Good news! Air India planning to reduce miles for upgrades

A few days ago I’d written about Air India’s plan to reduce the number of miles required for upgrades. At that point of time, the go-live date was still to be decided, however, it seems we have more details about the plans that are in place for this enhancement. Air India upgrades are indeed set to cost less, much less.

First and foremost, the great news. Air India will massively cut down the number of miles required for first class upgrades. They used to charge between 150% to 175% of miles required for an economy redemption for Business Class to First Class, now this should go down between 33% and 99% going forward, depending on the RBD of the ticket you have purchased.

Air India Miles for First Class Upgrade Going down

Air India Miles for Business Class Upgrade (Domestic) Going down

And this even works better for Economy to Business Class upgrades, where the points required will be much lesser as compared to the current requirements.


Air India Mileage Upgrade (Domestic)

Air India Mileage Upgrade (Domestic)

It works out very nicely now. The intention is now to reward more expensive ticket holders with cheaper rewards and the cheap ticket holders with expensive upgrades, however not costing more than the cost of one redemption in this case. Back in the day, before the program was reinvented, the requirements for a redemption used to be at a flat 75% miles for Economy Redemption.

For example, a Mumbai-Delhi Economy Redemption is 10000 Flying Returns miles right now. So, if you want to be seated in Business Class, you could now buy a ticket for INR 3500 (E class RBD) and pay 100% miles (10000 Miles) and upgrade to Business Class. Or, if you bought an expensive last-minute ticket where the flight is going full and hence you landed a B class ticket, you could just pay 4000 miles to upgrade yourself.

While I still wait to see how international economy to business redemptions will be priced, I like what I see so far and this is more in line with a reasonable redemption requirement.


Cheaper redemptions are coming on Air India for Business Class and First Class Upgrades. Those miles could come very handy to sit up front now. Here is our review of Air India Business Class domestic services and international too.

What do you think about the new plan for Air India to make Business Class Upgrades cheaper?

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Ajay – This may be a bit tangential to the topic on hand, but till when do you think will AI be around?

    In other words, is this last chance saloon for burning AI-FR miles earned via flying or cc spend?

    If you feel AI liquidation is imminent in say, next 2 quarters or so, then a guidelines post as to how best get the value out of AI-FR miles would be greatly appreciated by many.

    • @Deo I don’t think AI is going anywhere. They may get merged or may become a new airline, but no danger to the miles I guess.

      • Doesn’t there exist a possibility that the buyer may decide the FF program is not worth keeping and discard it?

        In USA, its the opposite where loyalty programs are money makers and can be sold off separately, even at a profit. Here, AI hasn’t created that loyal a base methinks.

        Your thoughts appease me a little, hope that remains the case.

        • @Deo I don’t think AI is that smart. Additionally, who does not want to be able to mine 2 million records and know travel patterns? I sure do think it is going to be foolish to give up on all that data. Also, don’t forget all the babudom banks their miles on AI.

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