SQ first launched its mySQupgrade program back in July 2016, which allowed passengers in economy to bid for upgrades to premium economy.
At the time I went on record as saying (with regards to whether SQ would expand this program to cover economy to business upgrades):
I am convinced the answer to this is “no”. SQ is loathe to do anything to devalue or cannibalize demand for its business class product.
Which is why I was stunned to hear on the Telegram group that people were receiving offers to bid for economy to business upgrades. I went to check the website, and here’s what the mySQupgrade site is now showing (or rather, has probably been showing for a while but I only just discovered):
I’m really at a loss for words because this goes against my entire world view of SQ. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy this option exists and I think it’s the right thing to do. But given SQ’s traditional attitude towards its premium cabins, I’m just totally surprised that it’d be willing to “cheapen” them (in its mind, not mine) by opening them to bids.
Here’s a screenshot that Mitch from the Telegram group sent to me for a flight from Singapore to Bangkok. You can see that the bid range on offer is between S$180-S$370 for a one-way upgrade (it’s a work trip so he couldn’t tell me what the base fare paid was).
I wondered how long this had been going on for, so I went to dig on Flyertalk and SQTalk. I found a post from early November where someone mentions that he/she was also invited to bid for an upgrade on the SIN-BKK route.
So it does appear that bids around the $200 mark can work, at least on this route (this poster had a very expensive full Y fare). That’s a decent amount to pay if you want to treat yourself.
The next big question I have is whether or not these bids are offered to those on long haul flights. Because if I squint hard enough, I could see SQ being willing to accept regional J cabin “devaluation”, but long haul J would be a totally different matter altogether. I know the photo on SQ’s upgrade website shows the 2013 longhaul J seat, but I’d like to see some proof of this.
One interesting thing I noticed about the FAQ’s was this point:
What happens if my bid to upgrade is successful?
Congratulations! You’ll now fly on Premium Economy Class or Business Class with wider food and beverage options, increased baggage allowance, as well as priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling. The fare conditions of your booking won’t change, and any accrual of KrisFlyer miles and Elite miles will be based on your original booking.
I notice it didn’t mention lounge access. I’m not sure if that’s an oversight or deliberate, but if anyone has won an upgrade to business please let me know if lounge access is included too.
Edit: oh, silly me. It says so on the site that access to lounges is included.
If anyone’s been offered an upgrade on a medium or long haul flight, do let me know! Would be interesting to gather data points.