A business-class upgrade for a fraction of the price: TPG reader success story

Oct 11, 2020

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We’ve been asking to hear your travel success and mistake stories to both celebrate and help our TPG U.K. community — even if you’re not travelling as much right now.

This week, Dennis C. showed how he and his group were able to successfully pay a fraction of the price for an upgrade to business class:

“I booked a birthday trip to the Cook Islands for February to March 2020.

Four of us flew on American Airlines (using AAdvantage miles) from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. We booked our flights directly on Air New Zealand’s website from Los Angeles to Rarotonga using a credit card. 

On the Air New Zealand website, there’s a function called OneUp where you can bid a certain amount to be considered for an upgrade to the next class of service. We all paid for premium economy and put in a bid of $250 a person to upgrade to business class. Even though our chances (as rated by Air New Zealand) were very low, we were all awarded a one-way upgrade to business class on Air New Zealand for $250 per person. This would normally cost at least $2,000 per person easily.

Needless to say, the service was spectacular and this was hands down one of the best flights that I have ever experienced. The crew on Air New Zealand could not have been more accommodating, the 787 aircraft was spectacular and the comfort level was amazing.  I would definitely recommend Air New Zealand to anyone who has the opportunity.”

Air New Zealand‘s OneUp programme is an enticing one for travellers who have an itinerary booked with the carrier. Passengers on international flights are allowed to upgrade one class. So, if you’re booked in economy, you can bid to upgrade to premium economy. And if you’re booked in premium economy, like Dennis, you can bid to upgrade to business.

The real sweet spot is when there are only two cabins offered. In such a case, you can bid to upgrade from economy to business class.

OneUp bids can be submitted online wherein you make an offer of your choice — either by using a credit card or Airpoints Dollars. Air New Zealand will then consider your offer and will let you know if your bid has been successful within three to seven days before your flight. At any point from when you place your bid to the flight, you can choose to increase your offer. If your bid is unsuccessful, it comes at no cost and you will get your money or points back.

Dennis’ experience is a valid reminder of the magic that can come from a programme such as this. He and his group were able to lock in a business-class experience for a fraction of the price had they paid cash outright.

Featured photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images.

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