Do you know that you can upgrade your economy ticket (even if it is paid by your company) to business class?
In this series of posts, we will cover the steps involved to upgrade from economy to Business class with various airlines.
We will start with one of my favorite airlines – Etihad Airways.
Things you should know:
- As long as you upgrade with miles, you do not need to involve your company travel desk/travel agent to upgrade from economy to business Class.
- You need Etihad Guest miles to upgrade from economy to business Class. You can learn about all the ways to earn Etihad Guest miles in this post.
- If you do not have enough miles, you can just upgrade one leg of your journey. For Example, if you are flying from Chicago to Chennai via Abu Dhabi. You have the option to upgrade Chicago to Abu Dhabi or Abu Dhabi to Chennai or both.
- You need to have enough miles in one account for all the passengers in the itinerary.
- If there is only one adult and one kid in the itinerary, there should be upgrade space available for both passengers.
- There is no fees/taxes to upgrade your ticket from economy to business using miles.
- Miles does not need to be in your account, a friend/family member can upgrade your ticket or vice-versa.
How to find availability?
There should be business class space available in “Guest Business” category as explained in this post. This is the same inventory for award ticket or upgrade.
Etihad is very good at releasing award space as the travel date gets closer. You should constantly monitor, especially during the 2-3 weeks before travel date.
Instant Upgrades At Airport:
If you were unable to upgrade until the day of travel, you may be able to upgrade at the airport while you check-in. This is entirely dependent on the duty manager and the availability on the day of travel.
You can pay money or use miles to upgrade at the airport. As a reference, I was once quoted $1,400 for an upgrade from economy to business class from San Francisco to Abu Dhabi only (No lounge access, No extra baggage allowance, No Chauffeur). I am not sure if these rates fluctuate based on the demand, but this will give you an idea about upgrading with money.
1. Get ticket issued by your corporate travel desk/ travel agent.
2. Verify the booking class of your itinerary. If your booking class is not explicitly listed on your itinerary, you can call Etihad 24 hour call center 1-888-838-4423.
3. Use this calculator to find the number of miles needed to upgrade your itinerary. Miles required vary based on the class of booking.
4. Ensure that you transfer/gather the miles required to upgrade the itinerary.
5. Check/monitor award space availability that matches your itinerary.
6. Call Etihad 24 hours call center at 888-838-4423 and request for an upgrade using miles.
7. Agent will deduct the miles from your account and issue a new ticket in the business class. Process will take 15-20 minutes.
You can upgrade your economy cabin ticket to business class, even though the ticket is issued by your corporate travel desk/travel agent.
Etihad releases last minutes award seats, which is the same inventory required for upgrading to Business.
Disclaimer: Links mentioned in this post do not earn us any commission.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analysis and any calculations shown are authors alone. Information in this post is not reviewed, approved and endorsed by any airlines, frequent flyer programs or financial institution