Bids for first class?

Old May 20, 17, 12:20 pm
  #1  
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Bids for first class?

I just had a situation this morning with Virgin that has me very annoyed and I was wondering if anyone else has experienced it?

I am an Elevate Gold Member and have a flight booked next week. My friend is flying on the same flight. They are not a gold member.

Last week they told me that Virgin had sent them an email asking if they want to bid on an upgrade to first class? Today they told me their bid cleared and they were upgraded.

As a Gold member, my understanding was that we were the first to be able to upgrade and that was 24 hours prior to departure time (12 for Gold). I would still have to wait almost another day to do that.

I called the Gold member line and asked what the deal was. They said that they and only heard of this twice and that it was random and anyone can get these emails to upgrade. I asked to speak to a supervisor and the agent came back and said they spoke to 2 and they both told him the same thing, that it was random and there was nothing they can do about it.

So basically, Virgin is now offering upgrade options to random flyers and taking away the upgrade benefits for those of us who have remained loyal? When I go to try to check into my flight 24 hours in advance, I already know of 1 less seat available. I'm sure they do the bid for MCS too.

I wonder if they would charge me more to upgrade than the bid my friend put in to?

I'm not that upset about the seat, I am upset with the principle of the matter and the process. I am also upset that when I called 2 supervisors didn't feel I was worth getting on the line to speak to about it. This is the number dedicated specifically for Gold Members and my status was acknowledged. You would think they would want to hear your feedback, but I guess not.

Has anyone else been experiencing things like this post-merge?
Easttowest17 is offline  
Old May 20, 17, 1:05 pm
  #2  
 
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I booked a VX flight (on the VX website) in April with the first leg in coach. I received an email offer to bid for an upgrade to F about a week or two before the flight. I can't find the email now but I seem to recall the minimum bid was around $150. I didn't do it but I definitely considered it. I have no status on VX but I am an MVPG on AS.
Finkface is offline  
Old May 20, 17, 1:17 pm
  #3  
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Welcome to FlyerTalk.

VX has offered bid for upgrades for least two years. Originally it used third-party services (Plusgrade and SeatBoost) but now uses email solicitation.

I don't know how flights or pax are selected or if it is possible to opt in. I've not heard of it being done for MCS.

The offers require a minimum bid, about double the elite MCS>F price.

My guess is that bids are solicited on flights with lots of unsold F. If VX can entice a few F sales at double the elite upgrade price, that's OK with me.

Last edited by dayone; May 20, 17 at 2:40 pm Reason: Clarity.
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Old May 20, 17, 2:03 pm
  #4  
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@ Dayone, thank you. I have been a long time reader, but this is my first time posting.

I am ok with the fact that they do it, but I do feel a bit robbed of my benefit.

One of the benefits for Gold is to be able to upgrade 24 hours in advance, versus 12 for Silver.

In this case, I know now that I may be unable to because people are being randomly selected and given that option before me.

As a Gold member, you have the impression that you would have first dibs on upgrading.

It doesn't seem right and this isn't Priceline.

Also, last year alone I flew something like 35 segments. Not once did I receive an email to bid on an upgrade.
Easttowest17 is offline  
Old May 22, 17, 2:51 pm
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They weren't "given" the option, they had to buy it with cold hard cash.
Free upgrades are only available when seats are open....

For the record, I've received one "upgrade for sale" email this year. Just assumed it was easier a heavily undersold flight, or a marketing a/b test.
chrisrozon is offline  
Old May 23, 17, 6:04 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by chrisrozon View Post
They weren't "given" the option, they had to buy it with cold hard cash.
Free upgrades are only available when seats are open....

For the record, I've received one "upgrade for sale" email this year. Just assumed it was easier a heavily undersold flight, or a marketing a/b test.
I don't think you're aware of how VX upgrades work...

Previously, regular customers were able to pay a steeply discounted rate to upgrade, if available, 6 hours before their flight. Elevate Silver members had a 12 hour window, with Gold having 24. VX has never offered free upgrades to first. Given this, a key benefit was the ability to upgrade to a high-quality product at a steeply discounted price (in your words cold, hard cash). Now that VX is offering random strangers the ability to also upgrade for a discounted price well before this window, it highly devalues the benefit for the member - as the likelihood of seats being available are substantially lower. Back when I would fly them more often, this benefit was one of the reasons I made it a point to keep my Gold status up.
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Old May 23, 17, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by USCTrojan83 View Post
Previously, regular customers were able to pay a steeply discounted rate to upgrade, if available, 6 hours before their flight. Elevate Silver members had a 12 hour window, with Gold having 24. .... was one of the reasons I made it a point to keep my Gold status up.
Myself as well, as on quiet F flights I make a point to get in -24 for my upgrade. Also really like the free MCS on shorter segments. Still being relatively new to elevate it's one of the items I'll miss once the program is shut down next year.

Having said all of this I haven't heard much of the "pre-sold" upgrades to non-elites before and F seats seem to be available fairly often.
jimmygottfredson is offline  
Old May 23, 17, 3:23 pm
  #8  
 
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Originally Posted by USCTrojan83 View Post
I don't think you're aware of how VX upgrades work...

Previously, regular customers were able to pay a steeply discounted rate to upgrade, if available, 6 hours before their flight. Elevate Silver members had a 12 hour window, with Gold having 24. VX has never offered free upgrades to first. Given this, a key benefit was the ability to upgrade to a high-quality product at a steeply discounted price (in your words cold, hard cash). Now that VX is offering random strangers the ability to also upgrade for a discounted price well before this window, it highly devalues the benefit for the member - as the likelihood of seats being available are substantially lower. Back when I would fly them more often, this benefit was one of the reasons I made it a point to keep my Gold status up.

I stand corrected.... for some reason I thought Gold's got free first class upgrades, not just an earlier shot a buying one.

Ten points to USCTrojan83!
chrisrozon is offline  
Old Jun 7, 17, 11:57 am
  #9  
 
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I'm Gold and received the same offer on 6/3 for my flight to DC tomorrow with my non-status +1. Minimum bid was $365. F was wide open so I passed. I got my MCS upgrade this morning and upgraded both of us for an average of $320 each ($240 and $399.99).
mmaster737 is offline  
Old Jun 8, 17, 7:45 am
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The VX Elevate Gold program appears to be unraveling due to inattention from new Alaska Airlines' management.

It seems weird that they are squandering all that good will, but what do I know.
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Old Nov 22, 17, 11:38 am
  #11  
 
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Data point: flying on 11/27 ORD-SFO, scored $199 ow coach fares a few months back (Using AA miles in F on outbound) and also applied travel bank credits, so it was <100/per.

Flight currently has 3 F for sale (and seat map matches) at $1299/per.

Email received on 11/22 for offer to MCS starting at $150 or F at $310.

This will be my last VX flight, so I offered $330/per (2pax total)

If it gets accepted, I apologize in advance to any Gold's who wanted to snag t-24, but I'll let you know how it turns out.
NoLaGent is offline  
Old Nov 25, 17, 5:59 pm
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Update: An additional F seat opened for sale (making 4 total available) 2 days ago.

At just under T-49 I received the email that the upgrades have been confirmed. A 3rd other seat has been assigned, leaving only 1 left open for sale now, so either someone else bid and was accepted, or a 3rd seat just sold.

I'll enjoy what's probably my last flight in those big white seats. Thanks VX, it was a fun ride while it lasted!
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