Qantas have launched a new upgrade system / Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Frequent Flyers will be able to use both points and money to bid for a business class seat

Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas, has launched a new system that allows passengers to upgrade by bidding with points and money.

As part of the ‘Bid Now Upgrades’ scheme, Qantas will invite Frequent Flyers who have booked into Economy or Premium Economy to upgrade their seats.

Flyers can pay for their upgrade using a combination of money and Qantas Points.

Frequent Flyers who wish to use points and money will have to wait until all points-only upgrades are booked. The airline will then notify Frequent Flyers that they can bid to travel in a premium cabin by supplementing their points. Upgrades will be confirmed 24 hours before the scheduled departure.

Rival airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, already allow passengers to bid with cash for empty business class seats, but Qantas’ new system involving points is believed to be unique.

 

Qantas Loyalty CEO Lesley Grant said: "This is designed for Frequent Flyers who don’t have a balance high enough to request an upgrade using points alone.

“For a member who doesn’t have enough points to submit an upgrade request for their whole family, Bid Now Upgrades offers an alternative chance to travel at the front of the plane with their spouse and children using a combination of money and points.”

For those not flying with Qantas, travel search engine SkyScanner suggests potential passengers wanting to upgrade to business class should try a combination of tactics including travelling at quiet times, accruing flying points, using loyalty programs, and arriving either early or late for your flight - depending on the airline.

How it works

1.     Frequent Flyers invited to participate in Bid Now Upgrades will receive an email seven days before departure, enabling them to make an offer for an upgrade within a set range of points and money.

2.    For domestic upgrades, costumers will have to use a minimum of 3,000 Qantas Points, and from 5,000 Qantas Points for an international upgrade. A minimum dollar amount will also be required, depending on the flight.

3.    Bids - which other customers can't see - can be modified or cancelled at any time up until 24 hours before departure.

4.     Customers will be notified via email approximately one day before departure if their offer has been successful or not.

5.     If a customer is not successful, they pay nothing and keep their current seat.

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