How to get travel upgrades

Upgrades are a traveller’s dream but getting one doesn’t have to be as difficult as you may think. Here are a few things to remember to improve your chances.

Good things come to those who ask. It’s very simple – if you don’t ask you don’t get. While no airline, hotel or other provider is under any obligation to offer, if you ask, the worst that will happen is they will say no. Best case scenario, you get what you’ve asked for or possibly another perk. When I moved to London I asked for an upgrade to Business Class. They weren’t able to as they were overbooked, but they waived my excess luggage fee.

Remember, it’s all about leverage. What will the provider get in return for upgrading you? If you work in the industry, have a blog or online following, or something else that may help your case, it’s definitely worth mentioning. Similarly, if you have a special circumstance, this is another great approach. On my most recent flight back to London, I again asked for an upgrade and I ended up with consecutive exit row seats. I explained I am scared of flying and didn’t wish to sit down the back of the plane where the turbulence is stronger.

Ask in advance. Rather than waiting until the last minute, make a note of your request at the time of booking. You will be given priority if anything arises.

Be nice. You’d be surprised how many people aren’t. Nobody wants to help someone who is rude, aggressive, entitled or angry. While you may feel it’s somewhat cheeky to ask for an upgrade, if you do it nicely there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Be gracious in defeat. If the answer is no, don’t be a sore loser. It’s likely the person you’re dealing with has their hands tied. You’ll be no worse off than when you started and, who knows, they may find a way to reward you for your understanding.

Have you had success in getting an upgrade? How did you go about it?

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Written by SJ

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