Cathay Pacific Will Allow You to Bid on Upgrades

Jul 17, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Cathay Pacific has announced an exciting new option for flyers. Starting today, travelers who have purchased either an economy or premium economy ticket will be able to bid cash to upgrade their seat to the next class up.

Economy passengers will be able to bid up to premium economy, and those who purchased premium economy tickets will be able to upgrade to business class, although business-class travelers will not be able to upgrade to first class, which is one of the best products in the sky. You’ll only be able to bid with cash, not with miles — and you can’t upgrade twice, i.e. from economy to business. 

According to Cathay’s website, the program will work like this:

  1. You’ll first have to check if your flight is eligible, since Upgrade Bid is on available only on selected routes. You’ll have to enter your name and booking reference number.
  2. If your flight is eligible, then you’ll be able to place a bid and see the strength of your offer while bidding. Bids must be placed at least 50 hours before departure — and if you want to edit or cancel your bid you must do that before the 50-hour mark as well.
  3. If you win the bid, you will be notified at least 48 hours before departure of your upgrade.

Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles members will also have an advantage when using Upgrade Bid over passengers who are not part of the programs. Bids have a higher chance of success based on their Marco Polo Club Tier, the fare class of the purchased ticket and the number of passengers in the same booking, among other factors.

If you do secure an upgrade, you unfortunately won’t earn extra Asia Miles or club points, just those that you would earn from the fare class of the original ticket you booked. This also means your baggage allowance is based on the original fare class. Although, lounge access, check-in and boarding priorities will be based off the upgraded cabin.

Cathay also notes that “bookable upgrades and redemptions will not be affected, as they will be confirmed beforehand. Other special upgrades will be protected and will continue to be awarded.”

Upgrade Bid is currently available on flights between Hong Kong (HKG) and Adelaide (ADL), Amsterdam (AMS), Bangkok (BKK), Brisbane (BNE), Cebu (CEB), Chiang Mai (CNX), Chicago (ORD), Colombo (CMB), Denpasar Bali (DPS), Dubai (DBX), Kathmandu (KTM), Rome (FCO) and Seoul (ICN). Cathay says it will gradually introduce the option on more routes over the coming months.

If you don’t want to bid with cash, you can still just buy an upgrade outright with Asia Miles. So before bidding with cash, consider upgrading with Asia miles, as it might be a better way to sit in the front of the plane. You can transfer SPG, American Express or Citi’s ThankYou points to Asia Miles, and if you’re booking a Cathay or Oneworld flight with Asia Miles, be sure to read our guide.

Etihad introduced a similar program where economy passengers can bid on a “Neighbor-Free Seat” in hopes that they can get a row with no one sitting next to them.

Featured image of Cathay Pacific Premium Economy courtesy of Cathay Pacific. 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.