Upgrade availability with miles in months prior to flight

Old Jan 22, 19, 1:09 am
  #1  
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Upgrade availability with miles in months prior to flight

Hello Everybody,

I booked a return ticket AMS-JFK for september. At the moment there is no upgrade availability with miles.

What is your experience? Do upgrades get available in the months prior to departure? Or is it more common that it stays the way it is.

When I look at the seat map, there should still be 16-20 seats available in Business at the moment.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 2:46 am
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Originally Posted by JasperW View Post
Hello Everybody,

I booked a return ticket AMS-JFK for september. At the moment there is no upgrade availability with miles.

What is your experience? Do upgrades get available in the months prior to departure? Or is it more common that it stays the way it is.

When I look at the seat map, there should still be 16-20 seats available in Business at the moment.
Seatmaps are not accurate because there are many people who do not pick seats, if you provide your flightnumber an date (or if you have an ExpertFlyer account yourself) I can look up the loads on your flight. In theory, with the new Flying Blue program, every seat should be available for upgrades with miles, in reality we on this forum suspect that that is not entirely true just yet. On top of that, they seem to be asking for ridiculous amounts of miles to upgrade and I suspect that that will also be the case on this particular route.
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Old Jan 22, 19, 9:50 am
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You will need an opening O class to do mileage upgrades.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 1:00 am
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Originally Posted by tbaiyun View Post
You will need an opening O class to do mileage upgrades.
And is it possible / likely that that will happen in the 8 months prior to check-in?
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Old Jan 23, 19, 5:48 am
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It remains *possible*, but it is far less likely than it would have been in the past.

Previously, award seats and upgrades were drawn from the same scarce "pool" of O seats. Once they were gone, they were gone - but coming close to departure, if there was lots of open seats in business, they may make a last-minute decision to make more seats available in "O".

Nowadays, however, every available seat can potentially become an award seat, with the "price" charged in miles going higher as demand goes up. This means that, even after all the "O" seats are gone, people can still book award seats (but at significantly higher "mileage" prices) using miles - so there is far less incentive to re-open the cheapest possible "O" bucket. There are also upgrade offers available, which may further tempt travellers to move from the economy to the business cabin.

It seems, however, that upgrades are still only possible to the limited scarce "pool" of O seats. And with more pathways for the business class cabin to fill up (ongoing award redemptions even after the cheap "O" seats are gone; upgrade offers for cash) the chances that the business cabin remains so empty close to departure that they would re-open seats at the "O" level are fewer.

I'd recommend attempting to use FB miles to redeem into business outright, rather than trying to upgrade. Buying an economy seat on a flight that allows you to upgrade would require buying almost a year in advance - such that the "O" seats are still available - but buying that far in advance, you will likely be paying a considerable premium over what that seat may eventually sell for.

It helps also if you can be flexible with your dates, i.e. to book on a different date than your original plan in order to find the best offer. Once you commit to a particular flight and date - by buying your economy ticket - you are locked in. And if there was no "O" availability at the time you bought it, it is very, very unlikely that it will open up on that exact flight in the future.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by JasperW View Post
And is it possible / likely that that will happen in the 8 months prior to check-in?
It does have a way to find opening O class.

So you will need to log into Flying Blue, then go to Earn and Spend Miles -> On Flight -> Reward Tickets -> Miles Price Estimator

Then enter the route that you need to upgrade. A personal example, YUL-CDG, requires 53000 miles lowest for a reward Biz class. Markdown this number.

And then, move to AF or KL to search reward availability. Search one-way reward ticket, and then if you found there is a flight that is showing 53000 miles required, that means this flight has available O class. Dial in and call for an upgrade.

It works but is very annoying though.
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Old Jan 31, 19, 8:26 am
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I've upgraded JFK-AMS on KL 3 weeks prior to check-in. Didn't check before if anything was available, but it was then. Good luck!
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Old Feb 1, 19, 6:48 am
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Originally Posted by r0gerthat View Post
I've upgraded JFK-AMS on KL 3 weeks prior to check-in. Didn't check before if anything was available, but it was then. Good luck!
For how many miles if I may ask?
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Old Feb 1, 19, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by tbaiyun View Post
It does have a way to find opening O class.

So you will need to log into Flying Blue, then go to Earn and Spend Miles -> On Flight -> Reward Tickets -> Miles Price Estimator

Then enter the route that you need to upgrade. A personal example, YUL-CDG, requires 53000 miles lowest for a reward Biz class. Markdown this number.

And then, move to AF or KL to search reward availability. Search one-way reward ticket, and then if you found there is a flight that is showing 53000 miles required, that means this flight has available O class. Dial in and call for an upgrade.

It works but is very annoying though.
i am not sure this is working all the time. i have a flight in Y (revenue) AMS-HKG on a date on which there is availability of O class for an award ticket (i just checked again). i have tried almost 5 times since december to check if it is possible to upgrade but i am always told there is no availibility in O class for upgrade. i also checked on expert flyer and it says there is availability for upgarde but it is working. i have tried this on 2 different dates because i modified my ticket. both had award availibility in O but no upgrade possible.
i have to mention that my complete travel is CDG-AMS, AMS- HKG, HKG-CEB( with CX). i dont know if that is affecting the upgrade possibility or not.

i think irishguy28 post is very accurate and just answered questions i had since december ^
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Old Feb 15, 19, 8:53 am
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Originally Posted by Boturham View Post
For how many miles if I may ask?
60K per ticket for 2 tickets, 120K total.
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