First off, the simple stuff when it comes to cruising with NCL. I never ever book direct on NCL.com because I can get so much CASH back if I follow these simple steps and I can get the exact same offers Norwegian offers me. Once I have booked, then I can log in to my NCL account and make sure I can see my reservation and I keep checking it is there – especially as the weeks before sailing arrives as I do not want to miss out on a shot to bid on an cabin upgrade.
How does this work? When you log in to your NCL.com account, and go to your next sailing, you should see the very top screenshot. Next, you see the next shot. The T&C for the “Upgrade Advantage” says:
Welcome to Upgrade Advantage. In just a few clicks, you can submit an offer to upgrade your stateroom on your upcoming cruise. Browse through the stateroom options below. Making offers on multiple rooms will increase your chances of getting upgraded, but you’ll only ever pay for one upgrade.
Here’s how it works:
Name your bid to upgrade your stateroom on your upcoming cruise, then click Continue.
We’ll notify you via email if your request for an upgrade has been approved.
If your offer is accepted, you’ll be charged for the upgrade. If not, you pay nothing and keep the stateroom you have. Offers are based on two occupants per stateroom for the entire duration of the cruise – only the first and second guest will be charged.
An interesting idea right, and I like it. You may be presented with only one single cabin to choose from or you may have a LONG list of many cabins to upgrade to that are available. You can bid on any number of them and then NCL will decide (and charge you) for one of them if you win.
For me, on my latest Norwegian Epic transatlantic crossing I was already in a Haven Spa suite (review up soon) so I was not interested in the 2 bedroom Haven suite I was in last year. But a huge owners suite I went for with a low-ball offer. After all, the spa suite I was already in had “Mandara Spa” access free and the upgraded rooms would not. How did it go?
Waaa waaaa waaa! No upgrade for you cheap-boy. But I was AOK with that and in the end really happy I did not upgrade as I had full Haven access and the Mandara Spa was really nice. If only NCL offered a shot at free upgrades for NCL Latitudes elites (oh to dream). OK so what does this have to do with Delta?
We should all know Delta loves to sell upgrades. Why offer a “free” seat to a loyal elite who always flies Delta, week after week, spending thousands of dollars a year, when you can sell them cheap to a 1x a year flyer who is not loyal?!? Yes, I kinda have an issue with this. But as long as the price is high enough that Delta makes money (if they sell it) and so high that a 1x a year flyer says “no thanks” I am AOK with Delta selling these upgrades. But could they improve this with a bidding choice and one for many more seats like NCL does? I think so.
Think about this. Delta has segmented almost every seat on the jet into different groups. If you are not an elite seeing the seat map is a scary thing i.e. how many seats are blocked off as “preferred” or special seats (when they are not really). But like NCL, for every flight, Delta could offer folks to bid on any of these like:
- Preferred coach seats
- Exit row seats
- Comfort plus seats
- Premium Select seats
- First class seats
- Delta One seats
Why I like this from a company perspective is that it will get MANY more folks involved in the upgrade process and let those who really want to get the seats bid a high number. But when folks only bid a minimum amount, they may still get an upgrade and be happy (not that Comfort plus is really an upgrade – but Delta says it is).
Also this idea, as an elite who wants free upgrades, setting minimum floor levels for each of these seat types will block the crazy IT stuff that often happens when someone only has to click “Buy a first class upgrade for $9.50“! Again, I have no problem with Delta making money selling upgrades – I just don’t want them giving away upgrades for almost nothing. That crushes loyalty.
What do you think? Do you like this idea for Delta? Do you think Delta IT is remotely capable of implementing something like this (and making it work)? Have you ever bid on an NCL cabin upgrade and scored one? Let me know! – René
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