Rex’s online auctions let you bid for a business class upgrade

The ‘Bid Up’ scheme will see business class seats going, going, gone for as little as $10.

By David Flynn, October 5 2022
Rex’s online auctions let you bid for a business class upgrade
Executive Traveller exclusive

Travellers on Regional Express’ 737 jet network will soon be able to bid for an upgrade to business class – but just like a real auction, they’ll be able to increase their bid to beat out other passengers in competing for the premium seats. 

And those bids “will start from as little as $10” as part of a special introductory offer to launch the Rex Bid Up program, the airline promises.

“All passengers love an upgrade,” explains Michael Venus, Rex’s Director of Media and External Relations. 

"This new element of gamification in the bidding process will be a fun and economical way for our economy passengers to experience our amazing business class product and service.”

Venus tells Executive Traveller the upgrade auctions are one of several passenger enhancements leading up to the launch of Rex’s new frequent flyer program.

Also on the way: “neighbour-free seating” in economy – an option Qantas is now trialling – and a new lounge at Brisbane to bed down the challenger’s position on the lucrative ‘triangle’ between Australia’s east coast capital cities.

How Rex Bid Up works

Passengers booked in economy on a Rex Boeing 737 flight will invited by email to bid for a business class upgrade seven days before departure or visiting the Rex Bid Up page at

However, unlike upgrade auctions held by many other airlines – including the Qantas Bid Now program – that bid isn’t a ‘one and done’ deal.

Instead, travellers will be able to increase their offering whenever they are outbid, boosting their chance of securing that upgrade. 

These mock-up screens from Rex show how the Bid Up process will look to travellers.
These mock-up screens from Rex show how the Bid Up process will look to travellers.

A minimum and maximum bid range will be set for each flight, with credit card payment details taken with your starting bid and reused for any following bid.

If a fellow passenger lobs in an upgrade bid higher than yours, you’ll receive an email advising that you have been outbid and have the opportunity to make a higher offer.

The Rex Bid Up page will always show the highest current offer for that upgrade on your flight, although it “doesn’t let you know exactly where you fall in the list,” Rex says.

“You can choose to increase your bid to outbid this amount, or you can choose to bid an amount between your initial bid and the maximum bid possible,” the airline suggests.

Bidding closes three hours before departure, with upgrades confirmations issued shortly after.

Of course, you can opt out of the auction at any time if the stakes are getting too high, either by cancelling your bid or just leaving your last bid in place as others race above it.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Nov 2018

Total posts 105

With $299 business fares…. Your probably better off just buying business in the first case. Especially if Qantas and Virgin are already $2-300 for economy!!! 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 68

A nice little piece of tech innovation which I wouldn't mind seeing on Virgin too. 

Imagine being able to bid for 2 spare economy Neighbour-free seats on the 6hr overnighter from Bali – would be great.

12 Jul 2019

Total posts 10

I flew a return route with Rex the other day for the first time .... Fantastic.. Both flights, On time, no troubles with booking, checking in, luggage, hosties/stewards were immaculate...I was impressed and congratulate them on a great effort especially when reading about the dramas with the major airlines.  As I was sitting in first row economy on both flights, The only comment I can make is that the business class was filled with slovenly types, (possible points rich FIFO workers) who really pull down the attraction of Business Class..( I always fly business on Long Haul, but don't bother on internal flights of a few short hours).

The hosties treated them as if they were royalty, which I again thought was a credit to the airline and their training.

I did read somewhere that other airlines were stepping up dress codes etc in their business lounges in response to the FIFO problem and I hope Rex manage to achieve the same sorts of dress upgrades etc necessary to bring a higher overall standard to Business Class .

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