Qantas is launching an upgrade bidding system for members of its Qantas Frequent Flyer loyalty club.
Bid Now Upgrades is an online invitation-only facility that allows members booked in economy and premium economy to make an offer for a business upgrade using a combination of cash and Qantas Points.
The Australian carrier said Bid Now Upgrades will be allocated after all points-only Classic Upgrade Rewards have been processed.
A statement said: “The new system ranks below Classic Upgrade Rewards in terms of priority and value, but gives members the flexibility to supplement points with a cash payment.”
The system will be rolled-out gradually across the Qantas network from this week.
Members invited to take part will receive an emailed invitation seven days before departure asking them to make an offer that must be a minimum of 3,000 points for a domestic upgrade and 5,000 for an international upgrade. A minimum dollar amount will also be required, the airline said. Members can cancel or modify their private bids at any point up until 24 hours before departure.
Winning bidders will be notified by email “approximately one day before departure”. Unsuccessful bidders will keep their original seat and be charged nothing.
Lesley Grant, Qantas’ loyalty CEO, 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.”
He added: “This new initiative will in no way impact the chances of members securing a Classic Upgrade Reward — these will always be confirmed first regardless of their Frequent Flyer tier and they remain the best value option.”
Last month, Qantas rostered its upgraded A330 onto its first international route, between Melbourne and Singapore (see news, January 19).