Upgrading to Business or First class is not only an affordable way to travel in luxury, but also an excellent use of frequent flyer points. Unfortunately, there’s a catch: upgrades can be difficult to secure, and there’s a risk that your request will be unsuccessful.

But there’s some good news if you want to use your frequent flyer points to upgrade to a better seat on your next flight. There are a few tricks that will drastically increase your chances of scoring that bump-up to the pointy-end!

Airlines may use one of two different methods of allocating point upgrades. The optimal strategy for ensuring upgrade success will depend on the method used.

On some airlines, upgrades are confirmed immediately if available. This is the case for flights on Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Cathay Pacific, and Qantas domestic flights. Upgrades on these airlines will be available as long as award seats are available in the upgraded class of travel, so the key is to search for award availability. If there’s an award seat, the upgrade will be yours.

Qantas international flight upgrades are allocated differently. These are based on a “lottery” system, with requests being placed on a waitlist. In this case, the key to maximising your upgrade chances is to book the flight with the lightest load in the upgraded travel class.

Want to learn more? Full details are available 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]