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It makes sense for them to follow the industry trend of maximising ancillary revenues and so they have launched their new Upgrade Bid programme in an attempt to take advantage of unsold premium seats.
Passengers may bid money for upgrades to premium economy or business class. First class is not available. This is similar to SQ’s premium economy upgrade bids that we previously outlined here.
Who Can Bid and How?
Currently, bidding is limited to selected routes to and from Hong Kong; Adelaide, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Brisbane, Cebu, Chiang Mai, Chicago, Colombo, Denpasar, Dubai, Kathmandu, Rome and Seoul. Cathay plan on adding more routes in the coming months.
At the time of writing, any bookings made in (mainland) China or India are not eligible for the upgrade bid. I take this to mean that any flights booked through a travel agent in these countries, even if booking one of the routes outlined above. To check whether your flight qualifies, you can visit their Upgrade Bid landing page.
If you book your flight through the Cathay Pacific website, an ‘eligibility notification’ will appear on the booking confirmation page. You are able to submit, change or cancel your bid up to 50 hours before departure and you must provide your payment details at the time of entering the bid.
If successful you will receive a confirmation email 2 or 3 days before the flight and you will be able to check in online.
What Makes a Successful Bid?
Obviously, the higher the price, the more likely you will get your prize. But other factors that will play a part include
- The fare class of the original booking
- The number of passengers in the booking (the fewer the better)
- Marco Polo club status
With your upgrade, you will enjoy the benefits of quicker check in, boarding and lounge access of your new class (as well as the superior flight experience). Unfortunately, like SQ, you will only receive the baggage allowance, Asia Miles and Club Points (tier points) of your original fare.
It’s always good to see more options to snag that upgrade but it will be interesting see at what sort of prices it will require. Cathay have great premium products and I’m sure some people will find value in this. On the other hand, those rare op-ups will become even more of a scarce commodity. It will also be interesting to see how much this helps Cathay’s bottom line.
H/T to AusBT