Singapore Airlines is letting economy class passengers bid to be upgraded to premium economy, using a new system called mySQupgrade – which works a bit like the bidding process on eBay.
mySQupgrade is not as simple as it sounds. For a start, not anyone can bid. Invitations “are made at Singapore Airlines’ sole discretion based on certain criteria and combination of factors, which are dynamic”, the airline says. That means, in essence, that you don’t know what the factors are and they are not going to tell you.
“To stand a chance of being invited, please ensure that your email address is correctly indicated when making a booking, so that we are able to contact you if you are deemed eligible,” SIA advises.
The airline stipulates a minimum and maximum for bids and passengers can pitch their bid anywhere between. For successful bidders, the bid is charged to the credit card they nominate.
A “strength meter” indicates the strength of the bid – just like some sites measure the strength of a password – but it does not mean the bid will necessarily be successful.
Flyers can’t bid for just any flight, either. “Not all flights in your booking are necessarily eligible for bidding. The eligible flights are decided at Singapore Airlines’ sole discretion, and will be listed in the email you have received. For example, if a flight is not operated by Singapore Airlines, or you do not have a confirmed reservation for the flight, those flights will not be eligible for bidding.”
The emails go out about a week before departure and bids must be received 50 hours before take-off. Passengers can make, change or cancel their bids anytime before that.
Australian Business Traveller says the airline has assured loyal KrisFlyer members that any points-based upgrade requests will receive priority over cash-based bids received via mySQupgrade.
mySQupgrade is confined to premium economy so far, but Singapore Airlines has hinted that the scheme may spread. Who knows, the airline may one day extend it to business class, first class and even the ultimate, suites class.
Singapore Airlines website has details of mySQupgrade.
Written by Peter Needham