in that situation.

Put it this way, I don't think it's surprising you haven't heard yet. Y-J and J-F upgrades would be a lock at this point, but PEY-J not so much unfortunately. Just keep your fingers crossed.
Oh boy... It's 7 days till ticketing deadline and there are only 5 unassigned seats left.

Are the four blocked seats behind the entire business section reserved for crew?
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Old Apr 11, 16, 10:03 pm
  #416  
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
Oh boy... It's 7 days till ticketing deadline and there are only 5 unassigned seats left.

Are the four blocked seats behind the entire business section reserved for crew?
They are revenue seats that open up at/just before check in.
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Old Apr 12, 16, 4:57 am
  #417  
 
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
Oh boy... It's 7 days till ticketing deadline and there are only 5 unassigned seats left.

Are the four blocked seats behind the entire business section reserved for crew?
ignore the seatmap.

It's J8 I6. My bet is, there are ~6 actual seats left and anything over I fare will be an oversale. They're still going to try and sell those tickets.

Working in your favor still is 3 open F seats. Still working against you is W and Y are open (W is available for partner redemption still...); they're not under any pressure at all to "push" you up by accepting your award at the moment.

Just hang tight. I think your chances are still decent, perhaps 50% or maybe even more, but it will be a 3-5 days in advance thing.
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Old Apr 12, 16, 8:02 pm
  #418  
 
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Originally Posted by QRC3288 View Post
ignore the seatmap.

It's J8 I6. My bet is, there are ~6 actual seats left and anything over I fare will be an oversale. They're still going to try and sell those tickets.

Working in your favor still is 3 open F seats. Still working against you is W and Y are open (W is available for partner redemption still...); they're not under any pressure at all to "push" you up by accepting your award at the moment.

Just hang tight. I think your chances are still decent, perhaps 50% or maybe even more, but it will be a 3-5 days in advance thing.
Thanks for the info! Crossing my fingers!!!

I just did a mock booking and all seats *appear* taken. Although, I called the MPC, and an agent confidently said seats are still on sale. Further, I *may* still have a chance at getting an upgrade *if* I wait a couple more days. She also suggested using an Instant Upgrade if the above doesn't work.

(On a side note, I do find it interesting/ ironic that several weeks ago, my return on May 10, CX 870 was taken off sale right when business was less than half full, and PY only has 4 seats assigned. I called MPC at that time and the agent said the flight looks VERY busy with several travel agents "holding on" to seats. Someone even posted here that it looks like the flight may actually suffer being canceled. However, CX 870 went back on sale a week or two ago.)

Anyway, I guess my relevant question is whether instant upgrade actually works? From the above, it seems that the last four rows of seats (blocked on the seat map) are assigned to the airport during the last four or so days before the flight. What are the chances they sell these seats during the last four days?

If for example, I do not get my upgrade by ticketing deadline, and the "airport-controlled" seats remain unassigned/ unsold, will CX actively peddle instant upgrades?
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Old Apr 12, 16, 8:47 pm
  #419  
 
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
If for example, I do not get my upgrade by ticketing deadline, and the "airport-controlled" seats remain unassigned/ unsold, will CX actively peddle instant upgrades?
Yes. And they put IU before ID tickets. Just get to the airport early if you don't clear the waiting list. The Instant Upgrade priority is based on
1.) Status, then
2.) When you arrive at the airport and put yourself on the list. So you have an incentive to get there early if you're applying for IU.

The old waitinglist counts for nothing once it clears. It's basically then a whole new ballgame with IU. You have a decent shot but it's not guaranteed here. Just let fate play itself out.

For everything else, you're waaaay overthinking it and likely making something out of nothing. The really only tried and true way to check is use CX's internal system. Everyone else is guessing at the factors only CX knows. There's a lot of variables.
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Old Apr 15, 16, 10:54 pm
  #420  
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Can you do a mileage upgrade on only part of a married segment itinerary? E.g. CMB-HKG-LAX, can you just request AM upgrade on HKG-LAX as if you bought HKG-LAX?
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