Tips for earning and using points for upgrades when we don't have frequent flyer status?

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Hi all.

My girlfriend and I just got back from a US trip flying economy with Qantas and we would would prefer to fly at least in PE or business the next time we travel that sort of distance again.

The catch is we have no status and have no chance of getting status as we rarely fly (1 international flight every 2-3 years and the odd domestic flight).  We currently have an Amex platinum edge card with about 30k points which we have had since about November last year.  Considering getting the ANZ rewards card for the 50k points.

But the real question I have is even if we save up the points is it feasible that we will be able to upgrade with points to business on any reward program on overseas flights (thinking Africa or South America for our next trip) considering we will have no status?  We will be happy to pay the difference if we don’t have the points. 

Which program would be advisable to us? We currently have a Velocity and Qantas accounts with few points in both.

Any help would be appreciated

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I’m a Silver Status FF and have received several upgrade requests so I think it has more to do with the route and time you seek.

Only issue is you have to wait until 24 hours before departure to know whether you have been successful

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Like Hayden said, if you’re not at least gold there is not much change of you getting an upgrade. Go for the points and sign up for as many credit cards as you can! It does not take long to get the amount of points required. In saying this, make sure you financial situation allows for churn and burn strategy as your credit score will take a hit. If you are someone with a lot of debt or looking to get a mortgage sometime soon i wouldn’t do it.

Otherwise all it take is 3-4 good signups per person and voila, business class is yours!

Alternatively keep an eye out for the AA point sales that happen on occasion, you might possibly be able to score a deal flying business for the price of economy 😉

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Without any degree of status on an airline the chances of getting an upgrade are very small. the biggest downside to trying to get an upgrade is you need to purchase the most expensive flexible economy ticket which, in some instances is the same price as the cheapest premium economy seat. Your best option would be to accrue as many points as you can and use these points to purchase a business reward seat, this way you are guaranteed the seat you want rather than paying for an expensive economy seat and not getting an upgrade, and paying more than what you could have.

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