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The Big UPGRADE Thread – all you need to know about AY upgrades

The Big UPGRADE Thread – all you need to know about AY upgrades

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Old Jul 20, 22, 11:11 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Steve_Hun
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General
Upgrade space is capacity controlled, separately from revenue space in J cabin. The number of seats released to the different upgrade types are driven by a number of factors, but never by the "there are unsold seats in J cabin, let's fill them" policy some other airlines employ.

Upgrades now book into fare bucket U, which is also used for business class awards. Note that availability tools such as Expertflyer etc. may or may not show correct U availability as AY tends to offer additional U availability to Plats and Lumos, and this hidden availability is not shown by non-AY affiliated availability tools.

Do note that the process of upgrades type 1,2 has dramatically changed. There is now a dedicated webpage for upgrades at https://www.finnair.com/en/business-...pgrade-renewal. The searches below very often show zero availability. Moreover, type 4 seems not to exist anymore (10/2019) but might be back when they add more features. Very few seats (if any) are published to the search tool. Instead upgrades must go on waitlist, from where a robot processes upgrades from an unknown set of parameters. A waitlisted upgrade can clear in minutes or never, and there is no way to know. Waitlisted upgrades are checked at T-59, 21, 10, 5 days, and at T-37 hours.

Check available seats before buying ticket (upgrade-types 1,2) Tool currently unavailable. Said by AY rep in OCT-2021 to be in development for new site.
Check upgrades offered via booking reference (upgrade-types 1,2,3)


Upgrade-types
1. Upgrades with points
2. Upgrades with vouchers
3. Cash upgrades (targeted and not targeted)
4. Upgrades by bidding
5. Cash upgrades at airport
6. Complimentary upgrades



Upgrades with AY+ points

Requirements:
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (operated by Norra is also eligible)
  • ticketed booking in paid economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • award flights and points+money combos are ineligible (booking class X)
    • however, some reports state that it is possible to upgrade these
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights
  • It is not required to have a Finnair-issued ticket

Cost:
  • Northern Europe (GOT, CPH, SVO, OSL, ARN, WAW, VNO, KEF, BGO) 7,500 points one way
  • Rest of Europe, DXB, TLV 10,000 points one way
  • long haul 50,000 points one way
    • as you upgrade a longhaul with points, the SH feeder upgrade will be included in the price.
  • there have been some occasional promotions especially for short haul upgrades (winter and summer campaigns)
    • Northern Europe 5,000 points, rest of Europe, DXB, TLV 7,500 points

Process:
  • you can check availability here before booking (Tool currently unavailable. Said by AY rep in OCT-2021 to be in development for new site.)
  • once you have a ticketed booking, you can process your upgrade online here
  • you may also call AY to process your upgrade
    • note that during the campaigns the campaign prices are only for self-service upgrades
  • If there is no availability, you can waitlist. A waitlisted upgrade may clear within hours of your request or up to 37 hours before STD. If it doesn't clear, after T-37 you may call AY, use the chat or go to the check-in desk at the airport and enquire about an upgrade.
    • your status will play a role in this
    • If there is no SH availability you can still upgrade the LH and waitlist the shorthaul. You'll pay the same points price even if SH does not clear though.
    • NOTE: If you wish to do Advance Seat Reservation (ASR) in Economy class, select the desired seats before waitlisting. After waitlisting it is not possible to select seats via Manage My Booking, however one can do that via Chat or Call Center.
  • if you waitlist, your points will be taken from your account immediately; if the upgrade does not clear, your points will be returned to you but you will lose any points that have expired during the waiting time
  • your points need to be valid at time of processing the request but they do not need to be valid on the day of the flight
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class U but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.
  • as an unpublished perk, you may choose to change your upgrade from a points one to a voucher one by calling AY; your points will be returned to you save for any points that may have expired
  • If you change your mind about the upgrade you may conctact CS and ask to cancel the upgrade and have points returned. There likely must be seats left in Y cabin to allow this, and your points expiry date must not have passed.

Perks:
  • Most of the J perks like priority check-in, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding. However the luggage allowance is one additional piece at 32kg (on top of your existing economy allowance).
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Upgrades with vouchers
Vouchers are given to Finnair+ members upon advancing to and retaining the platinum and gold tiers. You can see number of vouchers, their type and expiry in your Finnair+ account.

Requirements:
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (operated by Norra is also eligible)
  • ticketed booking in economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • award flights booked via AY+ are also eligible (booking class X)
  • most likely, points+money combos are eligible, too, since they book into X, but we have no verification of this
  • award flights booked via parners (eg. Avios, AAdvantage etc) are not eligible
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights
  • It is not required to have a Finnair-issued ticket

Cost:
  • Northern Europe one "European" voucher for a one-way flight
  • Rest of Europe, DXB, TLV one "European" voucher for a one-way flight
  • longhaul one "Longhaul" voucher for a one-way flight
  • LH voucher does not include upgrade for connecting shorthaul (like it does with points upgrades), SH flight requires a separate voucher/points upgrade
  • you may exchange four European vouchers for one "Longhaul" voucher by calling AY

Process:
  • you can check availability here before booking. Tool currently unavailable. Said by AY rep in OCT-2021 to be in development for new site.
  • once you have a ticketed booking, you can process your upgrade online here
  • you may also call AY to process your upgrade
  • If there is no availability, you can waitlist. A waitlisted upgrade may clear within hours of your request or up to 37 hours before STD. If it doesn't clear, after T-37 you may call AY, use the chat or go to the check-in desk at the airport and enquire about an upgrade.
    • higher tiers will be prioritized
  • if you waitlist, your voucher will be taken from your account immediately; if the upgrade does not clear, your voucher will be returned to you but you will lose any vouchers that have expired during the waiting time
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class U but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.
  • If you change your mind about the upgrade you can contact CS and ask to cancel the upgrade and have voucher returned. There likely must be seats left in Y cabin to allow this, and your voucher expiry date must not have passed.

Perks:
  • all usual J perks like priority check-in, increased baggage allowance, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Cash upgrades, offered via email / SMS / app or found under "Last minute offers"
AY will contact you about these targeted upgrade offers; you might receive an email or an SMS suggesting an upgrade at a fixed price or it can pop up in the Finnair app. You can find and report offers in this thread.
These fixed price upgrades might also be seen at the upgrade page, at earliest 4 days before take-off, under the section "Last-minute-offer". Offer can stay active on the page until as late as 2-24 hours before take-off, depending on route and availability.

Requirements:
  • Finnair selects targets for these upgrades on unknown factors
  • you might be contacted roughly 3–14 days before your flight
  • Same offer might be announced on website to all 4 days before the flight
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (or operated by Norra)
  • ticketed booking in paid economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights
  • you do not need to be a AY+ member

Cost:
Process:
  • follow the link on your email / SMS to process the upgrade
  • If no solicited offer, monitor webpage from T-4 days
  • Do not sloth if you want the upgrade, as they may send out more offers than actual seats available
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class F but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.

Perks:
  • Most of the J perks like priority check-in, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding. However the luggage allowance is one additional piece at 32kg (on top of your existing economy allowance).
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Upgrades by bidding in an auction
These upgrades are not mentioned on the new (10/2019) upgrade webpage https://www.finnair.com/en/business-...pgrade-renewal but as the page promises to add more features in the future, it is possible that it will be back.

These upgrades are called "Name your price" on the upgrade webpage.
Requirements:

  • only available on some flights; if your flight is eligible, you can follow a link from MMB
  • availability may change over time, checking again later may prove successful
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (or operated by Norra)
  • ticketed booking in paid economy (there must be a ticket number in your reservation)
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • award flights and points+money combos are ineligible (booking class X)
  • you cannot upgrade any codeshare flights

Cost:
  • you will determine the cost by committing to an amount you decide for yourself
  • there's a starting price below which you may not bid
  • AY will place your bid in one of five categories; a five-star bid has the highest odds and a one-star bid the lowest odds (and yes, FTers have placed one-star bids that have been accepted)

Process:
  • you will place your bid online following the Upgrade link in MMB
  • all bids will be put on a waitlist
  • offer is not binding, you can cancel it at any point, even after Finnair accepted the bid
  • bidding is closed 7 days before flight, and accepted bidders are notified 6-7 days before flight with a call to pay.
  • at this point, you can decide which (all, none, any) of the passengers in the reservation should be upgraded.
  • you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class F (??) but you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. However, if J is overbooked on your flight, you will be among the first pax that AY will bump back into Y. J rarely gets overbooked, though.

Perks:
  • all usual J perks like priority check-in, increased baggage allowance, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Upgrades paid in cash at the airport

(Note that check-in agents are able to process last-minute points and voucher upgrades.)

Requirements:
  • upgrades may be available for purchase at check-in
  • flight operated by AY or Norra
  • ticketed booking in economy
  • all paid economy booking classes are eligible
  • most likely AY+ & partner award flights in economy are eligible, too, though this is unconfirmed
  • the marketing carrier does not matter, so this is the only upgrade where codeshares are eligible

Cost:
  • varies, expect to pay some hundreds of euros for long haul one way

Process:
  • the upgrade will be processed and paid for at the check-in desk of the airport of departure
  • most likely the above means the airport of departure of that particular flight, so to upgrade HEL-BKK on a CPH-HEL-BKK itinerary, you would need to contact (transfer) check-in at HEL
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
  • Once you have a new ticket, your upgrade is confirmed. The odds of being bumped back into Y are close to 0 as AY will not offer these upgrades if J is overbooked

Perks:
  • in practice, priority check-in is not possible since you will be an economy passenger when choosing the queue at the airport
  • all other usual J perks like increased baggage allowance, priority security where available, lounge access, priority boarding
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)

Complimentary operational upgrades
  • usually just a new boarding pass & seat either at the gate, at check-in or even after you have boarded
  • few and far between
  • the decision whom to upgrade on a particular flight seems a bit random but is at least partially dependent on the price of your ticket, booking class and status
    • an overheard policy was AY Plats, AY Golds and then anyone else
  • in theory, all usual J perks apply but in practice this depends on when you get to know about your upgrade; if you receive the upgrade at the gate, you will have checked in and there's no time to visit the lounge etc
  • you will receive points/miles according to your original economy class booking class (this may require a retroclaim if earning on other programmes than AY+)
Print Wikipost

Old Jun 12, 22, 7:42 am
  #2116  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: SPG-P ALL/HH/IHG-D RR/NCH-G, BA/A3-G AF/ay-P, Octopus
Posts: 5,562
Originally Posted by jonivatj View Post
Is it normal that there is a delay between upgrade being cleared from waiting list and actually receiving the new ticket? I noticed about week ago that in Finnair app the ticket was updated to be J and J seat was assigned, but still no email about the new ticket. Previously when my upgrades have been successful the ticket has arrived right away, but those have always been quite close to the departure. In this case it's still T-92, I was quite surprised that the upgrade even cleared this early...
There are several reports of a) not receiving notification of upgrade and/or b) e-ticket not being properly updated and thus limbo mode. If you’re unable to do olci it’s worth calling in.
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remymartin is offline  
Old Jun 12, 22, 8:27 am
  #2117  
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Join Date: May 2011
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Originally Posted by jonivatj View Post
Is it normal that there is a delay between upgrade being cleared from waiting list and actually receiving the new ticket? ...
Yeah, this depends on what usage of "normal" we have:

It is not normal in the sense this is not the way it is supposed to work. Being cleared from waitlist and issuance of new e-ticket is supposed to be a atomic transaction.

It is normal in the sense that it seems to happen quite often.
intuition is offline  
Old Jun 14, 22, 4:35 am
  #2118  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: try to stay home
Programs: AY, M&M, BAEC ...and don t care of status anymore
Posts: 1,688
Originally Posted by EuroFlash View Post
This is what I mean, and if it is true it seems quite a flaw in the system
So we are talking about two scenarios?

Scenario 1 Upgrade clears on the spot

Scenario 2 Upgrade goes two the waitlist

I wonder that scenario 1 is possible, since AY told me that all upgrade request need to go to the waitlist first before they clear, maybe that was my missunderstanding?
Ed Size is offline  
Old Jun 14, 22, 4:47 am
  #2119  
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Perhaps that answer should be seen in the light of many routes having 0 availability? I mean if in practice almost all goes to waitlist CS might answer like that.

I am just guessing, who knows how it actually works these days...
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Old Jun 14, 22, 8:56 am
  #2120  
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: NYC
Programs: AY Plat Lumo; HH Diamond
Posts: 115
Originally Posted by Ed Size View Post
So we are talking about two scenarios?

Scenario 1 Upgrade clears on the spot

Scenario 2 Upgrade goes two the waitlist

I wonder that scenario 1 is possible, since AY told me that all upgrade request need to go to the waitlist first before they clear, maybe that was my missunderstanding?
Scenario 1 is possible. Had 2 vouchers cleared like that.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 9:38 am
  #2121  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Programs: AY, M&M, BAEC ...and don t care of status anymore
Posts: 1,688
Originally Posted by Besstrashny Boug View Post
Scenario 1 is possible. Had 2 vouchers cleared like that.
Made the same experience, but since CS told me that upgrade requests always go on the waitlist first I was a little confused, since I thought that technical, thoose vouchers go first on the waitlist and clear a little later. I also had the situation that the upgrade went through just some hours after booking.
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Ed Size is offline  
Old Jun 14, 22, 8:14 pm
  #2122  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Santa Barbara, CA, Park City, UT
Programs: AA EXP, Delta Plat, Marriott Plat,Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, IHG Plat
Posts: 681
My first booking and pleasantly surprised. Econ on points for two LAX-HEL-CDG. There was business available for 80k each too. Applied two long haul and two short haul vouchers, immediately upgraded and ticketed. $11.20 each, what we’d lose if cancelled(do the vouchers come back if expire in December but extend a year after if unused). This was for late April, I’ve got the luxury of booking a year out, typically.
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Old Jun 14, 22, 8:34 pm
  #2123  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: AY+, SK EB
Posts: 2,399
Originally Posted by Jonesdds View Post
do the vouchers come back if expire in December but extend a year after if unused
No extension. But there can be the possibility to move it to another booked flight.
Jainzar is offline  
Old Jun 15, 22, 6:52 am
  #2124  
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: NYC
Programs: AY Plat Lumo; HH Diamond
Posts: 115
Waitlisted LH voucher upgrade cleared 3 weeks before the flight in early July. No U availability was listed on AY site for that date at the time of clearance. Expert Flyer was showing 22 out of 28 seats unassigned. No notification of upgrade was sent so far (1 day since clearance). I found out because I was rechecking my reservations.
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Old Jun 15, 22, 9:13 am
  #2125  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: HEL
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Originally Posted by Besstrashny Boug View Post
Waitlisted LH voucher upgrade cleared 3 weeks before the flight in early July. No U availability was listed on AY site for that date at the time of clearance. Expert Flyer was showing 22 out of 28 seats unassigned. No notification of upgrade was sent so far (1 day since clearance). I found out because I was rechecking my reservations.
I have had U alerts in place, received notification and by the time I check U is again depleted. Had you had alerts on, you might've received an e-mail.
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remymartin is offline  
Old Jun 15, 22, 9:17 am
  #2126  
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: NYC
Programs: AY Plat Lumo; HH Diamond
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Originally Posted by remymartin View Post
I have had U alerts in place, received notification and by the time I check U is again depleted. Had you had alerts on, you might've received an e-mail.
Do you have U alerts through EF? I don't subscribe to EF, so nothing was setup... Is there are any other way?
Besstrashny Boug is offline  
Old Jun 15, 22, 9:27 am
  #2127  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: HEL
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Posts: 5,562
Originally Posted by Besstrashny Boug View Post
Do you have U alerts through EF? I don't subscribe to EF, so nothing was setup... Is there are any other way?
Yes, EF alerts through a subscription. I haven't heard of any free service that would provide the same.
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Old Jun 15, 22, 1:33 pm
  #2128  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Posts: 139
Upgrade friend with vouchers

Can I use my upgrade voucher to upgrade a travel companion even though we are not in on the same PNR?
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Old Jun 15, 22, 1:34 pm
  #2129  
 
Join Date: May 2015
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Originally Posted by Rogue1Trader View Post
Can I use my upgrade voucher to upgrade a travel companion even though we are not in on the same PNR?
Yes
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miamiflyer8 is offline  
Old Jun 17, 22, 7:13 pm
  #2130  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
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Redeposit fees

Considering booking the attached flight but if LH first becomes available 14 days out, gonna cancel. $50, right? So I’d get the difference of $50 and my taxes and fees per person, no? They seem to leave that open ended…..
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