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How to Upgrade?
So I am flying to Italy around Christmas and I have been looking at many different flights online, my goal is to fly business class or even first class (I’ll walk before I run). I’m looking to buy an economy seat and then upgrade with miles but I have no clue what I am doing yet or what airlines it’s best to fly on to put the points to good use. Here’s my story…
When I was a kid my family and I always flew Alitalia they got a bad rap but I think nowadays they might not be so bad since they are partnered with Air France and Etihad. The flight I am looking at doesn’t have a first class cabin so business class is first class.
My plan was to fly out with Alitalia and then my return flight be with Air France or KLM so that I can experience 2 different airlines business class. I signed up years ago for Flying Blue but never flew with them so I wonder nowadays, what would be the best credit card/rewards card I should sign up for to get the upgrade I want.
I also noticed that Emirates flies direct and I know from reading and watching YouTube videos Emirates is top notch. I learned thought that Emirates isn’t affiliated with any rewards programs (other than their own I assume) and when I made an “itinerary” for myself I saw that if I could purchase an economy seat at say $600 and use 30,000 miles to upgrade to Business class.
But I don’t know where these miles come from? A credit card? The Emirates rewards card? Because I have an AMEX card that I have been collecting on for years (but it’s not one of the good ones) so would that count as the 30,000 miles to get upgraded with?
So once that is figured out my next questions are, how do I get the upgrade? Do I buy the economy ticket as priced and then on the following screen they ask if I have miles to upgrade? Do I call their customer service and have to book the ticket through them? Do i have to wait until I’m at the airport to upgrade at the counter?
And on a side note, has anyone used the car service Emirates provides for business and first class passengers?
What type of Amex points have you been collecting? Membership Rewards or something else?
Yes they are Membership Rewards with my basic Blue card from AMEX. But I intend on opening at least 1 other AMEX card and one of the Chase cards to start off with.
Very open to your suggestions.
When you buy an economy ticket and use miles to upgrade you would use the mileage program of whoever you’re buying the ticket through. If you’re buying the ticket via Alitalia, you’d need their miles to upgrade. If you’re buying a flight on Alitalia through the Delta website (they’re both in the Sky Team alliance), you’d need Delta miles to upgrade. Same for Emirates – if you buy through them you’d need Emirates miles. If you go to the Alaska website and buy a ticket on Emirates, you’d need Alaska miles to upgrade.
Of course that all depends on award upgrade space being available on the dates you want to fly. And for this trip you’re wanting to fly at one of the most popular times of the year and are booking only 6 months out. Which may sound like a lot, but airline schedules for Christmas 2017 have been open since late January so it’s quite possible a lot of the award seats have been snatched up.
What might make sense for you is to book your flight via the Amex MR portal and use the pay with points (or points + cash) option. That way you’ll actually earn points for your flights (on whichever airline you choose) yet still let you fly up front.
Does that help?
First let me thank you for taking the time to answer me, I know I can be like a 5 year old sometimes with 1,000 questions. You are being very helpful, I didn’t know much of this.
A little more background on me, I used to book travel for work years ago and I would search the sites see where the cheapest flight was (usually Orbitz I think) book through there put in my rewards card number and not think about it. I signed up blindly to a lot of airline reward programs even on airlines I never went on thinking I would become this “world traveler” with the job I had, well I left that job and really haven’t had the time or resources to travel much anymore. But as I said before I really have the desire to now.
I will definitely look into your suggestions as I finalize details to book my flight to Italy.