Some Airlines Offer Last-Minute Upgrade Deals :
Some airlines, such as Emirates and Malaysian Airlines, offer last-minute upgrades that are markedly cheaper at the gate than they would be if you booked the business-class ticket ahead of time. The downside is that you usually don’t earn miles on the transaction and may not have access to the lounge.
On Turkish Airlines flight from New York to Istanbul, I opted to upgrade the red-eye leg so I could sleep better but kept my economy seat for the daytime flight on the return trip.
That would not have been possible if I had booked the flight as a round trip outright, as my whole itinerary would have been designated business class rather than split between economy and business.
In the end, my total flight expense was less than if I had booked a round-trip business-class ticket up front.
Upgrading Your Seat May Give You Access To Premium Lounges :
Instead of having to pay a couple hundred dollars for a hotel room during my eight-hour layover, I used my business-class ticket to enter the airline’s 20,000-square-foot lounge at the airport in Istanbul — it included a marble shower with towels and luxury soap, food served 24/7 at several buffets, and comfortable couches to rest until my next flight.
I felt that the upgrade to business class was worth it to be able to lie flat and sleep on my seven-hour flight. I ended up paying $999 at the gate, compared with $2,420 for a business-class round-trip ticket.
When I was flying from Istanbul, Turkey, to Malé, Maldives, on Turkish Airlines, I decided to upgrade to business class.