Fabulous Fridays: Check-In Upgrade Offers With Qatar Airways (And Other Airlines)

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The topic of this weeks Fabulous Friday is about John’s recent offer from Qatar Airways to upgrade his Economy Class reservation to Business Class at really good rates.

Many airlines offer these check-in upgrades for nominal payment with different prices, sometimes attractive and sometimes rather overpriced.

We have covered our experience with these upgrades here at LoyaltyLobby on multiple occasions to describe the upgrade process, pricing and general availability.

John shared his upgrade offers he received when checking in for his Qatar Airways flights from Budapest to Ho Chi Minh City (via Doha) and we were surprised about the low price.

For the two routes, Qatar quoted different rates for the upgrade:

  • BUD-DOH: US$ 380
  • DOH-SGN: US$ 500

Both flights are approximately 5:30-6:00 hours and therefore the rates are rather attractive considering Qatar Airways onboard service in Business Class, however for BUD-DOH they only use a single aisle plane.

John didn’t take the offer as he is already oneWorld Emerald and the connection in Doha was rather short so no time for the Al Mourjan Business Class lounge.

Not sure how these upgrades are processed from the carriers side in this case. Some airlines do upgrade the booking class and passengers earn additional miles / status credits while others simply upgrade the cabin and as I experienced recently with Royal Jordanian they even changed the entire booking class to an award class (U) resulting in missing out on the entire credit which I had to claim retroactively with British Airways.


These upgrades are available in different ways. This time it was offered in the ‘manage my booking’ section on Qatar Airways website and again during check-in. Other carriers offer it on the mobile app, when accessing the booking online or at the airport (like Thai Airways does it with their Standby Upgrades).

I sometimes purchase such upgrades when I’m able to receive a range of real benefits apart from just a different seat for a few hours. As status customer you’re already entitled to most Business Class benefits on the ground (even more as oneWorld Emerald – except in Qatar Airways case in Doha where you’re being sent to a rather dismal lounge) so that the upgrade is pretty much just for the better cabin class itself and possible arrival fast track benefits. For non-status members it can definitely be worth it, especially if you carry excess baggage.

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