How to Get a British Airway Upgrade


British Airways is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. In the last century, the airline has managed to claim a position in the top tires of the airline industry. With excellent customer satisfaction and excellent service, the airline continues to attract more customers every year.

Among us, there are many who had and is wishing to travel in the British Airways Business class or first class.  While there are many ways to to get upgrades to the upper travel cabins, there are a few unique ways that work particularly for the British Airways flights.

There are two ways by which you get get a flight upgrade with British Airways. The first is to pay cash for an upgrade offer or use Avios Points. Avios is the currency that can be collected while traveling with British Airways or the other member airlines. You can obtain the points also by hotels and other expenses.

Either method you choose, you first have to make sure that there are chances for you to get an upgrade.  

 

Your Chances are Less If

Your Chances are Less If

Like we mentioned, there are a few things that can keep you away from getting an upgrade. It is best to know these before you consider an upgrade.

In most cases, the airline prefers that you make the booking directly with BA, or using the British Airways stock. This means that your ticket reference would start with the digits 125. Usually, it would be something like 123-12345678910.

An upgrade is almost impossible if

  • The ticket was issued by any other airline.
  • The ticket falls into a special group of economy fare class like the O, G or Q.

If you are doing the upgrade with Avios, the option is available only online, preferably at least 24 hours in advance. You cannot do an Avios upgrade at the airport at any cost.

If you have booked flights with BA, then there is a way that you can also upgrade an Iberia or America Airlines flight. Similarly, you can upgrade a BA flight booked with American too. This could be done only by using the currency of the particular airline. For instance, you can upgrade British Airways flights via American Airlines, and you can use only American AAdvantage miles to pay. Similarly, if you booked American Airlines with British Airways, you will have to use Avios to upgrade.

 

Upgrades that You can and Cannot Get

Upgrades that You can and Cannot Get

Every Airline has its specific set of rules for allowing upgrades. British Airways too, has its own conditions for allowing passengers to be eligible for upgrades. In one cabin itself, the fare of flight tickets would vary. Irrespective of the fair, the seats of all cabins are qualified for an upgrade excluding the O, G and Q numbers in the economy.

These are the main conditions that British Airways needs passengers to fulfill to receive an upgrade.

 

  • You can only upgrade to the next tier of the cabin. For example, you can upgrade from economy to premium economy, the premium to business, and from business to first class.
  • You can use Avios only to upgrade for a seat using Avios itself is available in the next cabin.
  • If you are upgrading with cash, you can do it when a seat is available for upgrade on a sale.

Remember that all airlines are bound by taxes. So if you are moving from economy to premium cabins, there might be a hefty tax amount you will have to pay. However, if you are upgrading from premium economy to other classes, it would be of much better value for what you are paying.

Now that we have covered what you should notice before an upgrade, let us look into the ways you can get an upgrade.

It is not always just smiles and politeness that could get you a British Airway upgrade. Here is what to do if you are traveling with this airline to ensure that you get bumped.

 

Find the Oversold Flights

Find the Oversold Flights

As a common rule, if flights are overbooked in the economy, there are higher chances that you might get upgraded to the business class if there are seats available. But you often tend to have to leave it to the chances.

But now, there are ways to find if a particular flight is overbooked. Or more precisely you can find out how many seats are booked on each fare class separately. Booking seats in economy or British Airways premium economy cabins that are almost full will increase your chances by 50% to get the flight upgrade. If you have a loyal customer status with British Airways, it might help you more if they have to move people to make room. Plus, it might also get you privileges with the British Airways Executive Club.

 

Confirm Instantly Available Seats

Confirm Instantly Available Seats

An upgrade might come in different ways. It might not always be free, but you should still be able to pull it off with a small fee. If you have already been storing those miles, why not use it to get that upgrade? Before you confirm the flight ticket, check for space in business class. If there is room left, you might be able to lock an upgrade, ensuring the seat right away.

 

Stay Alerted about Upgrades

Stay Alerted about Upgrades

British Airways open up availability for an upgrade to its passengers. Mostly, these alerts go to their members. If you are unable to sign up for that or are not sure you will get an alert due to your status, there are websites like Awardnexus and ExpertFlyer where you can sign up for this option. The website will send you seat alerts, the moment when British Airways open up for an upgrade.

 

Upgrade Using Avios

Upgrade Using Avios

For making an upgrade with Avios, there are two main points that make the decision for you.

  • You should have sufficient points to upgrade
  • There should be a seat available in the cabin you want that could be upgraded using points.

Finding this particular seat is not as difficult as you think. Do a simple search in Avios in the cabin you want to upgrade to, check whether it is in the same flight and pay the difference in Avios. Almost all long-distance flights will require between 18,000 to 30,000 points to make an upgrade to business or first class. It will depend on the season, and the distance the flight is covering. Then you can subtract the points for your current cabin to find the points in Avios you would need to pay.

The sooner you make an upgrade after you get the ticket, the higher chances of getting a better deal. But make sure to call the airline can check with them to know the exact amount you are paying and to check whether you can get a better deal from the airline.

Like we said before, even while paying with Avios, you will have to pay for the surcharge in increased passenger taxes. It would usually come around $150 to $200, in addition to the points. The only way to get the best value for the tax is to look for cheap premium economy seats and upgrading to the Business Class.

 

Upgrade Using Cash

Upgrade Using Cash

Upgrading an existing seat with cash is always going to be a crazy expensive. The only way to get the best deal for this is to look for special offers that come at lower prices. If you want to stay alert of these special offers, download the British Airways mobile app, so you will get notifications in your phone as soon as an offer is available.

Even with such offers, there are, again, a few things to note with British Airways.

 

  • You can only upgrade if a cash seat is available.
  • You cannot upgrade a booking made with Avios using Cash.
  • Without an offer, you will have to pay the full price for fare difference for an upgrade.

Though generally, business class tickets tend to be higher in fare compared to economy and premium, there are still occasions where business class tickets would be of the same fare or even less. It depends on the seasons, holidays and time of flights.

So when you are booking tickets, make sure to check the price of business class as it might be reasonable, even if you have to pay the difference for upgrades.

 

On an Ending Note

On an Ending Note

It is only very rarely that you can get an upgrade at the British Airways check in counter at the last minute. But if you are expecting that, then you would definitely have to be their loyal customer and should be traveling solo.

Appreciating the British Airways customer service with polite smiles and thank you could always go a long way. Do not make it look like you are nice to them only because you are hoping for an upgrade. If not soon, the crew will notice if you are kind to them. Again, let us remind you that the chances of you getting an upgrade just with polite behavior is quite slim without having some backup plan.

 

So does the process of upgrade sound too overwhelming? Why not get a good deal on British Airways in the first place.

 

Book British airways business flights with FareDepot and you don’t have to worry about passenger taxes and special cabin fares.

Plus, you can enter the traveler details there so you would not be using those precious Avios points either.