How Much Is A Paid Air France First Class Upgrade?

How Much Is A Paid Air France First Class Upgrade?

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While I doubt all that many people are going to be rushing to take advantage of this opportunity, I still think it’s worth covering.

Air France first class is amazing & exclusive

Air France first class, also known as La Premiere, is an absolutely incredible product. It’s only available on key routes on select Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The cabin features just four seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration, with each seat having a floor-to-ceiling curtain around it.

Personally I rank Air France first class as the world’s single most well-rounded first class product:

Air France’s La Premiere first class

The catch is that actually booking Air France first class is costly:

  • Only Flying Blue Gold and Platinum members can redeem miles for first class, and the redemption rates are extremely high (well over 200K miles one-way)
  • Air France sometimes has reasonable first class fares when paying cash, though not as consistently as in the past; add in that there are just four first class seats on select aircraft, and there aren’t all that many ways to try this product

Air France sells first class upgrades at check-in

If you’re looking to fly Air France first class without outright paying for it, there’s one best way to do so. Specifically, Air France will sometimes try to sell first class upgrades either at check-in, or even sometimes a little bit before that. Even those who booked an award ticket could be eligible for this.

For example, I recently booked a family member in Air France business class from New York to Paris, using Flying Blue miles. During the check-in invitation email, there was a note about how there was “an upgrade offer just for you.” The email stated that upgrades were available starting at $2,204.50 per person.

Air France first class upgrade offer

Interestingly when I clicked through, that price increased by $15.50, to $2,220.

Air France first class upgrade offer

When you go through the upgrade process, you can also immediately select your seat. As you can see, in this case three of the four first class seats were unoccupied at the time of check-in.

Air France first class upgrade offer

We didn’t end up taking advantage of the offer, but I thought it was an interesting data point. I’d love if OMAAT readers could share any upgrade offers they receive during check-in in the comments section, and ideally also share the route and type of fare that was booked.

Air France’s first class experience is exceptional

Is an Air France first class upgrade worth it?

It goes without saying that $2,220 is a huge amount to spend on a first class upgrade on a seven hour overnight flight, especially when Air France’s 777 business class is already very good. I’m by no means suggesting that this should somehow interest everyone, or that there will be widespread appeal to this.

That being said, a few thoughts:

  • If you’re an airline product geek and want to experience Air France La Premiere on one segment as economically as possible, a paid upgrade on a one-way award ticket is probably the best way to do this
  • In general there’s more value to this if you’re either originating in Paris, or flying to Paris and connecting same day, so that you can use the Air France La Premiere Lounge in Paris, which is half of the experience
  • Since Air France has flat beds with direct aisle access on 777s, I’d be more interested in this on a daytime flight than an overnight flight, since I’d be more likely to stay up and “party” on the latter
  • Since Air France only has four first class seats in a cabin, expect that these upgrade offers often won’t be available, as Air France often sells out first class in advance (especially to Los Angeles and New York); I suspect these upgrade offers don’t get last seat availability either
Air France’s first class ground experience is incredible

Bottom line

Air France sometimes offers paid upgrades from business class to first class, including on award tickets. This is most commonly available at check-in, though expect it to be pricey. On a recent flight from New York to Paris, a family member was offered a $2,220 upgrade from business class to first class.

While upgrades aren’t cheap, I think it’s at least worth being aware of this option, if you’re a huge airline product geek, or want to spoil yourself for a special occasion and experience one of the world’s best first class products.

At what price would you take advantage of a paid upgrade to Air France first class? And if you’ve been offered a paid upgrade, please report back with what the offer was, as I imagine others will appreciate these data points!

Conversations (61)
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  1. Barrie Guest

    I upgraded for $1500 from Johannesburg to Paris mid-June 2022. The pre-board and onboard service were somewhat mediocre. The experience from arrival at CDG, transferring to the connecting flight, and arrival at GVA had been an awesome experience though.

  2. Ej Guest

    The wife and I paid $1,300 each to upgrade from Johannesburg to Paris. Great experience until we got to Paris, where there was no one to greet us so no ground transfer or lounge experience for us. I wonder if we were just unlucky or if Air France literally just sold us a better seat on the plane, and nothing more

  3. Paul Guest

    It looks like La Premiere is no longer available on flights to Tokyo from Q4 this year. Interested to hear if anyone knows if this is true? Would love to try it at least once and this would have been my favoured destination.

  4. Sam Guest

    Anyone know if booking an award in business for AF but crediting it to delta skymiles, will you still be eligible for a first class offer? Thanks in advance.

  5. Eric Guest

    DUR-JNB-CDG-HAM: upgrade for 90.000miles for JNB-CDG
    -Private escort at JNB, CDG & HAM
    -Separate part of the lounge at JNB
    -Due to a cancelled last leg when we already boarded and I had to walk back to the lounge (their mistake) I got a voucher of 350eur and 20k miles.

    JFK-CDG: op-up
    -No La Premiere ground services

  6. Michael Bates Guest

    I paid for an upgrade on Etihad to 1st AUH-NRT for$750. I have no regrets.

  7. Bo Guest

    I wouldn't pay that much for upgrade especially now. Maybe 100.00 but not thousands

  8. John Guest

    I"ve flown it out of JFK, so I'm familiar with the ground experience there. What I'm most curious about is the ground experience out of other US airports. Specifically, I'm curious about ATL since that's my closest airport (also MIA since I have an AF J flight out of there soon). I know in JFK they had a private lounge for AF F passengers. What about ATL, MIA? and the others? What about checkin, etc?

    1. Alessandro Guest

      I flew LP once out of Miami. No lounge there, they took us to the Delta Sky club, to a private room though. Then they drove us to the gate with a golf cart. Personal service from check-in to boarding

  9. Manuheit Guest

    Flew ZYR-CDG-SFO and back in January on corporate C ticket. Was offered the upgrade to F both way for >2k$. Did not go for it since I could not benefit from the lounge due to short plane to train connections in CDG.

  10. Paul Guest

    September 2021 FCO CDG IAD I was on an award tix in business, cost to upgrade was 1,800EUROS, It was the best experience, unfortunately my flight from Rome to Paris had no perks, early morning before lounge opened, but was met on jet bridge, car waiting in Paris and off we went, FC lounge unbelievable, on board service food excellent, grou d service in IAD was ok, we were met on jet bridge but no car service COVID, but help with immigration, and baggage

  11. François Guest

    I did this at the airport when I flew CDG-JFK in 2017, and I think it was about $2000. It was an A380 segment (since at the time, I was trying to experience as many different A380s as possible), and outside of the dated hard product, it was one of the best experiences I've had on the ground and in the air. Would definitely consider again ex-CDG so I can try the 77W product.

  12. Ande777emt Guest

    In September 2019, on IAH-CDG, on a corporate C ticket as an FB Plat I was offered €2400 or 22000 miles. I was flush with miles so I used miles and ended up having the cabin to myself.

    1. Mike C Gold

      That's an amazing miles to euros ratio!

    2. Alessandro Guest

      22k or 220k miles? 22k looks too low

  13. Dave Guest

    Nov 2019, I got offered €1550 from CDG to ICN. I had a pretty incredible paid Biz fare from BCN to ICN.

    Didn't take the offer I'm still a student. Plus after flying SQ suites and EK 77W F with 100~130K miles, I didn't think it was worth €1550

  14. Kat D Guest

    Outside of private, La Premiere service has been the easiest and best for the money. The flight is just part of it. It's worth its weight in airport conveniences...skipping lines, personal delivery of passengers (from check in through seating), shortcuts through the airport, lounges are great. They do an amazing job and I wish this were an option on other destinations or airlines.

  15. Chocolate Factory Guest

    I recently booked DXB-CDG-GVA in AF J for 42.5k DL miles and was offered an upgrade to F for the DXB-CDG segment for EUR 949. All seats in the F cabin were still available at that time (not sure if it was actually empty or if people simply hadn’t selected seats yet). I didn’t do it though because it was a redeye flight and I wanted to sleep.

    1. Tommy Lonergan Guest

      I am booked dxb-cdg-fra in AF J for 43,000 miles booked via flying blue on a promo award, as of now all 4 F seats still available, I can absolutely swallow a 949 EUR for the upgrade! thanks for sharing, I am hoping it works out!

  16. Axel Guest

    We flew JNB-CDG-SFO in March this year on an award ticket in business.
    Upgrade offer came a few days before departure only for the first leg of the trip for 1400€. 3 seats were open at that time.
    Decided that is probably one of the only times to get that upgrade even though it was a little over what I was willing to pay.
    Escort from check-in to lounge and plane, shuttle...

    We flew JNB-CDG-SFO in March this year on an award ticket in business.
    Upgrade offer came a few days before departure only for the first leg of the trip for 1400€. 3 seats were open at that time.
    Decided that is probably one of the only times to get that upgrade even though it was a little over what I was willing to pay.
    Escort from check-in to lounge and plane, shuttle in Paris to and from the lounge to plane was awesome.
    Food was underwhelming and maybe on business class level. No caviar at all but good champagne.
    In the end it was worth it to have the experience and amenities in CDG.

  17. Justin Guest

    Ben,

    Interesting posting topic. I've done it three times in the last four years:

    SFO-CDG USD $2400
    SFO-CDG USD $2600
    LAX-CDG USD $2800

    It was worth every dollar to me all three times.

  18. Milelion Shill Guest

    I was offered USD 4,000 CDG-SIN from a cheap J fare in an email about 24 hours out. I had done a miles upgrade on the same route before (~100k ) and based on that experience, I thought the pricing was pretty optimistic. In the J CDG lounge they quoted EUR 1,200 which was still not worth it in my opinion.

    My writeup for the time I did the miles upgrade to La Premiere...

    I was offered USD 4,000 CDG-SIN from a cheap J fare in an email about 24 hours out. I had done a miles upgrade on the same route before (~100k ) and based on that experience, I thought the pricing was pretty optimistic. In the J CDG lounge they quoted EUR 1,200 which was still not worth it in my opinion.

    My writeup for the time I did the miles upgrade to La Premiere is on Milelion

    https://milelion.com/2018/11/18/singapore-to-south-east-and-west-africa-air-france-777w-first-class-la-premiere-cdg-sin/

    Tl;dr : nice, but I wouldn’t bother again. I don’t rate it as highly as OMAAT or the rest of the blogosphere.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      And thank you again for devaluing our AS miles.

  19. ckaught78 Guest

    couple weeks back flew cdg-sfo, at checking they wanted $2600, but a few hours later it was $1800 so I purchased it. Best ground and air experience Ive had.

  20. Clem Diamond

    Done it a few times as well. The upgrade price usually changes once you do it once. Like for that route, I've had it offered for EUR 1500 or so at some point and then after that it's been consistently $5k+ (basically the price difference, not really an upgrade). I managed to negotiate one of the discounted upgrades in the thick of the pandemic during check in, it was a fight but they gave it...

    Done it a few times as well. The upgrade price usually changes once you do it once. Like for that route, I've had it offered for EUR 1500 or so at some point and then after that it's been consistently $5k+ (basically the price difference, not really an upgrade). I managed to negotiate one of the discounted upgrades in the thick of the pandemic during check in, it was a fight but they gave it to me for about EUR 1700 if i remember correctly.

    Someone mentioned the NDPU that's sometimes attached to your profile and basically ruins your chances at cheaper upgrades. It's yet to be determined how it works, but apparently if you take a few flights in economy for a bit, you may be offered the cheaper upgrades again. I would LOVE to understand how it works.

  21. Mike Guest

    Done it twice:
    1. JFK -> CDG, 2 pax, upgraded at checkin desk, $2,500/ea approx.

    2. IAH -> CDG, 1 pax, upgraded within app, $1,800, cabin was hot "AF" :(

    Some interesting learnings from chatting with staff and doing this a few times:
    a. Award tickets can't be upgraded ahead of checkin (perhaps if they email you this is different, but if you contact support or try to upgrade from the site...

    Done it twice:
    1. JFK -> CDG, 2 pax, upgraded at checkin desk, $2,500/ea approx.

    2. IAH -> CDG, 1 pax, upgraded within app, $1,800, cabin was hot "AF" :(

    Some interesting learnings from chatting with staff and doing this a few times:
    a. Award tickets can't be upgraded ahead of checkin (perhaps if they email you this is different, but if you contact support or try to upgrade from the site / app, it won't let you)
    b. At checkin time, from app or website for cash or award ticket, you should be able to choose a first class seat from the seat map if one is available, and be charged the upgrade amount. You don't need to open an upgrade offer, just open the seatmap. AFAIK, if a seat is available, you'll be able to select it and pay the upgrade price.
    c. There is a separate La Premiere phone/email you can ask for after you've flown with them once (for La Premiere bookings only, obviously, but still nice to have).

  22. Motion to Dismiss Member

    There’s a thread on FlyerTalk with many data points on this; it seems like most prices are 1500-2500 euro.

    I have a J award ticket on AF for IAD-CDG this summer, and am eagerly hoping for a cash upgrade offer. Even though $2-3k is steep for an overnight flight when I won’t have a layover to experience the CDG lounge, I’ll still gladly pay it to finally experience AF F! My return is already in F on Singapore Suites.

  23. Geir Magne Guest

    I did go for an upgrade on the business class offer from Aero Mexico return BCN-GRU for 1050 USD. I saw before boarding the flight in BCN that there were two available seats and the price was 1350 USD for me to upgrade, but when the checkin agent tried it didn"t go through since the tickets was issued from Aero Mexico. Arriving in the business class lounge at CDG i got an offer for 1650...

    I did go for an upgrade on the business class offer from Aero Mexico return BCN-GRU for 1050 USD. I saw before boarding the flight in BCN that there were two available seats and the price was 1350 USD for me to upgrade, but when the checkin agent tried it didn"t go through since the tickets was issued from Aero Mexico. Arriving in the business class lounge at CDG i got an offer for 1650 USD. Did go for it and had almost 12 nice hours to MEX in the last seat (and one if the window seats) in First Class

  24. John Guest

    In case of interest as a data point, in late January 2022 I paid £459 per person for two people to upgrade from J to F on BA. J tickets had been booked using Avios.

  25. Travelusthay Guest

    I once got an upgrade offer from J to F (on a paid biz class ticket) on DXB to CDG on AF for €450 in 2019. It was definitely worth it even though the flight wasn’t too long, but I had an eight hour layover in CDG which made the experience awesome!!

  26. Stuart Guest

    I have taken advantage of this on three occasions, twice on award and once on paid tickets. For me its always been at check in at the airport that it's offered but at HALF what they were charging you (however mine was Dulles-CDG so it might be different given the high yield New York flights). I usually paid around $1200 which I found worth it for the incredible service, food, and private car service.

    1. Stuart Guest

      I will add another potential data point. Two of those flights I was the only one in First. The other was one other passenger. So I imagine that the price may slide based on the loads. Reading through the different prices people are paying leads me to believe that. The more full the cabin, the higher the price to upgrade.

  27. xi Guest

    paid around 2100 usd upgraded from c to f CDG-HKG at Air France lounge an hour before boarding .

  28. Steve Guest

    Jan 2020 upgraded IAD-CDG off a business award ticket for around $1300-$1400 (can’t remember exactly). The upgraded flight experience was marvelous but the real treat making it more than worth it was the La Premiere ground service for the 11-hour layover in CDG.

  29. John schnedier Guest

    $1500 CDG - MIA on a GRU - CDG - MIA award in biz. No thanks as:

    1) I’m a student with limited cash
    2) I would rather take 2 LH F flights than one AF F flight
    One day I will though! For the experience especially ex-CDG

  30. atcsundevil Guest

    I had an upgrade offer at the airport IAD-CDG in September for $1750. The miles buy-up was mindblowing - something like 400k. Needless to say I paid cash. I had the same offer and same price CDH-IAD in January, but was offered the upgrade at check-in. Didn't bite that time... La Premiere was amazing, but $1750 on top of paying for Business is tough to justify, especially when AF J is so good. Lufthansa F is the better deal.

  31. Tocqueville Guest

    From the screenshot it might be the same flight I took yesterday! I had af007 at 730pm JFK-cdg in business class on a flying blue award and had the same offer for La premiere. Intriguing. Did your family member end up taking the same flight?

  32. Vasya Guest

    It has been a while but I believe I got somewhere in this range as well (~$2,100) from IAH to CDG.

  33. Andrew Guest

    Great post! I am waiting for the perfect moment to swoop in and try La Première.

    There is a great flyer talk thread with data points:

    https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/air-france-frequence-plus/1984853-paid-upgrade-business-affaires-first-la-premiere.html

    Sounds like MEX-CDG is the most economic option all around.

  34. Levi Gold

    AF is known to include an NDPU (believed to stand for "No Discount Premium Upgrades") designation in their customer profiles if they decide you're someone who should be paying full price for La Premiere rather than buying business and taking an upgrade offer.

    1. Andrew Guest

      Lucky - This would be a great topic to do a post on...

  35. Daniel Guest

    Regularly fly AF between JFK and CDG in paid J on a corp fare (usually C/D/I/Z), when I get the upgrade offer it's often $3,000-$3,500 from JFK and €3,000-€3,330 from CDG. Tempting but always a bit steep. And I haven't been seeing it at all in the last 6 months.

  36. relidtm Member

    what about the mqm and bonus miles on this? I never done it but I would if offered. Just to experience it sort of thing.

    1. Levi Gold

      Unless AF retickets your itinerary (unlikely on a day-of-departure upgrade offer), bonus MQM and SkyMiles are unlikely.

    2. Steve Guest

      I did receive miles on the cost of the upgrade but not MQM when I upgraded.

    3. Axel Guest

      I earned skymiles based of the cash price of the just upgrade. Original ticket was a J award booking.

  37. Cedric Guest

    2200 USD is a little steep. But these offers change all the time. I was offered 1500 CAD for LX87 a few weeks ago but its a short overnight flight. Not really worth it if you ask me.

    1. John T Guest

      What a waste of money on a short overnight flight that is not ex CDG.

  38. Jan Guest

    When Emirates and Singapore can offer F fares that are about just 70-80k points upgrade from J, I'm not sure I can stomach paying $2200 for AF F. I'm not the "Paid F only" kinda guy so I have to pick my spots :D

  39. Alonzo Guest

    I'd do it if it was a longer segment. NYC to Paris isn't a long enough segment for me to fully enjoy the product.

  40. Daniel Guest

    I recently got an upgrade offer on (BCN)-CDG-MEX-(GRU). €1169,-, so roughly $1290, or 144.000 miles. This was on a cheap paid J ticket of around €1000 return.

  41. DEE Guest

    Have only bought an upgrade to Biz and it was reasonable..

  42. Am R Guest

    CDG-dxb for 2150$ or 110K FB miles at checkin Sec 2021. 3/4 were unsold in La Prem.

  43. JoePro Guest

    I declined a $1500pp F upgrade from business on LX last year, but eventually I aim to hit most of the "10 Best" F products.

    I'm still holding out some ridiculous hope that Etihad will bring back apartments, so I can try those.

    1. Mick Guest

      I reckon they might. It was my fav f flight ever (Abu Dhabi to Sydney). Not sure how others rate jal, lh, cx over it etc.

    2. JoePro Guest

      Yeah, I sure hope so. Last mention of it was December 2021.

      For Australia and New Zealand vacation, we had SYD-AUH-JFK booked for Oct 2020 via AA miles. Planning to rebook that trip late this year for Sept/Oct 2023. As part of that trip, also had Hawaiian F (A330 flat) booked from HNL-AKL. Even though we tried that product recently on a domestic haul, still would be interested in rebooking that flight at 65K HAL...

      Yeah, I sure hope so. Last mention of it was December 2021.

      For Australia and New Zealand vacation, we had SYD-AUH-JFK booked for Oct 2020 via AA miles. Planning to rebook that trip late this year for Sept/Oct 2023. As part of that trip, also had Hawaiian F (A330 flat) booked from HNL-AKL. Even though we tried that product recently on a domestic haul, still would be interested in rebooking that flight at 65K HAL Miles PP.

      Right now our AA balance is way too low for Etihad, so if Apartments come back I'd be relying on transfers to Etihad Guest from MR, Cap 1, and UR.

      This year we've got New Suites booked on SQ FRA-JFK (did old suites in 2017 for our honeymoon JFK-FRA-SIN-BOM)

      Will consider the JAL option too.

    3. JoePro Gold

      Still waiting on an announcement to see if HAL will resume flights to New Zealand when they reopen late this year.

    4. Mick Guest

      Incidentally saw some jal f inventory to asia at 70k miles on Alaska airlines if you haven’t flown that one yet!

  44. Will Guest

    The price you got seems to be $2,220, not $2,200, so it's actually $15 more.

    1. Not a genius Guest

      Thanks for noticing, genius

    2. Krinkle Guest

      You are welcome Captain Obvious.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Andrew Guest

Lucky - This would be a great topic to do a post on...

5
Steve Guest

Jan 2020 upgraded IAD-CDG off a business award ticket for around $1300-$1400 (can’t remember exactly). The upgraded flight experience was marvelous but the real treat making it more than worth it was the La Premiere ground service for the 11-hour layover in CDG.

3
Mick Guest

Incidentally saw some jal f inventory to asia at 70k miles on Alaska airlines if you haven’t flown that one yet!

2
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