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This may be old news for some, but in addition to selling upgrades to Premium Economy, First Class and more, there are some airlines that actually allow you to BID on upgrades.
Lufthansa became the latest to allow you to bid on upgrades, this time on upgrades to Premium Economy. If you have a Lufthansa booking, you can log in any time up to 72 hours before your flight, you can log on to the Lufthansa My Offer page, and put in your bid for how much you’re willing to pay. If you are successful, your credit card is immediately charged and you will be notified of your seat change.
American Airlines is the only US-based carrier that offers this – they call their system “PlusGrade“, but it works pretty much the same way. On American, you can make your bid starting 6 days before the departure date
Some airlines seem to have figured this out a little better than others. On my recent trip from CVG-DCA, US Airways seemed to think that I might want to pay $15 to sit in the seat RIGHT NEXT TO MINE!
Personally, I have a hard time thinking of a scenario where I would want to pay to upgrade seats at anywhere near the price that an airline would be likely to sell an upgrade for, but that’s probably mostly because I’m a super-tightwad :-). I can imagine that there might be scenarios where it might make sense for some people though.
It looks like in addition to American and Lufthansa, bidding for upgrades is also an option on Etihad, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and a few other international airlines.
Elite status upgrades
Since I don’t have any type of status on any airline, this doesn’t affect me, but I find it interesting that both Lufthansa and American talk about how this will “not affect elite members who will continue to receive upgrades in the same manner”. That strikes me as baloney as I can’t see how this wouldn’t REDUCE the number of upgrades that were available to elite members (unless the price that the airlines will accept for a bid is so high that nobody actually ever wins!)
How about you? Have you ever bid or paid for an upgrade?
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