Ever Wondered How to Purchase a Seat Upgrade? I’ll Show You How!

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Sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to an upgrade.  Because who doesn’t like more legroom, priority boarding, and a seat closer to the front of the plane?

Here’s a step-by-step guide that explains how to purchase a seat upgrade from economy to Economy Plus online.  With popular airlines like American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United Airlines!

I’ve also included a list of credit cards with statement credits for seat upgrades.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Get Extra Legroom With JetBlue’s “Even More” Economy Plus Seats

I’ll show you how to get a free airline seat upgrade!

Buy Yourself a More Comfortable Seat on Your Next Flight

Buying a seat upgrade online is pretty straightforward.  But I’ve put together a guide to show you how to upgrade from economy to Economy Plus when you’re buying a ticket online with American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, or United Airlines.

It’s also possible to upgrade your seat at the gate, as long as there’s availability.  Just ask an agent!  Oftentimes the price for an upgrade might even be lower than if you purchased it in advance. 😉

And of course, you can always add the upgrade online, after you’ve purchased the ticket.  So do what works best for you!

1.   American Airlines

Start the search for a ticket by entering your trip details on the American Airlines homepage.  Then click the “Search” button.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Start on American Airlines’ Home Page to Buy a Ticket

From there, you’ll be asked to select your departing and return flights. 

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

It’s Easy to Select the Flight You Want. Just Scroll Through the Options and Pick One That Fits Your Schedule!

After you’ve chosen your flights, you’ll see your “trip summary” and an option to upgrade to First Class.  But to upgrade to Economy Plus, click “Log in and continue” or “Continue as guest” instead.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

American Airlines Will Try to Sell You a First Class Upgrade Before They Give You the Economy Plus Option

Then enter your passenger details, like name, birthday, address, and contact information.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Click “Continue” After You’ve Entered Your Personal Details

Finally, you’ll be able to choose your seats and upgrade to Economy Plus.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

American Airlines Makes It Easy to Pick the Seat You Want

American Airlines will show you the cost to upgrade each seat.  In this example, Economy Plus seats with more legroom cost $48 or $56, depending on the seat location.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

You’ll See the Price of the Upgrade Along With the Perks of Whichever Seat You Choose

Click on the seat you want to make your selection.  Then click “Next Flight” to pick the seats for the remaining legs of your trip.

After that, you’ll see a summary of charges for your ticket, including your seat assignments and the specific cost of your upgrade.  And you’ll have to enter your credit card information to complete your purchase!

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

When You’re Buying an American Airlines Ticket, the Payment Screen Will Show You Exactly How Much You’re Paying for the Upgrade

2.   Delta

Head to Delta’s homepage and enter your trip details to buy a ticket.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Click “Find Flights” After You’ve Entered Your Ticket Search Details

Then you’ll be able to pick your outbound and return flights, by clicking the “Select” button for the flight you want.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Just Click “Select” to Pick the Flight You Want

On the checkout page, you’ll see the option to upgrade to “Delta Comfort+”, which is Delta’s name for Economy Plus.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Delta Gives Folks Free Drinks With Delta Comfort+ Upgrades!

In this example, it costs ~$61 each way to upgrade an economy ticket.

To add the upgrade to your purchase, click the “Upgrade” button, and you’ll see the updated cost of the ticket.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

You’ll Still Have to Enter the Traveler’s Information and Payment to Complete the Purchase

From there, click “Continue” to enter your payment information and complete your purchase.

3.   JetBlue

To search for a flight on JetBlue, start from their main page, enter your trip details, and click “Find It.”

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Click “Find It” After Plugging-in Your Trip Details on JetBlue’s Homepage

Then, select both your departing and return flights.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Choose Your Flights

And you’ll see your estimated total at the bottom of the screen.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

A Summary of Your Trip Itinerary and the Cost of Your Ticket Will Show at the Bottom of the Screen

Once you click “Continue,” enter your information.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

As Always, You’ll Have to Enter the Traveler’s Information Before Purchasing Your Ticket

Then you can make your seat selection, and upgrade from economy (aka “Blue”) to Economy Plus (aka “Even More”). 😉

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

JetBlue Has a Snazzy Seating Chart!

When you make your seat selection you’ll be asked to confirm your purchase.  Click Purchase Seat” to add the upgrade to your itinerary.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

JetBlue’s “Even More” Economy Plus Seating Gives You Extra Legroom, Early Boarding, and Early Access to Overhead Bins

And the cost of the seat upgrades will show separately on the checkout page.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Once You’ve Selected Your Seats You’ll Be Able to Enter Your Credit Card Information and Buy Your Ticket

From there, checkout like normal.

4.   United Airlines

Start at United.com to search for a ticket on United Airlines by entering your flight details and clicking “Search.”

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Searching for Flights With United Airlines Is Easy

From there, you’ll be able to pick the flights you want, based on schedule and price.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

There are Plenty of Flights to Choose From When Flying Between Los Angeles and Chicago on United Airlines

And on the checkout page, you’ll be able to select an Economy Plus upgrade.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

The Cost of an Upgrade Might Vary Between Flights

To complete your purchase, click “Continue” and enter the traveler and payment information.

It’s that easy!

Get a Free Airline Seat Upgrade With These Cards

These credit cards offer statement credits for travel and airline incidentals like seat upgrades:

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus card doesn’t offer a specific travel credit for airline incidentals like the other cards on the list do.  But you can use your Barclaycard Arrival miles to offset the cost of most travel purchases, including an upgrade.  And it’s easy to redeem your points online.  Here’s my review of the card.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’ll be automatically reimbursed for up to $300 in travel purchases, including seat upgrades, each calendar year.  You can read my review of the card here.

The Citi Prestige card offers folks a $250 statement credit for flight related expenses (including upgrades!) each calendar year.  And as with the Sapphire Reserve, the credit is automatically applied to your statement.  Here’s my review of the card.

Free Airline Seat Upgrade

Dealing With Credit Card Representatives Can Be Frustrating. So It’s Nice That the Annual Travel Credits With the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige Are Automatic!

Or consider the Chase Ritz-Carlton card, which has a $300 annual travel credit for qualifying airline purchases such as seat upgrades.

The only downside with the Ritz-Carlton card’s travel credit is that you have to contact Chase at the number on the back of your Ritz-Carlton card to request the statement credit.  And the request MUST be made within 4 billing cycles of the purchase date.  So the travel credit is NOT automatic.

Lastly, you could use a card like the AMEX Platinum, that offers an automatic $200 yearly airline fee credit.  Although upgrades are specifically excluded in the card’s terms & conditions, folks have reported being reimbursed for upgrades in the past.  But I can’t guarantee it will work!

And don’t forget, you can always upgrade your seat online, after you’ve purchased your ticket.  This makes it easier to keep the upgrade separate from the ticket purchase.  And also gives you time to plan your credits.

You could even apply for a new card that offers airline fee credits before your trip.  And then enjoy a free upgrade!

Bottom Line

If you’ve ever wondered how to upgrade from economy to Economy Plus, I’ve created a step-by-step guide that shows you how to purchase an upgrade online.  With popular airlines like American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United Airlines.

You can upgrade to Economy Plus when you purchase your ticket.  Or you can add the upgrade later, to keep expenses separate.

Oftentimes it’s also possible to upgrade your seat at the gate.  Ask an agent and they’ll be able to take your payment.

Consider cards like Citi Prestige and the Chase Ritz-Carlton card, that offer statement credits for travel and airline incidentals, including seat upgrades.

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8 responses to “Ever Wondered How to Purchase a Seat Upgrade? I’ll Show You How!

  1. Is there a way to “buy” your economy seat with miles, but then use cash or miles to upgrade to the equivalent of “economy plus”?

  2. Is it cheaper to buy a ticket and then upgrade to say Economy Plus than to just buy Economy Plus in the first place?

  3. Aren’t these purchased upgrades non-refundable in the event you have to change/cancel your flight? So wouldn’t you be out any change fees plus the upgrade fee?

  4. Great. Now explain 500 mile upgrade option on AA.

  5. Hi Daraius,
    I am interested in using British Airways Avios to fly from a airport in California to Maui, Hawaii. I have heard it might be possible to use the Avios to fly on American Airways. If that is possible, could you explain the proper process. I hope to be able to take my spouse, my son and his wife on a vacation in the summer of 2017 to Hawaii.
    Thanks for your help.