This past July, I spent some time in Venice and needed to buy or redeem miles for a Venice – Vienna – Barcelona ticket.
Due to relatively low paid fares versus the required miles, as is often the case on short intra-Europe flights, I purchased a classic economy fare using Orbitz that included a checked bag. I could then check another one based on my lifetime Gold status with United.
Then I decided to check the reservation on Austrian’s website, and I was given an option to upgrade either of these two segments into business.
Venice – Vienna would have been 120 euros, while the longer Vienna to Barcelona would have set me back 170 euros.
Many airlines use PlusGrade to offer a bidding option for upgrades, so I decided to check the minimums and maximums for these two flights.
The minimum bid for Venice – Vienna was 85 euros, and Vienna – Barcelona was at 65 euros, although the flight time was more than double.
The maximum allowed bids were absurd 500 euros for each leg. Buying the upgrade outright on Austrian’s website, you could confirm both segments for far less.
I decided to only bid for an upgrade on the second segment because I would get all the other business class benefits that the seat and service on the plane based on the status (business class check-in, fast track & lounge).
The 65 euro was accepted three days before the flight was set to take place.
Getting upgraded flights credited to various frequent flyer programs is often an issue because the underlying fare class is frequently modified. I was surprised when this flight was credited to United as P-fare (lowest business class fare on Lufthansa Group airlines). I would have used Aegean’s Miles+Bonus program if I had known this before.
Euro-business is not usually worth the money, especially if you get all the status-related ground benefits.
The seats on all European airlines are basically the same, with a couple of exemptions. It is the economy seat with the middle seat blocked and nothing else. You usually get decent catering, even on the shortest flights.
I sometimes use PlusGrade or buy an upgrade outright IF I feel that the price is reasonable and the length of the flight segment justifies it.
Practically all my longer flights are in business, but I mix them with some economy short-hauls.