Your upgrade has arrived.
Sorry, your sharpest suit or dress is no good here. Upgrades happen not because of arbitrary things, like fashion – but because of hard and fast airline rules and opportunities. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to upgrade an international plane ticket, including spotting the author of this post in an airport . Basically, if you want to trade your economy seat for a bed, you’re in the right place. We’re going to show you how to upgrade almost any international airline ticket, and the airlines which offer the most realistic opportunities to do so. Oh, and upgrade availability changes daily, so don’t be afraid to keep trying up until check in!
What You Need: 25,000 Miles + $350.
How Easy It? Moderately easy, and most fares can be upgraded.
American offers a solid value for upgrades. You can upgrade almost any economy ticket to a flat bed in business class for 25,000 miles and $350 one way. It’s not the cheapest- but for a long flight it can represent excellent value, especially for people who hold the American Airlines credit card and come by miles easily. If you happened to score a $350 economy deal round trip, $350 for an upgrade is nothing to cry about…
What You Need: 20,000-28,000 ANA miles or Amex Points.
How Easy It? Moderately easy, and moderately priced fares can be upgraded.
ANA has a reasonable method for upgrades, requiring you to buy a moderately priced economy or premium economy fare, but not the highest – for an upgrade to business class. For a premium of roughly $200 over the cheapest tickets, any ticket in G, E, Y, B, M, U can be upgraded, and ANA makes it easy to find space.
What You Need: 15,000-50,000 Flying Blue Miles, Amex, Citi Or Chase Points.
How Easy It? Easy. Almost all the cheapest fares can be upgraded.
Air France is a great airline for upgrades to business class. They allow almost every booking class in economy or premium economy to be upgraded. The only catch: the cheaper the ticket, the more miles you pay. A full fare economy ticket between the US and Europe can be upgraded for just 15,000 points, whereas a cheap ticket will run about 45,000 one way. Sign in to calculate how many miles you’d need…
What You Need: 10,000 -33,000 points, minor cash if upgrading from economy. Offer.
How Easy It? Easy. Almost all the cheapest fares can be upgraded.
British Airways made changes to their loyalty program, and one key improvement was upgrades. Now almost all tickets in economy or premium can be upgraded. Since the airline offers many cheap premium economy fares, this is an excellent way to upgrade to business class with no additional cash. Economy fares can only be upgraded to premium, and will require a small co pay, but are also a solid move for comfort. They also now flash paid upgrade offers (in their app), which can be good value.
What You Need: 30,000- 95,000 Emirates points or Amex points. Or, last minute cash.
How Easy It? Pretty Easy. Almost all cheapest fares, excluding promos can be upgraded.
Emirates offers a few mechanisms for upgrades, like last minute “instant” miles upgrade offers, but for most people- the best method (for your wallet) is to use miles. Emirates allows you to upgrade almost any ticket to business class – and though it requires a lot of miles, it can be great for saving cash. Use their calculator to find out how many miles you’ll need, and be sure to check for space in “Z” class to know if an upgrade is possible, ideally before booking.
What You Need: 20,000- 97,000 Etihad, Citi or Amex points. Or, last minute cash.
How Easy It? Pretty Easy. Almost all cheapest fares can be upgraded with a variety of means.
Etihad has a whopping four ways to upgrade – miles, bidding, push upgrade and instant airport upgrade. Basically, you can bid on a seat in an online auction, you can use (a lot) of miles, you can call for an upgrade 48 hours out, or you can use miles or cash to upgrade at the airport. The price in miles is heavy (calculator), but you can make the miles instantly from two credit card programs, so in the event you got a great deal, it’s not a bad option. Airport upgrades can be lucrative though…
What You Need: 10-50,000 Qatar QMiles, or Citi Points, Or last minute cash.
How Easy It? Pretty Easy, upgrades can be done last minute, most fares eligible.
Qatar has a pretty generous upgrade program. Almost all fares except promotional fares are eligible for upgrade, and since there’s no premium economy – it’s straight to business. You can use Qatar QMiles to upgrade tickets to all destinations, all the way up to check in. Qatar famously offers extremely tempting paid upgrade deals in the days and hours before a flight, so if you don’t have miles – be sure to ask what the going rate is. You may luck out, especially with their excellent economy deals.
What You Need: 15-50,000 Singapore Miles, Amex, Citi Or Chase Points.
How Easy It? Easy. Great availability, and decent fares!
Singapore Air doesn’t offer any viable options for booking economy tickets and upgrading to business, but they do offer solid paid rates, roughly $225 to upgrade to Premium economy on many routes. If you’d like business class however, booking premium economy (they have great sales) and upgrading to business is a fantastic trick to save tons of money on generally expensive international flights. Basically, you’ll pay a bit more than economy, but starting at just 17,500 miles, business for around $1000 round trip is hard to beat!
Turkish Airlines – Cheap Ticket And Upgrade With Miles…
What You Need: 25,000+ Miles & Smiles. Patience.
How Easy It? Moderately Easy. Need To Call.
Turkish Airlines offers upgrades using their Miles & Smiles loyalty program on almost all fares. There are literally too many to count. That’s great news, but the only issue – is that they’ve removed their chart explaining how many points you’ll need from the website. Therefore, you’ll need to call, which can always be an adventure. In general, rates aren’t too steep using points and Turkish often offers some of the lowest economy fares, so there’s real potential to fly business class on the cheap.
What You Need: 20,000-80,000 Virgin Miles, Amex, Citi or Chase Points, last minute cash.
How Easy It? Very easy.
Much like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic changed their policy, now allowing virtually any ticket to be upgraded. They even took things one step further, with the ability to upgrade from economy directly to Upper Class. Finding space and availability is easy, and upgrade rates aren’t bad at all, especially if you book Premium economy (which can be as low as $800 round trip), or only want to upgrade in one direction. Round trip rates can be found here, and you can use half the miles to upgrade just one way.