British Airways “Free Upgrade To First” Is Back (From Europe)

a close-up of a seat
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British Airways has brought back a promotion it runs reasonably often which gives passengers a free one-way upgrade to First Class when they make an eligible roundtrip reservation in Club World (Business Class).

Before anyone who hasn’t seen this promotion before gets too excited I should quickly say that the key phrase to this promotion is the phrase “eligible booking”.

British Airways Free Upgrade To First

Nothing in this world is truly free and that goes more so than ever when referring to BA’s “free upgrade to First” promotion – the really isn’t anything “free” about it.

Firstly you have to book a roundtrip fare in Club World (BA’s Business Class) (they’re rarely cheap at the best of times) and then you have to make sure that the fare you book is actually eligible for the promotion.

The promotion page is here

a seat and a monitor in the back of a plane

Eligible fares are booked into fare codes R, D, C & J…and those aren’t the cheap fares.

Here are the basic rules of the promotion:

  • Book by 10 December 2017
  • Travel outbound by 23 December 2017
  • Return by 31 December 2017
  • Offer is valid on all British Airways flights which offer a First Class cabin
  • Offer is also valid on American Airlines transatlantic flights (as long as you book as a BA codeshare)
  • Fares must originate from select European countries (see full terms for details)
  • This offer cannot be booked online so you’ll have to call a British Airways reservations line (and hope you don’t have a long hold time).
  • Upgrades must be requested at the time of booking
  • Upgrades are booked into fare code A inventory so, if that’s not available on your flight, you can’t upgrade (I use ExpertFlyer to check availability based on fare codes)

For example, in the ExpertFlyer screenshot below you can see that the earlier flight has “A” inventory while the later flight does not.

a table with numbers and text

If you book an eligible Club World fare you can choose the leg on which you get the upgrade (personally I would choose the daytime leg as that would give more time to enjoy the added benefits of First Class).

Full terms and conditions can be accessed via this link

a close up of a seat


If you’re fortunate enough to be in a position where your job pays for you to fly on flexible or semi-flexible Club World fares then this is definitely a promotion for you….for the rest us I suspect the cost of the Club World fares required to qualify for the promotion will be prohibitive.