Bidding for a OneUp Upgrade on Air New Zealand

Bidding for an upgrade on Air New ZealandIf you have an upcoming flight with New Zealand’s flag carrier, you might be interested in upgrading to a nicer seat. Air New Zealand’s upgrade system is a little different to most for a few reasons. Firstly, it uses an “auction” to determine who can upgrade. Would-be upgraders can place a bid for a OneUp upgrade, with spare seats going to the highest bidders.

Another point of difference is that anyone can bid for a OneUp upgrade – even flyers that aren’t members of Air New Zealand’s frequent flyer program Airpoints. This is good for those who aren’t Airpoints members, but not so good for the carrier’s own loyal flyers. The only advantage of holding elite Airpoints status is that any bids will be “up-weighted” by a certain percentage. OneUp bids by Air New Zealand Silver, Gold and Elite flyers will be gifted 10%, 30% or 50% of value respectively. But even Elite frequent flyers can still be out-bidded if someone else is prepared to pay a little more.

Air New Zealand flyers can place a OneUp upgrade bid from the time of booking the flight. The upgrade can be paid for with either cash or Airpoints – or a combination of both – but the amount will only be charged if the bid is successful. The minimum asking price varies, but a typical minimum bid would be around $200 for an upgrade to business class on a Trans-Tasman flight. According to one member, an upgrade from premium economy to business on a long Trans-Pacific flight is possible for around $500. Successful bidders are notified 3 to 7 days before the flight.

One member has an upcoming trip to San Francisco on Air New Zealand, and asks about other members’ experiences with upgrading.

Travelling with Air NZ for the first time in a long time long haul to SFO – wondering what peoples experiences have been like with the One Up upgrade process as well as the random upgrade from PE to J for Velocity WP members?

A number of members have had successful bids.

I put in for upgrade SFO- SYD last year – for Y to Y+. Came through for about $360 from memory. Not bad for a fare SYD – LGA that only cost me $1300 return to start with.

I’ve put in three OneUp bids.
#1 – AKL-LAX – PE-J – $500: Accepted
#2 – LAX-AKL – PE-J – $500: Declined
#3 – AKL-SYD – Y-J – Accepted (about $200 from memory)

One member suggests checking the type of aircraft before placing a bid, as the hard product on the airline’s older aircraft is inferior to the airline’s newer product. Paying for an upgrade and ending up on an older aircraft could lead to disappointment.

My big watch out is ensuring you’re on the upgraded metal. One flight out has the space seat and the other is old style. I had the latter and it was fine – especially as I had bulkhead.

Have you used OneUp to enjoy a touch of Kiwi luxury? Share your experience HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]