Is a First Class Upgrade Worthwhile?

Is a First Class Upgrade Worthwhile?When redeeming frequent flyer points, it’s rare to find award availability in both Business and First class! But, given the choice, 2infinity asks whether it’s really worth paying the extra points for a First class upgrade?

I prefer to use my points for business class fares, I don’t see economy as a good use of points as the taxes etc cost almost the same as just buying the economy ticket. Just doing ye ole check award flight availability and I see some first class flights available as well. As all experienced award redeemers know business is double the economy points and first is triple the economy points. Having said that, am I prepared to spend half again what I would normally for a business award? I’m trying to see some sort of justification in it.

First class passengers enjoy comfortable lie-flat beds, truly personalised service and superior food and drinks. But, while First class may be very nice, long-haul Business class is already very comfortable on most airlines. 2infinity also questions whether the greater privacy of First class is really a benefit when travelling in a group.

The first class experience sounds all well and good but as someone that normally flies economy, business is a wonderful step up already. Business usually offers lie flat beds, better food/drinks, lounge access etc. First seems to offer these too but maybe a slightly better quality… First seems to offer you more privacy, but is this a good thing when travelling with others?

There are some tangible benefits of flying First class. Many airlines, including Qantas and Emirates, offer dedicated First class lounges. Dedicated First class ground services are also a great benefit on airlines like Lufthansa and Thai Airways. And some airlines, including Emirates and Etihad Airlines, have on-board showers available for First class passengers.

Our members have mixed opinions about this first world problem. Many agree that, if you have enough points, then go for it. Everyone should enjoy the luxury of First at least once!

I’ve done F twice to Europe and absolutely loved it (especially SQ Suites). Now that I’ve ticked it off the list, I’m more than happy to “slum” it in J. I really wanted to experience it though, and given that I don’t accumulate points as easily these days (thanks NAB ), would rather do more flights in J than less in F.

But it depends on the flight and the occasion. A First class upgrade may be worthwhile if you’re celebrating a special occasion and the flight is long enough to enjoy the experience. But on short overnight flights where sleep is a priority, the experience is likely to be wasted. Many members would stick with Business class – assuming it’s available – for the majority of their travel.

Only you can truly answer this question. Personally, having done QF1 return in F. It’s pretty amazing. That said the gap between J and F for me isn’t big enough to justify the additional expense. Horses for courses.

Some suggest flying First class there and Business class back in order to compare the different experiences.

Would you consider a First class upgrade worthwhile? Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Is a first class award really worth it?


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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]