Upgrading your flight on British Airways is a great way to enhance your travel experience. There are several ways to do this, depending on your preferences and budget. But no matter which method you choose, a British Airways upgrade can add an extra touch of luxury and comfort to your travels.
Major Highlights of British Airways Upgrade Policy
Below are the key points to remember about British Airways upgrade policy:
- You can only upgrade flights:
- Operated by British Airways, American Airlines, or Iberia.
- For which the ticket has been issued by British Airways or a travel agent registered with British Airways, regardless of the operating carrier.
- Bearing the flight number of the operating carrier.
- All upgrades are subject to availability.
- Upgrades can be requested online through the Manage My Booking section of the British Airways website, by phone, or at check-in.
- Upgrades can be obtained with cash, Avios points, or upgrade vouchers.
- A BA upgrade with Avios cannot be made at the airport or onboard—you must upgrade with Avios in advance (online or by phone) before heading to the airport.
- The number of Avios required for an upgrade will depend on the flight distance and travel class, as shown in the British Airways Award Chart in a later section on this page. Always check with British Airways directly or review the website for the most up-to-date information regarding the airline’s upgrade policy.
- You’re allowed to upgrade only to the next higher class, such as from Economy Class to Premium Economy/World Traveller Plus, Premium Economy Class to Business/Club Europe/Club World, and from Business Class to First. However, if Premium Economy seats are not offered on your flight, you can upgrade from Economy to Business Class.
- On flights operated by American Airlines, you cannot currently upgrade to Premium Economy from Economy.
- The lowest (cheapest) Economy Class fares (G, O, and Q) cannot be upgraded.
- You may be allowed to upgrade a BA flight booked through a third-party/travel agent, but additional conditions may apply.
- The Tier Points and Avios earned by you for cash fares will be based on the fare originally purchased by you and not the upgraded fare.
How to Find If Upgrade Space is Available?
British Airways considers upgrade and award space the same, meaning that if a miles/points upgrade is available, it’s also available for award space.
To search for award availability, you will need to:
- Create an account with Executive Club by entering your email ID, creating your password, and providing the remaining information requested on the page.
- Confirm your email to complete the account registration.
- Go to button that reads Book at the top and click on Book a flight with Avios.
- Enter your origin city and destination city and departure date and return date.
- For one-way flights, select the One Way Only box.
- Enter the class to which you’d like to upgrade and the # of passengers
- Click on Get flights
The list of available flights will show up.
If you already have a booking with British Airways, you can check if your flight can be upgraded by logging in to Manage My Booking, selecting your flight, and choosing the Upgrade this flight with Avios option.
If you’re still planning your trip, use BA’s Book and Upgrade form to look for your desired flights and dates to check if you can upgrade or use BA’s reward availability tools to find available flights.
How important is Elite status on British Airways?
Unlike other airlines, an Elite status on British Airways does not entitle you to upgrade priority.
- Once you’ve earned 2.5K Tier Points and achieved Elite status, you’ll be issued a companion upgrade voucher.
- After you earn 3.5K Tier Points, you will be issued 2 such vouchers that you can upgrade yourself and a travel companion with on a single booking.
In addition to the one-time benefit of getting companion upgrade vouchers, an Elite status does not give you any upgrade priority.
How to Upgrade BA flight?
You can upgrade a BA flight in several ways. First, consider using your Avios points to upgrade your booking. This can be done online or by contacting British Airways directly. Another option is to use your Executive Club Gold Upgrade Voucher which is available to Elite status members who meet certain requirements. Alternatively, you can purchase an upgrade or use a Cabin Upgrade Voucher to upgrade your flight.
In a nutshell, the 4 major ways to make a British Airways flight upgrade are:
- With Avios points/miles for flights purchased by card/cash
(both existing and new bookings)
- With an Executive Club Gold Upgrade Voucher
(after you meet certain Elite tier requirements)
- With a paid upgrade
- With a Cabin Upgrade Voucher
BA Upgrade with Avios
A BA upgrade with Avios allows you to fly in luxury without breaking the bank. The section below shows you to use your Avios points to upgrade your British Airways flight and enjoy all the perks of premium cabins. From extra legroom to gourmet meals and access to exclusive lounges, an upgrade with Avios is the perfect way to enhance your travel experience.
To make a British Airways upgrade with Avios, you’ll need to have enough points in your account. You can earn them by flying with British Airways or its partner airlines, as well as through credit card rewards programs and other promotions. Once you have enough points, you can log in to your British Airways Executive Club account and search for your booked flight. If there are upgrade seats available, you can use your Avios points to get upgraded. Keep in mind that availability is limited, so it’s best to book early and be flexible with your travel dates.
When making a British Airways upgrade with Avios, remember that you can only upgrade your flight with Avios if you purchased your original ticket with cash/card. If you purchased your original ticket with Avios, you won’t be able to upgrade your BA flight with Avios.
BA upgrade with Avios for current flight bookings
To upgrade a BA flight with Avios that you’ve already booked, follow the steps below:
- Go to Manage My Booking.
- Enter your flight’s booking reference and last name.
- Select Upgrade this flight with Avios
(You cannot make an upgrade if award seats are not available).
- Pay with your Avios plus fees and taxes
Your BA upgrade with Avios will stand confirmed as soon as your Avios are deducted from your Executive Club account.
Note. Your Avios points will be immediately deducted from your BA Executive Account after you confirm the upgrade.
BA upgrade with Avios for new BA flights
If you haven’t booked a ticket, don’t have enough Avios points in your account to book a ticket outright, and want to confirm a seat upgrade right away by purchasing it with cash, follow the steps below:
- Go to British Airways Book and Upgrade page
- Log in with your username/membership number and password/PIN
- Upgrade your inbound or outbound by selecting the required checkbox
- Enter the destination airport and origin airport
- Enter the departure date and return date
- Select the class from which you’d like to upgrade
- Select a fare type that suits you
- Choose the no. of passengers and click on Get flights
- Select a flight and click on Continue
- Complete and confirm the upgraded flight booking
Tip. Before making a British Airways upgrade with Avios, check out the discounted round-trip Business Class fares that the airline often sells for as low as USD 1,800 – 2,600.
British Airways Upgrade with Executive Club Gold Upgrade Vouchers
To achieve elite status on British Airways, a metric called Tier Points comes into play. You will earn a certain number of Tier Points for each flight you take on BA or its partner airline, depending on your fare class, route, and existing status.
If you’re travelling from Los Angeles to London (Heathrow) as an Executive Club Blue member, the number of Tier Points you’ll earn will be as shown in the table below:
For example, if you book an Economy Class ticket in booking class K, you will earn 2,728 Avios and 35 Tier Points per way. Once you attain 2,500 Tier Points in a calendar year, you will earn a Gold Upgrade Voucher, which entitles you to upgrade yourself and one companion on any flight you wish, subject to upgrade/award space availability, which you can quickly find out through BA website.
After achieving 3,500 Tier Points in a calendar year, you will earn 2 Gold Upgrade Vouchers for yourself and your travel companion.
British Airways Paid Upgrade
British Airways paid upgrade is an option for passengers to upgrade their ticket to a higher class of service by paying an additional fee. This can be done at any time before the flight—either after booking or at check-in—subject to availability. The cost of a paid/cash upgrade will depend on the route and the original fare class and can provide a range of benefits such as more comfortable seating, increased baggage allowance, priority boarding, lounge access, and better dining options.
- You can only make a paid upgrade if a seat is available in the higher class.
- Often the best way to make a paid upgrade is to purchase a special offer sent to you by British Airways.
- In most cases, you’ll have to pay the full fare to upgrade unless you receive a special offer.
Upgrading with Cabin Upgrade Vouchers
The BA cabin upgrade voucher is offered as a perk for customers with Barclays Premier Banking or Wealth accounts. This voucher allows you to upgrade one cabin class higher when booking an eligible British Airways flight. For example, if you book an Economy Class ticket, you can use your cabin upgrade voucher to upgrade to Premium Economy Class.
Cabin upgrade vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issue and can only be used on flights operated by British Airways. It’s important to note that cabin vouchers are subject to availability and blackout dates may apply. If you have a Barclays Premier Banking or Wealth account, don’t forget to take advantage of this offer.
How to use a BA cabin voucher?
Using a British Airways cabin upgrade voucher is a simple process that can be completed online or over the phone. To use the voucher online, you will need to log in to your British Airways Executive Club account and navigate to the section where you can manage your bookings. From there, you will need to select the flight you’d like to upgrade and apply your voucher during the booking process.
Alternatively, you can call British Airways directly and provide them with your voucher code to complete the upgrade. Remember, cabin upgrade vouchers have certain restrictions and conditions, such as expiration dates and blackout periods, so it is essential to read the terms and conditions carefully before using the voucher.
British Airways Seat Upgrade
ou can upgrade British Airways seat in several ways. One way to make a seat upgrade with your Avios points, the airline’s loyalty program currency. By redeeming your Avios points, you can upgrade your seat to a higher class of service. Another option is to use an Executive Club Gold Upgrade Voucher, which is a perk that comes with being a member of British Airways’ Executive Club loyalty program. This voucher allows you to upgrade your seat on eligible flights. Additionally, you have the option of purchasing a seat upgrade directly from British Airways. This allows you to secure a better seat without using any loyalty program benefits. Finally, if you have been issued a Cabin Upgrade Voucher by British Airways, you can use it to upgrade your seat on eligible flights.
British Airways Upgrade Cost
If you’re making a paid upgrade with cash/card, it is difficult to provide an accurate answer, because the cost of upgrades on British Airways can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the flight distance and class of service.
If you’re making a BA upgrade with Avios, your purchase will typically comprise a cash component for your flight plus Avios points for your upgrade plus taxes, carrier charges, and fees.
The Avios required to upgrade your flight will depend on the cost of Avios for your reward flight and when the flight departs—during an off-peak or peak date (see the Award Chart below).
The formula to calculate the upgrade cost on British Airways is as follows:
Avios required to upgrade = Avios points for the cabin you’d like to upgrade to minus Avios for the cabin you’re currently booked in.
How much does British Airways Executive Club upgrade cost?
To know the upgrade cost with Avios, refer to the British Airways award chart (below) and use the formula (provided above).
|British Airways Award Chart|
|Economy Class||Premium Economy |
(World Traveller Plus)
|Business Class||First Class|
< 650 miles
|Zone 2 |
651 – 1,151 miles
|Zone 3 |
1,152 – 2,000 miles
|Zone 4 |
2,001 – 3,000 miles
|Zone 5 |
3,001 – 4,000 miles
|Zone 6 |
4,001 – 5,500 miles
|Zone 7 |
5,501 – 6,500 miles
|Zone 8 |
6,501 – 7,000 miles)
|Zone 9 |
How to Improve Your Upgrade Chances with British Airways?
If you want to get upgraded on British Airways, follow these tips.
- If you have Elite Status with British Airways:
- Try to earn companion upgrade certificates. After meeting certain criteria, you will be issued companion upgrade certificates which you can use to upgrade without any Avios. Just search for flight availability and buy a cash ticket that meets the airline’s terms and conditions for your companion to be upgraded.
- If you don’t have Elite Status with British Airways:
- Search early for flight availability. As the flight inventory for upgrades and awards is the same, search early for flight availability, especially on popular routes such as between London-Heathrow (LHR) and Los Angeles (LAX).
- Be sure to book an upgradeable fare, otherwise, you won’t be able to upgrade.
- Search for a discounted premium fare. BA often offers special fares costing as little as USD 1,500 – 2,000 for round-trip tickets. You’ll also earn lots of miles.
- Use Travel Together Tickets to get 2 award tickets for the price of 1 by finding award tickets for 2 passengers. You will have to pay fees and taxes, but the benefits are great.
- Request a paid upgrade as a last resort when you check in for an international flight at the airport. The airline often offers cheap one-way upgrades for as low as USD 1,500, provided you pay with your credit card.
Benefits of BA Flight Upgrade
Upgrading your flight with British Airways offers a plethora of benefits that can enhance your travel experience. Firstly, you can enjoy access to the luxurious and exclusive airport lounges, where you can relax and unwind before your flight. Once on board, your BA flight upgrade will let you indulge in superior comfort with spacious seating and increased legroom.
Your upgraded cabin class will offer enhanced dining options, thus allowing you to savor delicious meals prepared by renowned chefs. In addition, priority boarding will guarantee a seamless and stress-free boarding process. The upgraded experience will extend to in-flight entertainment, with access to a wide selection of movies, TV shows, and music. You’ll also receive an increased baggage allowance, allowing you to bring more of your belongings without worry. Furthermore, upgrading your flight provides access to dedicated flight attendants throughout your journey.
For those who prioritize productivity during their travels, upgraded cabins often include power outlets and Wi-Fi connectivity for uninterrupted work or entertainment. Another benefit is that British Airways frequently offers fast-track immigration and security clearance for passengers who have upgraded their seats. Finally, your BA flight upgrade may earn your more frequent flyer miles or Avios points towards future travel rewards. With all these benefits, it’s clear why a flight upgrade with British Airways is worth considering for an elevated travel experience.
About British Airways Free Upgrades
While it is not guaranteed, there are a few strategies that you can try to increase your chances of getting a free upgrade on British Airways.
- Make sure that you are a member of the airline’s loyalty program (Executive Club). Members of the program are more likely to be considered for upgrades based on their tier status and travel history. Alternatively, you can get a free upgrade (without paying cash) with your Avios (if you have enough points), or your Executive Club Gold Upgrade Voucher or Cabin Upgrade Voucher if you’re an Elite status member.
- Another tip is to dress well and be polite when checking in or boarding your flight. Staff members are more likely to grant an upgrade to someone who presents themselves well and treats them with respect.
- Try booking your flight during off-peak times when the airline may have more available seats in higher classes.
- Dress smartly and inquire politely at the check-in counter if any upgrades are available. If no free upgrade is available, the airline staff may suggest a heavily discounted upgrade offer to the next higher class (if available). It may also help to arrive early for your flight, as last-minute upgrades sometimes become available.
- If your flight has been overbooked, inform the gate agent that you don’t mind switching flights. There’s a good chance that you may be offered an upgrade on the next available flight for having solved the agent’s problem.
- If you have a special occasion or reason for wanting an upgrade, such as a honeymoon or anniversary, politely mention it to the airline staff. Remember that upgrades are not always possible due to availability, so it is important to be understanding and grateful even if you don’t receive one.
While there’s no guarantee that any of these strategies will work, they are worth a try if you’re hoping to score a free upgrade on your next British Airways flight.
British Airways Upgrade to Business Class
If you’re looking to upgrade your British Airways flight to Business Class, there are a few options available to you.
- The first option is to pay for the upgrade directly through British Airways website with Avios (if you purchased your ticket in cash) or cash. You can do this by logging into your account on BA’s website and checking for any available upgrades, as explained earlier. Alternatively, you can try asking at the check-in desk if any upgrades are available for purchase (only permitted by cash, not Avios).
- If you’re an Elite status member and meet certain requirements, you can also upgrade to Business Class with your Executive Club Gold Upgrade Voucher.
- If you have an account with Barclays Premier Banking or a Wealth Account, you can use your Cabin Upgrade Voucher to upgrade one cabin class higher from Premier Economy to Business Class.
- The cost of a Premium Economy upgrade to Business Class will depend on several factors, including the route, time of year, and availability. However, it is more expensive than upgrading to Premium Economy from Economy Class. Generally speaking, upgrading to Business Class from Premium Economy can cost anywhere from a few hundred to upwards of a thousand dollars. For more information, refer to the section titled British Airways Upgrade Cost.
British Airways Business Class upgrade cost
Calculating British Airways cost to upgrade to Business Class can be a little tricky.
- If you’re making a paid upgrade, the upgrade cost in most cases will be the difference between the fare paid by you and the Business Class fare.
- If you’re upgrading with Avios, the upgrade cost will be the full redemption cost of the Business Class (in Avios) minus the lower-class fare paid by you (in Avios). For example, if you’ve purchased an off-peak Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus) ticket from London to Toronto and you’d like to upgrade it to Business Class (Club World), the one-way distance is 3,556 miles. This falls in Zone 5, where a Business Class ticket costs 50,000 Avios and a Premium Economy ticket costs 26,000 Avios (which you’ve already paid by cash/card). So you will need 24,000 Avios (50,000 – 26,000) to upgrade to Business Class (plus fees and taxes).
Keep in mind that all upgrades are based on availability and may not be guaranteed, so it’s always best to have a backup plan in case you’re unable to secure an upgrade.
British Airways Upgrade to First Class
Upgrading your British Airways flight is a great way to enhance your travel experience and enjoy all the benefits of premium-class service. The easiest way to upgrade your flight is through the airline’s website or mobile app. Simply log in to your account, go to the Manage My Booking section, select the option to upgrade, and pay with Avios or by cash. You’ll then be able to see which upgrades are available for your flight and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Alternatively, you can try asking at check-in or the gate if any upgrades are available, and pay by cash (only). Keep in mind that upgrades are subject to availability, so it’s best to check early and often for the best chances of success.
British Airways First Class upgrade cost
If you’re paying by cash/card, the cost of upgrading to First Class in most cases will be the difference between the Business Class fare paid by you and the First Class fare, which can be anywhere between a few hundred to several thousand dollars. If you’re upgrading with Avios for a ticket purchased by cash, the upgrade cost will be the full redemption cost of the Business Class in Avios minus the lower-class fare paid by you (calculated in Avios). For more information, refer to the British Airways Award Chart.
British Airways Upgrade from Economy Class to Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus)
Upgrading to Premium Economy (known as World Traveller Plus) has many benefits—such as wider seats, extra legroom, a separate smaller cabin, priority boarding, more (i.e., double) baggage allowance, improved dining options, and other added benefits that can make your travel experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
If you’d like to upgrade from British Airways Economy to Premium Economy, there are a few steps you can take. First, check if your flight is eligible for an upgrade by visiting the British Airways website (as explained in the section titled How to Find If Upgrade Space is Available) or by contacting BA’s customer service. If your flight is eligible, you can either choose to upgrade at the time of booking or later through Manage🡪 My Booking.
The Premium Economy upgrade cost will depend on various factors such as availability, flight distance, and time of booking (peak/off-peak). For details, refer to British Airways Upgrade Cost above.
It’s also worth noting that British Airways offers different types of Premium Economy seats, so be sure to check which one is available for your specific flight.
Frequently Asked Questions on British Airways Upgrade
The Frequently Asked Questions section below on British Airways upgrade comprises answers to some of the most common questions we receive from passengers. Navigating the upgrade process can be confusing…and that’s where this FAQs guide comes in.
British Airways may offer free upgrades in certain circumstances. Complimentary upgrades may be given to passengers who have experienced a flight delay or cancellation, or who have been affected by overbooking. Note that such upgrades are never guaranteed. If you’d like to increase your chances of receiving a free upgrade, you can try asking at check-in or the gate, but ultimately it is up to the discretion of the airline staff.
There are 4 major ways to upgrade a British Airways flight—with Avios points/miles, an Executive Gold Upgrade Voucher (if you’re an elite member and meet certain conditions), by paying for it after booking your flight till check-in, or a Cabin Upgrade Voucher if you’re a Barclays Premier Banking Account/Wealth Account holder.
Yes, you can—subject to seat availability.
British Airways may allow upgrades at the airport (cash only) subject to availability on the day of travel. Airport upgrades are offered on a first-come first-served basis. The best way to find out if an airport upgrade is available on your flight is to ask the airline’s airport staff, who will inform you of the current availability and price.
No, British Airways does not currently accept bids to upgrade. However, you can upgrade your flight with your Avios or pay for it by card.
British Airways last-minute upgrade allows passengers to upgrade their seats to the next higher class at the airport on the day of departure, subject to availability. Passengers can request for an upgrade at the check-in desk and pay for it by cash (only).
British Airways offers a military discount for active duty, retired, or discharged military personnel. The Defence Discount Service discount is 10% off the base fare for certain flights. To take advantage of this discount, military personnel must provide their identification at the time of booking and may need to show it at check-in.
British Airways allows upgrades at check-in, subject to availability.
BA may allow upgrades at the gate in some cases. However, this is not guaranteed and it’s best to contact the airline directly.
Yes, you can pay for an upgrade on British Airways—right after booking your ticket your ticket till you. You can pay for the upgrade online via Manage My Booking, or by card at check in or the gate. The cost of the upgrade will depend on several factors, such as the distance, route, and class of travel.
You can upgrade only to the next higher class on British Airways. If your flight does not offer Premium Economy tickets, you can upgrade from Economy to Business Class. But if your flight offers Premium Economy tickets, you can only upgrade to Premium Economy Class.
Yes, you can, subject to availability—unless you’ve purchased the cheapest Economy Class fares (G, O, and Q), which cannot be upgraded.
Yes, you can use Alaska Airlines miles to upgrade on British Airways. However, certain conditions must be met. First, you must have a British Airways ticket that is eligible for upgrades. Second, you must have enough Alaska Airlines miles in your account to cover the cost of the upgrade. Finally, you must contact Alaska Airlines customer service to request the upgrade and pay any applicable fees or taxes.
If you’re looking to upgrade your British Airways flight, there are a few ways to go about it. The first step is to check if there are any available upgrades for your flight. You can do this by logging into your account on the British Airways website or by contacting the airline directly. If upgrades are available, you can request for an upgrade (a) with an Executive Gold Upgrade Voucher if you’re an elite status member and meet certain conditions (b) with your existing Avios points (c) with card/cash (online via Manage My Booking or at the airport check-in counter or gate) (d) with a Cabin Upgrade Voucher if you are a Barclays Premier Banking/Wealth Account holder.
Keep in mind that upgrades are subject to availability and not guaranteed.