Upgrade to IST help

Old Aug 17, 11, 8:07 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Programs: US CP, MR Gold, SPG Gold, Hyatt Plat
Posts: 439
Upgrade to IST help

Going from MCO (most likely) to IST March 2012. I have about 100k US miles, 100k Amex MR, 30k with SPG, and another 20k with Marriott (don't know if those transfer to airline miles).

My goal is to book a coach ticket with cash and then do a miles/cash upgrade. US has a 30k miles + $300 upgrade to envoy which seems like a decent deal. I've done this one time before with US from CLT - MAD on the old 767, quick and easy transaction with a discount fare. The "lay flat" bed was short for me (but I'm 6'7 so most seats will be short) and worse the crew was on the lazy side (probably an anomaly though).

Anyways my options are to fly with LH,OS,UA,AC,TK, or US. Which airline has the easiest/cheapeast upgrade options? It seems that most of these airlines only allow a 1 class upgrade but business is fine. I read the master thread on *alliance upgrades but it was from 2004 so don't know if the information is current. Any and all help would be appreciated.

Thanks
GNVGator
GNVGator is offline  
Old Aug 17, 11, 8:37 pm
  #2  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: DCA or IAD (originally DUB)
Programs: UA 1K 1.8MM, Hertz PC, Marriott Platinum/Lifetime Gold
Posts: 7,658
Originally Posted by GNVGator View Post
Going from MCO (most likely) to IST March 2012. I have about 100k US miles, 100k Amex MR, 30k with SPG, and another 20k with Marriott (don't know if those transfer to airline miles).

My goal is to book a coach ticket with cash and then do a miles/cash upgrade. US has a 30k miles + $300 upgrade to envoy which seems like a decent deal. I've done this one time before with US from CLT - MAD on the old 767, quick and easy transaction with a discount fare. The "lay flat" bed was short for me (but I'm 6'7 so most seats will be short) and worse the crew was on the lazy side (probably an anomaly though).

Anyways my options are to fly with LH,OS,UA,AC,TK, or US. Which airline has the easiest/cheapeast upgrade options? It seems that most of these airlines only allow a 1 class upgrade but business is fine. I read the master thread on *alliance upgrades but it was from 2004 so don't know if the information is current. Any and all help would be appreciated.

Thanks
GNVGator
Upgrading on any airline other than US using your DM miles means you must purchase an expensive cabbage ticket - Y or B only. That is a *A upgrade. There is a thread on the US forum about *A upgrades - suggest you read that.
UAPremExecflyer is offline  
Old Aug 17, 11, 8:53 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Florida
Programs: US CP, MR Gold, SPG Gold, Hyatt Plat
Posts: 439
Upgrading on any airline other than US using your DM miles means you must purchase an expensive cabbage ticket - Y or B only. That is a *A upgrade. There is a thread on the US forum about *A upgrades - suggest you read that


Thanks I will take a look

What about transferring Amex MR points? Questions is which of the airlines listed has the easiest/cheapest upgrade policy?
GNVGator is offline  
Old Aug 20, 11, 4:24 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 24,280
There probably aren't that many people who are well-versed in the upgrade schemes of multiple foreign airlines here who can provide you with a good comparison.

Generally, mileage upgrades are easier and cheaper on US-based carriers. I think DL is the only US carrier to fly to IST. DL requires a minimum "M" fare class to upgrade, which will likely be at least $3,000 r/t. You can transfer Amex MR points to DL Skymiles.

Other than that, you may have to do some of your own research.

Here's what I would look for, on each airline's respective FFP website or Amex/SPG:
1) How many miles to upgrade
2) Can I transfer miles into the program and what's the transfer ratio
3) Is there a minimum fare required to upgrade
4) Is there a co-pay in addition to the miles required for upgrade (common for US-based carriers other than DL), and if so, how much. Is it fixed (a la AA) or sliding based on fare class (a la CO/UA).

The gating item may be #3 for a lot of the Euro programs (and DL). A (pay) site like ExpertFlyer can help you identify how much a particular fare class will cost.

And of course something to consider is getting "close" to IST on a US-based carrier (e.g., BUD on AA, ATH on CO though it may be seasonal) and then just flying coach the rest of the way. As it relates to this, keep in mind that most if not all flights from other European gateways to IST will have European seating, which in business class generally means a regular coach seat with a few extra inches of legroom and the middle seat empty. So you'd want to minimize intra-european flying regardless of class of service -- connecting in FRA or ZRH would be better than LHR, for example.

Generally speaking, upgrading international coach tickets is not a cheap proposition. Generally $700-1500 more than the lowest available coach ticket. Many find redeeming a business class award to be a better value proposition. It should only be about 100k miles r/t in any of the major US-based FFPs.

You might also just consider purchasing Comfort Class (Premium Economy) on Turkish, which I think is supposed to be pretty good -- like old-style (mid-90s) business class.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Aug 20, 11, 11:01 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,507
Most international upgrade rewards are only good for one sector. So for example on TK, I think they would only upgrade you from JFK or ORD-IST. And you would probably have to buy an Economy Comfort ticket.
Orwaid is offline  
Old Aug 21, 11, 1:06 pm
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 24,280
Originally Posted by Orwaid View Post
Most international upgrade rewards are only good for one sector. So for example on TK, I think they would only upgrade you from JFK or ORD-IST.
Well, on TK those are the only segments you'd be flying to IST anyway on TK metal. But the point is well-taken with respect to, say, BA or LH.

And you would probably have to buy an Economy Comfort ticket.
Another valid point (should be added to my above post, and related to questions #1 & #3) -- What class of service are you allowed to upgrade to/from? I think BA only allows 1-class upgrade, so coach-to-premium economy or PE-to-business. No coach-to-business. I think VS, on the other hand, does allow coach-to-business upgrades for more miles (bypassing premium economy). AFAIK, only an issue with BA/TK/VS/AF.
ijgordon is offline  
Old Aug 21, 11, 2:26 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,204
Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
What class of service are you allowed to upgrade to/from?
For *A the rules are that you must buy a Y or B fare to upgrade to biz. They cannot be booked on codeshares, either. The upgrades are per-segment (MCO-ORD-IST would require one upgrade for MCO-ORD and another for ORD-IST) and are painfully expensive on top of having to buy the incredibly expensive fare. It is, quite frankly, a bad plan.

AFAIK neither US, UA nor AC fly their own metal to IST so that's not going to help you much.

If you do it with LH, LX or OS you'll get intra-Europe C on the onward connection and that is just glorified Y with a blocked middle seat and slightly upgraded food. Likely not worth spending the miles on that segment.

Given that you need the same award inventory as a straight C redemption for the Y->C upgrade I'd just focus on finding the award seat and redeem it. You can mix and match carriers more easily and likely spend less total money/miles.
sbm12 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: