Place A Bid, Upgrade To Austrian Business Class

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Ever wonder what an upgrade to Business Class might be worth? I’m not really willing to pay to upgrade but you can try to figure it out and place a bid, possibly scoring a bargain priced upgrade.

Earlier in the day I received an e-mail from Austrian Airlines related to social media which also celebrated reaching 200,000 Facebook fans. Congrats on the achievement I guess…

I scrolled a bit further down the e-mail and came across a pretty interesting way to possibly upgrade to Business Class.

Austrian has a program in place called Smart Upgrade, Your best way to Austrian Business Class at a bargain price.

Here is how it works:

With Smart Upgrade, you decide on how much you’d be willing to pay for the upgrade by placing a bid. 72 hours before your scheduled departure, you will be notified whether or not your bid was accepted.

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According to Austrian:  Smart Upgrade is available on Austrian long-range flights as well as on flights from and to Amman, Astana, Baghdad, Baku, Erbil, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Tripoli and Yerevan. In order to qualify for making a Smart Upgrade offer, your Economy Class ticket must be issued no later than 72 hours before departure. 

While Kim, Lucas and I have flown Austrian, it was part of an award ticket booked through United. I had never heard of Smart Upgrade until earlier in the day. I was curious to find out when this offer first became available so I did a Google search.

This led me to an article from April 30, 2013 from the MailOnline- Now anyone can get from cattle class to business class: Airlines launch blind auctions for spare seats.

According to the article, Austrian Airlines followed Air New Zealand, El Al, Etihad and Virgin Atlantic in becoming the latest carrier last week to start auctioning upper-class seats to economy passengers.

So who’s interested in bidding their way into a Business Class seat? If you’ve tried out this feature on any of the airlines, I’d love to hear about your bid and if it got accepted.

Find out more about Austrian’s Smart Upgrade option HERE.

10 thoughts on “Place A Bid, Upgrade To Austrian Business Class

  1. Observer- That would be nice if they released the award space but the airlines are definitely looking to capitalize. I think it’s an interesting option.

    100K- Interesting… Are you planning to place a bid? If so, up to what price do you think it is a good deal?

    Kurt- Love the Wideroe deal! Our third and final trip from it is coming up next month. Vienna is a really cool city btw! At what price do you value the upgrade and miles?

    Anon- Thanks for the info but it looks like Kurt is right based on the FT thread he cited.

    1. JFK-VIE is 4240 miles, worth $85 or so in miles. I’m not sure if there’s a COS bonus for a P fare, but if so, then it’s maybe $100 in miles. Even more when you consider the status multiplier…so let’s call it $150. And considering I only paid about $150 each way for the flight, I think I’d reasonably bid ~$500 each way for the upgrade (so on total, I’d be paying ~$500 each way to sample the awesome Austrian J product). Will report back to that FT thread with my results.

      1. $500 each way sounds pretty reasonable to me but when needing 3 tickets it wouldn’t be for me. However, for a total of $1,300 you’d be flying RT in biz. Sounds like a pretty awesome deal overall.

    1. No. This is incorrect. I have done PlusGrade successfully and it books into P class which does not earn any United miles. Just credit them to Miles&More and use it for a free domestic one-way on United.

    2. Sorry to disappoint you, but if you booked through the Wideroe mistake fare then you’re not eligible for Smart Upgrade. Reason: It only works for Tickets booked on OS Ticket stock (257-) booked on OS flight number (no codeshare flight number). Both conditions must be met. The reason: The tickets get reissued by OS if the bid was succsessful and they can only reissue their own tickets. And AFAIK all the Wideroe mistake fare tickets were issued on Wideroe ticket stock…

  2. Same deal with Brussels Airlines (SN) but it’s called “Plusgrade.” I checked my 6.5 hr one-way leg and my S fare class ticket offered me an upgrade from Economy to Business in a bidding range of $600-1200. Of course you have a better chance of winning your bid as you approach $1200, I would think. This is for a July flight so I don’t know if it’s active on SN right now.

  3. Shouldn’t they release the space as award space to loyalty members? Just cheapens the whole product like a fleabay listing. Shameful.

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