The Ultimate Upgrade Question thread

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Old Jun 23, 18, 4:16 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 Apr 16, 16, 12:31 am
  #421  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: BOS
Programs: AA EXP, UA 1K
Posts: 1,777
Originally Posted by G-CIVC View Post
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?
Yes, I've done so before on routes such as KUL-HKG-SFO. Only the HKG-SFO leg was upgraded from R to U.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 12:42 am
  #422  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ORD + HKG
Programs: CX Diamond, AA ExPlat, BAEC Gold, HH Diamond, Starriott Gold, Hyatt/IHG Plat, GE
Posts: 2,506
Originally Posted by dkc192 View Post
Yes, I've done so before on routes such as KUL-HKG-SFO. Only the HKG-SFO leg was upgraded from R to U.
Good to know - I'm planning on doing R to U. Wonder if you did HKG-SFO-HKG upgrade for a KUL-SFO-KUL itinerary? If that's all possible? Then I could save a bit even more using the RT discount.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 2:51 am
  #423  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 102
Hey all,

I and traveling with a family member on CX840. Right now, most of the economy seats are occupied and the premium economy cabin is almost fully taken (with 6 seats available).

We purchased more expensive flight tickets (economy core I believe) in order to get better seats. We usually buy the least expensive economy class and end up sitting in the last rows as we can only choose seats 48 hrs in advance. My question is, do we have a high chance to get an upgrade from CX to Premium Economy if PY is still available?? We purchased the tickets way in advance.

I'm a MP Green member and was once upgraded to Premium Economy even though I purchased the economy special ticket class.

And, how about my family member?? She is not a MP member but what are her chances??

Interestingly, my brother got upgraded to premium economy even though he was traveling with two other family members and is not a MP member. He also purchased the economy special ticket. Does anybody know why?

A lot of questions but I need answers, thanks!
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Old Apr 16, 16, 3:33 am
  #424  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX, UA, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Starwood
Posts: 7,114
Originally Posted by Samuel72991 View Post
Hey all,

...

We purchased more expensive flight tickets (economy core I believe) in order to get better seats. We usually buy the least expensive economy class and end up sitting in the last rows as we can only choose seats 48 hrs in advance. My question is, do we have a high chance to get an upgrade from CX to Premium Economy if PY is still available?? We purchased the tickets way in advance.

I'm a MP Green member and was once upgraded to Premium Economy even though I purchased the economy special ticket class.

And, how about my family member?? She is not a MP member but what are her chances??
The thrust of your question is this: do sub-fare classes matter in op-up priority.

The answer to your question, in the general view of this board: No

The most important factors are your status, op-up priority hierarchy and CIV ("customer intrinsic value"). CIV is only a tie-breaker within the same hierarchy level so in your case, it's basically irrelevant.

However, it's not a golden rule. A lot of times, check-in agents will be razzled, there might be some operational situations that arise, other flights could delay/cancel at last minute creating problems, or whatever, but it's totally possible for folks with zero status whatsoever to be op-upped. However, in the general view of this board, whether you buy a slightly cheaper or more expensive economy ticket would be irrelevant.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 3:27 pm
  #425  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 102
Say If they give us the upgrade

Originally Posted by QRC3288 View Post
The thrust of your question is this: do sub-fare classes matter in op-up priority.

The answer to your question, in the general view of this board: No

The most important factors are your status, op-up priority hierarchy and CIV ("customer intrinsic value"). CIV is only a tie-breaker within the same hierarchy level so in your case, it's basically irrelevant.

However, it's not a golden rule. A lot of times, check-in agents will be razzled, there might be some operational situations that arise, other flights could delay/cancel at last minute creating problems, or whatever, but it's totally possible for folks with zero status whatsoever to be op-upped. However, in the general view of this board, whether you buy a slightly cheaper or more expensive economy ticket would be irrelevant.
Usually when will I know if CX has given me an upgrade? How many days before departure?
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Old Apr 16, 16, 6:51 pm
  #426  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Singapore
Programs: JL Premier | SPG Platinum | GE, TSA-Pre
Posts: 6,627
Originally Posted by Samuel72991 View Post
Usually when will I know if CX has given me an upgrade? How many days before departure?
Probably either during check-in or most commonly when boarding at the gate.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 9:18 pm
  #427  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX, UA, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Starwood
Posts: 7,114
Originally Posted by Samuel72991 View Post
Usually when will I know if CX has given me an upgrade? How many days before departure?
Just keep it in perspective....your odds of upgrade are low single digits.

Without status your outcome is really just up to fate: is there some last minute issue they ditch the hierarchy and grab bodies to upgrade. And in that case, you've gotta cross your fingers it's you. It is not something I'd place much hope in, let alone expect unfortunately.
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Old Apr 16, 16, 11:36 pm
  #428  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver, Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong
Programs: CX-DM, Marriott Gold, Fairmont Premier
Posts: 171
Originally Posted by blum81 View Post
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.

Hi Everyone,

Looking for someone to help me answer my question before I go with my booking. Maybe my question was a bit confusing so I'll re-explain it.


Fiancee and I are looking to book a flight from YVR-HKG-MNL and return. I've received a successful upgrade from W to U class using all of my points (30,000 each for a total of 60k).

Currently I only have 33k asia miles with Marco Polo Gold Status
Fiancee, she currently has 80k asia miles Marco Polo Silver Status

I guess my question is, if I book the tickets under my Marco Polo account, will i be able to use any of her points to upgrade her?

or

Do I book the tickets under her account and risk having the priority level for the upgrade at Silver vs Gold?

In this situation, can redemption help me? I'm not really too clear on how it works but we're both in each others redemption group.

Any feedback would be much appreciate!
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Old Apr 18, 16, 8:01 am
  #429  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Programs: MP Gold; ROP Silver
Posts: 233
Originally Posted by QRC3288 View Post
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.
Well, it's past the ticketing deadline and still on "waitlist."

I called the MPC and they told me to do IU. The agent from MNL said the waitlist will fall off any moment now.

Well, here's the thing. I'm coming in from Texas via AA (single ticket btw) at 7AM. CX 897 does not operate the day I leave. Hence, check in counters do not open until 10ish for my flight 885.

So it seems that I either go straight to the OW lounge and stick with PY. Or camp out for 3 hours at the check in counters and *gamble* with IU.

There's still some unassigned seats on EF and CX.com. This R fare is such an expensive "gamble."
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Old Apr 18, 16, 9:52 am
  #430  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 104
Hi, I have a reward flight from LGW to HKG to DPS with CX in Y using Avios booked through BA. Is it possible to upgrade with more Avios or with cash and how would I go about doing this?
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Old Apr 18, 16, 3:35 pm
  #431  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX, UA, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Starwood
Posts: 7,114
Originally Posted by laura711 View Post
Hi, I have a reward flight from LGW to HKG to DPS with CX in Y using Avios booked through BA. Is it possible to upgrade with more Avios or with cash and how would I go about doing this?
1.) Not possible, sorry. It's not possible to upgrade a CX ticket with any mileage currency other than Asia Miles. Even then only cash fares are eligible (no reward tickets), only some cash fares at that (Y,B,H,K,M), and upgrades are one-class only, ie Y to PEY. CX cash tickets can also be "upgraded", fwiw, but it's generally only via paying the fare difference...which is really just like buying the premium class outright. Regardless this isn't applicable to your situation.

2.) If I misread your question, and instead it's about how to re-ticket using Avios in a higher class (ie, cancelling your Y class booking and burning Avios for a pure PEY, J or F award instead), you will need to ask that in the BA forum.
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Old Apr 18, 16, 6:00 pm
  #432  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: AA Platinum 7+ million miles
Posts: 139
I currently have an AA award for 2 pax: LAX/HGK/DPS. LAX/HKG is in J. The HKG/DPS segment is in Y. There was no J availability for that date. I've got an Award Nexus search set to notify if 2 J awards becomes available. And I understand that I must go through AA to have the J awards processed if it becomes available. My question is, if none is released, what is my upgrade priority at the gate in HKG? I paid miles for the J award. Is there any chance CX will upgrade me if there are open seats, would I have any priority or will we just be SOL?
I would have asked this in the AA forum but I think the question revolves around seating going to airport control with CX. At that point, AA is out of it.
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Old Apr 19, 16, 12:31 am
  #433  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX, UA, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Starwood
Posts: 7,114
Originally Posted by randapex View Post
I currently have an AA award for 2 pax: LAX/HGK/DPS. LAX/HKG is in J. The HKG/DPS segment is in Y. There was no J availability for that date. I've got an Award Nexus search set to notify if 2 J awards becomes available. And I understand that I must go through AA to have the J awards processed if it becomes available. My question is, if none is released, what is my upgrade priority at the gate in HKG? I paid miles for the J award. Is there any chance CX will upgrade me if there are open seats, would I have any priority or will we just be SOL?
I would have asked this in the AA forum but I think the question revolves around seating going to airport control with CX. At that point, AA is out of it.
1.) I am not sure how fast AA can change your ticket from Y to J, that's better asked in the AA forum. But if CX makes partner award inventory available at the last minute, then you can presumably get it, however that works on you contacting AA and whatnot. Even if it comes available 3 hours before the flight, if you can get AA to change your ticket to J no problem.

2.) If you are ticketed in Y though, I don't think you're getting any priority for an op-up, which I think is your question if I understand it correctly. Your priority will stand where your OW membership is and fall within the CX op-up hierarchy, which goes CX DM, then GO, then OWE, then ID passengers, then CX SL, and on down. Indeed you paid miles, but by CX's logic they probably have economy elites who paid significantly more than the contribution from your miles payment. CX certainly don't have an incentive I'm aware of to bump you up if you're ticketed Y, and AFAIK there is no special system where AA can beg for favors on behalf of their members to score CX upgrades outside the op-up priority. I would assume CX will want the revenue from AA for the higher class of service, so they're going to want you ticketed in J....otherwise, let you sit in Y and upgrade someone they deem more valuable. My guess is if you're ticketed in Y all the way, CX will see you as a ticketed Y pax, and presumably they didn't release partner award inventory for a reason (perhaps a massive oversell in Y class?). Either way, they'll follow their own op-up hierarchy. I'm not 100% sure this is just my thinking. We get a query similar to this from time to time, and I think it's on AA who presumably eats more miles from you guys than they should? Or something like that? Or maybe AA doesn't change you any more for the additional HKG-DPS leg? Something like that? I'm not too familiar with the AA rules but unfortunately I don't think CX has incentive to hook you up if you are, at the final time, ticketed in Y.

Other guys are status AA members here, perhaps they can comment.

Last edited by QRC3288; Apr 19, 16 at 12:39 am Reason: typo in final line of long paragraph
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Old Apr 19, 16, 11:20 am
  #434  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: AA Platinum 7+ million miles
Posts: 139
Thanks QRC3288. It's a single award, SEA-LAX-HGK-DPS. But you gave me a logical answer which I appreciate. The bit I wasn't thinking of was if indeed CX opens J in the last hours, to call AA. I'm OWE so I'd have a chance at the last minute but still pretty far down the food chain.
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Old Apr 25, 16, 11:15 pm
  #435  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 142
CX261 for 29th Apr is showing
F1 A1 J0 C0 D0 I0 W0 R0 E0 Y0 B0 H0 K0 M0 L0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0

Is this typical of an overbooked CX flight?

Reading this guide am wondering if it's worth turning up extra early to the airport (I'm oneworld emerald) in case there's a chance of an opup.
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