Is it worth upgrading to British Airways Club World?

Dec 19, 2022

Upgrading a British Airways flight from World Traveller Plus to Club World costs an average of £1,020 to the U.S. and Canada.

Is it worth paying the extra, or simply flying in World Traveller Plus or even World Traveller?

Flying Business Class is a real aspiration for many who take to the air on holiday.

The question of ‘how to get a free upgrade’ is one of the most popular Google searches amongst those ready to fly and getting into Business Class – or Club World on British Airways – is a long sought after experience.

Finding out whether Business Class is worth it, it’s important to look at the benefits available when upgrading.

The Luxury Trip team recently flew Club World, which is Business Class on British Airways bookings, to Las Vegas and wanted to share our thoughts and whether the upgrade is really worth it.

Based on the number of flights we have taken in World Traveller, World Traveller Plus and Club World we have some insights we would like to share.

Flying Club World with British Airways is worth it as long as the price of a Club World seat is no more than 125% of the World Traveller Plus price. For example, if the price of World Traveller Plus is £850 then the cost of the Club World seat be no more than £1,062 to be worth the upgrade cost.

This isn’t to say that flying Business Class is not worth it if the cost is more than 125% of Premium Economy (World Traveller Plus) but the benefits of Club World start to become expensive compared to the benefits.

The benefits of flying Club World include:

  • Additional Avios and Tier Points per flight to help towards free flights and better benefits
  • Lay flat Business Class seat within a separate cabin on the plane
  • Access to the various British Airways airport lounges worldwide
  • Separate exclusive check-in desks
  • Dedicated Club World menu on-board every flight
  • Bigger baggage entitlement
  • Fast Track through airport security at almost all international airports
  • A glass of orange juice or Prosecco before taking off
  • Luxury amenity kit, including eye masks, socks, earplugs, toothpaste, and toothbrush etc…

When is the best time to upgrade to Business Class

The best possible time to upgrade to Business Class (or Club World in the case of British Airways) is almost always during the time of booking.

Airline fares are renowned for only ever increasing in price as the day of the flight draws near.

It may be possible to get a good deal the night before, as the airline tries to sell as many seats as possible, but this doesn’t usually apply to Business Class fares.

So, if other cabin seats can decrease in price closer to the day of the flight, why not Business Class?

The truth is the airlines realise those who pay for Business Class generally are least price resistance and will pay almost any price for a more comfortable seat.

Business travellers can often book last minute, so there is generally no shortage of willing bookers.

Some companies fly their employees in Business Class as part of their contract, regardless of price.

A Business Class seat could cost £2,000 if booked 6 months in advance, and as much as £8,000-£10,000 just 48-hours before the flight.

Therefore, the best time to book a seat, or upgrade, into Business Class is usually at the time of booking.

Although British Airways have a number of sales throughout the year, and some include reductions in Business Class fares.

It isn’t always wise to wait for a sale. If it doesn’t happen, or the wanted flight is included, the fare may be higher than the time you originally planned to book.

If a price is appealing at the time of enquiring, then it’s generally best to book.

Why Upgrade from Economy to Business Class

A seat on an airplane is just a seat, right?

Well, no not really.

The seat will get you from A to B, but of course we all like to travel in comfort, plus Business Class has been designed and created around the overall experience from start to finish.

Once arrived at the airport check in area, Business Class has a complete separate check-in to hopefully avoid the queues of Economy (although our personal experience of Heathrow Airport’s check-in area for Business Class is somewhat slow and it can be faster using the self-check-in and bag drop machines).

After check-in and bag drop, your Business Class ticket gives you access to the Fast Track or Premium Security areas, which simply means either a queue jump, or dedicated security areas.

Past security you’ll find yourself in the shopping mall experience of the airport departure area full of people trying to pass the time before a flight in the duty free area, restaurants, shops, or the man creche (also known as the bar!).

The holder of a British Airways Club World ticket gains access to the British Airways Business Class lounge.

The BA lounges are nicely laid out with different seats ranging from small armchairs to tables, and bar stool type seating out of the panoramic windows looking across to the runways (at least in the London airports they do).

Inside a selection of wines, spirits, beers, juices, and mineral water can be found along with fruit, sandwiches, snacks, and complimentary hot food that can be ordered by using the QR code link on each table – the food, once ready, is brought out to your table.

The menus are not overly extensive, and the hot food menu usually consists of two or three options, but everything inside the lounge is free.

Club World passengers can enter and exit the lounge as many times as desired, which gives a chance to do some duty free shopping in between.

What flying Business Class with BA is like

Once boarding is called, Club World passengers will be one of the first to board after those needing assistance, those carrying small children, First passengers, Executive Club Gold-Tier members, and those with the highest One World Alliance reward status.

After finding your seat, and stowing any hand luggage, you can take to your seat or suite (depending on the airplane used) and be welcomed with a glass of water, orange juice or Prosecco to relax with.

Each aircraft can operate a different layout and different type of Business Class seat.

Our flight to Las Vegas in Club World came with its own ‘suite’ with closing door (picture below):

Business Class Suite on British Airways Club World

All Business Class seats turn in to lay-flat 6ft beds, with pillow and blanket. The crew will also make up the bed for you if you prefer.

A menu will be brought to you explaining the food options for the flight, including specially selected wines and spirits with a three course meal.

During the flight the galley area usually has a selection of biscuits, crisps, wines, juices, and beer – although we have found the service and stock variety does differ between services.

After touch down First and Club World passengers are the first to leave the plane on way to the arrivals gate or connecting flight routes.

The service offered on Club World is considerably better than the services offered on either World Traveller or World Traveller Plus when flying with British Airways.

World Traveller Plus is a good option for two people who would like to sit together without a third beside them and does come with a larger seat pitch and more leg room, but as no additional service aside from a dedicated menu with options not available in economy.

Is Upgrading to Business Class with BA really worth it?

Having flown all cabin classes with British Airways I would say it is definitely worth upgrading to Business Class as long as the cost doesn’t far exceed the cost of flying Premium Economy (known as World Traveller Plus).

The benefits and experience are great, and flying Business is a big step up from flying economy or premium economy, but benefits have a price.

Tall people in particular will definitely gain benefit with the extra leg room, although I am 6ft and sometimes finding somewhere to relax and lay my feet when the seat is converted to a bed somewhat troubling sometimes.

An 8 hour flight to the U.S. will often mean 11 hours in the service of the airport and airline. Breaking the 11 hours down per hour and dividing across the upgrade value gives a price per hour.

If, for example, the additional cost from Premium to Business Class costs an extra £750 it works out that each hour of comfort and as much food and drink that can be consumed, comes at an added cost of £68.18 per hour.

Flying Business Class is an experience everyone should have at least once.