Cathay Pacific has re-introduced the ability to bid cash to upgrade to a higher cabin class on existing bookings. Upgrade Bid lets customers submit an offer for how much they’re willing to pay in cash to upgrade to the next cabin class.
The system is powered by Plusgrade and is the same software used by Qantas, Etihad, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, Air Canada and Air China.At present, only Premium Economy and Business Class are supported, so no First Class upgrades unfortunately.
Does Upgrade Bid offer good value?
I am flying with Cathay Pacific to Paris in 3 weeks. I booked a discount return Economy ticket in February 2017. After checking the Cathay Pacific website I found that my booking is eligible for Upgrade Bid. Unfortunately since it’s an Economy booking I am only eligible to bid for Premium Economy.
Upgrade Bid is essentially a blind auction. You can submit any bid you like between their pre-allocated minimum and maximum bids. The price bands are based on a range of factors including flight length. You don’t find out if you’ve ‘won’ the auction until a few days before your flight. You can get an indication of your chances of success by looking at the animated offer strength feedback, ranging from ‘Poor’ to ‘Excellent’. Thankfully you will only get charged if you are successful, making this fairly risk free if you are happy with the price.
As for my upcoming travel, my return Economy ticket originally cost $1,082 on sale. At the time of booking, return Premium Economy fares were available for $3,353. If I bid the absolute minimum on each segment, it would cost an extra $1,623, giving a grand total of $2,705. A discount of approximately 20%, assuming I get accepted for every segment, which the status bar tells me is ‘Poor’.
Instead, if I bid the recommended amount for a ‘Strong’ offer, it would cost an extra $2,423, giving a grand total of $3,505, more than if I had booked the fare originally in February 2017 but without the higher status credits and points!
My thinking is that I may submit the minimum bid on a couple of the segments (there are 4 in total) and see what happens. I would like the chance to try Premium Economy on the new Cathay Pacific A350 but don’t think it’s worth spending too much money on it.