Qantas Launches New Upgrade Scheme

Qantas, the flag carrier of Australia, has launched a new bidding upgrade scheme allowing passengers to upgrade into Business Class after paying a fee and/or using miles.

From Qantas:

Bid Now Upgrades is available by invitation only for selected Qantas flights. If you receive a Bid Now Upgrade invitation, you have the opportunity to make an upgrade offer to a more premium cabin using a combination of Qantas Points and money if you are a Qantas Frequent Flyer, or money only if you are not a Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Here’s how this will work:

  • About 7 days prior to departure you may be sent an email with an invitation to make an offer.
  • Then, you’ll make an offer, and may be required to have a certain amount of points and cash to proceed. Unfortunately, specific amounts of what is needed aren’t listed, though I suspect they’ll change depending on the flight.
  • Up to 12 hours prior to departure, you’ll receive notification that your upgrade has either cleared or not cleared. Clearance of upgrades are at the sole direction of Qantas, as noted clearly in their terms and conditions.

Qantas Upgrade Scheme

This is a nice way for folks to purchase an economy ticket, and upgrade into Business Class, without having to spend the full fare. Because you’ll be invited to participate, presumably the lowest of coach fares won’t be offered the chance to input a bid. That said, Qantas could hold back releasing any award seats to see if they have enough bidders willing to pay for it outright, which could change the availability of seats at the last minute. This new scheme is a blow to Qantas elites who may not be able to confirm upgrades until the last minute, pending the willingness of folks to pay for them first.

You can read more about the new upgrade process on the Qantas website here.

If you’ve been offered this upgrade chance before, what was your experience?

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