Don’t you just love booking a ticket, which is never cheap, and being told that you didn’t spend enough to make it upgradeable? That’s about as much fun as traveling to Antarctica and finding out that your room doesn’t have heating. Upgrades are the coveted jewel of the travel world, allowing everyone to experience a better cabin, just from miles earned on previous flights. That’s a great thing, and it’s even easier now thanks to a British Airways change…

a woman in a chair with headphones on

Fare buckets are far more than the confusing numbers and letters you find on your email confirmation. The fare you book, which is notated with an alphabetical letter like Q,K, J, I, Z, M, Y dictates what you can and cannot do with your ticket, how much you’ll pay for changes, cancellations, and most importantly, if you can upgrade. Until this last week only flexible, far more expensive fares on British Airways were upgradeable. For anyone paying for their own tickets, it was almost always a bad value, requiring a very high fare, and still needing miles to actually upgrade. 

a screen shot of a computer

Effective immediately (a few days ago), British Airways made all fares except the very lowest Q,O and G economy fares upgradeable. This is a real victory for everyone hoping to upgrade to the next cabin on a paid booking; and possibly a bit of a blow to anyone searching for award seat “free flight” space. More people who can upgrade their paid booking means more competition for the (few) seats British Airways releases in any cabin. Seats that are available for award tickets will be equally available for upgrades on cash bookings, they are one in the same. As always, you can only upgrade by one cabin, so if you’d like to fly business class, you’ll need to book a premium economy ticket but now that all Premium fares are upgradeable, it’s more attainable than ever. Same for economy to premium, which on a long flight can make a tremendous difference. Generally, this is great news, especially since the best way to cash in for a “free flight” award ticket with British Airways is to not fly British Airways, and fly on a partner who does not levy the ridiculous fuel surcharges. 

a bed in a plane

Knowing if you’re booking one of the lowest fares that’s not upgradeable is now the only problem. Fortunately, It’s very easy to find out. When you’re going to book a ticket, click on the flight number for the ticket in question. It will display selling class for each cabin, letting you know if you’re booking into Q,O, or G. For the most hassle free experience, you’ll always want to try to book direct, as some third party bookings, minus those with travel agent partners can be excluded from upgrades. Don’t miss out on a better class of service.

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Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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