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What is a Load Factor Based Upgrade?
Simply put, it’s when the airline discounts a seat because the cabin is undersold. In order to increased the “load” of the flight and cabin, they will discount the price of that premium seat.
- Often times a Load Factor Based Upgrade (LFB) will be offered at the kiosk when you check in for your flight
- You can ask if any LFBs are available at the ticket counter, lounge, and gate
- Since airlines are focused on generating more revenue, it’s not unusual to see premium seats being offered as an LFB when the cabin is fairly empty
When are Load Factor Based Upgrades available
Typically the cabin has to be very undersold. Recently, Miles worked with a client flying from the UK to NY and helped secure a LFB upgrade over the phone. That cabin was about 50% sold and the price to upgrade was $500. Not a cheap amount of money, but comparing it to the price to upgrade with points and cash, it’s a deal
|To/From||Discount Econ||Full-Fare Econ||Discount Business||Full-Fare Business|
|North America||Europe/Middle East||25k + $350||15k||25k + $550||25k|
How to ask for a Load Factor Based Upgrade
When you get to the ticket counter, lounge check-in, or lounge help desk ask if there are any Load Factor upgrades available. Specifically with American Airlines – if the agent does not know what you’re asking for, have them do this:
Access your PNR, Open Sable and hit Ctrl M
- This should show the agent your PNR ( Passenger Name Record) which shows your fare bucket and it’s ability to even be upgraded
- The second will allow the agent to access the load of the plane you’re flying on and whether an LFB is available.
Here’s a look at the expertflyer biz cabin on the 6/24 MAN-JFK flight operated by American and their new retrofit 767-300
Here’s what American Airlines lists as their LFB terms and conditions
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.