• Qantas premium economy upgrade guide

    Over the Christmas / New Year break, Australian Business Traveller will be revisiting some of our most popular articles of 2017. We’re still around to report on any breaking news during this time, otherwise our regular publishing schedule will resume on Monday January 8, 2018. If you often...

    POSTED 6 Jan, 2018 11 Comments

  • Upgrade auctions: Cathay Pacific lets you bid for a better seat

    Cathay Pacific will now let travellers bid cash for an upgrade to premium economy and business class – but not first class – under the airline's new Upgrade Bid program. The initiative is intended to help the airline fill its premium cabins on selected flights where seats remain empt...

    POSTED 17 Jul, 2017 7 Comments

  • Qantas, Emirates: no plans for points upgrades between airlines

    We may be four years into the ten-year partnership between Qantas and Emirates, but the airlines have no plans to smooth out one noticeable wrinkle in the relationship – the inability to use frequent flyer points earned on one airline to upgrade on the other. Qantas loyalists still can't u...

    POSTED 30 Mar, 2017 24 Comments

  • Qantas vs Virgin Australia: best frequent flyer points upgrades

    Both Qantas and Virgin Australia allow travellers to use their frequent flyer points to upgrade to premium economy and business class – and with Qantas, to first class as well – but following Qantas’ hike to its upgrade rates, how do the two airlines now compare? Read: Qantas i...

    POSTED 20 Feb, 2017 18 Comments

  • Are business class upgrades still a great use of Qantas Points?

    SPECIAL REPORT | Using Qantas frequent flyer points to upgrade to premium economy, business class and first class has long been considered one of the best ways to use those points... but with the airline increasing rates from February 2017, do those upgrades still present good value? For ex...

    POSTED 11 Jan, 2017 30 Comments

  • The definitive first class upgrade guide

    Put your hard-earned frequent flyer points to work on your next international trip and swap your usual business class seat for a first class suite. Australian Business Traveller's series of expert 'upgrade guides' explain just how easy it can be and how many points you'll need when flying with Q...

    POSTED 30 Jul, 2016 1 Comment

  • Hawaiian Airlines launches business class upgrade auctions

    Hawaiian Airlines passengers jetting between Hawaii and North America can now bid for an upgrade to business class – or ‘First Class’, as it’s branded – at a price much less than a typical pointy-end fare. Using the same Plusgrade system adopted by Qantas, Virgin Au...

    POSTED 17 Jun, 2016 1 Comment

  • This week's wrap for Qantas, Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines travellers

    If your budget – or that of your employer – only stretches to economy, using your frequent flyer points for a business class upgrade is a great way to make a journey more comfortable: this week, we show you how that’s done and what to look out for with Qantas, Singapore Airlines...

    POSTED 24 Jul, 2015 0 Comments

  • The definitive business class upgrade guide

    This article is part of our ongoing Business Travel 101 series for newcomers to the world of business travel, and was last updated January 2019. Your boss or your budget may see you consigned to the cheap seats in economy but there's no reason you have to stay there. Our expert upgrade guides r...

    POSTED 20 Jul, 2015 3 Comments

  • Qantas extends 'Bid Now' upgrades to premium economy

    Qantas passengers can now bid for upgrades to premium economy on international flights using a mix of money and frequent flyer points. Expanding on the initial ‘Bid Now’ scheme launched in February for business class upgrades, it works in much the same way – if your booking is ...

    POSTED 22 Jun, 2015 0 Comments

  • Qantas online auction lets you bid for a business class upgrade

    Qantas is the latest airline to offer economy passengers a business class upgrade via online auction through the launch of its new Bid Now Upgrades scheme, with the highest bid winning the cushiest seat. To be rolled out from this week on domestic and international flights, Bid Now Upgrades will...

    POSTED 10 Feb, 2015 21 Comments

  • Malaysia Airlines launches upgrade auctions to business, first class

    Malaysia Airlines has joined the growing ranks of airlines relying on online auctions to fill empty seats at the pointy end of their planes. The airline says it will forecast seat availability in business and first class for all flights and then email eligible customers, based on their ticket cl...

    POSTED 5 Nov, 2014 0 Comments

  • Airberlin auctions business class upgrades

    Airberlin is now auctioning off upgrades to business class, joining the growing ranks of airlines which lets travellers bid for a bump-up to pointy end. Cathay Pacific, Air New Zealand, Etihad and Airberlin's local partner Virgin Australia all offer auction-based upgrades. The Airberlin Exquisi...

    POSTED 11 Aug, 2014 3 Comments

  • Cathay Pacific begins cash auctions for business class upgrades

    Cathay Pacific is now offering business class and premium economy upgrades via online auction on selected routes, with bump-ups going to the highest cash bidder. Dubbed Enhance, the upgrade auction scheme is currently available for economy and premium economy passengers on selected flights betwe...

    POSTED 14 Jun, 2014 18 Comments

  • American Airlines, US Airways to offer reciprocal first class upgrades

    IN BRIEF | American Airlines and US Airways are offering free first class upgrades to elite travellers in the opposite airline’s loyalty program. From July 11, status-bearing members of American Airlines’ AAdvantage can be upgraded to first class on US Airways at no charge when flyin...

    POSTED 10 Jun, 2014 0 Comments

  • Emirates may allow Qantas points for business class upgrades

    IN BRIEF | Emirates is considering allowing travellers to use their Qantas Frequent Flyer points to apply for upgrades on the Gulf carrier's flights. Under the current Qantas/Emirates partnership, passengers on Emirates flights can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points and use them to redeem a rewar...

    POSTED 3 Jun, 2014 12 Comments

  • Virgin Australia extends paid business class upgrades to travel agent bookings

    Virgin Australia is extending its ‘UpgradeMe Premium Bid’ system to bookings made through travel agents, allowing passengers to make offers in a cash auction for upgrades to business class. Similar to the upgrade auction systems are already offered by Etihad and A...

    POSTED 3 Apr, 2014 2 Comments

  • Qantas: 25% more points needed for domestic business class upgrades

    Starting next month, Qantas will increase the number of frequent flyer points needed to upgrade from its cheapest economy seats to business class on domestic flights. From 14 January 2014 travellers on a discount economy ticket will need 25 percent more Qantas Points to sit in the pointy end. O...

    POSTED 31 Dec, 2013 28 Comments

  • Virgin Australia launches cash auctions for business class upgrades

    Want a shot at an upgrade to business class on your next Virgin Australia flight? Be prepared to put your money down under the airline's new UpgradeMe Premium Bid auction system, launched today for all Virgin Australia domestic and international flights. Similar to the upgrade auction syste...

    POSTED 1 Oct, 2013 16 Comments

  • Virgin Australia rolls out in-lounge business class upgrades

    Virgin Australia is now offering upgrades at its airport lounges, enabling travellers to bump up to business class shortly before their domestic flight. The scheme, trialled in recent months in Virgin's Melbourne and Brisbane lounges, lets you use Velocity Frequent Flyer points or trade in one o...

    POSTED 28 Jun, 2013 7 Comments

  • Windows 8 tablets take flight with Emirates for instant upgrades

    Emirates will roll out over 1,000 Windows 8 tablets across its fleet next year, with the ability to grant instant upgrades to bump passengers to business class or even first class -- provided they've got enough frequent flyer points to pay for it, of course. The tablets, supplied by HP, will als...

    POSTED 22 Nov, 2012 2 Comments

  • Qantas plots response to free Virgin Australia upgrades

    Qantas is plotting its response to this week's offer by Virgin Australia of free business class upgrades for its most frequent flyers. However, while admitting the flag-carrier has "a few things in the pipeline at the moment", a Qantas spokeswoman ruled out matching Virgin's current up...

    POSTED 22 Aug, 2012 2 Comments

  • Virgin Australia hands out free upgrades to frequent flyers

    Virgin Australia is handing out free business class upgrades to its top-tier frequent flyers. The airline is this week issuing a 'Complimentary Upgrade' to all Platinum and Gold members of the Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme. If that's you, check your account at VelocityRewards.com.au, where you...

    POSTED 21 Aug, 2012 14 Comments

  • Qantas frequent flyers now get last-minute upgrades

    Qantas frequent flyers will find it easier to snare an upgrade with today’s launch of ‘at the gate’ upgrades, as the airline aims to fill premium seats left empty due to passenger no-shows and missed connections. Available for both domestic and international flights, the new sy...

    POSTED 18 Jul, 2012 11 Comments

  • How to get a free upgrade to business class, or even first class

    It’s a near-perfect start to any flight. You hand over your boarding pass at the check-in counter or gate desk, only to have the machine spit it back out with a beep and a blink of its little red light. The attendant glances a computer screen, taps a button and a new boarding pass appears....

    POSTED 24 Feb, 2012 7 Comments

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