When booking a British Airways flight in economy class, you are sometimes given the option of a discounted upgrade to the next class. I am usually all over these like flies on, well, you know, because there is a small saving to be made, but you need to be careful.

Purchasing tickets in incremental pieces also seems cheaper to me. “Oh, €98 for economy class return? Sure!”. Then, sometime later, “Oh, only €69 to upgrade to business class? I’m in!” and before you know it, you’ve spent €220 on a one hour flight. Hey, I love it!

Be Careful Though!

Recently I had to upgrade a flight and was curious to see if an offer would be made. When it came through, it looked pretty standard, very much what I am used to, though I’ve seen it a little cheaper.

The thing is, it was €93 for the original ticket in economy class. Paying €85 and €68 would make it €246, which seemed high. Doing a dummy booking for the same dates showed that buying the ticket outright in Club Europe would have cost €216.

Instead, I went to “Change the Date/Time of my flight” and selected the same dates. Lo and behold, the price for the outbound was only €32 more (substantially less than the “offer” of €85!), while the return was €91 more. Yes, the return is €23 more than the upgrade offer, but you were unable to get the cheaper outbound on its own, and overall the total is cheaper.

Overall Thoughts

If I wasn’t a person who paid an inordinate amount of attention to airfares, I probably wouldn’t have noticed this and just upgraded away as per usual. However, I like to upgrade and pay less than I would have buying the ticket outright, not more. It pays to be careful!

Of course, this is the only time I have ever seen something like this happen. I put that down to how airline ticket prices are currently all over the place, as I am sure the revenue management software is having trouble coping with the unusual demand profiles. Either way, it pays to be careful so hopefully this highlights one thing that could happen.

Have you ever seen an upgrade offer for more than what it would cost to buy the fare outright? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Alf van Beem.