Air France Upgrades: What You Need to Know

Score a comfy Air France upgrade with miles, cash or just by booking award business class.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 

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Maybe you’ve booked an economy class ticket on your next Air France flight, but now that the trip is drawing near, the thought of being stuck in a small seat at the back of the plane is looking less appealing.

Good news — Air France upgrades are not only possible, there are a number of ways to make them happen.

Let’s take a look at how to upgrade on Air France, whether you’re simply looking for more legroom or a lie-flat oasis as you jet across the sky.

Air France cabins and seats

Air France operates four different cabins, including:

La Première is Air France’s long-haul international first class product and is very difficult to get as an upgrade, but thankfully business class upgrades are still accessible to regular flyers. This should be satisfying for most flyers since the airline's new business class cabin includes lie-flat seats and direct aisle access for all passengers.

Upgrading with miles

Flying Blue miles

If you’re looking for an Air France upgrade to business class, you have a few different options from which to choose. The first is to use miles, which can be a good option for many.

This is because Air France uses Flying Blue as its loyalty program. All major transferable currencies, including American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou points and Bilt Rewards convert to Flying Blue miles at a 1:1 ratio, making them relatively easy to earn.

Cards that can transfer to Flying Blue
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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on Chase's website

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Citibank ThankYou Premier Credit Card
Citi Premier® Card
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on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
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on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Annual fee and welcome offer

Annual fee: $95.

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Annual fee: $695.

Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Annual fee: $95.

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.

Annual fee: $250.

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

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Terms apply.

Upgrades with miles can be made in four different ways. If you’re trying to do so before check-in opens, an Air France upgrade to business class can only be done with miles.

To make that happen, you’ll need to contact Air France’s customer service by phone at 800-375-8723.

After check-in opens, you can take advantage of the other ways of making an Air France flight upgrade. The simplest is by doing it online; you’ll just need to log in to your booking to find upgrade options.

You’re also still able to make upgrades by phone if that’s what you prefer, but you can also do so at the check-in desk at the airport. Finally, if there are still seats available after boarding, you can upgrade on the plane using miles by speaking with a flight attendant.

Delta SkyMiles

If you have a stash of Delta SkyMiles burning a hole in your pocket, it’s possible to use those miles to upgrade your seat on certain Air France flights. According to Delta Air Lines’ website, you can use a Mileage Upgrade Award on eligible Air France and KLM flights.

Using your miles in this way will grant you a one-cabin upgrade, which means that if you’re in economy, you can upgrade to premium economy. If your original booking was in premium economy, you can use your miles to upgrade to business.

There are other rules of which you’ll need to be aware if you want to use your SkyMiles to upgrade your flight with Air France:

  • Valid only on joint venture Air France flights between the United States and Paris-Charles de Gaulle or Paris-Orly airports.

  • Not available on flights operated with a Boeing 747.

  • Upgrade request must be completed 24 hours before departure.

  • Fare classes eligible for upgrade include Y, B and M. 

Upgrading with cash

It’s also possible to upgrade your seat using cash, though you’ll need to wait until check-in to do so. Once check-in opens, you can upgrade using similar methods as you would with miles.

These include calling, upgrading at the check-in desk or logging into your online reservation. If you want to upgrade once you’ve already boarded, however, you need miles to do so.

You’ll also want to be aware that those who have booked award tickets are unable to upgrade in advance; they’ll need to wait until check-in opens to process an upgrade.

🤓Nerdy Tip

An Air France upgrade seat doesn’t have to be to business class. If you’re looking for a row of two, a seat with a little extra legroom or a seat at the front of the plane, you can easily upgrade yourself online before your flight departs.

These types of upgrades can be easier to do than those to business class, and purchases can be made with cash at any time. Even better, those who have elite status with Air France can enjoy upgrades at a discounted rate.

Book an award flight instead

If you want to fly business class with Air France, you may not want to rely on an upgrade being available to do so. If that’s the case, you can always book your business class ticket directly with miles.

Business class redemptions can be a smart use of Flying Blue miles. For example, business class flights from the U.S. to Europe start at 55,000 miles one-way.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Air France is a member of SkyTeam, which means those who have miles with Delta, Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico, Korean Air and more can redeem those miles for an award flight on Air France.

Air France upgrades recapped

Traveling long-haul in an economy class cabin can get uncomfortable — and even if you’re on a shorter flight, an upgrade can still be a nice treat. Luckily for those traveling on Air France, there are plenty of options for scoring an upgrade.

Before check-in, those on paid tickets can contact customer service to upgrade their flights using miles. Once check-in has opened, anyone can request an upgrade and use cash or miles to snag a better seat.

If you’re not interested in waiting on an upgrade, consider booking an award flight in business class instead. This guarantees you a good seat without the stress of relying on upgrade award space.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

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