Bidding for Upgrades – Cathay Pacific A350 Premium Economy

CX Upgarde success copy

Cathay Pacific is always a great airline to fly.  I have enjoyed many wonderful flights with Cathay, savouring their world class service.  They offer one of the world’s most consistent product offerings, which keeps them on the list of leading airlines.

What now makes Cathay Pacific even better is the re-introduction of their upgrade bidding system.  As a traveller with Cathay  you now have the opportunity to pay for an economy class seat and place a bid for an upgrade to Premium Economy.  In fact, you can bid on a one class upgrade from any class of ticket to the next highest class.

This is one of the cheapest, and most enjoyable ways of upgrading… if you know how it’s done. Let me tell you how I went about getting my upgrade.

CX Upgrade steps

Cathay Pacific’s upgrade bid system allows you to bid any price that you decide upon, for an upgrade to the next cabin class. For example, as I had purchased an economy class ticket, I could only bid for an upgrade to Premium Economy. If I’d booked in Premium Economy I could then have bid to upgrade to Business Class,  and with a Business Class ticket I could have bid to upgrade to First Class.

You work out a price you want to pay and use a sliding scale icon to register that price in the bid system. The bid system slider tells you the likelihood of your bid’s success, but I found that going in at the lower end delivered the upgrade. This turned out to be especially true for my Premium Economy upgrade bid, as the cabins on my flights were very empty.


This may not be so true if trying to upgrade to Business or First Class, where seats are more limited.  On busier flights and busier routes you may also need to offer more to guarantee the best chance of submitting a successful upgrade bid.

Once you’ve placed your bid you just sit back and wait (a little hoping, or praying if that is your thing, may also help!).  Some time between your bid being received and the departure of your flight, you will receive a notification via email informing you if your bid was successful or not.  Any successful upgrade bid will also be reflected in your booking online status.

CX Upgrade bid

So what did I get for my $150 upgrade bid?  Let’s take a closer look at what you actually get in Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy on their brand new A350.

The seat is well designed and has a very good degree of recline.  This was a refreshing change from other Premium Economy products on offer.  There is also a footrest to help you stretch out and relax. As a taller person I didn’t find this conveniently located but it may suit travellers who are shorter in stature.

The food is the same as in economy class, which is quite disappointing considering other airlines differentiate in this area of service.  This is an opportunity missed for Cathay Pacific, not only in terms of increasing bids for upgrade but also in selling the product direct to market.

You do get a good pair of noise cancelling headphones and there is power supplied to every seat for charging devices inflight.


I had selected a window seat which allowed me to take this great wingtip shot with the farm lands outside of Bangkok in the background.  As we were turning towards our landing, I was at exactly the right angle to capture the Cathay logo on their wingtip, the wing, and the fields below.

wing tip

Expert Traveller Recommends…

Paying for an upgrade through the upgrade bid offer is well worth it. For a small price,  compared to the regular upgrade fee or ticket price, you get to take advantage of the added space.  Extra space really does make your flight more comfortable and we recommend, where you can, to take advantage of this type of upgrade offer.