If you have purchased an airline ticket on Etihad Airways and they have your email address or Guest frequent flier number on file, you can expect some rather aggressive emails about bidding for upgrades.
The Etihad bidding process is handled by a company called Plusgrade that provides the same service to a number of airlines.
You can access Etihad’s web page for bidding here.
Here’s typical email that Etihad sends out:
I was ticketed in Business Class from Abu Dhabi to Sao Paulo and Etihad extended an offer to bid for a First Class upgrade.
Make us an offer:
When you click the email or go to the Etihad’s website that allows you to place the bid, you are faced with the decision about the price. It gives you the minimum bid amount of $705 and maximum of $1,600. The colors “indicate” that the $705 would be unlikely (RED) and $1,600 likely successful (GREEN).
Review & submit:
I decided to make the low ball offer of $705 and submitted the bid.
The confirmation indicated that I would hear back 72 to 24 hours before the scheduled flight, whether the bid would was successful or not.
You can then check the status of your bid on Etihad’s website and modify it if needed.
Confirmation of the upgrade:
Before I even received an email from Etihad that the bid had been successful, Orbitz had sent me an email about a change to my itinerary that showed the First Class segment for the outbound.
Etihad Airways reissues the e-ticket as a paid First Class and you will receive status and award miles based on that.
It made sense to bid or use miles to upgrade the day flight from Abu Dhabi to Sao Paulo, but upgrading the Business Class overnight flight the other way didn’t. I would sleep most of the flight and the extra space that Etihad Airways offers in F wouldn’t be needed.
The other thing to consider is that if you have status with Etihad may be they would have upgraded you regardless due to Economy and/or Business being oversold. On this specific flight, they had to op-up four passengers from Business to First Class.
I did like the fact that the tier and award miles that Etihad posted for this flight were both based on the upgraded fare class.
Of course the question always is that if you choose to bid, how high or low of a bid to place? I would imagine that Plusgrade processed these bids from high to low. If there are more seats available in the upgraded cabin than bids placed, all of them get accepted.
Here are the terms and conditions of these Select Upgrades:
- The following terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) shall apply to an offer (“Offer”) made by you (“Guest”, “you”) to Etihad Airways (“Etihad”, “we”, “us”) for an opportunity to upgrade from the class of service that was originally purchased for travel with Etihad to one class of service higher (“Upgrade”).
- You must be at least 21 years of age and able to enter into binding contracts. You shall be deemed to have the authority to act on behalf of and to bind the person or persons named or included on the Offer to these Terms and Conditions.
- Guests may only submit one Offer per flight which corresponds to the purchased ticket issued on Etihad Airways document number 607, and offers must always be made and paid by using a credit card. Minimum/Maximum upgrade offer values apply.
- An Offer, when submitted by you in association with a booking made with Etihad, whether made directly with Etihad or indirectly through other means, and presented to Etihad, shall entitle the person or persons named on the Offer, subject to these Terms and Conditions, to be considered for an Upgrade.
- Etihad reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to decide whether or not to accept your Offer, and it makes no representation that any Guest will be upgraded regardless of whether or not seats are available in the class of service for which an Offer is being made.
- You may revise or cancel your Offer through the hyperlink on the offer email before 28 hours of your departure, provided that your Offer has not already been accepted by Etihad and provided your credit card has not been charged. However, if your Offer is accepted before you cancel or amend your Offer, you are legally bound to complete payment for the price stated in your original Offer.
- Etihad Select Upgrade is not eligible for the following bookings: Tickets booked using promotional fares and Guest seat rewards, redemption tickets, free tickets, tickets already upgraded using miles, multiflyer tickets, and booking with infants.
- An Offer that complies with these Terms and Conditions will be valid (“Valid Offer”) from the time of its submission to Etihad, with the validity of the offer expiring at the scheduled departure date and time, or, in the event that the flight has been delayed, the time at which the airplane doors have been closed for departure. Furthermore, should you cancel your Offer, the offer shall no longer be a Valid Offer.
- In the event Etihad re-accommodates you on to another flight for whatever reason other than your default, any Offer you made in relation to the original booking must be transferred to the new flight(s), subject to availability of the upgraded class.
- Etihad may accept your Offer any time during the period it remains a Valid Offer. In the event Etihad accepts your Offer, your credit card shall be charged the full amount immediately upon acceptance, and Etihad will issue a new ticket reflecting your Upgrade to each Guest included in your original flight booking. The total amount charged will include all applicable pre-payable taxes and fees (if any) for the Upgrade. The total amount that you must pay to us will be disclosed to you prior to you submitting your Offer. An Upgrade that has been issued by Etihad can be changed or transferred only in accordance with applicable Fare Rules and our Condition of Carriage.
- The charge on your credit card may appear in the name of “Etihad Select Upgrade”. You agree that you cannot challenge or dispute a charge for reason of the name appearing on the credit card statement is Etihad Select Upgrade.
- There will be no refunds, credits, or exchanges once your Offer has been accepted by Etihad and your credit card has been charged, except under the following conditions:
– The flight for which your Offer was accepted and you were upgraded was cancelled, and Etihad re-accommodated you on another flight but in the class of service of your original booking, in which case the amount paid for the Upgrade will be refunded to the payment card that was used to pay for the Upgrade and Etihad shall have not further liability to you.
– Your Offer was accepted and you were given an Upgrade, but you were not able to be seated in the upgraded class of service for reasons attributable to Etihad, including, but not limited to, a change in equipment, a delay in the connecting flight that resulted in your missing the connection on which you were upgraded, but excluding reasons attributable to your actions, including, but not limited to, you on your own volition opting to change flights, you missing a flight.
– You are entitled to refunds, credits, or exchanges under applicable Fare Rules and/or our Conditions of Carriage.
- Should refunds be approved, they will be processed in the currency in which the Upgrade amount was charged. Such refunds would be limited to amount charged for the upgrade and no bank related charges will be refunded, note that refund usually takes about 10 working days to reflect in your account.
- The fare conditions for the original ticket you purchased shall remain in effect and will be applicable even if your Offer has been accepted and you have been upgraded, including, but not limited to, cancellation policies, change fees, baggage allowance, and rules relating to the accrual of frequent flyer miles.
- If the Guest changes their ticket, Etihad Airways has no obligation to seat them in the upgraded class of service, unless they pay for the Upgrade as per the airlines’ standard change policies and the policies and conditions associated with the fare class of original ticket.
- Etihad does not guarantee specific seat assignments to Guests whose Offers are accepted and who are upgraded. Etihad does not guarantee that you will be offered a meal for the class of service to which you have been upgraded, nor other amenities generally associated with the class of service to which you have been upgraded.
- Etihad chauffeur services will not be available for upgrade from Economy Class to Business Class.
- Please re-view extra legroom terms and conditions. If guest has already purchased extra leg room seat and later upgraded to Business Class via Etihad upgrade program, Etihad Global Contact Centers or purchase an upgrade at airport, amount paid for Extra Leg Room seat will not be refunded.
- Please note that some of Etihad Airways flights on below routes are operated by our Codeshare Partners airline:
– Etihad Airways Codeshare flights EY*4121/4122 on Hong Kong-Abu Dhabi-Hong Kong route and EY*4118/4119/4120/4123 on Seychelles-Abu Dhabi-Seychelles route are operated by our partner airline Air Seychelles (HM).
– Etihad Airways Codeshare flights EY*6450/6451 on Sydney-Abu Dhabi-Sydney route are operated by our partner airline Virgin Australia (VA).
– Etihad Airways Codeshare flights EY*1997/1998 on Abu Dhabi-Dusseldorf-Abu Dhabi route, and EY*1401/1402 on Abu Dhabi-Berlin-Abu Dhabi route are operated by our partner airline Air Berlin (AB).
– Etihad Airways Codeshare flights EY*5994/5995 on Belgrade-Abu Dhabi-Belgrade route are operated by our partner airline Air Serbia (JU).
*Business class product and services will be operated by our partner airlines
- Bonus miles will be credited only for Etihad Guest members, Members of other airline loyalty programs are not entitled to bonus miles.
- In the event your Offer was accepted and your credit card was charged the Offer amount but the Upgrade was not provided, you may apply for a refund. Your request must include the original boarding pass for the flight in question. If you are not able to provide the original boarding pass for the flight in dispute, Etihad is under no obligation to refund you for the amount you paid for the Upgrade.
- Etihad reserves the right to modify and otherwise change these Terms and Conditions at their own discretion. Except as provided for in the preceding sentence, no amendment, modification or waiver to these Terms and Conditions shall be binding on Etihad unless made in writing and signed by an authorized officer of Etihad.
The failure of Etihad to exercise any of its rights shall not be construed as a waiver or relinquishment of the future performance of any of its rights, and your obligations with respect to such future performance shall continue in full force and effect.
Here are the frequently asked questions by Etihad:
ABOUT THE SERVICE
Who is eligible for the Etihad Select Upgrade service?
If you are flying with Etihad Airways, holding a confirmed ticket document number that starts with 607, and are not under the categories mentioned below, then you are eligible for the Etihad Select Upgrade service (subjected to seats availability).
Categories not eligible for Etihad Select Upgrade:
- Tickets booked using promotional fares and Guest seat rewards
- Redemption tickets
- Free tickets
- Tickets already upgraded using miles
- Multiflyer tickets
- Booking with infants
- Group bookings
Who will receive an Etihad Select upgrade email notification?
Etihad Guest members are given high preference to receive the upgrade email.
- The criteria to receive an email notification are:
- Purchased ticket issued on Etihad Airways document number 607
- Flight booked at least 3 days prior to departure
- Confirmed Business Class or Economy Class ticket
- Valid email address or valid Etihad Guest member number (this should be updated on the booking record)
Are all my flights eligible for an upgrade?
Etihad Select upgrade is possible when there are seats available in First Class or Business Class. Only those flights mentioned in the email are eligible for an upgrade.
For instance, if you are travelling on a return ticket from Sydney to London in Economy Class and you receive an email that states that Sydney-Abu Dhabi flight is eligible for an upgrade, this means that only one segment of your entire trip is currently eligible for an upgrade.
Are there only certain destinations that the upgrade is applicable for?
Upgrades are not restricted to any destination. The opportunity to upgrade depends on the number of seats available on each flight.
Can I use the Etihad Select Upgrade on Etihad Airways flights which are operated by its partner airlines?
The Etihad Select Upgrade is available for some of our flights operated by our partner airlines, where ticket issued in Etihad Airways document starts with 607. Please refer to the Terms and Conditions for these flights on our partner airlines.
ON THE PROCEDURES
When I try to enter my booking reference and last name a mismatch error massage appear, what should I do in this case?Please check your Etihad 6-letter Booking reference/Last Name and try again. Your Etihad booking reference is a 6-character reference with no numbers in it.
Would you be sending me a confirmation SMS in the event my offer is successful?
No, you will only receive a confirmation email from Etihad but you may get an SMS from your bank to advise of a charge to your credit card.
My offer has been successful and Etihad has informed me via email. However, I have not seen the email. Will I be notified at the time of check-in?
Yes, you will be notified at the time of check-in.
I cancelled my original offer, but now I would like to make a new offer. How can I do this?
After cancelling your initial offer, you can make a new offer using the links in the original upgrade offer email that was sent to you.
What will happen if I have made an offer and it has not been successful?
You will receive an email 24 hours prior to departure informing you that your offer has been unsuccessful. No amount will be deducted from your card and you can travel with your existing ticket.
During check-in you may want to ask for an Airport Instant Upgrade, in case premium seats become available. Note that this upgrade does not include the lounge access and is sold at a fixed price.
If I received an email informing me that my offer has been unsuccessful, can I make an offer again?
No, if your offer has been unsuccessful, another offer cannot be made.
Is it possible to upgrade my confirmed Economy Class ticket to a First Class ticket?
No, your confirmed Economy Class ticket can only be upgraded to the next higher cabin which is Business Class.
Will I have the option to choose my seat at the time of upgrade?
No, you cannot choose your seat at the time of online upgrade. You can request for your preferred seat during check-in.
I have booked for 5 guests under the same booking reference. Is it possible to upgrade for two guests only?
If you have booked via Etihad Airways, you can call our Global Contact Centres and ask the agent to split your booking. If you have booked via travel trade, you can ask your travel agent to split your booking.
Request for booking split should be done 3 days prior to the departure date to avoid the expiry of offer submission.
I am too late to make an offer, what are my chances of securing an upgrade?
Your chance of securing a seat depends on its availability. You should ask when you check in if it is possible to upgrade using an Airport Instant Upgrade.
What are the documents that I need to present at the airport?
For confirmation purposes, you need to bring your new ticket that was issued when your upgrade was successful or your online check-in details and credit card that was used for purchasing the upgrade.
Can I choose any amount I want for my upgrade offer?
The system has a default minimum and maximum bid amount set. It will not accept any offer lower than the minimum amount or higher than the maximum amount.
What does the strength indicator mean on the offer page?
The strength indicator is a guide that shows the strength of your bid but does not guarantee its success.
Can I offer different amounts for the upgrade for each segment of my journey?
Yes, you can offer different amounts for each eligible segment.
Can I change my offer to a higher or lower amount?
Yes, you can change the amount before you receive a confirmation email informing you whether your offer has been successful or not. All you need to do to change your offer is to use the link from the upgrade offer email.
Are there any taxes to be paid when using Etihad Select Upgrade?
The airport departure taxes are applicable in certain countries. Therefore any extra charges will be shown clearly in the upgrade offer submission process.
What fare rules apply for my upgraded ticket?
The same rules apply as the original fare purchased, including change fees and cancellation penalties.
If I have an existing offer and wish to use a different card, how can I change my card information?
You need to cancel your current offer first if inside the offer deadline window. Only after cancellation will you be able to submit a new offer using your preferred card.
When your offer is selected for processing but failed, you will receive an email with a link to enter your new card details.
Will the amount I offered be refunded if the flight where I have been upgraded has been cancelled?
In the event of a flight cancellation from Etihad, we will try to accommodate you in the upgraded cabin on your next flight. Otherwise, we will refund the full upgrade amount (within 10 days) to the card used for purchase.
My offer for upgrade has been successful. However, I would like to cancel my ticket for that segment of journey. Will the amount I offered for the upgrade be refunded?
If you are cancelling/changing your ticket, then no refund will be offered for the upgrade. The same rule applies if you are cancelling/changing your entire trip and one segment of your journey has been upgraded.
My offer for upgrade has been successful. However I would like to change another segment of journey on the same ticket. My travel agent is not able to reissue the ticket.
Once your ticket is reissued by an Etihad office for Etihad Select Upgrade, any subsequent changes to the ticket can be done by the Etihad Select Upgrade system. For such changes, email SelectUpgrade@etihad.ae
I have already purchased an Extra Leg Room seat on my existing booking. What will happen if I get upgraded with any of the Etihad upgrade program?
The amount paid for an Extra Leg Room seat will not be refunded when you are upgraded to Business Class.
ON THE BENEFITS
What are the benefits for an upgrade from Economy Class to Business Class?
- On the segment of the flight that you have been upgraded to, you are eligible to carry 40 kgs.
- You can carry additional baggage based on your tier within the Etihad Guest programme.
- You are entitled to priority boarding and check-in and have access to our Business Class lounges.
- Etihad chauffeur services will not be available for upgrade from Economy Class to Business Class.
What are the benefits for an upgrade from Business Class to First Class?
- On the segment of the flight that you have been upgraded to, you are eligible to carry 50 kgs. You can carry additional baggage based on your tier within the Etihad Guest programme.
- You are entitled to priority boarding and check-in and have access to our First Class lounges.
- All Etihad Guest members and non-Etihad Guest members will get 2 one-way chauffeur-driven transfers to or from the airport. If you are a Silver, Gold or Gold Elite Etihad Guest member, you can enjoy up to 8 chauffeur driven transfers to or from the airport.
When one segment of my trip is upgraded, what is the additional baggage allowance for my whole trip?
Additional baggage allowance applies only on the segment that has been upgraded.
For example, A confirmed ticket from Sydney to London has the first segment (Sydney-Abu Dhabi) upgraded. Additional baggage allowance applies only on the upgraded segment (Sydney-Abu Dhabi). For the remaining segment (Abu Dhabi-London), your baggage allowance will depend on the cabin booked.
Will I earn Etihad Guest Miles for an Etihad Select Upgrade?
Yes, you will earn Etihad Guest Miles for the upgrade. You will earn the base miles (as per the flown distance) plus a 10% additional bonus for the relevant cabin upgrade. Only Etihad Guest members are eligible for bonus miles. Gold Elite, Gold and Silver members will continue to earn the Tier Bonus which is always calculated on the base miles earned, hence the upgrade does not affect the number of miles awarded. Tier Miles & Segments will be earned as per the upgraded cabin.
If you have any concerns or need further clarification please write to SelectUpgrade@etihad.ae.