3 Top Tips for an Instant Upgrade

May 12, 2015 by Jason Dutton-Smith

This post originally appeared on Flight Centre AU

Who wouldn’t love a free upgrade on an airline, car rental or hotel room booking? Being the travel experts we’ve compiled three top tips for an instant upgrade. Why these tips? Because we use them ourselves!

Business Class

Join a loyalty programme

Airlines: Regardless of flying, checking in at a hotel or renting a car; joining the company’s loyalty programme is the first step to recognition. Most airlines will generally reward their top-tier status members first but all levels of loyalty have a chance. While you may not always get that Business or First Class upgrade, many airlines are now offering Premium Economy cabins with larger seats and enhanced food and beverage options and there is always that lucrative exit row seat with extra leg room. During quiet times airlines often have specials available via their loyalty programmes for discounted upgrades also.

Hotels: This also applies for hotels – if a larger room, suite or higher floor is available, as a member of their loyalty programme you will certainly be considered first. Most hotels have pre-reserved rooms, levels or selected views for their frequent clients. Some even provide dedicated club floors with those extra touches such as free breakfast, canapés in the evening, beverages and facilities not available to other guests. It’s always worth asking at reception.

Car hire: Popular vehicle categories such as compact or economy are often overbooked meaning the next size up is a regular upgrade. If you are part of their loyalty programme, or a member of the airline they are often affiliated with, the chance of a free upgrade is often the norm instead of the exception.

It’s all about the timing

One important factor to any upgrade can be timing. If you’re able to travel outside of the normal scheduled holiday or peak periods for the region, then often higher-value options can be readily available. Flexible with travel dates? Research when school holidays, long weekends and other public holidays are, remembering these can be different in every state or country. Try travelling in the middle of the day and on less travelled days if flying, such as a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday evening. These days often provide more Business Class seat availability and less competition from top-tiered members.

Our number 1 tip – be polite!

It’s amazing what a little courtesy can do. It goes a long way when you ask how the day is of the person helping you – and don’t forget to smile! I always remember my wise Mum’s words “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. As always, she was right.

Regardless of an upgrade or not, have a great trip!


You also might like:

For more flight information, check out our Airline Guide 

Flight Etiquette: The Golden Rules of Flying 

About Jason Dutton-Smith

I’m a passionate traveller and a first class nomad wannabe. I have a love for the written word and enjoy sharing stories that inspire travel. I like ordinary but love extraordinary. I’ll dance and sing karaoke to anything 80’s, will drink hot tea even if 40 degrees, love food and have a wicked sweet tooth. Architecture excites me, the window seat thrills me and anything aviation enamours me. I’m a perpetual dreamer who lives by Saint Augustine’s wise words – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. My intention is to read War and Peace!