Tips on how to get upgraded

By Carlota Nelson | 11:57

This month we’ve been exploring the world according to Millennial Travellers, who crave perks and are more likely to upgrade their seat for in-flight entertainment or more legroom.  In our previous  posts, we discovered where, how and when Millennial Travellers get from one part of the world to another. Here, we’ll take you on a tour of how Millennials add perks to their travels. Keep reading and find out how you too can get upgraded.

Care to be ushered into business or first class, be given a suite instead of a standard room and speed out of a rental lot in a much better car than the one you can afford?  Well, it’s easier than you think. 


Airlines actually do select the lucky ones who get bumped up to Business or First Class, if available, and based on availability, type of fare paid and frequent flier status.  

  • One way to get bumped up is show up late for check-in when the economy seats have been assigned and the business class seats are still available.
  • Airline carriers track frequent flyer miles based on your earnings and last year alone, 90% of economy class passengers were upgraded (sometimes, this involves an additional fee). Yes, in order to be considered you need plenty of miles but you can purchase them from travellers whose frequent flyer miles are about expire or trade your miles for an upgrade.
  • Try this flight alert service and find out when a better seat becomes available, even if it’s within your category.
  • Travel on bank holidays or days on which business travellers are less likely to fly.
  • Another easy way to gain miles is by having an airline-sponsored credit card. Every time you purchase something with it (usually other sponsored companies, hotels, restaurants, etc.), you´re adding extra miles to your next flight.

Travel Solo, Be Nice & Dress the Part

Let’s face it, solo upgrades are quite rare. But two is practically impossible. So, try to charm your way to an upgrade only when travelling alone. Being nice, smiley and friendly goes a long way with flight crew and gate agents.  If you want to travel first class or business class, you should at least look like you belong there. And remember: always request politely and use your charm.


Much like the airlines do, hotel chains have their very own loyalty programs, and awards. But book directly with them instead of a third party. If you see a lower quote online, tell them about it and ask they match it.

Make sure you book during low-occupancy or at the hotel chains’ new property and you’ll have more chances to get an upgrade. Another great tip is checking in late. And we mean after 6 or 7 pm, once most guests have already been accommodated. If the hotels’ top-notch rooms are still available,  you’ll be more likely to upgrade you for free.

Rental Cars

The more loyal you are, the better. This also applies for rental car services, which also offer membership programs or special deals. Try picking your car up later on during the day and during the week, when economy cars are already out the door. 

Honeymooners & Special Occasions

Many travellers get bumped up on special occasions. Try saying it’s your honeymoon or your wedding, your sister’s wedding… We’re not saying you should lie but… Any heart warming excuses usually gets you moved up. Just remember to ask nicely, be respectful and tactful and use your common sense.

There are so many factors to take into consideration when asking for an upgrade, making it pretty much a miracle. So roll the die, work these tips and tell us how lucky you got to go on your next travel adventure.

Photo Credits: Angelo DeSantis, Robert S. Donovan



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