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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 Dec 26, 18, 7:18 pm   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: esledo
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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.

Check available seats before buying ticket (upgrade-types 1,2)
Check upgrades offered via booking refereence (upgrade-types 1,2,4 and possibly type 3 too)

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 (note that there are faults with this tool)
  • 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 call AY and be waitlisted. A waitlisted upgrade may clear at any time – within hours of your request or at the gate or any time in between
    • 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 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.
  • 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:
  • 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 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
  • 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 call AY and be waitlisted. A waitlisted upgrade may clear at any time – within hours of your request or at the gate or any time in between
    • 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 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.
  • 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:
  • 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 by bidding in an auction
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+)
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Old Feb 21, 19, 2:56 am
  #571  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Platinum, AA, BA, SK, DL, NT + hotels
Posts: 3,368
I just bought a pack of face masks in a Narita supermarket yesterday, for use during my 28-hour Delhi day in April. I don’t know if I have the guts to really wear one, though.
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Old Feb 21, 19, 2:23 pm
  #572  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: BGO
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Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
I just bought a pack of face masks in a Narita supermarket yesterday, for use during my 28-hour Delhi day in April. I don’t know if I have the guts to really wear one, though.
With the condition in India right now I think you'd have more guts to not wear one if outside for extended time.

A real eye-opener for me, narrative of China being the worst on pollution is getting old: https://ig.ft.com/india-pollution/

Last edited by Superrman; Feb 21, 19 at 2:29 pm
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Old Feb 21, 19, 10:21 pm
  #573  
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Posts: 3,368
Oh God, what news. Thanks for the link. I guess those face masks were a better purchase than I ever thought. I'll just have to swallow my Finnishness (what are they thinking of me...).

More related to this thread: What I'm doing is visiting NYC for 6 days, flying via DEL. So I'll have one HEL-DEL-HEL Value ticket and one DEL-HEL-JFK-HEL-DEL J ticket. I upgraded one of the Value segments, and at the time both ways were available for upgrade. That was months ago and the segment that I did not upgrade has shown as upgradeable in the app ever since. So there sure is some F availability out there for grabs.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 5:58 am
  #574  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: HEL
Programs: Got a K-Plussa black! S-card remains green :D
Posts: 4,001
Another data point with my 2 shorthaul plat voucher upgrades cleared, wifes gold vouchers x2 not, neither another plat, while some other people must have been all plats then. 6 rows of J and there seemed to be open seats until checkin (I know seatmaps and sellable seats are not proof of open seats, but anyway) but then full J onboard and 95% Y loadfactor
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Old Feb 27, 19, 11:40 am
  #575  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: BA Gold, OZ Diamond, LH Silver
Posts: 190
Just another data point: Using my AY+ basic account there was no upgrade space three days ago for a HEL-NCE flight in May. Now all of a sudden 9+ upgrades available for the same flight. I wonder what happened/changed in the last couple of days that made AY go from 0 to 9+ upgrades available?
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Old Feb 27, 19, 12:11 pm
  #576  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Helsinki-Vantaa APT, Finland
Programs: AY Plus, Norwegian Reward
Posts: 3,194
Originally Posted by haapalainen View Post
Just another data point: Using my AY+ basic account there was no upgrade space three days ago for a HEL-NCE flight in May. Now all of a sudden 9+ upgrades available for the same flight. I wonder what happened/changed in the last couple of days that made AY go from 0 to 9+ upgrades available?
From which source is this +9 coming from?
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Old Feb 27, 19, 12:21 pm
  #577  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Platinum (OWE), BW Diamond
Posts: 324
Originally Posted by OH-LGG View Post
From which source is this +9 coming from?
9+ maybe not but while looking the virgin LAX route in autumn, availability was clearly shown as 9 for multiple days. Then, later on they disappeared but all upgrades within the original 9 always cleared (looking at J seats in EF), except now when more than 9 seats are taken and upgrade has spent a month in waitlist.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 12:27 pm
  #578  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Helsinki-Vantaa APT, Finland
Programs: AY Plus, Norwegian Reward
Posts: 3,194
EF availability is crap.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 1:34 pm
  #579  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: BA Gold, OZ Diamond, LH Silver
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Originally Posted by OH-LGG View Post
From which source is this +9 coming from?
In my case the online tool for checking upgrade availability only showed a tick mark but the actual tool for making the upgrade online had the number of available upgrades as 9. I believe it won't show more than that so 9 or more upgrades were available an hour ago.

And believe or not, the tool showing upgrade availability now again gives no availability for my flight! So in three days the upgrade availability went from 0 to 9+ to 0 again. At the moment me and my companion are the only ones in the 20-seat J cabin based on the seat map.
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Old Feb 27, 19, 1:58 pm
  #580  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
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Originally Posted by haapalainen View Post
In my case the online tool for checking upgrade availability only showed a tick mark but the actual tool for making the upgrade online had the number of available upgrades as 9. I believe it won't show more than that so 9 or more upgrades were available an hour ago.

And believe or not, the tool showing upgrade availability now again gives no availability for my flight! So in three days the upgrade availability went from 0 to 9+ to 0 again. At the moment me and my companion are the only ones in the 20-seat J cabin based on the seat map.
I have seen this too a couple of months ago but did not remember post the data. I was wondering the same.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 1:05 am
  #581  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: NYC,SFO
Programs: AY+ Plat, AA Plat, SPG/Marriott Plat Premier, Hyatt Explorist
Posts: 2,246
I recently waitlisted and cleared 4 SH/Europe upgrades: two for flights next month, and two for flights in August. I have noticed only 2 vouchers debited from my account (for the flights next month, presumably). My tracking period ends at the end of May.

Shouldn't I have 2 more "current" Europe upgrades pulled? Or will those not be pulled until I get a new batch of upgrade vouchers when my tracking period resets?
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Old Feb 28, 19, 1:23 am
  #582  
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Posts: 10,017
I too can confirm that the tool showed "tickmark" (ie more than 5 seats) the other day and now has X as in no seats for a certain departure.


So either a very high redemption activity or a very active rev mgmnt department, adding and removing large chunks of seats "at random".
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Old Feb 28, 19, 1:52 am
  #583  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Happened to me as well - I had been checking upgrade availability for my HEL-LHR flight for a while, suddenly rather close to the flight (maybe 1-2 weeks before) there was 9+ availability. Checked again a few hours later and they were all gone. Should have grabbed one immediately.
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Old Feb 28, 19, 2:28 am
  #584  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
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Originally Posted by aapee View Post
Happened to me as well - I had been checking upgrade availability for my HEL-LHR flight for a while, suddenly rather close to the flight (maybe 1-2 weeks before) there was 9+ availability. Checked again a few hours later and they were all gone. Should have grabbed one immediately.
I had the same around Christmas for my LHR-HEL-LHR. CS said there was a number of elites on waitlist, but then a few days before departure there suddenly was an upgrade option on the app. Which disappeared later that day. On the return leg I was keeping an eye on this, and the same thing happened - it appeared on the app for a short moment a day or so before departure. Then nothing until I got to the gate, and there it was again (a bit too late at that pointt). Weird.
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Old Mar 2, 19, 11:11 pm
  #585  
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Originally Posted by flyingeph12 View Post
I recently waitlisted and cleared 4 SH/Europe upgrades: two for flights next month, and two for flights in August. I have noticed only 2 vouchers debited from my account (for the flights next month, presumably). My tracking period ends at the end of May.

Shouldn't I have 2 more "current" Europe upgrades pulled? Or will those not be pulled until I get a new batch of upgrade vouchers when my tracking period resets?
They should grab all the required vouchers immediately when you are put on the waitlist.
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