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British Airways First Class upgrade for $709

a stuffed animal on a seat in an airplane

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Apparently, I was the 1st person to score this upgrade out of LAX

BA has offered paid upgrades out of various locations, but according to the desk agent at check-in, they just started offering them out of Los Angeles and I was the first one to do it. BYAH!  I’d have rather used Avios to upgrade, as I was already booked into a paid Club World seat, but there was no available space. Let’s take a look at the offer and why I decided to pull the trigger on a British Airways First Class upgrade for $709.

a man sitting in a chair with a stuffed animal

En route to the airport I noticed that 3 seats became available in First Class

Even a few hours ahead of the flight, with 3 available seats, no Avios space was showing up.  I went ahead and called in to ask if I could upgrade my Club World Business Class seat to First. Sadly, the agent to me, there was no Avios upgrade space avail – which I already knew by checking expertflyer or just the AA website, but I was stuck in LA traffic and figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Knowing 3 seats were available I asked again at check-in.

The agent told me that Avios upgrades weren’t possible at check-in, but that they had JUST started, today, offering paid upgrades from Business to First. In fact, he had a whole sheet of upgrade prices from various cabins. ( I snagged a pic of it). The price to upgrade from business to first? $709. That’s a lot of money, but I’ll explain to you my reasoning

  • I was crediting to Alaska ( Check out their insane partner earn rates)
    • I’m interested to see how this ultimately credits. The check-in agent was confused as to how it would end up booking – into business or first…
    • If it ends up booking into First it’ll credit quite differently than Businessa screenshot of a screen shot of a flight
      1. First – 150% Cabin bonus ( both RDM and EQM) + 200% promotional bonus (RDM)
        1. This equates to almost 14k EQM and over 31K RDM ( including my 125% MVP75)
      2. Business – 50% cabin bonus ( both rdm and eqm) + 100% promotional bonus ( rdm )
        1. Equates to 8250 EQM and 20,600 RDM
  • $709 is only a few hundred more than the taxes and fees on an award ticketa close-up of a computer screenBA charges a lot of taxes and fees on award tickets so the incremental cost of doing it now vs then isn’t that extreme.
    • I may also earn extra miles off of that upgrade compared using miles on an award ticket
  • I was feeling a bit under the weather and wanted more privacy, guaranteed aisle access, and hopefully a better night’s sleep.
  • I’ve never flown BA first myself so this would be a great opportunity to review it, and report back on how the miles ultimately credit.

So that’s it. I pulled the trigger, and went for it. A full review will be out shortly, but I definitely enjoyed my time. As did Miles =)

a small bed with a teddy bear on it

Here’s the snapshot of the upgrade rates

a telephone and a paper on a desk

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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22 Comments

  • GBFlyer October 9, 2018

    I paid $799 to upgrade my transatlantic award ticket (AA miles for a BA flight) in coach to club world recently. I thought that was a great deal. I’m not holding out much hope but I’m wondering if I can get miles for that upgraded flight since I know that usually you don’t get miles for flying on award tickets, obviously.

    • Miles October 9, 2018

      GB – what does your boarding pass say in terms of fare bucket? J ?

      • GBFlyer October 11, 2018

        Funny you should ask because there actually isn’t a fare code on the boarding pass! Anyway I wrote to BA and asked them and they said it wouldn’t qualify for points, which isn’t surprising really. I should really ask AA too just to close the loop. In any case I was very happy to fly in Club World for the price of an award ticket and this upgrade.

  • […] My $700 upgrade to BA First made the difference. […]

  • […] don’t have to ask us twice – we love this stuff! What made it even more fun? Upgrading into British Airways First Class on their flagship A380.  We took advantage of an upgrade […]

  • Steve November 9, 2017

    If I have a mileage ticket booked with AA miles in business can I opt to pay he $709 for the upgrade to F? Or is it only for paid tickets in business class?

    • Miles November 9, 2017

      Steve – it’s an unadvertised upgrade, and as far as I know, it’s only available with revenue tix. wouldn’t hurt to ask tho…

  • A September 8, 2017

    So, did you get credit for first class? A follow up would be nice…

  • […] not familiar with what I’m talking about, last week I upgraded a British Airways Club World flight to First Class for $709. I speculated that since the ticket was reissued that I may in fact earn Alaska Elite and […]

  • […] You can read all about that here. […]

  • ND August 26, 2017

    What a baller, a true inspiration! Keep it up. Enjoying your clever hacks!

    • Miles August 26, 2017

      haha thanks ND! Review will come next week =) fingers crossed on fare bucket crediting to AS

  • Brendon Walsh August 25, 2017

    AUP gives you all the right to credit as the class you’re flying in. Most airlines don’t do that, but BA does. I can guarantee that as it happened to me every time I bought and AUP. that’s how BA handles AUP crediting. At least with BAEC, which is where I credit to. If you don’t get F credit,call up and make sure you kept your F boarding pass.
    Also, I took the very same AUP offer you did and saw you and Miles 😉
    One thing to note, it’s not true this is the first time they are offering AUPs. BA famously offer them at all their stations, just not on an official capacity. they’re also inconsistent about that. Sometimes they do, sometimes you have to ask, most of the times they say no and other times say yes. Actually I’ve never seen them actively promoting that at LAX with a print out of the fares like that. Some also argued that the opportunity to been offered an AUP is dependent on how many times you have done it in the past. There’s a long debate and cost tracking thread about this on flyertalk.

    • Miles August 26, 2017

      Thanks for the info! Fingers crossed the First Class rate is upheld…boatload of points. And how funny, you should have said hello!

      • Brandon August 27, 2017

        By the way as of today my avios points have been credited to my BA account and it’s the correct amount as F and with the appropriate cabin bonus. Good luck!

  • Michael August 25, 2017

    The odds of you getting increased credit are 1 percent. Unless somehow your fare code is recalculated, you won’t get that — and I’d never pay that much for an overnight flight.

    Coming from London, I may do it, especially if I was in one of the horrible middle fours of business class on BA

  • Monarchy August 25, 2017

    Can you post the sheet with upgrade prices?

    • Miles August 25, 2017

      It’s slightly covered, but I added it to the bottom of the post

      • x August 25, 2017

        Unlike your AA FF#, which is not 🙂

        • Miles August 25, 2017

          yikes – i’m clearly jetlagged. corrected.

  • Soddon August 25, 2017

    So, almost certainly the A-UP won’t credit as first. At least, it doesn’t ever on Aa or Ba. However, it is worth splurging “a bit” on as it is SO much nicer than Club World.

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