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 Oct 4, 18, 5:58 pm
  #886  
Moderator: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Programs: MPC,CA,MU,AF
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Originally Posted by sscywong View Post
Actually I'm more interested in tiebreaker... Previously is BN, but nowadays SEC should means nothing in op-up... I always wonder if booking class matters or not... Will report later this month after I make another HKG SIN flight
Booking class probably doesn't matter. I flew HKG-SFO on subclass I last month, and was upgraded to F at the gate.
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Old Oct 4, 18, 11:20 pm
  #887  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: BOS
Programs: AA EXP, UA GLD
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Originally Posted by cxfan1960 View Post
Booking class probably doesn't matter. I flew HKG-SFO on subclass I last month, and was upgraded to F at the gate.
Yeah, I got an op-up on an AA-booked U ticket on BOS-HKG the weekend before Christmas as a (now lowly) partner OWE. I'd just switched onto the flight less than 2 days out--surprised I was able to bag a U seat when J and/or lower cabins ended up being overbooked!
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Old Oct 4, 18, 11:23 pm
  #888  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 162
It's no use, make many trips HKG->SIN->HKG for many months. Hardly any upgrades as DM and now GO.

I did Cathay Dragon PEN->HKG last weekend....some infant couple robbed my front row window seat.....they let the infant sleep on the floor and rejected the bassinet. No upgrade though I did see printed boarding cards at the boarding gate, ready for upgraded passengers.

I am doing SQ for the next 2 trips.

(Audio)
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Old Oct 8, 18, 6:01 am
  #889  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Programs: CX Macro polo Silver, AA platinum
Posts: 24
Had anyone encountered the same situation like me before?
I just realized all my op-up flights were booked directly from Cathay Pacific website, and for those flights I booked from OTA got zero op-up.
Oh yeah, there was one and only op-up flight booked from OTA because I travelled on my birthday.
So, if that Cathay Pacific/ Dragon only consider to op-up passenger who booked the ticket directly from their website instead of OTA?
BTW, I'm just a lowly silver.

Last edited by hahaboy123; Oct 8, 18 at 9:18 am
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Old Oct 8, 18, 11:17 am
  #890  
Moderator: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by hahaboy123 View Post
Had anyone encountered the same situation like me before?
I just realized all my op-up flights were booked directly from Cathay Pacific website, and for those flights I booked from OTA got zero op-up.
Oh yeah, there was one and only op-up flight booked from OTA because I travelled on my birthday.
So, if that Cathay Pacific/ Dragon only consider to op-up passenger who booked the ticket directly from their website instead of OTA?
BTW, I'm just a lowly silver.
​​​​​​
No, I got a few op-ups on tickets from my TA. However, I have been DM and now GO. Status is a very important factor.
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Old Oct 9, 18, 10:36 pm
  #891  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX DM (OWE), TK Elite (*A Gold)
Posts: 132
Originally Posted by CXFlyerBoy View Post
Flew 659 yesterday and spoke with checkin staff at HKG and was told the pecking order is

CX DM
CX GO
CX SL

ahead of OWE and OWS
I flew HKG-YVR a couple of months ago. Checked in at the same time with a colleague (different PNR) who is GO, whilst I am DM. Both travelling in I. She got upgraded to F, whilst I did not I. I was told informally on the flight told that sometimes they upgrade GO above DM - as they classify that the DMs are already loyal customers and they could potentially get more business by upgrading a GO.
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Old Oct 9, 18, 11:23 pm
  #892  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX, UA, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Starwood
Posts: 7,270
Originally Posted by beach86 View Post
I flew HKG-YVR a couple of months ago. Checked in at the same time with a colleague (different PNR) who is GO, whilst I am DM. Both travelling in I. She got upgraded to F, whilst I did not I. I was told informally on the flight told that sometimes they upgrade GO above DM - as they classify that the DMs are already loyal customers and they could potentially get more business by upgrading a GO.
wow
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Old Oct 9, 18, 11:30 pm
  #893  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Programs: BA SL, CX GR, IHG Plat
Posts: 343
Originally Posted by beach86 View Post
I flew HKG-YVR a couple of months ago. Checked in at the same time with a colleague (different PNR) who is GO, whilst I am DM. Both travelling in I. She got upgraded to F, whilst I did not I. I was told informally on the flight told that sometimes they upgrade GO above DM - as they classify that the DMs are already loyal customers and they could potentially get more business by upgrading a GO.
If the logic is to lure not-that-loyal customers to CX, they should have upgraded OW elites instead.
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Old Oct 9, 18, 11:32 pm
  #894  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX DM (OWE), TK Elite (*A Gold)
Posts: 132
Originally Posted by SLGO View Post

If the logic is to lure not-that-loyal customers to CX, they should have upgraded OW elites instead.
I agree, either way this was a jaw-dropping experience and causes me to question my loyalty. I have been DM for 2 years and never had an up-op but admittedly I fly heavy elite routes, or J or with an infant.
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Old Oct 9, 18, 11:57 pm
  #895  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ORD + HKG
Programs: CX Diamond, AA ExPlat, BAEC Gold, HH Diamond, Hyatt Explorist, Starriott Gold, GE
Posts: 2,635
Originally Posted by beach86 View Post
I flew HKG-YVR a couple of months ago. Checked in at the same time with a colleague (different PNR) who is GO, whilst I am DM. Both travelling in I. She got upgraded to F, whilst I did not I. I was told informally on the flight told that sometimes they upgrade GO above DM - as they classify that the DMs are already loyal customers and they could potentially get more business by upgrading a GO.
ACV trumped status - it is happening after all!

(I assume you did not order special meal, no special requests/notes on your itinerary)
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Old Oct 10, 18, 2:58 am
  #896  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver, Manila, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong
Programs: CX-DM, Marriott Gold, Fairmont Premier
Posts: 189
Originally Posted by beach86 View Post
I flew HKG-YVR a couple of months ago. Checked in at the same time with a colleague (different PNR) who is GO, whilst I am DM. Both travelling in I. She got upgraded to F, whilst I did not I. I was told informally on the flight told that sometimes they upgrade GO above DM - as they classify that the DMs are already loyal customers and they could potentially get more business by upgrading a GO.
Actually, I had this happen to me on my last Cathay Dragon flight from HKG to KUL.

Was chatting with the guy behind me while waiting in the MP line. We're both booked in economy. He was a GO and me a DM. He was telling me he just got upgraded to GO and has switched all of his flights from MH to CX.

He got the beep at the gate and I didn't. A bit of a WTH....
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Old Oct 10, 18, 11:28 am
  #897  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dallas and Harare
Programs: AA-EXP
Posts: 88
Hi, need some advice please. Am doing a MR on the 24th of this month with a return on the 25th that looks like this. JNB-HKG-CDG in PE with a R and W booking class. Will have about a 5 1/2 hour layover and then be on the return flight. The "manage my booking" page is offering upgrades with a bid, but I've enough Asia Miles to upgrade the round trip (70,000). Problem is that when I called Asia Miles they said milage upgrades are not available.

What should I do? Wait to see if milage upgrades go through, I filled out online request, or should I put in a minimum bid on the legs I would reluctantly want to pay for the upgrade?

I will have just gotten off a DFW-DOH-JNB flight the morning before leaving on the CX one. Wife says I'm nuts. LOL
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Old Oct 10, 18, 11:35 am
  #898  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ORD + HKG
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Originally Posted by dfwrob View Post
Hi, need some advice please. Am doing a MR on the 24th of this month with a return on the 25th that looks like this. JNB-HKG-CDG in PE with a R and W booking class. Will have about a 5 1/2 hour layover and then be on the return flight. The "manage my booking" page is offering upgrades with a bid, but I've enough Asia Miles to upgrade the round trip (70,000). Problem is that when I called Asia Miles they said milage upgrades are not available.

What should I do? Wait to see if milage upgrades go through, I filled out online request, or should I put in a minimum bid on the legs I would reluctantly want to pay for the upgrade?

I will have just gotten off a DFW-DOH-JNB flight the morning before leaving on the CX one. Wife says I'm nuts. LOL
You call them and ask them to put you on a waitlist. Bear in mind, if it clears sector by sector instead of in one go, or if it only clears at the airport (ie JNB HKG and HKG CDG clearing separately), then you will have to ticket them as two separate awards.

The upgrade bid is more than often very poor value, and it doesn't rebook you into the higher class anyway.

You wouldn't be in this scenario if you were CX DM. One more reason to flee AAdvantage like what I did
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Old Oct 10, 18, 11:49 am
  #899  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dallas and Harare
Programs: AA-EXP
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Originally Posted by G-CIVC View Post
You call them and ask them to put you on a waitlist. Bear in mind, if it clears sector by sector instead of in one go, or if it only clears at the airport (ie JNB HKG and HKG CDG clearing separately), then you will have to ticket them as two separate awards.

The upgrade bid is more than often very poor value, and it doesn't rebook you into the higher class anyway.

You wouldn't be in this scenario if you were CX DM. One more reason to flee AAdvantage like what I did
If I wasn't based In Dallas that would be very attractive to me!

You are correct. The upgrade bid is not very attractive at all. $1,100 per leg to be at the bottom of a "fair" bid. Worst case scenario was to bid on the return portion so as to get some good sleep prior to meeting up with the wife in HRE.

I'll call to ask to be waitlisted. If they clear at the airport and have to be ticketed as 2 separate awards, will that require more miles?

Thank you so much!
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Old Oct 10, 18, 5:27 pm
  #900  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Programs: CX, UA, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Starwood
Posts: 7,270
Originally Posted by dfwrob View Post
Am doing a MR on the 24th of this month with a return on the 25th that looks like this. JNB-HKG-CDG in PE with a R and W booking class. Will have about a 5 1/2 hour layover and then be on the return flight.

I will have just gotten off a DFW-DOH-JNB flight the morning before leaving on the CX one.

Wife says I'm nuts. LOL
+1 to your wife!
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