How To Upgrade To A Norwegian Premium Seat

by Jeremy Chesney

In October, I had planned a trip to Amsterdam flying on Norwegian for the very first time. The outbound was a short and sweet six hour flight from New York-JFK to Amsterdam, where I sampled their reasonable economy product.

My return was a much longer 11-hour journey from Stockholm-Los Angeles. Because I had nearly been charged for my carry-on luggage on the outbound (which, granted, was overweight) and I was not a fan of the economy seat, I decided to bid on an upgrade to Norwegian Premium and won.

What Is Norwegian Premium? 

norwegian premium

Norwegian is a low-cost carrier, but does offer a premium economy product known simply as “Premium.” On the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, this is in a 2-3-2 seating configuration. This product is quite popular, which has led Norwegian to add on more rows from five rows to nine rows, and unfortunately, also reduce the seat pitch from a monstrous 55” to 46” to accommodate this.

Norwegian Premium tickets used to offer lounge access at some airports, but you now have to be on a Premium Flex ticket, which can only be booked outright at a ridiculous cash rate. 

Premium also includes two free checked bags, fast track security, and onboard meals and beer, wine, and soft drinks.

What Are The Options To Upgrade To A Norwegian Premium Seat? 

Though Premium tends to be cheapest of all Premium Economy products across the Atlantic, I still recommend against buying it outright. Depending on availability, Norwegian regularly offers the opportunity to either “buy up” or “bid” on an upgrade to Premium. Bidding is always the best deal, while buying up usually gives a small discount over buying Premium at the original time of purchase.

Options for Premium:

  • Buy it at outright at the time of ticket purchase
  • Receive an email about confirming a Premium upgrade for a set cash amount that Norwegian specifies
  • Bid for an upgrade

How To Upgrade To Norwegian Premium 

norwegian premium bid

The initial email I received (in Swedish) to bid to Premium

About a week prior to the flight, I received the email offering a purchased, confirmed upgrade or the ability to bid on one. The email listed the confirmed upgrade cost as 4500 SEK, or $466 USD. From information I’ve gathered from other Premium passengers, the confirmed upgrade cost does seem to be based on your class of service and the amount paid for the original ticket.

That seemed a bit too steep for me, so I bid for an upgrade. The minimum bid was 2250 SEK, or $233 USD. I went just a hair above that and bid 2450 SEK, or $253 USD. If you actually want the upgrade, never bid the minimum, bid just slightly above it, as that will edge out most of the competition.

Bidding closes approximately 72 hours prior to departure (and don’t worry, a reminder email will be sent if you haven’t bid yet!).

The general consensus is that bids are accepted or declined 48 hours prior to departure, which was accurate for me as I noticed a 2450 SEK charge hit my card at 47 hours and 50 minutes prior to departure, with a confirmation email following shortly thereafter. In total, $425 USD got me a seat in Norwegian Premium for the 11-hour flight to LAX, not too shabby.

My confirmation email that my bid was accepted

Securing my seat was a bit of a challenge, however. I first used the live chat system on Norwegian’s site, where I was told that the seat map was under airport control and could not be changed until I check in.

Well…no dice on that, I’m not about to sit in a middle seat for 11 hours after paying extra! So I tried Facebook Messenger, where an agent quickly confirmed seat 5A for me.

The Upshot

$253 for an upgrade to a Premium seat was well worth it in my book. This is especially true if you’re paying to check bags anyway. As a bonus, you’ll get a pretty solid hard product and room to stretch out on your flight. Bidding for a Norwegian Premium seat is fairly straightforward, as long as you know the tricks to doing so. While there’s no guarantee your bid would be accepted, it’s worth a shot if you’re looking to travel more comfortably.

Related: Why Does My Norwegian Flight Say Operated By Hi Fly?

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