The Ultimate Upgrade Question thread

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Old Apr 18, 15, 5:11 pm   -   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?

1. Only round-trip flights can be upgraded, so look for a pair of flights with availability (can try to check straight J redemption availability - my experience was that it was the same as upgrade availability).
2. Book and issue the BA ticket.
3. Call Asiamiles to book the upgrade.
4. Call BA HK office IMMEDIATELY to cancel the underlying revenue booking, as the upgrade booking with the same pax name as revenue booking will be automatically cancelled by BA's system within an hour or so.
5. Call Asiamiles to issue the upgrade.


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 29, 13, 5:23 am
  #1
sxc
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The Ultimate Upgrade Question thread

This thread is to add questions that commonly come up regarding upgrade on Cathay Pacific.

Please feel free to add questions to the Wikipost at the beginning for common upgrade questions.
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Old Oct 29, 13, 12:25 pm
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Great post! Might also be good to include the "upgrades" where 2 class flight is operated by a 4 class aircraft.

EDIT from sxc: This is added. Thanks for the suggestion.

Last edited by sxc; Oct 30, 13 at 1:45 am Reason: Added note this is done
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Old Oct 30, 13, 3:35 am
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very much enjoy what you're doing sxc thanks and keep it up
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Old Oct 30, 13, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by QRC3288 View Post
very much enjoy what you're doing sxc thanks and keep it up
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Old Nov 1, 13, 9:03 pm
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How Does One Secure a Intercontinental Advance Upgrade?

I'll leave it to you, sxc, to decide whether to include this in the sticky: namely, the rather convoluted process one has to go through to confirm an upgrade. In my experience, it goes like this:

1) determine the fight/date(s) you want to upgrade. (To know which ones have availability before booking, you will need KVS or something like that).

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.

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) Call telephone sales back. Have them issue the ticket.

6) Call Marco Polo/Asia Miles back. Give them the revenue ticket number against the PNR. Ask them to queue the ticket for re-issue with the upgrade(s) confirmed.

7) In about two or three days, you'll get a new ticket with the upgrade showing.

Note that if the Marco Polo Service Center tells you that the upgrade on the date/flight you wanted isn't available, and you want to change the booking to another date where the upgrade is available, you will need to go back to your telephone sales res agent and re-book. They won't help if it's a web booking -- so don't use the web if you want to upgrade in advance.
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Old Nov 26, 13, 1:44 am
  #6
sxc
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Thanks bitterroot - updated the FAQs with some details on mechanics of upgrading with asiamiles.
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Old Dec 2, 13, 3:01 am
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just a recent observation of a DM on regional flights. Based on accounts of flight with cabin sold as PE (so 3 class, J, PE, Y). the KVS looked like this, meaning decent load in J cabin and somewhat light PE and overbooked Econ.

F9 A9 J5 C5 D5 I4 W7 R7 E5 Y0 B0 H0 K0 M0 L0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0

He was initially moved to PE seat T-10 hours (we kept checking online checkin page)... T-3 hours he was subsequently moved to J cabin. According to belief of "one-class upgrade only", it would have meant entire PE pax were moved to J before my DM friend (with W7R7E5 type of load, it suggest at least 10-15 occupied paid PE pax) was able to score a "double upgrade" from Y to J. But I have different theory...

I think, strictly for purpose of op-ups whether regional/long-haul CX will look at PE and Economy as a same cabin class... so first thing they do is jiggle around and move economy DM/Golds to PE seats like they would always do... then when the entire PE+Y cabin combined together is full and requires an "op-up", they will select the lucky guy from the combined pack, treating as one large cabin. Thus a Gold in PE holding W fare would rank after DM on V-class. This also consistent with previous observation on a SYD route when DM were put straight to J class from Y cabin on a full PE/Y cabin.

Summary (awaiting other case study)
if DM is to travel on Y0 B0 H0 K0 M0 L0 V0 S0 N0 Q0 O0 type of a flight, don't bother booking PE for hoping of op-up, just force yourself in with V-class gurantee and let them pick you to sit at J ahead of others holding PE.

(this guy scored double upgrade on both inbound/outbound for his weekend getaway)
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Old Dec 2, 13, 3:29 am
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Originally Posted by fakecd View Post

I think, strictly for purpose of op-ups whether regional/long-haul CX will look at PE and Economy as a same cabin class... so first thing they do is jiggle around and move economy DM/Golds to PE seats like they would always do... then when the entire PE+Y cabin combined together is full and requires an "op-up", they will select the lucky guy from the combined pack, treating as one large cabin. Thus a Gold in PE holding W fare would rank after DM on V-class. This also consistent with previous observation on a SYD route when DM were put straight to J class from Y cabin on a full PE/Y cabin.
This probably makes sense, as it's less work to do it this way also.

However, if this was a flight sold as J/PE/Y why is there F/A class in KVS?
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Old Dec 2, 13, 5:27 am
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Originally Posted by sxc View Post
This probably makes sense, as it's less work to do it this way also.

However, if this was a flight sold as J/PE/Y why is there F/A class in KVS?
methinks F cabin would be irrelevant in looking into the whole situation if this was what OP implied. (J-F opup would still function like normal)
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Old Dec 2, 13, 6:53 am
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Originally Posted by sxc View Post
However, if this was a flight sold as J/PE/Y why is there F/A class in KVS?
sorry should have included "F" cabin but i missed it from the overall idea of referring to Y>J op ups

as kaka mentions J->F would probably follow the known protocol, i.e. the elites in J cabin holding revenue J tickets are eligible and the "upgraded" guy into J either from PE or Y will not be considered for J>F.
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Old Dec 8, 13, 5:11 pm
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ok this is new. my DM friend has upcoming flight in a week to yyz.... he has already been upgtaded in MMB website not even online checkin. is this normal. i guess flight is super iverbooked but dont have.kvs tool handy now to verify.
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Old Dec 9, 13, 5:03 am
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Originally Posted by fakecd View Post
ok this is new. my DM friend has upcoming flight in a week to yyz.... he has already been upgtaded in MMB website not even online checkin. is this normal. i guess flight is super iverbooked but dont have.kvs tool handy now to verify.
interesting....I presume he was originally in Y or PEY class?
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Old Dec 9, 13, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by QRC3288 View Post
interesting....I presume he was originally in Y or PEY class?
he was/is in V claas. i am waiting to aee the final verdict....
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Old Dec 9, 13, 4:42 pm
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The wiki has given some real cool information.. quick question though- for upgrading BA flight with Asia Miles, where do I see the miles required/upgrade chart ?
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Old Dec 9, 13, 6:50 pm
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Originally Posted by simz View Post
The wiki has given some real cool information.. quick question though- for upgrading BA flight with Asia Miles, where do I see the miles required/upgrade chart ?
I think it is now the same as would be required for an upgrade if you were on CX as per the award chart.

Before CX introduced its own premium economy and revised the award chart accordingly, there used to be a complicated formula for calculating the mileage requirements for premium economy redemptions or upgrades to or from premium economy on other carriers, but that appears not to be the case anymore.
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