Recently, I was planning out a trip to South America for later this year. As I was searching for flights from Vancouver to Buenos Aires, I encountered a pleasant surprise when I was able to confirm some eUpgrades when I didn’t think it was possible.
As it turns out, I wasn’t being thorough with my approach to finding eUpgrade availability, and it was a good reminder to not cut any corners when planning out a trip.
“Hidden” eUpgrade Availability
As I was planning out a trip to South America, I had the feeling that my best option would be to book Air Canada business class from Vancouver to Buenos Aires via Toronto or Montreal.
When it comes to business class flights to South America using points, there aren’t too many good options out there for travel in lie-flat seats.
During some Points Consulting calls over the past few years, I’ve often suggested looking at Air Canada’s routes to South America and using eUpgrades, since it’s one of the better ways to fly in comfort using points.
When I began planning my trip, I had a sneaking suspicion that booking directly into Air Canada business class would result in dynamic prices above and beyond what I’d be willing to pay.
Sure enough, this turned out to be the case, and I then thought that this might be a great opportunity to use some of my eUpgrades that will expire in January.
I was initially disheartened when I looked at eUpgrade availability on ExpertFlyer, since pretty much every flight between Toronto or Montreal and South America didn’t have any “R” space available.
In the below screenshot, flight AC118 between Vancouver and Toronto shows “R” space, which would indicate eUpgrade availability. However, on flight AC90 from Toronto to Buenos Aires via São Paulo, there isn’t any available “R” space, which led me to believe I wouldn’t be able to instantly confirm an upgrade to business class on that flight.
Before I switched gears to looking for flights with partner airlines or through other loyalty programs, I decided to give the eUpgrade filters on the Air Canada website a quick check.
Much to my surprise, when I applied the eUpgrade filter, Air Canada’s website clearly indicated that there’s eUpgrade availability on the long-haul flights between Toronto and Buenos Aires, and not just on the domestic flight as I was expecting.
Keeping in mind that I could cancel for free within 24 hours…