"" Writer's Wanderings: Bidding On Travel Upgrades

Monday, August 19, 2019

Bidding On Travel Upgrades

Anticipating the long flight we will be taking to and from Japan soon, I wondered if we might be able to upgrade to business or first class. Once before we found that we could upgrade on a flight to New Zealand. It was a bidding process. You submit a bid and if it's accepted, you get the upgrade. There are lots of rules and auctions are not available to all airlines so I looked up the possibilities.

The auction site I found is called Plusgrade. It has seventy participating travel partners. I say partners because to my astonishment there are also several cruise lines listed as well. Who knew?

Once you have booked your flight (or your stateroom) you can register with your airline if they are partnered with Plusgrade. After you've learned that your flight is eligible, you can submit a bid. Don't expect to submit a one dollar bid however. The site will suggest a bid and most bids that are accepted are between 20-40% of the regular cost to upgrade. So say your economy ticket is  $400 dollars and the upgrade is $2000. The difference is $1600. Your bid should be somewhere between $320 and $640.

If your bid is accepted, you will be notified 24-72 hours before your flight. The worse that can happen is that you are left with your original seats if you lose the auction. The reason they wait so long to notify you is that they are still trying to sell those business/first class seats at the full price.

The only other problem is that if you are traveling with someone else, you may not be able to upgrade both seats. There may only be one available or you may not be sitting together. Not sitting together in business class is okay but I figure we either draw straws for the upgraded seat or we switch seats halfway through the flight.

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