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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 Aug 6, 19, 6:48 pm   -   Wikipost
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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.

Do note that the process of upgrades type 1,2 has dramatically changed and that the searches below very often shows zero availability. There are reports the fare bucket F used to control capacity for upgrades have been removed and replaced by bucket U, controlling capacity for both awards and upgrades simultaneous. 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.

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 Aug 13, 19, 3:45 pm
  #946  
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Platinum, AA, BA, SK, DL, NT + hotels
Posts: 3,597
I spent last week in Porto. Everyone I encountered was very friendly, and spoke English surprisingly well, until I reached the AY check-in desk at OPO. Not only was the agent unfriendly, she was also completely clueless. It was a 4+ hour flight, with a scheduled arrival at 2:55 am and an expected delay of one hour (we ended up touching down only about 15–20 minutes behind schedule, though!), and I actually thought I could pay for an upgrade. Row 1 was reserved for J and availability was 4.

When I asked the agent if it's possible to pay for an upgrade to J, she looked at me as if I had two heads, or three, and after the little grey cells inside her head had accidentally popped together, she shook her head and said "No" in an unsure voice. Clearly she had no idea what I was talking about. Then I asked her: "How full is the flight?" and she replied with "Yes".

I wonder if Janica's Portuguese cousin could find some other place to work that would suit her capabilities better.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 2:39 am
  #947  
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: C2
Programs: AY Lumo, A3 Gold, TK Elite Plus
Posts: 582
Originally Posted by ffay005 View Post
When I asked the agent if it's possible to pay for an upgrade to J, she looked at me as if I had two heads, or three, and after the little grey cells inside her head had accidentally popped together, she shook her head and said "No" in an unsure voice. Clearly she had no idea what I was talking about. Then I asked her: "How full is the flight?" and she replied with "Yes".

I wonder if Janica's Portuguese cousin could find some other place to work that would suit her capabilities better.
I had a similar case at another holiday destination. When I pointed that out to AY, they started series of excuses and lies to protect the airport staff and then also the Janica making up things. It's been now approx. 7 months since I heard from them for the last time in that case, so I suppose there were no more lies to come up with, therefore they decided to ignore the whole thing.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 3:19 am
  #948  
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: MMX (CPH)
Programs: AY+ Platinum, A3*G, Eurobinus silver (!), Nordic Choice Platinum, Liberokerho GOLD
Posts: 10,251
Originally Posted by Trav1970 View Post
Or - AY could do what US carriers do as a standard practice.
....
They could, and put the final nail in the coffin for those frequent flyers who pay for J. 90% of the top tier perks are already directed to Y flyers and with unlimited free upgrades there would be absolutely no incentive for me and a few others here to stay with AY.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 6:06 am
  #949  
Ambassador: Finnair
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Plat, BA Silver, HHonors/Carlson Gold
Posts: 3,291
Originally Posted by lkrt View Post
Have you ever witnessed the curtain moving back to create more J space (on a seat map) maybe a few weeks before the flight? I have one flight coming up where J is only one row, they still have J9 availability of course, but I'm doubtful whether they will move the curtain back to accommodate for my upgrade. I know, probably not, as I remember only the curtain going forward before.
I just had this 4 weeks out, 1 row of J, all reserved with J9C9D9I9 when I entered the upgrade queue. Next day it became 3 rows of J and my upgrade was cleared. No idea if they sold more J with hard cash, though..which moves curtains in a heart beat of course.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 6:21 am
  #950  
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: ATL/MCO
Programs: SAS Silver, Finnair Gold, DL Silver Medallion
Posts: 3,132
Originally Posted by Trav1970 View Post
Or - AY could do what US carriers do as a standard practice. Due to my flying patterns, I ended up accidentally obtaining a Silver status with DL this year. More often than not with them, I have received a complementary upgrade with no questions asked. Then again, my flight times don't coincide with the busy periods for domestic North American travel, which could be one explaining factor.
It also depends on which hub you frequent

I am DL FO too and haven't got a single complimentary upgrade yet being ATL based.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 12:04 am
  #951  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Programs: AY+ Plat, A3*G
Posts: 550
Was able to upgrade HEL-LAX for 2pax using the online tool - a new in many years to me as recently always gone through wait list. It also automatically upgraded the ARN-HEL feeder as well (altogether 50k points were deducted). Flight is in approx 3 months time.
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Old Aug 17, 19, 7:51 am
  #952  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: HEL
Programs: Got a K-Plussa black! S-card remains green :D
Posts: 4,145
15 days to my LHR cruise and now I see in my app that upgrade has cleared without notifying me. A fun booked and waitlisted long ago, but finally I am ending with dumping the trip as I dont have time to DO that. Anyone up for fun to take it on 1st morning sept, PM me and I give away the tix with the name change fee. One-way though, but still
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Old Aug 17, 19, 8:03 am
  #953  
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: BA GGL, AY Platinum, IHG Spire Amb, HH Diamond
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by FFlash View Post
Anyone up for fun to take it on 1st morning sept, PM me and I give away the tix with the name change fee.
Ofc I would go but I do not think that is how ”name change” works.

What does your ticket say about transferability?
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Old Aug 17, 19, 9:28 am
  #954  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Programs: AY+, SK EB
Posts: 1,792
Originally Posted by esledo View Post


Ofc I would go but I do not think that is how ”name change” works.

What does your ticket say about transferability?
If he has a Value ticket then you can change the name to another person's name. A name correction is a different story and is AFAIK way cheaper than the 75€ name change fee.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 12:31 pm
  #955  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: HEL
Programs: AY+ Platinum (OWE), HH Diamond, SPG/Marriott Gold, AX
Posts: 134
I am currently waitlisted for upgrade on the LAX flight which appears to be fully booked in both J and Y (expertflyer showing zero availability, flight not available for purchase at AY website). I am thus mentally prepared to spend the ca 11h in Y (comfort). However, I am wondering if I should actually request CS to remove me from the upgrade waitlist and just hope for an op-up in case someone cancels their J ticket considering that Y might be overbooked?
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Old Aug 18, 19, 12:44 pm
  #956  
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Platinum, AA, BA, SK, DL, NT + hotels
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Originally Posted by Guillou View Post
I am currently waitlisted for upgrade on the LAX flight which appears to be fully booked in both J and Y (expertflyer showing zero availability, flight not available for purchase at AY website). I am thus mentally prepared to spend the ca 11h in Y (comfort). However, I am wondering if I should actually request CS to remove me from the upgrade waitlist and just hope for an op-up in case someone cancels their J ticket considering that Y might be overbooked?
I would not do that. If they need to upgrade pax, it should be evident that they start by crossing pax off the upgrade waitlist because that earns them money. And I'm sure you're not the only one on that list. So basically you risk losing your upgrade to a Basic member who will burn their hard-earned points.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 12:58 pm
  #957  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: HEL
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Originally Posted by Jainzar View Post
If he has a Value ticket then you can change the name to another person's name. A name correction is a different story and is AFAIK way cheaper than the 75€ name change fee.
I called. Yep. Light tix I have, no cure.
Value would have been 75€.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 1:06 pm
  #958  
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: HEL
Programs: AY+Plat, Accor Gold, IHG Gold, Scandic L2
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Originally Posted by Guillou View Post
I am wondering if I should actually request CS to remove me from the upgrade waitlist and just hope for an op-up in case someone cancels their J ticket considering that Y might be overbooked?
I have sometimes knowingly kept from applying for upgrade on flights that seemed likely to yield an op-up. But only when I was plainly ready to fly in Y. I would not go as far as request a cancellation of my wait-listing - is that even permitted?

On the off chance that they pay attention and See What You Are Doing, you're basically making sure that you won't get the upgrade.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 1:29 pm
  #959  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Helsinki-Vantaa APT, Finland
Programs: Fighting against AY Silver
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If there are J seats left they are targeted to Captain's wife and/or girlfriend, cabin crew family members or AY's own staff.
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Old Aug 18, 19, 2:00 pm
  #960  
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Originally Posted by Courmisch View Post
On the off chance that they pay attention and See What You Are Doing, you're basically making sure that you won't get the upgrade.
This sounds too much like a conspiracy theory to me. There could be a number of reasons why you want to cancel your waitlist. You just heard that your cousin is on the same flight in Y and want to spend time with him. Or you found a better way to use the points so you need them back. Or whatever.
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