Business award, Premium Economy seats - upgrade chances?

5 replies

fnorman

Member since 07 May 2016

Total posts 7

Using Alaska miles for a Canada-Australia partner business award on Cathay Pacific, I have a business class seat next year YVR to HKG, and premium economy going on from HKG to MEL. If there are vacant business seats when checking in at HKG it would seem logical that Cathay would let them be occupied by some one who has redeemed at business levels, but then again the seats were obtained through a partner airline. Has anyone in a similar situation been able to get upgraded from premium economy to business before the flight?

patrickk

Qantas

Member since 19 Apr 2012

Total posts 399

You can get upgraded if you have enough points. There are fewer discretionary upgrades (without paying any points) but they do happen. Emirates did it to me and my wife ex Stockholm a couple years ago and Cathay to premium economy many years ago. In one case I was platinum and the earlier one gold. As they say don’t ask don’t get, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

patrickk

Qantas

Member since 19 Apr 2012

Total posts 399

They may only do it when they are overbooked in economy.

Brandon Loo

Member since 10 Jul 2018

Total posts 97

I've had a similar scenario with Qantas Points where I booked a Perth-Sydney-Cairns reward in business class, but Sydney to Cairns was in economy. Still charged full business class rates.

Closer to the date of travel, I noticed there were two business reward seats opened up on Sydney-Cairns. I phoned Qantas and they switched me from economy to business at no charge because I had already paid for a business reward all the way.

No idea how it'll work with Alaska miles and Cathay Pacific, but I feel like it's unlikely the check-in staff will know what you're talking about when asking for a 'free upgrade' at the counter. Perhaps you should check for business reward availability on the HKG-MEL leg through Alaska and give them a call if you find any?

fnorman

Member since 07 May 2016

Total posts 7

Thanks Brandon. Alaska partner airlines award seat availability for a specific route and date can be checked online for specific routes and dates, but not for seats on Cathay Pacific, which can only be checked by calling Alaska's awards telephone number. So I could call Alaska every day during the week preceding our flights to see if anything opens up and pay the change fee of US$125 per person if one does. I could call Cathay Pacific as well just in case but that could be even more of a long shot. We'll see.

With respect to patrickk's comment, I don't think upgrading with points would work as Alaska's reward chart has no upgrade options, plus my plan is already being charged based on business class, and I have no elite status..

fnorman

Member since 07 May 2016

Total posts 7

In the end, due to nervousness about new uncertainties in Hong Kong, we cancelled the Cathay Pacific flights, and rebooked on QF from SFO to MEL and on to CNS after a stopover. The trip dates had to be delayed by 2 weeks so that 2 business class awards seats could be found transpacific. As Alaska got the awards from Qantas, and because Qantas for some unknown reason would allow YVR-LAX-Australia but not YVR-SFO-Australia routing we had to buy separate tickets YVR-SFO, but getting a Qantas award instead of Cathay saved the cost of separate tickets MEL-CNS. Because of the change of date, we had to cancel the return tickets which had been paid CNS-BNE, plus business awards BNE-NAD-LAX-SEA-YVR. No business award seats were left so we just bought economy CNS-AKL-YVR on Air New Zealand, no lie flat on transpacific, but with the major benefit of one stop instead of five. It will be interesting to see the Skycoach setup in economy although we are unlikely to spend the money for it.

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