How can I get an award flight in Business to London

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by vaccav, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. vaccav

    vaccav Junior Member

    Sep 26, 2004
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    Hi,

    I'm not a regular booker of FF flights and would appreciate some tips on how to obtain a QF FF Business class seat on a flight that seems difficult to get. In short, here is my problem:

    - I want to fly sydney to london return for a 3 week trip leaving sometime between (say) 25 April and 20 May
    - I want to fly business class - I have enough upgrade credits to do this.
    - I have enought FF points to book economy
    - BUT I have enough Upgrade Credits to buy an economy and then use them get upgraded to business
    - HOWEVER, they tell me that currently there is no availability for me to upgrade to business.
    - I am a platinum member
    - They have advised me to buy the economy ticket and then I'll be waitlisted somewhere near the front of the queue.
    - They said there's a good chance the waitlist will come through.
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    My questions are:
    1. What is the likelihood of the waitlist coming through - I don't want to pay for the economy ticket if I can't get upgraded to business.
    2. Should I simply proceed and use my FF points to get an economy ticket, thus doing without the business class seat. (They say i can't use upgrade credits if I have a FF seat in economy)
    3. If I get an economy seat using FF points, will my Upgrade Credits be "lost" around May 25 when the changes occur.
    4. Do you have any other top tips on how I can get my flights in business class to London.
     
  2. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    If you are happy to spend the cash I would book economy and go on the upgrade waitlist. As soon as the system has a ticket number in the booking you can ring up and request an upgrade, as a Platinum you could try asking for an upgrade seat to be made available from the pool of commercial seats that are unsold - so take a look at availability of the flights beforehand and try and book on a flight that is not so full.
     
  3. QF WP

    Moderator

    Jun 20, 2002
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    Excellent information provided - everything we need to help you (although I'm not the expert here when it comes to this, where's NM when we need him).

    As markis10 advised, Platinum members are able to access additional U seat availability that other FF levels cannot (one of the absolute joys of being Plat). NM will be able to give you a full explanation.

    As you have advised you've got flexibility with dates, there are two ways to find the U availability:

    1. Using any of the Availability tools (see The ULTIMATE Qantas Guide for links). Unfortunately, most don'y show U availability anymore. There is one thta still does, but you must become a member and it costs around $10.month. Still, well worth it if you are using it regularly.

    2. Use the CSA's at the Platinum Desk to help you find them. Most that I have ever spoken to are knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

    If there isn't immediate availability, it is always worthwhile regularly checking to see if the U seat becomes available.

    Alternatively, there is the waitlist option - it opens up 90 days prior to flight. As a Plat member, you are only behind Chairmans Lounge in the access. All Plats are queued in accordance with when you joined the queue, so if you ring on the 90 days mark, you're likely to be number 1. This style is available when you waitlist prior to the changes on 25 May.

    Once you join the waitlist, the UC's "tagged" for the upgrade cannot be lost (unless they aren't eventually used). They may disappear from your UC balance (if some are expiring) but they are "attached" to the reloc. I had this happen recently with my trip to AKL and had it explained by one of the Plat Desk CSA's.

    My experience is that I have never failed to have my waitlist come through - whether on a 767 or 744. However, having said that, the upgrades will tend to come through either when a U seat is returned to inventory (omebody else who had it changes their flights) or Yield Management decide to open up J seats to U availability (this normally starts to happen only 7 days out and again reviewed at 3 days and daily thereafter as they focus on whether they think the number of J seats still available will be sold - obviously the liklihood deceases the closer to departure).

    You have better chance of this happening (buying Y and getting U via waitlist) than obtaining the entire trip in U - the liklihood of availability closer to departure of U opening up for the entire trip is extremely unlikely.

    As you know you need to take the trip, wouldn't you be flying in Y anyway (as you haven't said that either you personally or work is paying to fly J and you're looking for F availability)??

    You said that you don't want to fly in anything less than J, so why would you want to get an award seat (X) in Economy all the way to London, when you can't upgrade it - but you can upgrade a paid Y ticket to J (through U availability)....that's a lot better use of UC's or points!!

    No, your upgrade credits you have already earned are retained post 25 May. However, they still retain their usual expiry date (so you have to use them buy their indivisual expiry dates or lose them). They are not converted to 5,000 points each and credited to your account (thankfully!!).

    But, whatever SC's you've earned towards the next UC are retained but go towards the crediting of your first 5,000 point bonus when you have attained the 450 SC limit to qualify. So if you were 10 SC's short, you lose the huge benefit of a UC but after your next flight get 5,000 points (ho hum).
     
  4. thadocta

    thadocta Active Member

    Just a quick point of order here:

    Platinums (and Golds) do NOT have increased availability for U and Z seats. We have increased availibilit for WHY seats via the T booking class over X class.

    I know of someone who was platinum who asked for - and received - the release of a U class seat, only to see it go to someone who had been waitlisted for an upgrade.

    So, whilst having status helps, it is not the be-all-and-end-all of it.

    I really think that - unless this is a last minute "found out about the trip in the last day or two" type thing, you really have left it until the last minute.
    If it is a long-planned trip, you need to get in much sooner next time.

    As far as upgrades go, it is becoming better to just book the award flight rather than upgrading, which QF do not seem to recognise is depriving them of the revenue of the fare.

    Oh well, their loss. (Mine too, I am a shareholder).

    Dave
     
  5. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    thadocta is correct that even plats don't get any better access to U and Z availability. They get to select economy rewards from X (the usual FF redemption bucket) and T fare buckets.

    However, I have been successful on two occasions to have U seats made available upon request, one was LHR-MEL and one was SIN-BNE. But they were quite some time ago (6 and 3 years ago I think), so no guarantees now.

    Upgrade availability on a paid fare depends on how full the flight is. To maximise chances, pick the least popular flight and choose a day that is not likely to be full of paying business travellers. This generally means choosing a mid-week flight (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday are generally best chance).

    For lowest cost (in terms of points or UC's) you will need to have the whole trip clear in one go, so make sure you book QF1 via BKK or QF31 via SIN and ensure they are a single flight coupon all the way through - that is, ticketted SYD-LHR and not ticketed SYD-BKK-LHR or SYD-SIN-LHR. If its sold as two different sectors then you will need to waitlist the upgrade individually for each sector and if they clear at different times you will be charged 3 UC's for SYD-BKK/SIN and a fuether 4 UC's for BKK/SIN-LHR rather than the 5 UC's for SYD-LHR. Don't buy a fare for QF5 SYD-SIN and then QF9 SIN-LHR.

    I would gerenally expect QF31 would have better upgrade chance, but others may have more experience with that.

    Also note that after May 25th, you will no longer be able to upgrade the cheapest of economy fares (N class). But before then, there is no consideration of the fare paid in the waitlist queue. Being a Plat FF member you have a reasonable chance for an upgrade in that tomeframe for mid-week flights.

    I would think you have little chance of getting an FF award in business class using points in the short lead time you have.
     
  6. QF WP

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    Jun 20, 2002
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    thadocta, on your point of order (who's the Chaiman anyway??):

    My initial comment:

    to which you took umbrage and made the point of order/counter point:

    was meant to reflect (as I stated, NM will give a ful explanation) that QF Plats do get seats to open up - as NM and I had discussed the point that he added (admittedly a long time ago, but I'be got a pretty good memory :)):

    I've had them open up as well (two, similar to NM and both within 1 week of flight departure after having been waitlisted for a long time), as QF Premium Desk have gone to Yield Management and requested on my behalf for them to review the waitlist (both times there was J 4+ and I was frustrated at not having it come through).
     
  7. neil_gardner

    neil_gardner Intern

    Nov 26, 2004
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    shanghai, PRC
    Can you also offer me some advice on a similar topic...My wife is flying back on QF2 from BKK to MEL (via SYD but single coupon) on a Wednesday. I have her on the waitlist for an award points upgrade (45k points) to Business (she's on a L class ticket but connecting from Europe on a J class - With SAS not QF).

    My issue also that they cannot tell me if she'll be upgraded until 12-24 hours before the flight departure as the CSA suggested she could netiher see the seat availibility or the length of the waitlist.

    Any tips to find out her chances or in fact increasing them?

    Thanks
     
  8. QF WP

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    Neil Gardner, I think you've done as much as you can. As you're a QF Gold and using your points, then by defacto, she goes into the waitlist queue as a QF Gold, so she's only behind Chairmans Lounge, Platinum members and other Golds who got onto the waitlist before your wife. The CSA was correct, Yield Management will review the flight loads bout 72 hours out and then look at who is in the queue to upgrade..

    The best that you can do is continue to check her booking through her QF account (assuming you know her FF number and PIN) and see whether the flight changes from Economy to Business. Otherwise, check the availability on the flight through the many availability tools.
     
  9. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    I was lucky to get two seats released from the pool this time last year for a June Syd-Hkg and return trip, so it does happen. It is good to see Qantas have empowered their staff to make a difference when it matters and to go beyond the T&C's to help their more regular customers by doing something that we may not be entiltled to in the small type.

    However I suspect that three weeks out from a flight is just to close to do anything but sit on a waitlist at this stage.
     
  10. NM

    NM
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    My examples were not upgrades from paid economy to U, but were full redemptions in U. Therefor no option for waitlisting and joining a queue. The first was LHR-MEL as the return portion of a round-trip award. There was one seat available but we needed two. Got a phone call about 2 hours after pleading my case (10th wedding anniversary trip) confirming they had released the other seat.

    Second example was for Mrs NM and Mini-NM#1 to meet me in SIN. I was on a DONE4 and returning from USA via Europe and had a few days work in SIN. There was availability for the outbound, but non for the return, and of course we wanted to be on the same flight as my paid business class seat. Again a request was submitted for the two U seats and a phone call back in a few hours confirming they had been released for us.
     
  11. neil_gardner

    neil_gardner Intern

    Nov 26, 2004
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    shanghai, PRC
    Mrs and Master G are over the moon as the award upgrade has come through. They can now fly J class all the way from Europe. And the added bonus is that they can sit in the lounge at SYD for the 2.5 hours whilst waiting for QF2 inbound from BKK to magically change into QF2 outbound for MEL. Several brownie points for me :D
     
  12. thadocta

    thadocta Active Member

    Well done Neal - don't get them too excited, the QP at the INT terminal isn't much to rave about, the domestic lounge at T3 - along with most other domestic lounges - are much better. (Talking J lounges here, haven't been into the inner sanctum of the F lounge yet).

    Dave
     
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