Optiontown.com paid upgrades on SAS

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Old Jul 8, 15, 1:17 am   -   Wikipost
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Optiontown - Upgrade on SK flights
SAS Scandinavian Airlines offers, via partner Optiontown, all customers the opportunity to purchase an upgrade on SK operated flights, which will be confirmed 72-24 hours prior to departure, pending on seat availability.

SAS Go passengers can purchase an upgrade to SAS Plus on all flights and to SAS Business class on SASís intercontinental flights between Scandinavia, the US and Asia, while SAS Plus passengers also can buy an upgrade to SAS Business class on intercontinental flights.
Booking class Europe: A (SAS Plus)
Booking classes Intercontinental: Z (Business) and P (SAS Plus)
Note: All upgrades will be handled by Optiontown.
Contact to Optiontown

Phone: UK +44 (0) 203 371 7854
E-mail: [email protected]
Homepage: www.optiontown.com
Upgrade fees

Intercontinental flights:
Upgrade fees will range between EUR140 and EUR900, depending on availability, destination and service class.
European flights:
Upgrade fees will range between EUR30 and EUR75, depending on availability, destination and service class.
Sign up fee Optiontown

EUR 1 (one) for short haul flights
EUR 5 (five) for long haul flights.
Sign up fee is not refundable.
Note: During the period 10JUN15-31AUG15, no sign up fee will be charged.
Reservation

All upgraded PNRs will be updated with and include OS SK OPTIONTOWN UPGRADE.
Reservation for non 117-documents (only applicable on long haul flights)

Reservations for non 117-documents will be updated by Optiontown with the following information:

OS SK UTO
SR CKIN SK KK. ATTN CHECK-IN. UTO PSGR. PLS UPGRADE TO (CLASS) ACC TO PROC ON SKXXX (DATE), UPG ALREADY PAID BRGDS REV MNGT.
Note: Tickets will not be reissued and upgrade will take place at check-in counter.
Rebooking
If the passenger wants to rebook a flight with confirmed upgrade via Optiontown, always use the original ticket fare, found in TWD, to calculate the fare difference.
Change fee must be collected if applicable for the original ticket.

Refund

After requesting upgrade it is not possible to change or cancel the upgrade request.
Upgrade amount is not refundable.

If the passengers upgrade request is not successful, the upgrade fee will be refunded.
Optiontown must be contacted for refund.
Restrictions

Upgrade of the following passengers cannot be performed:

Travel Pass passengers
Groups (booking class G)
Passengers holding award tickets (booking classes I and X)
ID-passengers (booking classes R and N)

Irregularity

Rebooking procedures for passengers with an upgrade, affected by irregularity:

Rebooking to other SK-flight
If the same booking class as passenger was upgraded to is available - rebook the passenger in the upgraded booking class.
If the same booking class as passenger was upgraded to is not available - rebook the passenger in the same service class as originally booked and refund the upgrade.
Rebooking to other airline
Rebook the passenger in the same service class as originally booked and refund the upgrade.

Note: In case of refund in above cases, the passenger himself must contact Optiontown and request refund.
Benefits

The upgraded passenger is entitled to:

Baggage allowance according to the new class
Star Alliance Priority tag
SAS Business check-in
Fast Track security
SAS Lounge access
EuroBonus points earned according to the new class
Onboard service according to the new class

Passenger process

Passenger makes a reservation on an SAS operated flight. Reservation must be confirmed.
Passenger logs onto www.optiontown.com, creates an account and enters credit card info.
Passenger can register the upgrade request immediately after reservation is made
Sign-up must be made latest 36 hours before departure

Optiontown selects the passengers to be upgraded according to conditions set forth by SAS

If there are seats available and the upgrade request is successful, the upgrade will be confirmed 72-24 hours prior to departure.
Updated 03JUL15 08.57
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Old Jun 16, 10, 12:47 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Programs: SAS Diamond, Hilton Diamond, IHG RA Spire
Posts: 406
I might be wrong, but in my experience, Optiontown upgrades are only given in situations where SAS would be likely to hand out free upgrades due to an oversold flight or oversold in certain classes. In your case, Economy was probably oversold, but not by so many that it would fill up the whole Economy Extra section, thus force furhter upgrades to Business Class, and you were therefore only upgraded to Economy Extra.

I simply can't believe that SAS would hand over the preflight Flight Manager control function to some outsourced company. SAS most likely informs Optiontown that they can uprade a certain number of pax at a given date, to which they comply in accordance to an agreed upgrade formula (EBG priority or first come, first served?). In any case, I'm pretty sure there has to be a case of overselling seats, otherwise it would undermine the whole Economy Extra/Business Class concept, with people just buying the cheaper Optiontown option.

Today, I would have been upgraded to C-class on ARN-ORD if I had paid the extra 400 EUR to Optiontown in advance, but I didn't, so instead I got it for free as an op-up
ILS2 is offline  
Old Jun 16, 10, 1:16 am
  #62  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Tampere
Programs: BA EC Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 2,997
Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV
About 6 weeks prior I purchased upgrade options from E to E+. About 2 weeks ago, they blasted me with emails to upgrade further to C ... The price was right, so I paid the incremental amount required, over my initial deposit made for upgrades to E+.
OK, the situation is clear, I suppose. Out of curiosity, how many e-mails constitutes 'blasted'? And just because it's persistent, or even high-pressure, doesn't make it a scam.

Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV
1) I'm a native English speaker, yet EVERY time I speak w/ an OT rep, I only understand about 10% of what they say. It is maddening to have to ask them to repeat and slow down, and even that doesn't help.
EVERY time I have spoken with OT on the phone, the agent's English has been flawless.

Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV
2) I get the distinct impression that OT reps work from home, because I always hear kitchen and family noises in the background. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it only makes understanding them more difficult.
EVERY time I have spoken with OT on the phone, there has been no discernible background noise at all.

Actually, I have only spoken with OT on the phone once -- but as sweeping generalisations go, mine are just as valid as yours.

Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV
3) They would give me no explanation for why I didn't get the upgrade from E+ to C, insisting that upgrade decisions were entirely their prerogative to award, according to criteria that was private and proprietary.
Which is, of course, entirely correct.

Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV
4) In the end I felt I'd been scammed to fork over the additional E+ to C deposit and service fees, when there was little chance of getting the upgrade. And I paid the service fees twice, once for each request.
Say what? How do you know that there was 'little chance'? Just because you were unsuccessful is no evidence that there was little chance from the beginning. Scammed? You said that you were offered the possibility, you believed that the price was right and you spent your money. Sounds like an 'eyes wide open' purchase decision to me. And, after all, what is the OT service fee? Six euros? What is that as a percentage of the total costs involved in your trip?

It's understandable that you're disappointed at not getting the upgrade to C that you hoped for. But you chose to play the OT game, which, necessarily, follows the OT rules. You took a small gamble and, this time, you lost. You have no complaint.

cheers,

Henry
henry999 is offline  
Old Jun 16, 10, 1:21 am
  #63  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Tampere
Programs: BA EC Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 2,997
Originally Posted by ILS2
Today, I would have been upgraded to C-class on ARN-ORD if I had paid the extra 400 EUR to Optiontown in advance, but I didn't, so instead I got it for free as an op-up
Exactly what happened to Mrs999 and me in February, on ARN-EWR.

cheers,

Henry
henry999 is offline  
Old Jun 17, 10, 9:06 am
  #64  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 299
Originally Posted by ILS2 View Post
I simply can't believe that SAS would hand over the preflight Flight Manager control function to some outsourced company. SAS most likely informs Optiontown that they can uprade a certain number of pax at a given date, to which they comply in accordance to an agreed upgrade formula (EBG priority or first come, first served?). In any case, I'm pretty sure there has to be a case of overselling seats, otherwise it would undermine the whole Economy Extra/Business Class concept, with people just buying the cheaper Optiontown option.
This was my first use of Optiontown, and I'm coming to see that it works a little differently than more standard airline upgrade procedures. I assumed, incorrectly, that if there was a Business seat available on the day of departure (and there were lots on the outbound), SAS would automatically release the seat to OT, which would assign it to one of their paid requestors. I realize now that OT is just a sanctioned 3rd-party clearing house for unused inventory- inventory which SAS may or may not choose to release for re-sale.

I also now understand that OT must use a proprietary algorithm- based on date of request, and amount paid- to decide when and to whom to award an upgrade. In response to Henry999's post, the feeling that I'd been a little (not a lot) hustled, arose from the fact that they sent me emails every 3 days or so announcing "High Probability!" of an upgrade, when I could see on Expert Flyer that there were no seats available on the return leg. And I didn't bite.

Then they called me and offered a price for the upgrade, which I deemed too high. Checking with his supervisor, my agent came back with a slightly lower price. It was now beginning to feel like a car-buying negotiation, especially after they asked "what will it take for you to drive away in this beauty (buy this upgrade option) today?" Realizing that we were now just posting bid-asks to each other in an auction market, I offered a still lower price, which- after checking with the supervisor- they accepted.

Of course OT would prefer to have my money and service fees in their bank rather than in mine. My eyes were wide-open about this, and I wasn't really "scammed". But in hindsight, I think they were just a tad disingenuous about hard-selling an upgrade option which didn't have much probability of exercise (EF showing 0 seats available on the return). It's also possible that, according to their algorithms, the price I paid was too low to have much probability of exercise. But the more option premiums they have in the bank, the more profitable they are, so it's in their interests to sell as much premium as they can. From the buyer's point of view, it's a nearly free option, which is one of the reasons I bought it.

This was my first time using OT, and as with trading in any market, one has to know how the market works, and what the underlying forces, and rules for executing trades, are. When the parameters aren't completely transparent, one has to intuit them from observing the way the market works in real-time. Every failed trade opens one's eyes a little more.
Alfonso XIV is offline  
Old Jun 17, 10, 12:25 pm
  #65  
jth
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: ARN/STO
Programs: SK EBS, BAEC blue, SPG
Posts: 586
Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV View Post
I assumed, incorrectly, that if there was a Business seat available on the day of departure (and there were lots on the outbound), SAS would automatically release the seat to OT, which would assign it to one of their paid requestors.
I think, this assumption is not uncommon for those who based on earlier posts in this thread. It's an impression that comes naturally when reading their ads. But the conclusions we have posted in this thread is quite good, i think. There won't be any upgrades unless there is an overselling situation. OT themselves are (deliberately?) very vague about this, and there is no mention of the actual conditions on how upgrades are determined. As you say, they want to sell as many upgrades as possible and cash in 5 euros each, so it is certainly to their interest to make people believe an upgrade is very likely at all times.

Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV View Post
I also now understand that OT must use a proprietary algorithm- based on date of request, and amount paid- to decide when and to whom to award an upgrade.
There might be several factors included, as well as a random factor just to encourage people. I am not sure date of request is a deciding factor, but the amount paid might be. For example, If they already have 10 people on their upgrade list who paid 200 euro each and the forecasted load makes about 5-10 upgrades likely, they can slash the upgrade price to say 100 euro close before departure (as they did with you), knowing that they get more people to sign up, they will probably do so. Of course, none of the 100 euro paying people will get any upgrade, they will go to those who already paid more.

Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV View Post
This was my first time using OT, and as with trading in any market, one has to know how the market works, and what the underlying forces, and rules for executing trades, are. When the parameters aren't completely transparent, one has to intuit them from observing the way the market works in real-time. Every failed trade opens one's eyes a little more.
This is a good analysis. This market is quite obfuscated, as OT doesnt really want to tell us about the underlying factors (as i wrote above). This is why forums and threads like these are really good. We can use our collective experiences to increase our knowledge of the market, and thus making more informed decisions (which gives us a bit of an edge )

I have an upcoming flight to PEK late July and i have monitored OT for a while (but not bought anything yet). For a few weeks now, the "high upgrade chance" have been blinking, and today i got my first mail. Loads are building up on both outbound and return flights, economy in cheaper classes are sold out, just E/H/M left. So it seems they anticipate full flights, i think the "high chance" starts flashing if the load in the cabin is over a certain threshold. After all, i have no idea of knowing how high it is. 50%? 99% ?
Prices have not changed yet , though. I will proably sign up for economy extra in a few weeks or so. Will be interesting to see if they start calling me after that and tries to sell me cheaper business upgrades...
jth is offline  
Old Jun 18, 10, 11:35 am
  #66  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: DCA
Programs: SK*S OZ*G
Posts: 589
Interesting discussion, especially the last few posts. To me, I'm not so interested in the upgraded service, but view this more as a cheap mileage run, especially when short on status points to renew EBG. According to many of the posts on the first page of this thread, you earn points for the upgraded class. However, I just looked on OptionTown's site and it makes no mention of it (and it seems like a fact worth mentioning if it were true). Is it still the case that if you use OT to upgrade, you get points for the upgraded class? I haven't used OT yet.
jfidler is offline  
Old Jun 18, 10, 12:37 pm
  #67  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Programs: SAS Diamond, Hilton Diamond, IHG RA Spire
Posts: 406
Originally Posted by jfidler View Post
Is it still the case that if you use OT to upgrade, you get points for the upgraded class?
Yes.
ILS2 is offline  
Old Jun 18, 10, 12:44 pm
  #68  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 348
Optiontown works perfectly with Air Baltic, except I wonder if prices are not a little raised for returning customers. So I suspect any problems using it with other companies (here SAS) come from these companies.
vilntrav is offline  
Old Jun 20, 10, 3:55 pm
  #69  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Programs: AA EXP (2MM), SAS EBG
Posts: 1,196
Originally Posted by Alfonso XIV View Post
I also now understand that OT must use a proprietary algorithm- based on date of request, and amount paid- to decide when and to whom to award an upgrade. In response to Henry999's post, the feeling that I'd been a little (not a lot) hustled, arose from the fact that they sent me emails every 3 days or so announcing "High Probability!" of an upgrade, when I could see on Expert Flyer that there were no seats available on the return leg. And I didn't bite.
The fact that ExpertFlyer showed business class completely zeroed out does NOT mean that business class was completely sold out (even though it may have been the case). The flight could have been so overbooked in M and Y that SAS didn't dare to sell more seats due to IDB.

This situation is the optimal case for OT/SK as they can sell the upgrades for money rather than points (or giving them away for free).

This is probably a reason why there seem to be more upgrades from M to Y.
GetAA81Back2ARN is offline  
Old Jun 20, 10, 3:58 pm
  #70  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Programs: AA EXP (2MM), SAS EBG
Posts: 1,196
Which booking class / fare class is OT tickets booked into? Is it always B and Z, or does it vary depending on the situation?

If it is B and Z I assume they must be given access to special inventory released just for them. Well, that may be the case in all situations...
GetAA81Back2ARN is offline  
Old Jun 21, 10, 8:07 am
  #71  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: KRS
Programs: EBG
Posts: 215
I am a first time optiontown user, and here is my experience so far...

I'm flying CPH-EWR on Saturday (in 5 days) and just got my updated e-ticket issued from ETICKET-DENMARK. Upgraded from B fare to Z fare. Paid Optiontown 272 euros ($350) about 3 weeks ago. Seatcounter has had my flight sold out in all classes for over a week now.

Last edited by KroFlyer; Jun 21, 10 at 8:16 am Reason: answered my own question...
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Old Jun 21, 10, 5:48 pm
  #72  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Central NJ USA
Posts: 69
We departed Newark NJ on 6/11 and returned today 6/21. We purchased optiontown upgrades from Economy to Economy Plus and we upgraded on both flights. Both EP and Economy we full on both legs. We were pleased. We paid $250 each leg, so it cost us $2000 for the economy rt and then an additional $1000 for the upgrade to EP. Service was good, and so was the food.
I received 966 points on CO for the one way flight on 6/11, 6/21 not posted yet. I used my CO FF number instead of SAS...

Last edited by Shoes99; Jun 22, 10 at 4:14 am
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Old Jun 22, 10, 6:19 am
  #73  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Sweden
Programs: TK M&S Elite (*G), SK EB Silver, various more or less shiny hotel cards
Posts: 986
Originally Posted by Shoes99 View Post
We departed Newark NJ on 6/11 and returned today 6/21. We purchased optiontown upgrades from Economy to Economy Plus and we upgraded on both flights. Both EP and Economy we full on both legs. We were pleased. We paid $250 each leg, so it cost us $2000 for the economy rt and then an additional $1000 for the upgrade to EP. Service was good, and so was the food.
I received 966 points on CO for the one way flight on 6/11, 6/21 not posted yet. I used my CO FF number instead of SAS...
So, CO gave you points only for the original booking class (25%). The experience in this forum has been that with EB, you will earn SK EB points for the upgraded class. Do you have any paperwork showing the booking class for your upgraded ticket? (Y,S,B?) In that case, you could refer to http://www.continental.com/CMS/en-US...spx?ItemId=317 and ask for more miles.
tourist is offline  
Old Jun 22, 10, 10:02 am
  #74  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Central NJ USA
Posts: 69
Originally Posted by tourist View Post
So, CO gave you points only for the original booking class (25%). The experience in this forum has been that with EB, you will earn SK EB points for the upgraded class. Do you have any paperwork showing the booking class for your upgraded ticket? (Y,S,B?) In that case, you could refer to http://www.continental.com/CMS/en-US...spx?ItemId=317 and ask for more miles.
I have my boarding passes for both flights, I'll research and contact CO.
Thanks
Michele
Shoes99 is offline  
Old Jun 27, 10, 1:42 am
  #75  
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: GOT
Programs: BA GGL/CCR; SK EBG; Hilton Diamond, A-Club Platinum, SPG Gold
Posts: 1,642
I normally ask the ticket office or lounge to print my itinerary, which will show the new fare basis of that segment. That way you have the BP and the fare basis so should be no problem getting additional miles.

Note - other airlines do not credit the same as SAS for a booking class, so that may be an issue, i.e. /Z/ does not always get a business bonus.

Mark
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