Get a Cheap First Class Train Upgrade With Seatfrog

What is Seatfrog?

Seatfrog is a very handy app that lets you upgrade your train ticket from economy to first class for as little as £5, with a £3 platform fee.

How Does Seatfrog Work?

Seatfrog works by connecting with the booking systems of participating train operators.

You can then bid for last-minute upgrades to premium seats at discounted prices – but you must have a ticket for the journey already.

These auctions will usually end 30 minutes before your train leaves so don’t leave your bidding too late!

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Seatfrog For a First Class Train Upgrade

First Class Train Upgrade. Avanti superfare

1. Download The App

Sign up and enter your card details to be ready to go!

2. Set Up Your Trip

Once you’ve got the app installed, tap on ‘Upgrade to a first class seat’ and enter the details of your trip. Provide the necessary information like your departure and arrival stations, dates and how many of you are travelling. Then, click on ‘Find an auction’.

3. Confirm You Have a Ticket

A pop up message will ask you to confirm that you have a ticket for this journey already as remember, you are just bidding on the seat upgrade, not the train journey itself. 

If you have an off peak or anytime ticket, you can bid on any times that your ticket would otherwise allow you to travel on.

4. Explore Available First Class Train Upgrades

Seatfrog will display a range of available upgrades for your journey. If the train you’ve booked isn’t there, then sadly it means it’s not available for an upgrade.

5. Place Your Bid

Tap on the journey you want and the it’s time for the fun bit – how much are you willing to bid for that first-class upgrade?! Tap on ‘Place a bid’, enter your maximum bid and then tap on ‘Place a bid’. You’ll have another chance to change how many upgrades you’re bidding for at this point.

But warning – if you place a bid too high, you may automatically ‘win’ the ticket and so don’t put in a price you wouldn’t be willing to pay!

6. Stay in The Loop

As the bidding progresses, Seatfrog keeps you in the loop with real-time updates. You can monitor the status of your bid – Seatfrog will bid on your behalf until someone outbids you. You’ll be given an option to bid more if someone does this!

7. Secure The Bid

If your bid wins, your first class train upgrade will be revealed in the app with a scannable code that the onboard staff will ask to look at, alongside your original ticket.

What Train Networks Does Seatfrog Work on?

While not every train operator participates in Seatfrog, some major ones do. Seatfrog is currently in partnership with:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • Great Western Railway (GWR)
  • London North Eastern Railway (LNER)
  • CrossCountry

So, you will only be able to use the app for trains operated by these companies. Each operator will have their own rules about what trains actually run a first class service, what it includes and at what times it operates – so always check what you’ll get before bidding.

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How Much Does a Seatfrog Upgrade Cost?

Once the auction opens there will be a starting price. You can then bid at that starting price or above. If you put in your maximum bid price, Seatfrog will bid on your behalf till someone outbids you. If you’re familiar with eBay’s bidding system, it’s a little like that!

Seatfrog will notify you if you’ve been outbid and you can bid again. However, the notifications are within Seatfrog, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your app.

Here are some Seatfrog first class train upgrade prices for popular routes. Bear in mind that these are starting prices and so the final price may go up as people bid for the ticket:



Seatfrog First Class Cost
Bid starting price pp

Normal First Class Cost

London Euston to Manchester

Avanti West Coast

£35 (+ £3 Seatfrog fee)


London Paddington to Bristol

Great Western Railway

£10 (+ £3 Seatfrog fee)


Birmingham to Manchester


£5 (+ £3 Seatfrog fee)


What is Included in a First Class Upgrade?

Free WiFi, charging ports and some kind of food or snacks will be standard on most first class train services. However, the specifics will vary depending on the train operator with some offering extras like dining services and pre-departure lounges.

Avanti West Coast Trains First Class

First Class Train Upgrade

At seat service: A dedicated staff member will provide you with a personalised service at your seat.

Complimentary food and drink: Avanti offers refreshments and snacks on select trains at specific times throughout the day. They also have a rotation of hot food menus on these services. 

First Class lounges: Access to comfy pre-departure lounges with snacks and refreshments. Lounges are at London Euston, Crewe, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Glasgow, Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street stations.

Great Western Railway First Class

Great Western Railway. First Class Train Upgrade

Complimentary food and drink: During the week, on select high speed, long distance journeys, complimentary snacks and drinks are served to your seat. 

First class lounges: Relaxing pre-departure lounges available at Paddington, Cardiff Central, Penzance and Truro Stations. Lounges include refreshments, charging stations and free WiFi.

Dinner service: Great Western Railway operates a dining service on specific first class routes. It will cost you an extra £15 to secure a meal, and it’s recommended to book at least 2 weeks in advance.

LNER - London North Eastern Railway

Relax onboard: The seats are a bit wider, have extra leg room, and are reclining in the first class train section; so perfect for a nice nap. 

First class lounges: Pre-departure lounges are available at Edinburgh Waverley, Aberdeen, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Darlington, Newcastle, Leeds, Wakefield Westgate, York, Doncaster and London King’s Cross stations. Here you can enjoy complimentary light snacks and refreshments. 

Complimentary food, drink and dining service: London North Eastern Railway offers the most extensive food service serving cold food like sandwiches and snacks and full hot meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Crosscountry trains

At seat service: They provide service where a dedicated member of staff will take care of your needs.

Complimentary food and drink: CrossCountry’s food and drink service offer food, non-alcoholic drinks, and sandwiches and crisps. 

First Class lounges: Crosscountry currently do not operate any lounges.

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Do You Get The Same First Class Service on Weekends and Bank Holidays?

Good question. Some networks don’t run their full first class service at the weekend and so it’s definitely worth double checking what you get for your particular journey before you start bidding.

Is First Class Worth The Seatfrog Upgrade?

When you bag an upgrade for £10, it often is yes! However, for journeys like those on Avanti where the bidding starts at £35, I personally don’t think they’re amazing value unless you were going to pay for first class anyway.

Having said that, there are plenty of times when it does make sense and I have paid. Whether it’s because I didn’t have a reserved seat on a busy train, I needed the table space to work, or simply because I fancied a treat!

After all, there’s nothing quite like travelling first class right?!

Have I helped? Want to say thanks?

That’s nice of you! There are free ways you can return the favour by following me on Instagram and YouTube.

If you’re feeling generous, you can buy me a ‘coffee’ using Ko-Fi. Or you can also join my Patreon for extra travel perks including my personal hotel upgrade templates, behind the scenes access and even a secret Instagram group.

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