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 Jan 12, 18, 11:28 am
  #781  
Moderator: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Posts: 8,156
I originally felt that PEY->J op-up should be easy as there are only a few PEY seats, but I feel differently now:
* I only had very few PEY->J op-ups.
* I have been purchasing J in $ or W/R->U recently to secure a J seat lately. If everyone is thinking the same way as me, CX does not need to op-up anyone to J.
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Old Jan 12, 18, 11:35 am
  #782  
Moderator: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
 
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Originally Posted by gpia View Post
If anything, ask at the lounge what your op up chances are, and ask them to change if slim.
In the past, CX may put you at the bottom of the list if you ask, but my wife asked the check-in agent on her birthday (about 2-3 years ago) and was upgraded at the gate. My feeling was that she was already picked for birthday upgrade but CX just needed to make sure not all F seats were taken before upgrading her.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 2:58 am
  #783  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 178
I fly regularly from MEL-HKG and return, buying R or W class tickets and using points to upgrade to U, usually on the night flights CX178 and CX105. I'm a MPO Gold. Over the last 3 years as a Gold, I've been getting upgraded probably 80% of the time (out of roughly 20 flights over that 3 years). Typically the upgrade comes through about 3-4 weeks before departure, sometimes more and sometimes less.

I have a trip in two weeks' time. The Expertflyer seat maps show 19 seats empty in J on the MEL-HKG and 9 seats empty in J on the return. That's not counting the 6 seats marked as blocked. But two weeks out, my redemption upgrade still hasn't cleared. This seems strange - I'm used to the upgrade clearing 3-4 weeks out if there are even half a dozen empty seats in J. With that number of empties, I will probably just be able to upgrade at the airport, but I'm just curious as to why the system hasn't cleared it yet. Has anyone noticed redemption upgrades getting more difficult lately? Could this be a side effect of the new upgrade cash bidding system?

Last edited by lionelhutz; Jan 22, 18 at 3:04 am
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Old Jan 22, 18, 6:08 am
  #784  
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Join Date: May 2009
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Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
I have a trip in two weeks' time. The Expertflyer seat maps show 19 seats empty in J on the MEL-HKG and 9 seats empty in J on the return. That's not counting the 6 seats marked as blocked. But two weeks out, my redemption upgrade still hasn't cleared. This seems strange - I'm used to the upgrade clearing 3-4 weeks out if there are even half a dozen empty seats in J.
Anything to do w/ CNY?
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Old Jan 22, 18, 7:55 pm
  #785  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 178
Originally Posted by percysmith View Post
Anything to do w/ CNY?
Don't think so, flights are on 5 & 10 Feb, well before CNY.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 8:17 pm
  #786  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
I fly regularly from MEL-HKG and return, buying R or W class tickets and using points to upgrade to U, usually on the night flights CX178 and CX105. I'm a MPO Gold. Over the last 3 years as a Gold, I've been getting upgraded probably 80% of the time (out of roughly 20 flights over that 3 years). Typically the upgrade comes through about 3-4 weeks before departure, sometimes more and sometimes less.

I have a trip in two weeks' time. The Expertflyer seat maps show 19 seats empty in J on the MEL-HKG and 9 seats empty in J on the return. That's not counting the 6 seats marked as blocked. But two weeks out, my redemption upgrade still hasn't cleared. This seems strange - I'm used to the upgrade clearing 3-4 weeks out if there are even half a dozen empty seats in J. With that number of empties, I will probably just be able to upgrade at the airport, but I'm just curious as to why the system hasn't cleared it yet. Has anyone noticed redemption upgrades getting more difficult lately? Could this be a side effect of the new upgrade cash bidding system?
Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
Don't think so, flights are on 5 & 10 Feb, well before CNY.
Second guess...wasn't CX105 changed to 35G in the last year or so? Does the equipment change maybe have anything to do with it? Maybe slightly altered what you were familiar with? That's all I can think of, outside CX is holding seats back for some reason.
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Old Jan 22, 18, 8:24 pm
  #787  
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Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
Don't think so, flights are on 5 & 10 Feb, well before CNY.
10 Feb HKG-MEL should be pretty hot. All those parents and grandparents from HK and China.
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Old Feb 1, 18, 6:24 pm
  #788  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 24
I am Marco Polo Green member with some 200points, and with some 60k asia miles. I recently travelled from TPE to CEB via HKG. Upon check in at TPE, i was told that my HKG to CEB seat was upgraded to premium economy. Well, there was surprise I wasnt expecting. But during boarding at HKG (on the way to CEB), scanning my boarding pass resulted to an error, and I was given a new boarding pass upgrading me to Business.

Well what a delight! It was the long haul business class product. great experience, for too short a flight.
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Old Feb 4, 18, 4:01 am
  #789  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Programs: Marriott Platinum, Hilton Diamond, CX MPO DM
Posts: 86
Another data point:
MPC GO travelling with MPC SL on same PEY ticket. On SL's birthday, both got upgraded from Y to J (no PEY in aircraft). On day after SL's birthday, no upgrade, remained in PEY.
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Old Feb 4, 18, 9:58 am
  #790  
Moderator: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
 
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Originally Posted by landingpoint View Post
Another data point:
MPC GO travelling with MPC SL on same PEY ticket. On SL's birthday, both got upgraded from Y to J (no PEY in aircraft). On day after SL's birthday, no upgrade, remained in PEY.
Was that particular segment also ticketed in PEY (i.e., from PEY to J instead of Y to J)?
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Old Feb 5, 18, 12:50 am
  #791  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 178
Well, I flew on CX178 on 5 Feb. The redemption upgrade never cleared, but on check-in I used points for an instant upgrade. There were 3 spare J class seats.

PEY was also half empty on the flight, so it seems like redemption upgrades depend more on your original class being almost full, and less on the class you're upgrading to being empty. Whereas instant upgrade will be available any time there are spare seats in the class you're upgrading to. I guess that makes sense, with redemption upgrades they are shuffling pax around to make space for more revenue pax. With instant upgrades, they may as well get some value out of seats that would otherwise go empty.

Does anyone know whether instant upgrades cost less if you upgrade both legs of a return trip? By that, I mean that with redemption upgrades, upgrading MEL-HKG costs 12,500 one way or 22,500 return. Do instant upgrades also give you a "discount" if you upgrade both legs or do they just charge 12,500 each way? EDIT: Found a post by cx1960 which answers this question! Answer is yes, return discount applies! Nice!!

Last edited by lionelhutz; Feb 5, 18 at 12:59 am
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Old Feb 5, 18, 6:14 am
  #792  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Originally Posted by cxfan1960 View Post
Was that particular segment also ticketed in PEY (i.e., from PEY to J instead of Y to J)?
First segment ticketed in Y (H fare class), second segment ticketed in PEY (E fare class). At time of booking, the first segment's aircraft clearly did not have PEY available and it stayed that way till actual departure.
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Old Feb 8, 18, 6:24 am
  #793  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SIN
Programs: CX DM, SQ KF Gold
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Flew on KA760 HKG-KMG booked in I as a CX DM. Earlier that day I had noticed in MMB that my seat number had changed from 15A to 1A. Very pleasantly surprised by that. There seemed to be a few places left in the standard J cabin, and we were only 2 pax in the F cabin.

Returning tomorrow in (wh)Y, am hoping that the upgrade fairy will smile at me, alas so far no cigar...
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Old Feb 12, 18, 12:28 am
  #794  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver, Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong
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Posts: 211
Has anyone ever had an opt up from premium economy (E) to business on a long haul flight from HKG to YVR? Wasn't able to purchase a W/R class ticket this time around, and just wondering what my odds are on a check in upgrade. I've had lots of E to J upgrades within Asia flights but this will be the first time I'm flying E on a long haul.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 1:19 am
  #795  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Originally Posted by blum81 View Post
Has anyone ever had an opt up from premium economy (E) to business on a long haul flight from HKG to YVR? Wasn't able to purchase a W/R class ticket this time around, and just wondering what my odds are on a check in upgrade. I've had lots of E to J upgrades within Asia flights but this will be the first time I'm flying E on a long haul.
Iíve never had one, and I fly that route once a month. In my experience, premium is always half empty. YMMV, of course
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