There are quite a few airlines offering bidding for upgrades into a higher class. So far, however, I haven’t encountered one with a lower minimum bid for business class than Finnair.
As now I’ve had an experience of a bid with Finnair having both accepted and declined, I decided to write about the process so that you know what to expect if you plan to book a Finnair flight. My accepted bid was for an A350 flight from Helsinki to Bangkok back in May, while my rejected one was for an A330 flight from Nagoya to Helsinki that I will be taking next week.
Before I dive into the process, I just want to mention that if your bid is accepted and you upgrade, you will receive full business class service including lounge access, however, the mileage you will earn will stay the same with your original economy class ticket.
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Also, even if your bid is rejected and you end up flying in economy class, you can still access lounges at both Helsinki and Bangkok airports with Priority Pass membership.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
How to Bid for an Upgrade with Finnair?
After making your reservation – whether directly with Finnair or through a third-party, go to Finnair’s website and log-in into the “Manage Booking” section using your reservation code and last name.
Once you have located your reservation, go to “Upgrade your travel class.” You can do so either by clicking on one of the blue buttons or on “try now” on the side of the page.
Here, it will take a bit until the next page loads. Once loaded, choose your preferred upgrade method – in this case, “Name Your Price” which is Finnair’s name for its bidding program.
Once on the “Name Your Price” page, you will see which of your flights (if any) are eligible for upgrade bidding. There will be a minimum amount you can bid for each of the flights, and a slider with which you can adjust your bid. There is also a star rating of the quality of your bid, although I would not worry about that too much, and rather think about the maximum you’d be willing to pay for the upgrade, of course.
In case you want to get a shot at trying business class for the lowest bid, I suggest you bid a couple of euros above the minimum to get at least above those that bid the bare minimum.
Finally, once you click “BID NOW” and confirm your bid, you will receive an email with information about the bid you just made.
Interestingly, while with some other airlines you have to provide credit card information at this point and your bid is “final,” in Finnair’s case you can bid, but later decided not to pay even if your bid is accepted.
Receiving the Result of Your Bid
While you can bid for the upgrade from the time you make the booking, it will not be until about a week before the flight that you will get to know the result of your bid. Between 5 and 7 days before your flight, Finnair will send you an email regardless of whether or not your bid has been successful.
In case your bid is accepted, you will get an email with a link to a page where you can pay for the upgrade and confirm it. Alternatively, if you decided to not splurge in the end – and perhaps get a Priority Pass membership to access lounges instead, you can just ignore the email. You will have 36 hours from receiving the email to take up the offer.
Once you process the payment, you will get one last email confirming your upgrade and you will be ready to enjoy the lie-flat seat.
On the other hand, if your bid is declined, you will get an email notifying you about it. Interestingly (as noticed by TFG), they “provocatively” put the same icon of person in a business class seat into that email as well. Although, I guess it’s better than putting in an icon with a person cramped in an economy class seat?!
Overall, I think Finnair’s “Name Your Price” program is great for trying to try their business class for cheap. Especially given the very low starting price. And, the success rate and average accepted bid will highly depend on the route and time of the year, it is still worth giving it a shot if you are looking to splurge a bit.
Have you tried bidding for an upgrade with Finnair or with any other airline? What were your experiences?