Cathay Pacific offers a variety of options for upgrading your air travel seat if you’re flying to Hong Kong or beyond. In this blog, we will discuss the different Cathay Pacific upgrade options available to you, the eligibility requirements, and the process of claiming upgrades. We will also provide helpful tips on choosing the right flight and maximizing your miles and cash for upgrading your seat. 

Overview of Cathay Pacific Upgrade Policy

The major highlights of Cathay Pacific’s upgrade policy are as follows:

  • You can upgrade to a higher class on Cathay Pacific:
    • With Asia Miles or Marco Polo Club points
      (now merged) 
    • With cash by paying the fare difference 
    • By bidding for an upgrade
      (excluding flights booked in India and flights between Hong Kong and India)
    • By redeeming your points to get a Bookable Upgrade if you’re a Gold or Diamond level member 
  • You can upgrade:
    • Only one level up with points, miles, or through a bid—such as from Economy to Premium Economy, Premium Economy to Business, and Business to First—but not two levels up, such as from Economy to Business, unless there’s no Premium Economy on your flight.
    • More than one level up with cash—such as from Economy to Business—even if a Premium Economy Class is offered on your flight.
  • Gold and Diamond members can use their points to get a Bookable Upgrade to the next available cabin class.
  • Cathay’s loyalty program has merged the earlier Asia Miles program (to earn redeemable miles) and the Marco Polo Club (to earn elite status). Cathay membership levels include Green, Silver, Gold, and Diamond). There’s no entry fee to join the loyalty program (Cathay) but members must be 2 years old at least.
  • Cathay upgrades are currently allowed for only direction, meaning that a return trip will cost the price of 2 one-way upgrades.
  • To calculate how many Asia Miles and Status Points you can earn for your trip on Cathay Pacific or other airlines, use this online calculator.

Cathay Pacific’s Upgrade Options 

The airlines offers 4 upgrade choices to meet your travel needs.

Cathay Pacific Upgrade with Miles

One of the cheapest ways to upgrade to the next higher class on Cathay Pacific is to use your miles. You can only upgrade one level up to the next higher class on eligible tickets. You’re not allowed to upgrade two levels up with miles, such as from Economy Class to Business Class if your flight offers Premium Economy Class seats. If it doesn’t offer Premium Economy, then you can upgrade from Economy to Business Class. 

Cathay Pacific Paid Upgrade

You can pay to upgrade your Cathay Pacific flight online, by phone, through the airline’s ticketing office, or your travel agent. The cost of a paid upgrade is typically the difference between the cost of your current fare and the higher-class fare to which you want to upgrade. 

A paid upgrade is the only option available to you if you want to upgrade 2 classes higher. This means you can upgrade from Economy to Business Class even if your flight offers Premium Economy. Two-level upgrades are not permitted with Asia Miles, points, or upgrade bids. 

Cathay Pacific Bid for Upgrade

You can bid for an upgrade at a price that works best for you if you’re lucky. If your flight is eligible, you will receive an email invite at least 4 days before departure. You can also check your eligibility through Manage Booking or the Upgrade Bid page on Cathay Pacific’s website. 

Remember, your bid must be within a preset range and in money. You can make your Upgrade Bid, or change or cancel it up to 50 hours before your flight’s departure. If your upgrade bid is successful: 

  • You will be notified by email about 48 hours before departure
  • You will be charged for it 

Bookable Upgrades

If you’re a Gold or Diamond Cathay member, you can earn Bookable Upgrades to upgrade yourself (or a travel companion) one level up to a higher cabin class after reaching 1,000 Status Points (Gold) or 1,600 Status Points (Diamond). 

There are some restrictions on upgrading, as explained in detail in a later section below. 

How Cathay Pacific Bid Upgrade Works

A Cathay Pacific Bid Upgrade offers passengers a chance to enjoy a more comfortable and luxurious travel experience for less than the cost of purchasing a full-fare ticket in the higher class.

Here’s how Cathay Pacific’s bid upgrade works:

  • You will receive an invitation email at least 4 days before departure to bid for an upgrade if your booking qualifies for an upgrade. Alternatively, you can check your eligibility through the Upgrade Bid page or the Manage Booking section on the airline’s website. 
  • Make an Upgrade Bid (at least 50 hours before departure) to upgrade one level higher. When bidding within the preset range offered on the page (money only), you’ll know the strength of your offer. 
  • Change or cancel your Upgrade Bid (if you want) no later than 50 hours before departure.
  • You will be notified by email if your Upgrade Bid is successful, typically around 48 hours before departure. 


  • You will only be charged if your bid is successful.
  • Upgrade benefits include better food and beverage choices, priority check-in, boarding, and baggage handling. 
  • Upgrade benefits do not include additional baggage allowance or additional Status Points and Asia Miles, all of which will be per your original ticket. The other fare conditions of your original ticket will continue to apply.
  • Upgrade Bids are not permitted for tickets booked in India and for flights between Hong Kong and any destination in India.
  • To improve your chances of success, put your best offer forward before the booking window closes (50 hours before departure).

Cathay Pacific Bid Upgrade Eligibility 

When you participate in an upgrade auction, the following conditions will apply:

  • The Upgrade Bid offer is by invitation only, meaning that not all passengers will receive an invite. 
  • Only passengers with confirmed tickets on the CX stock are allowed to upgrade to the next higher class. Redemption tickets do not qualify for Upgrade Bids.
  • Upgrade Bids are only available on flights marketed and operated by CX. 
  • You can only submit one Upgrade Bid offer per flight sector booking. 
  • If a flight booking includes multiple passengers, the Upgrade Bid offer must include all the passengers on the booking and the offer amount will be per passenger, meaning that the offer amount mentioned in the offer will be multiplied by the total number of passengers. 
  • Passengers must be at least 18 years old to submit an offer. 
  • Upgrade Bid offers do not include fees, taxes, and surcharges.
  • Upgrade Bid offers can be submitted only for Premium Economy and Economy Class tickets for upgrading to the next higher travel class.
  • If your upgrade offer is accepted by the airline, you will receive an Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) at the email address provided by you in the offer. 
  • If your offer is successful, you will receive an email notification at least 24 hours before you’re flight’s scheduled departure time, prior to which you may not be able to check in online for your flight. 
  • Even if you’ve been successfully upgraded, the fare conditions of your original ticket will apply to cancellation policies, change fee rules, baggage allowance, etc. 
  • If you’ve included your membership number in your original ticket, the Status Points and Asia Miles that you will earn will be on your original ticket and not the upgraded ticket. 
  • You cannot combine your Upgrade Bid with other offers, discounts, or promotions.

Other Helpful Information 

  • Successful upgrades are non-refundable, non-transferable, and non-reroutable. They are only valid for the flight and date for which they have been accepted. If you change your flight, no refund will be issued for the upgrade or other services purchased for the original flight booking. 
  • You are not entitled to any refunds, credit, or exchange if your upgrade offer has been accepted, unless:
    1. Your flight is cancelled and you are accommodated on another flight without any upgrade, provided you have not accepted any compensation already, or
    2. If you receive an upgrade but cannot be seated in the upgraded travel class due to reasons within Cathay Pacific’s control, provided you have not accepted other re-accommodation or compensation already 
  • When requesting a refund, be sure to provide your original flight’s boarding pass, failing which your refund may be denied. Approved refunds will be made in the currency in which your upgrade was charged.
  • If you had earlier purchased an Extra Legroom or Regular seat reservation (Reserve Your Seat) and your Upgrade Bid is accepted, you can claim a refund for your seat reservation by contacting Customer Care or online via this form

Cathay Pacific Miles Upgrade 

Asia Miles is the currency of Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program. You can use your miles to request a Cathay Pacific upgrade to the next higher travel class when travelling on Cathay Pacific’s network across Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America.

Miles Upgrade Chart

You can use your Asia Miles to upgrade a paid flight on Cathay Pacific from Economy to Premium Economy for as few as 6,000 miles. The number of miles required to upgrade a one-way flight on Cathay Pacific will depend on your flight distance and travel class, as shown in the table below. 

How Many Miles to Upgrade on Cathay Pacific 
(One-Way Upgrades)
Flight DistanceEconomy 🡪 Premium EconomyPremium Economy 🡪 BusinessEconomy 🡪 Business*Business 🡪  First
(1-750 miles)
(751-2,750 miles)
(2,751-5,000 miles)
Type 1—Long
(5,000-7,500 miles)
Type 2—Long
(5,000-7,500 miles)
(7,501+ miles)
*You can only upgrade from Economy to Business if your flight does not have Premium Economy.

You can also refer to the Redeem Flight Award page to determine how many miles you’ll need to redeem a direct flight.

To redeem flight awards for the partner airlines below, you’ll need to fill out the Flight Award Request Form:

  • Air Canada
  • Austrian Airlines 
  • Air New Zealand
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Lufthansa 
  • Gulf Air
  • SWISS International Air Lines 
  • Shenzhen Airlines

How Cathay Pacific Bookable Upgrades Work?

Cathay Pacific Bookable Upgrades Work

Cathay Pacific’s Gold or Diamond level members are eligible to earn Bookable Upgrades for upgrading themselves or a travel companion up to one level up after they reach 1,000 Status Points for Gold and 1,600 Status Points for Diamond level. 

The table below provides a snapshot of how Bookable Upgrades work on Cathay Pacific.

Gold StatusDiamond Status
Qualifying Points1,000 Status Points1,600 Status Points
Entitlement4 Single-Sector Bookable Upgrades4 Single-Sector Bookable Upgrades
Who can availYou or a travel companionYou, a travel companion, or a Redemption Group member (travelling with you or alone)
Eligible Flights & DistanceThe following flights marketed and operated by Cathay Pacific:
– Ultra-short flights (1–750 miles)
– Short flights (751–2750 miles)
– Medium-haul flights (2751–3700 miles)
Flights (no distance limitation) marketed and operated by Cathay Pacific
Applies Only to⎯ CPA flights beginning with 160
Eligible Fare TypesA confirmed flight booking in:
⎯ Economy (Essential, Flex)
⎯ Premium Economy (Flex)
⎯ Business (Flex, Essential, Light)
Eligible Fare Classes ⎯ Economy (Y, V, B, L, H, M, K,)
⎯ Premium Economy (R, W) 
⎯ Business (J, P, D, I, C)
Not Eligible⎯ Economy Light 
⎯ Premium Economy Essential 
Booking Deadline ⎯ 3 days before departure

How to Claim a Bookable Upgrade?

You can claim your Bookable Upgrades immediately upon earning the qualifying Status Points after which the mid-status benefits will appear automatically in your account. View the mid-status benefits summary page to learn about your earned benefits and expiry dates.

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Go to the mid-status benefits summary page 
  3. Select Request a Bookable Upgrade or claim your Bookable Upgrade through Manage Booking (at least 3 days before departure)
  4. Enter your details and select the passenger name and flight sector
  5. Submit your request 
  6. A Customer Care representative will email the result no later than 72 hours 
  7. After your Bookable Upgrade is confirmed, your flight details will be automatically updated under Manage Booking, which you can verify from the mid-status benefits summary page 
  8. You can now check in online or at the airport for your upgraded flight

Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Upgrade to Business

You can upgrade from Premium Economy to Business Class by using your miles to book an award upgrade or get a Bookable Upgrade with miles if you’re a Gold or Diamond Level member. You can also bid for an upgrade through the airline’s Upgrade Bid program if your flight and fare type are eligible for an upgrade. Alternatively, you can pay the fare difference and upgrade by cash/card online or at the airport check-in counter, gate, or even on board the flight. 

Cathay Pacific Upgrade From Economy to Business 

You can upgrade from Economy to Business Class using the same methods described above. The important thing to remember is that if you’re upgrading with miles, points, or via bidding, you can only upgrade one level up. You cannot jump two levels up from Economy to Business Class unless your flight does not offer Premium Economy. However, if you’re upgrading with your credit card, you can pay the fare difference and upgrade from Economy to Business Class. 

Cathay Pacific Upgrade to First Class

If you’re upgrading with miles, points or through bidding, you can only upgrade one level up, i.e., from Business Class to First Class by paying the fare difference and upgrade fee, if any. However, if you’re upgrading with cash/card (online, at check-in, gate, or on board), you can upgrade from any class if seats are available. 

Tips and Tricks for Successful Cathay Pacific Upgrades

Successful Cathay Pacific upgrades require planning, flexibility, and knowledge of the different upgrade options available. To increase your chances of securing an upgrade, it’s essential to understand the differences between using miles, bidding, or paying with cash

You should plan ahead and book early to avoid disappointment, particularly during peak travel periods when availability may be limited. Joining Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program is another way to earn more miles and improve your chances of getting an upgrade. 

Being flexible with your travel dates and routes can also help maximize your upgrade opportunities. Consider upgrading during off-peak periods when there may be more availability or when flights are less crowded. Knowing how to choose the right flight for your upgrade is crucial as some routes may have higher demand for upgrades than others.

In summary, a successful Cathay Pacific upgrade requires a mix of planning, flexibility, and understanding of different upgrade options. By following these tips and tricks, you can improve your chances of enjoying a more comfortable flight experience without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cathay Pacific Upgrade

How do I upgrade my Cathay Pacific flight?

You can upgrade your Cathay Pacific with your miles, by cash/card, or by bidding for an upgrade if your flight and fare type are eligible for an upgrade. If you’re bidding for an upgrade, you must submit your offer at least 50 hours before the scheduled departure time of your flight. And if you’re paying for your upgrade by cash/card, you can do it any time after booking—online, at the check-in counter, gate, or onboard.

How to get a free upgrade on Cathay Pacific?

Getting a free upgrade on a Cathay Pacific flight is tough but not impossible. One of the best ways to increase your chances of getting upgraded is by joining the airline’s loyalty program. Members of the  program (Cathay) earn miles every time they fly with Cathay Pacific or its partner airlines, and these miles can be redeemed for upgrades or other rewards without paying any money, provided you have enough miles and status points.

If you have any special circumstances or needs, such as medical conditions, or are travelling for a special occasion, don’t hesitate to let the airline know. They may take these factors into consideration when selecting passengers for upgrades.

What is Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy upgrade cost?

The cost of upgrading to Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy class will depend on the flight distance, the time of year, and seat availability. If you’re upgrading with cash, the upgrade cost will depend on the difference between the fare paid by you and the cost of the upgraded fare plus an upgrade fee, if any.

When you’re upgrading with miles, refer to the section titled Miles Upgrade Chart to learn how many miles you would require to upgrade.

If you’re bidding for an upgrade on an eligible flight, the upgrade cost will depend on the amount stated in your bid offer if it is successful.

How does Cathay Pacific’s upgrade at the airport work?

Cathay Pacific airport upgrade involves checking availability and paying an additional fee to upgrade to a higher class of service. You can inquire about the upgrade option at the check-in counter, departure gate, or even onboard, and if there is availability, you can pay for the upgrade using your credit card. 

Once you’ve been upgraded, you will have access to a range of premium amenities such as comfortable seating, gourmet meals, and personalized service.

How does Cathay Pacific’s upgrade at check-in work?

Cathay Pacific offers an upgrade at check-in option for its passengers. The upgrade process is relatively simple and straightforward. You can inquire about the upgrade option at the check-in counter, where you will be informed of the availability and cost of the upgrade. If there is availability, you can pay for the upgrade and receive a new boarding pass reflecting your upgraded seat class. The upgrade at check-in option is subject to availability and may not be available on all flights or for all passengers.

How do I check the upgrade availability on Cathay Pacific?

You check the upgrade availability on Cathay Pacific by logging into your Cathay Pacific account and checking the Upgrade Award Availability section. This will show you which flights have upgrade seats available and allow you to make a booking directly through the website. Alternatively, you can do it through the Manage Booking section by accessing your flight. 

You can also use the airline’s mobile app to view upgrade availability. Finally, you can contact Cathay Pacific’s customer service team to help check for upgrade availability and make a booking.

What is the upgrade cost at Cathay Pacific?

The upgrade cost on Cathay Pacific will depend on the flight distance, when you’re upgrading, and seat availability. The cost of a paid upgrade is usually the difference between the fare purchased by you and the upgraded fare in addition to an upgrade fee, if any. 

To calculate the cost of upgrading with miles, refer to the section titled Miles Upgrade Chart. 

The cost of bidding for an upgrade will depend on your bid offer, provided it is successful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *