How do I get an upgrade on a plane or in a hotel?

How do I get a hotel or airplane upgrade?

There’s one thing everyone knows: First and Business Class passengers get far better service than Economy Class travelers. Space. Gourmet meals. Toiletries filled with top-of-the-range products. But how do you get behind the curtain without maxing out your credit card? Upgrading is the Holy Grail of travelers looking for a good deal, and here are 33 ways to get an upgrade on flights and hotels. Read and remember these tips. And if you have something to add, leave a comment after the article!

Upgrading your flight

Repas classe affaire avion

Flickr – Jun Seita

1. Join a loyalty program. You’re more likely to be upgraded if you already have a relationship with the airline. How you achieve quasi-grandfathered Gold or Silver status varies from airline to airline (read the rules carefully), but the investment will pay « dividends » at the check-in counter. You’ll also be able to use points to buy an upgrade on some tickets.

2. Subscribe to your airline’s newsletter and follow them on social networks. As flight time approaches, airlines sometimes offer cheaper upgrades by email or online.

3. Long-haul flights are the most likely to upgrade. Don’t invest your hard-earned miles in short-haul flights.

4. Do you have family or friends working as flight attendants? There are often staff perks. It might be time to call in some old favors.

5. Celebrating a milestone in your life like a wedding or anniversary? It sounds daring, but let the company know. Of course, companies have heard this a million times, so be honest or show them proof (a marriage certificate, for example).

6. Do you have a title? If you can put « Professor », « Doctor » or similar in front of your name, then do so. If you’re booking by phone, tell the travel agent to write it down. There is anecdotal evidence that with a high title, it will be easier for you to end up in First Class.

7. We can’t guarantee thatbeing nice to the flight staff will result in an upgrade, but a smile and a kind word to those behind the check-in counter won’t hurt.

8. If you get upgraded, you’ll be sitting among business leaders, rich people and beautiful people. Dress like these people, as if you expect to be photographed when you land.

9. Don’t order a special meal if possible. If you book a vegetarian, vegan or « religious » meal, this may disqualify you from an upgrade. In general, flights do not carry special meals.

10. Be flexible. Will postponing your flight have an impact on the quality of your vacation? If a flight is full, airline staff may « push » some passengers onto the next one. This could have a positive outcome. This can often include an upgrade. If you can afford to do this, let the airline staff know when you check in.

11. Ask the gate staff for an upgrade. Be discreet, however, and step aside as soon as you’ve made your request.

12. Be first in line. If the flight is overbooked, it may happen that the first people to check in are upgraded. But the reverse can also happen! We can’t predict this, but if you arrive last, you might hope to find yourself seated in the comfortable seats of First or Business Class.

Surclassement avion business class

Wikimedia – Alex Beltyukov

13. Be strategic with your flight times. Early morning flights are popular with business travelers so your chances of an upgrade are slimmer than if you travel later in the day. During school vacations, flights to popular destinations will be busy, but perhaps not in all classes… Families will be more likely to be in economy class, and there may be availability on seats in business or first class.

14. Travel on public holidays and other quieter times of the year when business travelers tend not to fly. Don’t just look at public holidays in France, but also those in your destination. Also check if there are any conventions, summits or exhibitions.

15. If you’re really diligent about securing an upgrade, do some research on sites like SeatGuru. You’ll be able to study the aircraft’s seating configurations. The more seats there are in business and first class, the better your chances of getting an upgrade.

16. Check your flight 24 hours before departure to see how full it may be. An overbooked flight could mean that the airline will be looking for volunteers to be « shifted » to another flight, and this is a great opportunity to negotiate an upgrade.

17. Present yourself at the check-in counter with cash. Find out how much it would cost to upgrade your Economy ticket to Business or First Class. On the day, the difference could be as little as €100 or €200, whereas booking your ticket online in a higher class can be as much as €2,000 more expensive.

18. Travel alone. If you have no spouse or children, you’ll be easier to place.

19. It’s rare for a family to get an upgrade, but to increase your chances, make sure your children behave magnificently. Also, have separate reservations (if possible with a family booking).

On the plane

20. If a crew member asks you to move over to make room for another passenger (or passengers), don’t hesitate to do so. There may be a seat up front where you can sit comfortably.

21. If there is a problem with your seat, tablet or anything else, tell the flight attendants. Be discreet and polite. If there isn’t an empty seat in Economy, they can move you up to the next class, if there’s room.

Hotel upgrades

Surclassement hôtel suite

Flickr – Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts

22. Similar rules apply to hotels. Sign up for traveler loyalty programs to prove your loyalty.

23. Subscribe to the newsletter and follow hotel brands on social networks for offers like these.

24. Don’t book the lowest-priced room. Take the second or third cheapest. The receptionist will have less trouble upgrading you to a suite if you’ve already paid a little more.

25. Show how special your stay is. A honeymoon, a wedding anniversary, a special event… Tell the reception staff.

26. Be friendly and polite. If there’s a problem with your room and you’d like to be upgraded, explain clearly, carefully and pleasantly why it doesn’t meet your expectations.

27. Book directly with the hotel: online or simply by phone.

28. Do your research. Checking the price of a stay on a price comparison site can pay off. When you call the hotel, tell them you’ve seen a cheaper price. They might adjust their price or offer you a better room.

29. Travel out of season. Hotels that cater primarily to business travelers are more likely to have vacant rooms on weekends. During off-peak periods, it’s easier to get an upgrade.

30. Conversely, during busy periods, all the least expensive rooms in a hotel can be booked and the hotel can upgrade you to more comfortable rooms.

31. It will be easier to obtain an upgrade for short stays or even one night.

32. Arrive late. You always want to arrive on time to get your room early and settle in quietly. But by arriving late, the hotel may have had a few cancellations, leaving room for an upgrade.

33. Look for new hotels or hotels under new management. They’ll work hard to build a reputation based on word-of-mouth.

Have you ever been upgraded? Do you have any other suggestions?