Seating upgrades with non-airline-branded cards

All about maximizing your rewards!
Members share tips and tricks for getting the most miles, & points.
4 posts
User avatar
CarefulBuilder14
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 3960
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
Location: United States

Seating upgrades with non-airline-branded cards

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:37 am

I'm not totally sure about how seating upgrades work when you buy a ticket with a non-airline-branded travel card (Like a Platinum, CSP, or Arrival+). I'm not talking about making a purchase with a Hawaiian Airlines or AAdvantage card, or transferring MR or UR points into a program, or even making a purchase directly through a FF program.

I'm talking about going through a service like Travelocity or going onto an airline's website and buying a coach ticket with a Platinum, CSP, or Arrival+ on a standalone basis - not part of a loyalty program.

I know those cards won't get free checked bags, but would any of those cards likely earn an automatic upgrade to business class or some sort of 'enhanced coach' class? My understanding is that the Platinum would, but I don't know about the others.

I understand the fee may depend on supply and demand for each flight, but do any cards regularly earn free upgrades?

If there is an automatic upgrade, would you just get it by asking at the counter by the gate right before the flight? Would you get an email from Amex/Chase/Barclaycard saying "hey, we were able to get you a nicer seat"? Or, when you checked in at the airport kiosk before security, would it just offer you the upgrade then?

Or does the process vary widely by airline/card?

Or does it usually only work by buying a business class ticket and then getting a rebate through the credit card for the difference between business and coach?
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco

Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May


User avatar
djrez4
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1468
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:20 pm
Location: United States

Postby djrez4 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 11:50 am

I think you'd have to purchase directly from the airline.

You also have to purchase "full fare" economy tickets to get the benefit. To give you an example of what that means, DEN-ORD from 11/26-11/30 (my Thanksgiving flight) is $2107 for a full-fare, "Y" ticket in economy on United. If I search for lower prices, economy costs $371 and business class starts at $609. So, the "free" upgrade would cost you $1500 MORE than purchasing the ticket outright.
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]
[/RIGHT]

User avatar
CarefulBuilder14
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 3960
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
Location: United States

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:09 pm

And you buy a full-fare ticket to have flexibility to change it at the last minute? It's the best approach in terms of earning / spending points? Or your employer is reimbursing you?

Edit: Upon reading your post more carefully, I see you don't necessarily mean you're getting the full-fare ticket.
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco

Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May

User avatar
djrez4
Centurion Member
Centurion Member
 
Posts: 1468
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:20 pm
Location: United States

Postby djrez4 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:44 pm

If the company is footing the bill (some companies require certain fare classes), then, by all means, go for it. Full fare tickets don't make much sense for the average traveler.

My point was that, for personal travel, the cost of a ticket that meets the requirements for an upgrade via credit card benefits is often more expensive than buying into the upgraded class in the first place. Why spend $2100 to get upgraded to business class when you can pay $600 and sit there in the first place?
[RIGHT][size=100]- Sapphire Preferred - Freedom - Ink - Platinum - Everyday Preferred -[/size]

[/RIGHT]



Return to “Rewards”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests