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

Old May 16, 2017, 2:37 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: lkrt
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. Same applies with upgrades to Premium Economy.

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. Premium Economy upgrade availability is in bucket F, with the above disclaimers applying similarly.

You can upgrade and review the available upgrade options at https://www.finnair.com/en/manage/upgrade.

The searches below very often show zero availability. Very few directly confirmable seats are released in particularly longhaul J. 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.

Final check most often actually takes place at approximately ~T-38 hours and you will be (most often) notified by email. In case you are denied an upgrade at this point and there is still revenue availability in J, you can contact CS which may be able to upgrade you on the spot or contact "another department" for confirmation. Furthermore, you may contact check-in desk at least in HEL, which may be able to process your upgrade.

You can check for the upgrades upon booking on the Finnair website. Each flight has a separate tab for "Upgrades", showing upgrade availability for PE and J if any exists, otherwise you will be waitlisted. Additionally, you may check your upgrade options for an already-booked flight here. EF gives you an idea of upgrade availability in the U bucket.


Upgrade-types
1. Upgrades with points
2. Upgrades with vouchers
3. Cash upgrades
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 as well as op by Iberia or Widerøe for Finnair as wetlease)
  • 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
  • It is not required to have a Finnair-issued ticket (although this has now been required according to some experiences)
Cost:
  • Northern Europe (ARN, BGO, CPH, GOT, KEF, KRK, OSL, WAW, WRO) 10,000 points one way
  • Rest of Europe, TLV 15,000 points one way
  • long haul (including DXB, DOH) 60,000 points one way
    • Previously, shorthaul connections were upgraded at the same cost but this has been discontinued as of 15JUN23. If you wish to upgrade a shorthaul feeder flight, a separate points charge will apply.
  • there have been some occasional promotions especially for short haul upgrades (winter and summer campaigns)
Process:
  • When booking, you can check for direct upgrade availability on "Upgrades" tab or by looking on Expertflyer for U bucket
  • once you have a ticketed booking, you can process your upgrade or waitlist yourself for upgrade online here
  • you may also call AY to process your upgrade at a 1000-point surcharge (does not apply to PE->J upgrades not available online)
  • 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 is one of the factors affecting your priority on the waitlist
    • 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 reserve your seat in original 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
  • When confirmed, you will receive a new e-ticket showing booking class U (or F for Premium Economy) 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 (or potentially, original booking class) 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 23kg (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 as well as op by Iberia or Widerøe for Finnair as wetlease)
  • 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 (although this has now been required according to some experiences)

Cost:
  • Northern Europe one "European" voucher for a one-way flight
  • Rest of Europe, TLV one "European" voucher for a one-way flight
  • longhaul (including DXB, DOH) 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 or vice versa by calling AY

Process:
  • When booking, you can check for direct upgrade availability on "Upgrades" tab or by looking on Expertflyer for U bucket
  • once you have a ticketed booking, you can process your upgrade or waitlist yourself for upgrade online here
  • you may also call AY to process your upgrade at a 1000-point surcharge (does not apply to PE->J upgrades not available online)
  • 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 is one of the factors affecting your priority on the waitlist
    • 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 reserve your seat in original 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 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 (or original booking class) to allow this, and your voucher expiry date must not have passed.

Perks:
  • all usual J perks like priority check-in, one additional piece of baggage (23kg), 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 on website / app
On the app as well as on the upgrade tool you can review if an upgrade is offered at a cash price. The prices vary, and reports can be seen here. The cash prices become available at 60 days prior to departure and may fluctuate in the timeframe prior to departure.

Requirements:
  • flight marketed and operated by AY (or operated by Norra or Iberia or Widerøe for Finnair (wetlease))
  • 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:
  • Check the app or the upgrade tool for cash prices (earliest 60 days prior to departure)
  • 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.

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 23kg (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 paid in cash at the airport

(Note that according to recent reports, check-in agents are in some cases only 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:
  • Only in-flight perks apply
  • Lounge access, priority security, additional checked in baggage is not extended to airport upgraders
  • 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
    • AY highest tier members (Lumos, Plats, Golds) are prioritised with the travelling party size affecting upgrade priority (i.e. if only one seat is available in J, the party will not be split)
  • 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

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

Old May 16, 2017, 2:29 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Platinum, TK Elite, AA, BA, SK, DL, NT, WB + hotels
Posts: 8,597
The Big UPGRADE Thread – all you need to know about AY upgrades

Okay, my ambitious aim is to
1) offer a bank of information about all different ways how to upgrade and how to be eligible and what to expect
2) reduce the number of threads concerning different kinds of upgrades or one-time upgrade-related questions

In the wiki post, I will write a long list about the different upgrade opportunities that AY offers and also list the requirements, costs, process and perks of these upgrades. There will be some gaps and probably some of the information will be incorrect or lacking, so I'd be happy if we could work on this together to correct and amend.

I hope that after some discussion, we could make a Wiki that we can edit when things change and that everyone can turn to with their upgrade questions, be it a first-timer on the AY forum or a veteran.

Happy J landings! ^
Cupart likes this.

Last edited by ffay005; May 16, 2017 at 2:38 pm
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Old May 16, 2017, 2:29 pm
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: HEL
Programs: AY Platinum, TK Elite, AA, BA, SK, DL, NT, WB + hotels
Posts: 8,597
(I removed the contents from here and made a Wiki post instead – easy to edit by everyone)

Last edited by ffay005; May 16, 2017 at 2:37 pm
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Old May 16, 2017, 2:45 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
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Just WOW! Thanks ffay005 for pulling all this info together!
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Old May 16, 2017, 3:04 pm
  #4  
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Many thanks for your efforts, ffay005, excellent initiative ^
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Old May 16, 2017, 3:13 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Seat 1L these days :)
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excellent idea 👍
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Old May 16, 2017, 3:29 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2014
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Are you sure the points and voucher upgrades require paid economy? Can't you upgrade X booking codes?

It could make sense to use points (or points+money) for X and then vouchers to F.
Courmisch is offline  
Old May 16, 2017, 3:37 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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I have made some formatting as well as amended some of your questions into answers. Hope that's fine!
lkrt is offline  
Old May 16, 2017, 3:49 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Helsinki-Vantaa APT, Finland
Programs: AY LUMO
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STO should be ARN.

How much is upgrade to BGO ? 7500?

SH feeder is included in 50000 points LH -upgrade.
OH-LGG is offline  
Old May 16, 2017, 3:54 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Posts: 3,150
Originally Posted by OH-LGG
STO should be ARN.

How much is upgrade to BGO ? 7500?

SH feeder is included in 50000 points LH -upgrade.
Sorry, all of those fixed. Put them just the wrong way around at first.
lkrt is offline  
Old May 16, 2017, 4:14 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
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Programs: AY Platinum, TK Elite, AA, BA, SK, DL, NT, WB + hotels
Posts: 8,597
You're welcome, guys! Let's try and make this a Sticky once we've gathered enough info to the wiki.

Originally Posted by lkrt
I have made some formatting as well as amended some of your questions into answers. Hope that's fine!
Absolutely, that's the purpose of the wiki! ^

About upgrading X tickets: I remember that at least CeruelanBlue, and someone else too, have mentioned that you can upgrade those with vouchers, but not with points. CB, if you read this, could you confirm?

OTOH, I've got an award booking which I've tried to upgrade, but it doesn't work either with points or vouchers (even if tool shows availability). However, it's not a AY+ award booking but a BA one. I've attached my AY+# to it, though, and seat assignments worked just fine (exit row €0). I should give AY a call to see if it'll work over the phone. Maybe I'll call tomorrow.
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Old May 16, 2017, 11:16 pm
  #11  
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Originally Posted by OH-LGG
STO should be ARN.?
Why, no more BMA?
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Old May 16, 2017, 11:26 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Originally Posted by WilcoRoger
Why, no more BMA?
I think BMA is always serviced by ATRs so no J and thus no upgrades.
Hartsa is offline  
Old May 16, 2017, 11:59 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Originally Posted by Hartsa
I think BMA is always serviced by ATRs so no J and thus no upgrades.
That's correct!
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Old May 17, 2017, 12:27 am
  #14  
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Originally Posted by ffay005
About upgrading X tickets: I remember that at least CeruelanBlue, and someone else too, have mentioned that you can upgrade those with vouchers, but not with points. CB, if you read this, could you confirm?
I can confirm - I had several X upgraded with vouchers. Very useful when there's no U availability but F bucket still available. I called the CS, explained the situation, she typed away and booked me. Also works even when there's no X anymore, but F is still available.
WilcoRoger is offline  
Old May 17, 2017, 12:48 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Originally Posted by OH-LGG
SH feeder is included in 50000 points LH -upgrade.
Does that always work? Or does there need to be upgrade availability on the SH segments.

I never did a LH-upgrade only SH where the northern Europe segment is also included and there AY needed to create first upgrade availability on the feeder.
Jainzar is online now  

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