Flying up front is always better than flying in economy. Carriers know this, and many allow you to buy up to another cabin at the ticket counter or even at the gate, as long as there are empty seats. Some airlines automate the process. On a recent flight with Scandinavian Airlines, I entered the SAS upgrade bidding fray to see if I could snag a seat in business rather than stay in premium economy.
I admittedly have a pretty low price point for how much I’d be willing to pay out of pocket for business class. My original premium economy ticket was an excellent cash deal at ~$700 round-trip, booked through Chase Travel using Ultimate Rewards. But I did submit an upgrade bid, knowing that I’d have a comfortable flight in SAS A330 business class, a product I flew back in autumn 2021.
Submitting a SAS Upgrade Bid
After checking in online, I saw the option to bid for an upgrade for my SAS flight. Curious about the price, I clicked through.
SAS upgrade bidding can be in either cash or points. My SFO-CPH flight required a minimum bid of $300. I thought this to be quite reasonable for a flight blocked for nearly 11 hours. It was also the eastbound flight where I’d want to catch a nap during the middle.
So, I decided to submit the minimum bid. A cost of around $30 per hour for a lie-flat seat and better food is likely worth it for many people. SAS will indicate whether your bid is “weak” or “strong,” although I’m not sure they actually compare to other bids.
To complete the SAS upgrade bidding process, you have to submit your credit card information. Your card is only charged if your upgrade bid is successful.
Keep in mind that bidding for an SAS upgrade doesn’t change the booking class of your ticket. You’ll be able to enjoy the business class seat during the flight, but you won’t receive additional award miles or elite credit.
SAS Upgrade Bidding Outcome
Unfortunately, vying for a SAS business class seat with the minimum upgrade bid didn’t pan out for me.
SAS obviously doesn’t let you know by how much you missed winning your upgrade bid. I’d be curious to know, though!
Looking back, I think I should have made a bid slightly above the minimum, the thinking being that others may bid the minimum, and a bid of $320 might have given me a better chance.
Or maybe people are generally willing to pay a bunch more for business class. Given that a typical round-trip business class ticket costs $2,500 to $4,500 between the U.S. and Europe, bids of $500 to $1,000 one-way might not be uncommon. For my return flight, the minimum bid was $800. I wasn’t willing to pay that and didn’t submit a bid.
Have you ever submitted a SAS upgrade bid? How much would you be willing to pay for one-way business class over the cost of economy?