Business class hack: Traveler shares clever upgrade tip for as low as $17

Steph G / TikTok / Virgin Australia

We have all heard of ‘secrets’ to getting a flight upgrade. From dressing well, to arriving early or late, to asking nicely, these tips may help but are not really guaranteed to give you a seat in business or first class.

An Australian traveler recently revealed a travel hack that was able to get her a business class upgrade for only AU25 ($17).

Steph Georgiou, a Gold Coast-based psychologist, took to social media to share her experience of being able to get a business class upgrade on a Rex Airlines flight from Melbourne Airport (MEL) to Coolangatta Airport (OOL) in the Gold Coast for only AU25 ($17).

Georgiou took advantage of the airline’s bidding system, where booked passengers on a flight are invited to place a bid to get an upgrade. 

Georgiou said that the secret was to bid at the very last minute, when she was already at the airline check-in desk.

For her flight segment of MEL to OOL, the lowest possible bid was AU25 ($17), and Georgiou was able to win the bid. She also shared on the video that there were other empty seats in the cabin so it meant that business class was not full on that flight, which is why the airline accepted the lowest possible bid.

Georgiou uploaded a more recent video where she claims she used the same hack to get a business class upgrade on an international flight, this time with Virgin Australia to Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS).

For this segment, Georgiou said that she made the bid a couple of days before her flight for AU420 ($276).

Once again, Georgiou highlighted that bidding at the last minute is the key to this upgrade hack.

Several other airlines such as Etihad, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, and All Nippon Airways invite booked passengers to bid on an upgrade.

Passengers receive an email from the airline days prior to departure. The airline normally sets a minimum amount for bidding, and will advise you whether your bid has been accepted or if you have been outbid as close as hours prior to departure.

Upgrades are only available per sector (not an entire return trip), and are dependent on seat availability.

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