By Jane Anderson, Editor of 101 Honeymoons
How can you get an upgrade on your honeymoon? The days when couples could rock up at the airport check-in desk, mention they are on honeymoon and hope to get whisked into business class are long gone. If, that is, they ever existed. However, it can be possible to get a room upgrade and other treats if you are on honeymoon. Even if it’s just a bottle of wine or flowers in your room, it’s worth asking.
The systems that airlines use to upgrade passengers have become increasingly sophisticated, and first dibs will go to frequent flyers, members of loyalty programmes and those on flexible (more expensive) tickets. The decision is sometimes made by staff at check-in desks (usually a supervisor) but they are unlikely to give you priority treatment because you are recently married, even if you do have your wedding certificate to prove it.
The best way to get an upgrade on honeymoon is to inform your tour operator or – if you are making your own booking – your hotel. In fact, it’s worth asking before you book what upgrades are available to honeymooners. Some hotels will even offer free weddings if you plan to get married abroad.
It’s perfectly reasonable to expect a free room upgrade, particularly if you are staying for more than a couple of nights. Ask for detailed information about the various room grades because many hotels confusingly label their most basic rooms “superior”. Don’t be afraid to ask exactly what’s on offer, and always try to haggle a little bit more. If you’re lucky, you might even get upgraded to a room with private pool.
Hotels will often give a bottle of (sparkling) wine, a vase of flowers or a bowl of fruit to honeymooners. Or all three. Again, don’t be afraid to ask. The cost to the hotel is small and if they think are ready to try somewhere else, they are likely to give way. If you are dealing with a tour operator, ask them to recommend hotels that are most generous to honeymooners. Don’t forget there are lots of ways to make your honeymoon special.
Hotels and tour operators may try to persuade you to pay more for upgrades, but stand firm. Ask what they will give for free. Just don’t expect an upgrade on the flight.
You may also like.
- Your complete honeymoon guide
- Getting Married Abroad
- Honeymoons with a Baby
- Honeymoon Destinations in April
- The World’s Best Luxury Honeymoons
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Ahh, the honeymoon! It’s the one classic trip that could easily see some upgrades come your way, but before hotels, airlines, and restaurants can offer up some congratulatory perks, they’ve gotta know, right? The golden rule is to be polite and offer up the intel as more of a blushing FYI than anything approaching a demand. Being rude isn’t becoming on anyone, married or not.
Consider calling in the few days leading up to your flight to mention that you’re traveling for your honeymoon and to inquire as to whether any upgrades are available (the monetary increase that comes with a first-class ticket can be significant, so before you call, chat with your new hubby to see if it’s worth it for you to shell out the extra, potentially pricey even if you’re offered a special rate). You can also inquire with the gate agent when you arrive.
“We don’t have a formal process, but we’re always delighted to hear of a special occasion,” a British Airways representative said. “On the day of travel, a couple should feel free to mention it, and if there’s an opportunity to make the journey even more memorable, we’ll certainly do our best.” Read: A luxury ticket might be a stretch, but sharing your happy news with the flight crew certainly won’t hurt (free bottle of plane wine, anyone?).
You’re most likely to score an upgraded room if you give some advance notice since room-shifting can be tricky if your key cards are already ready. “When a couple informs us they’re on their honeymoon, we try our best to make it special for them. We like to be prepared to offer them a bespoke experience,” a welcome desk staffer from New York City’s W Hotels shared. “We conduct pre-stay outreach to ask if people are staying with us for a special occasion, and that’s the ideal time to inform us. Otherwise, mention when booking.”
If you’re making reservations, consider that the time to speak up. Restaurants will often ask if you’re coming in to celebrate, and this definitely counts as a celebration. If you’re booking through an online portal, use any section for notes to drop a cheerful, “We’ll be coming in as part of our honeymoon!” For nights when you pop into some place on the fly, mention to the host that you’re honeymooning.
For Everything Else
If it’s something you’re arranging in advance, feel free to mention. If not, you’ll find it’s easy enough to breezily tell the person checking you in or greeting you. Sample script: “We’re actually here on our honeymoon and have been having the most amazing time!”
Do I tip?
As with all gratuity guidelines, it’s not necessary, but the hotel and restaurant staffers we talked to said it’s appreciated. Stay within your budget, always, and let your gut lead you. If someone goes out of their way to create a special memory, it might be worth giving them something extra. But comped glasses of champagne? Don’t sweat it.
The other wise takeaway we heard? If you’re not on your honeymoon, forget pretending. “Don’t lie!” was the number one (and only) no-no our hotel source shared. A romantic weekend away with your love might seem like the same thing, but it’s not. Wait to ask until it’s the real deal.
PS: The happy couple in that pic are actually modeling Zara; you can shop their looks here.
A couple always have very high desires and dreams associated to honeymoon days and to get the best of everything in an comprehensive package within budget, the best idea would be to stay updated with the honeymoon upgrades. You can reap significant benefits with these package upgrades.
It will ensure you will have a luxurious honeymoon experience, which will be forever etched in your memory. But the question that you may ask is how to get such an upgrade?Â It might not be that difficult as you assume it to be. You just need to follow a few basic rules and if you are lucky enough your honeymoon package will be upgraded.
How to Get an Upgrade
If you want an upgrade, below given are a few tips to follow:
- If you are travelling by a plane let your booking agent know that you will like an upgrade if it is available. Also, while reserving your hotel, find out that if there are facilities of upgrade available in their property. If there is such a system, let them know you will like to avail it.
- If you have a frequent flyer advantage and have saved some miles, here is the best time to encash it. Also, if you have loyalty card with some hotel chain or company you should try them too.
- It is imperative that you choose your honeymoon dates wisely, so that you have better chances of an upgrade. For example during the tourist season, both flights and hotels will be overcrowded and therefore there are lesser chances for anyone to get a honeymoon upgrade, while in the lean season, the scenario could be quite different, and favorable for you. You can also try to check in on a weekday to avoid the business clients who seldom come during the weekend.
- The flights and hotels can have their own biases, that is they might decide on the upgrade based on how you dress and behave. So while hoping for an upgrade dress like someone who will stay in a first class suite or travel in the business class. It might sound pretty weird, but this is actually a practical tip.
- Choose relatively newer hotels as they are more likely to give an upgrade than a place that has already made a name for itself in the market. The newer place will try to build on the word of mouth publicity by providing an upgrade.
- Tell the concierge that you would like to have an upgrade. They might be able to suggest you something which provides you with the upgrade facility.
However, you need to remember this, in spite of all these tips you might not be able to get the upgrade after all. But it is worth a try.
Can you expect to be whisked through to first class on your flight, and shown straight to the hotel penthouse, or are honeymoon upgrades a thing of the past? Lizzy Dening investigates
When I got engaged, after saying ‘yes!’ and calling my mum, one of the first things I started considering was our honeymoon. I’m well known for my love of a freebie (I mean, who doesn’t enjoy getting something for nothing?) and I was particularly excited at the thought of the upgrades and super-star treatment I imagined we’d get. I could practically smell the lemon-scented hand towels in the first class lounge.
However, after speaking to many of my married friends, I came back down to economy class with a bump. There were a handful of upgrades, the odd glass of fizz and a few nice meals put together by hotel staff, between them.
So what is it reasonable to expect as travelling newly-weds? How can you ask for a bit of special fuss without winding up staff? And do you have any chance of making it beyond the elusive ‘First Class’ curtains on the plane?
When to mention the ‘H’ word
I would never mention the word honeymoon when you’re booking your travel,’ advises Olivia. ‘The only incentive is for companies to put their prices up, not down. But on arrival, make sure to tell them. Bringing a copy of your marriage certificate isn’t a bad idea, although people usually take it in good faith.’
Where to go
If you’re after freebie extras, it pays to plan your destination accordingly.
‘Not only are the clichéd honeymoon destinations expensive by design, but everyone there will also be on honeymoon so you’re not going to get special treatment,’ warns Olivia. ‘Go for up-and-coming destinations that are trying to prove themselves worthy of honeymooners, that appreciate your custom. Plus these places are generally less expensive, so you’ll also be able to afford pampering even if you have to pay full price.’
The Lonely Planet Honeymoon Handbook has a list of alternative destinations, including:
• The Andaman Islands rather than the Maldives
• The Croatian coast rather than Tuscany
• Nepal rather than Bhutan
• Namibia rather than Botswana
• Ecuador rather than the Galapagos
I spoke to several leading airlines, and the news – I hate to say it – isn’t good. British Airways promised that if you let the cabin crew know you’re jetting off on honeymoon they will ‘do their best’ to look after you, but they made it clear that it would be incredibly optimistic to expect an upgrade. Meanwhile, Virgin Airlines refused to comment and United Airlines recommended buying an upgrade on the day if seats were available… not quite living the A-list dream.
It seems this is the general trend. ‘Spontaneous flight upgrades are reportedly more difficult these days for regular passengers for three reasons,’ says Olivia. ‘Firstly airlines strategically reward their frequent flyers who have air miles or co-branded credit cards with upgrades, rather than random lovebirds with no brand loyalty.
‘Secondly airlines often auction off premium seats a week before the flight (something worth looking at if you have any spare honeymoon budget.)
‘Thirdly, modern planes are made with more room for coach passengers, so there’s now more competition for premium seats.’
That said – don’t give up hope entirely! ‘Airport staff are generally nice people, and on a dull day at work, upgrading a grateful newly-wed couple will lift their day almost as much as yours,’ says Olivia. ‘But you need to make it easy for them. Be smart, friendly, subtle and sober. Treating yourself to some luxury carry-on luggage is not only a lovely wedding gift to yourselves that will last a lifetime, it will also ensure you start your honeymoon in style and look upgrade-ready when you arrive at the desk.’
How to get hotel upgrades
Hotels have been hit hard by the likes of Airbnb – and their loss could be your gain! ‘Many honeymooning couples are now seeking out luxurious apartments rather than honeymoon suites, so if you do want to book a hotel you have better bargaining powers than ever,’ says Olivia, ‘you might even find an empty Penthouse on arrival – it’s worth asking!’
Which companies should you book through?
‘It sounds counterintuitive, but I’d avoid Googling companies that are promoting ‘honeymoon deals’,’ says Olivia. ‘You don’t want your honeymoon experience to end up a disastrous deal that doesn’t live up to the sales pitch. If it’s sold on being cheap there’s a real danger it’s going to be underwhelming. Just do your research and book with a company that has a good reputation, offers a quality service and offers a honeymoon experience that suits you.’
If you’re set on an American adventure, consider Bon Voyage who offer tailor-made trips. They work closely with hotels in the USA and let them know when honeymooners are on their way, so they can surprise them with small gifts or upgrades.
If you’re treating yourself to a swanky suite, try Suiteness a company which offers luxury hotel suites across the USA and London (with a view to expand in the next future) at good prices. Honeymooners get a personal concierge to sort out any requests and reservations, plus upgrades wherever possible.
Alternatively, no matter where you’re headed, Mr and Mrs Smith always know the importance of a freebie (whether it’s a free massage, gifts or even a bottle of fizz) for anyone who books through them – not just honeymooners. They also have a Smith24 team who specialise in honeymoons and can help you build your ideal trip.
Hayes and Jarvis offers tailor made and package holidays to Hawai‘i for honeymooners which includes complimentary glasses of champagne and complimentary room upgrade at check-in. As there are no direct flights, this is also the perfect opportunity to stop off in Los Angeles or San Francisco on your way over.
How to get extras added
The best way to get honeymoon perks is simple – just ask!
‘Although British people often find it hard to ask for things upfront, it’s definitely the best way,’ says Olivia. ‘Get chatting to your waiter, hotel manager or the owners of attractions you want to visit, tell them it’s your honeymoon and ask if there’s anything they can do. They are very likely to throw in a glass of champagne, an upgrade or a discount.
‘Face to face people are generally more open and generous. It might not always work, but if you don’t ask, you definitely won’t get.’
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Take advantage of your honeymooner status with room upgrades, complimentary champagne, and more
Courtesy of Faena Hotel
After all that wedding planning and the whirlwind wedding day, it’s finally time to relax, breathe, and bask in the glow of newly wedded bliss on your honeymoon! One thing many newlyweds don’t realize is their prime position for perks and special treatment. With these eight honeymoon hotel upgrade tips, you can take full advantage of your newlywed status!
1. Tell Your Concierge It’s Your Honeymoon When You Book The Room
When you are booking your honeymoon travel arrangements, do as much as you can on the phone or via email, instead of on travel websites. Often representatives and concierges will ask what you’re traveling for, which is the perfect opportunity to casually mention that you’ll be celebrating your recent marriage.
The concierge will typically make note, and it can translate to pleasant perks throughout your stay. Get ready for anything from a room upgrade, flowers, complimentary drink coupons, champagne and strawberries waiting for you upon arrival, etc. Most hotels will go out of their way to spoil two newlyweds.
2. Share the Love on Social Media
Any hotel with a savvy social media manager will be monitoring the property’s social accounts. If you mention the hotel throughout your stay, you’ll pop up on their radar. Tag the hotel, note that you’re honeymooning, say glowing things about the resort, and you just might wind up with some fun perks!
3. Take Advantage of Rewards Programs
There’s really no better upgrade than a completely free room. Plan ahead and book a wedding venue that offers complimentary hotel stays. For example, Hyatt has a rewards program that offers couples up to five free honeymoon nights when they wed at a Hyatt property. Marriott has a similar program where couples can get up to two free honeymoon nights, as well.
4. Book Services Ahead of Time
If you’re planning on booking activities or services from the hotel, do so ahead of time. This is a good tip for getting hotel upgrades whether it’s your honeymoon or not. When the concierge checks you in and sees you’re booked for a couples massage and facial, have reserved a poolside cabana, made reservations at the hotel restaurant, and so forth, he’ll take note of the fact that you’re spending money at the resort—and the fact that you’re honeymooners—and your chances for an upgrade have effectively doubled.
5. Plan Your Hotel Stay During the Off-Season
Traveling during the off-season has its advantages when it comes to hotel prices. Not only are your hotel stays (and flights, for that matter) going to be less expensive, you’ll also have more of a chance for a room upgrade, simply because the hotel has more availability. During peak season, a hotel might want to upgrade you to one of their best suites, but will be unable to do so because the majority of their rooms—even their best suites—are already booked.
For a much better chance of being upgraded, book your honeymoon during the off-season. Or, if you are traveling during peak season, book weekdays rather than weekends.
6. Ask for a Room Upgrade, Flat Out
Fortune favors the bold. Sometimes the best way to get a hotel room upgrade is to ask for it, flat out. There is, of course, a right way to ask. A heartfelt, earnest request (never a demand) can sometimes seal the deal when it comes to getting a better room. When you’re booking your stay, you’ll mention it’s your honeymoon, but then follow up with something like “I’d love to be able to surprise my significant other with an upgraded room!” or “If there’s any possible way to get a room upgrade in honor of our honeymoon, we’d be so grateful!” It can’t hurt to ask, and you just might walk away with a presidential suite overlooking the ocean.
7. Mention the Occasion When You Make Dinner Reservations, Too
These perks don’t apply just to upgraded rooms—you can potentially score honeymoon treatment when dining in the hotel (or outside of the hotel, for that matter). Whenever you make dinner reservations, make it known that you’re on your honeymoon. When the maitre d’ asks how many guests will be joining you, revel in the chance to say “It will be me and my fiancé—I mean, he’ll be my husband by then!” or respond that you’ll be newlyweds if they ask if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
It might feel awkward, but just remember: It saves you the trouble of explaining you’re newlyweds halfway through dinner! It also makes acknowledging your special occasion easier for the hotel or restaurant, as they can prepare any celebratory perks in advance instead of hurrying to pull something together at the last minute. So relax, enjoy your wedding, and look forward to that complimentary glass of champagne as a honeymooner!
8. Know That the Perks Go Far Beyond Your Hotel Stay
Honeymooners can upgrade their flight experience as well. Mentioning that you’re honeymooning when booking a flight or at the gate can also lead to an upgrade to first class.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, make it known (subtly or not) that you’re on your honeymoon, and chances are, businesses will do whatever they can to upgrade or comp you.
Forget dressing up or dropping hints about your honeymoon, says expert Gilbert Ott – here’s how to really bag an upgrade on a flight
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Sitting in business class is a truly effervescent feeling – and that’s not just on account of the “free” bubbles. Business class no longer means just a wider seat and a larger meal; it’s a truly indulgent experience often involving fully flat beds, top drawer wine and spirits, and the comforts of airport VIP lounges. It goes without saying that everyone would love a slice of the good life – and to your delight, you really can. Sadly, there are no magic words or outfits that will have you turning left, but there are tried and tested tips that will give you the best chance at it.
As a travel blogger, I’m always on the go, flying more than 200,000 miles each year. Sticking to tight schedules and tighter budgets, I’m often unable to book business or first class outright, but without relying on magic words, sharp suits or other gimmicks, I’m almost always able to score a seat in business class or better.
When a story about “the two magic words that will get you an upgrade” went viral last week, I looked into the claims and confirmed that they were bogus with the airline in question.
The truth about upgrades is that every airline is different and each opportunity is unique, but if you’re willing to put in a few minutes of your time to learn how your airline operates, there are ways in which you too can enjoy an elevated travel experience. Here are the most consistent ways to score business class upgrades, and the rules I live by.
Two magic words
There are only two magic words to truly score a seat in business class. Sadly, for our collective wallets, the magic words are “business class”, to be spoken when asked what cabin you’d like to book your ticket in. For your travel sanity and comfort, we suggest skipping the three piece suit, blouse or alternative rumoured “magic upgrade outfit” and sticking to things that really work. Upgrades are possible for anyone, even if they’ve never flown before – they just require a bit of patience and luck.
Collect air miles
The simplest and most effective way to upgrade any plane ticket is to use airline miles. Some airlines (British Airways for example) only allow you to jump one cabin, while others, such as Virgin Atlantic, will allow you to go all the way from economy to business class. Put simply: in most instances if you’d like to upgrade to business class, you’d need to book premium economy. If you’d like to upgrade to premium economy, shoot for an economy ticket. An upgrade to a destination such as New York will generally cost between 20,000 – 30,000 airline miles each way. If an upgrade is not immediately available when you book, don’t forget to check back regularly – airlines tinker with seats available for upgrades on a daily (and even hourly) basis.
And for the pessimists out there, airline miles are surprisingly easy to collect, even without flying. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and others allow you to earn points for any online shopping via their “e-stores”. You shop at your favourite brands and earn miles, just for clicking over from the airline website.
Bid your way up
Many airlines now use a system called PlusGrade to offer upgrade auctions. Customers on airlines such as Swiss, Etihad, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa, Singapore, Cathay Pacific and many more may allow you to bid for the good life up front. Simply login to your booking online and look for an offer to bid on an upgrade. If you can’t find it, simply google: “(Your Airline Name Upgrade Auction)”.
It’s important to keep a level head while participating in these auctions, since winning bids can occasionally exceed the price of just paying for business class from the start. Nonetheless they offer great value. Other airlines, such as British Airways and Delta are known to flash upgrade offers in their mobile app. After making a booking, remain on the lookout for exclusive upgrade offers, some of which can be very reasonable. I was recently offered a £296 one-way upgrade from premium economy to business class with British Airways on a flight from London to New York. The difference in price between premium economy and business was over £2000, so it can represent real value.
Volunteer your services
Airlines these days run like hedge funds. When business is good, their mathematical equations to fill planes are pinpoint precise. But why sell 200 seats on a 200-seater plane when you can sell 205? Airlines regularly bank on certain travellers “no showing”, and sometimes they bet wrong. When this occurs, airlines need to bump people up to business class, or need volunteers for a later flight.
Always enter a frequent flyer number for the airline you’re flying, even if you’ve just signed up to the scheme. Doing so will instantly jump you in the queue of people who may be upgraded for operational reasons. If you’re willing to take a later flight, be sure to volunteer your services at check in. Travelling solo and light on luggage can be crucially helpful. If you do volunteer, airlines will often compensate you with vouchers for future flights and upgrade you to business class on the next available flight.
In the last two weeks, both major UK airlines have launched business class flash sales. Missed them? You’re not alone. The very best flash sales are almost never officially announced, last mere hours and are gone before many travellers have had a moment to glance at their computer. In these sales, Virgin Atlantic offered return Upper Class tickets for less than £1,000 per person to destinations all over the United States. In a similar sale, British Airways offered £1,000 per person returns in business class from London to Beijing or Shanghai (economy tickets can cost this much, depending on dates). And for the more adventurous lot, heading to Europe to start your trip can often yield incredible business class deals. Qatar Airways sold £560 return business class seats from Brussels or Amsterdam to Tokyo in the last year. Best practice: use Google Flights to set free price alerts for all cabins. You may track as many prices to as many places and dates as you wish. You never know what you may find.
When Alex and I went on our Italian honeymoon, we arrived at the airport with a plan.
We’d heard rumors of couples getting upgraded to first class on their honeymoons, so we wanted to give it a shot! Here’s how we went about it:
Dress up. First class and business class are fancy (well, duh!) so we wanted to look the part. I wore a polka-dotted dress and red flats, and Alex wore a tie and blazer. We figured they’d be more likely to upgrade us if we skipped our usual faded jeans and T-shirts.
Get there early. We arrived early for our flight, so we knew we’d be some of the first people to request an upgrade. This flight attendant says early arrival is key if you want a chance at getting bumped.
Ask the ticket counter nicely. At New York’s JFK airport, we smiled, asked the agent about her day, and told her we had just gotten married. “I know this is a long shot,” I said politely, “but is there any chance of an upgrade?” She said that the flight was very full, but that she’d made a note in the system, just in case. We thanked her profusely, fingers crossed.
Ask again at the gate. Sometimes economy class will unexpectedly sell out, so they’ll want to bump people to first class at the last minute. So we asked the gate agents, and we were amazed when they said. YES!
We tried to act calm and cool, but we were secretly freaking out. On our flight from New York to Naples, we flew in British Airways Business Class — with personal TVs, lots of Champagne and flat beds. You could even order milk and cookies at “bedtime”! It was such a lucky start.
Have you ever gotten upgraded on a flight? Would you try to get upgraded on your honeymoon? Although airlines representatives say that upgrades aren’t common these days, you might as well still ask, just in case! (Good luck!)
Robert Gillespie, a 10ways user, commented on a post about how he has an email that he sends to get free upgrades, using it 4 times and getting 4 upgrades each time!
“So basically search for the managers email, or someone who is in charge of reservations.. and send this email, making minor adjustments, this hotel, the Scotsman in Edinburgh… I got upgraded to a room that had 2 floors over looking Edinburgh castle.. roughly £400 a night 😉
We’re really looking forward to our stay at the Scotsman Hotel tomorrow night, as it will be my first visit to your hotel. I am writing to ask if you can help us make it an extraordinary 2 days by upgrading our rooms to the very best possible, I almost never ask for upgrades. However, this is an entirely different trip: Its a special occasion with my my girlfriend whom this week we are celebrating 8 years together, to have a large suite where we could really experience the luxury of your hotel would certainly make it a more incredible stay.
I fully understand that if someone comes along prepared to pay for those rooms, we would need to relinquish that upgrade. We’re only asking for the chance to enjoy what you don’t happen to have sold for the specific days of our stay. In return I can assure you that I would write a fantastic review of our stay on Tripadvisor, actively promote your hotel to my friends and colleagues travelling to Edinburgh, and if a work or personal engagement brings me back to Edinburgh, I will happily stay with you again.
I sincerely appreciate your help in making this a truly special couple of days for us.
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M ost air passengers will never experience anything but economy class.
Premium seats are shockingly unaffordable. Should you fancy a week in New York next month, travelling in first class with BA, for example, you’ll need between £3,584 and £5,400 to do so. Dramatic, life-changing sums of money to the average British worker. Business class is a little less dear (from around £1,800), but still remains beyond the reach of most people.
So unless you know your way around a hedge-fund, or happen to be flying the plane, there’s only one way you’ll find yourself turning left when you board an aircraft: the free upgrade.
Nabbing one is rare – but it does happen. In a poll of more than 3,000 Telegraph Travel readers, carried out a couple of years ago, 60 per cent claimed to have been given a free upgrade before. And there are numerous ways you can boost your chances. Just don’t go demanding one, like a couple on a BA flight from London to Jamaica reportedly did this week. The ensuing row saw the pilot deposit them at a Portuguse air base.
1. Choose your route carefully
Most upgrades will be offered for “operational reasons”, such as when the economy class cabin is full or oversold, but the premium cabins are not. Therefore travelling on a busy route, where this is more likely to occur, will help. Flights to beach resorts during the school holidays, when the majority of fellow passengers will be families, are a good bet. Monday morning flights to Frankfurt – not so much.
2. Be loyal, and pay more for your ticket
Regular customers will normally be given priority when an upgrade is available.
“It is sometimes necessary to upgrade customers,” said a BA spokesman. “This is rare and will normally apply to frequent flyers who are members of our loyalty programme first.”
A spokesman for Lufthansa said: “Passengers who paid more for their tickets are more likely to be upgraded than passengers who bought a discounted ticket. The frequent flier program status is also taken into account.”
Research by Expedia found that airlines often sort out their upgrades the day before the flight, looking for regular fliers, businessmen or women, and celebrities, who may fly with them again if given an upgrade. Ordinary folk with the same name as a celebrity might even catch a lucky break.
3. Travel alone
If there are just one or two seats available up front, they will probably be offered to single travellers first.
4. Just ask
Four per cent of those questioned in a MoneySavingExpert.com poll said they had received a free upgrade by simply asking for one at the check-in desk.
However, as outlined above, Expedia says that free upgrades are rarely given at the check-in desk, or when boarding, as they will have already have been sorted some 24 hours earlier. A Virgin Atlantic spokesman, meanwhile, said it does not give upgrades to anyone who requests one.
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth mentioning that you might fancy a first class seat if there was one knocking about. You’ve nothing to lose. But give some thought as to how you’re going to explain your desire. The Virgin Atlantic spokesman told Telegraph Travel not all requests are entirely convincing.
Don’t attempt the following (all heard by Virgin staff):
“Manchester United lost today, I am really upset and need the space to get over it.”
“My wife is pregnant – I need an upgrade as it is a really stressful time for me.”
“My newborn baby has claustrophobia, we really need an upgrade so she has more space”“I am Sir Richard Branson’s dentist.”
“I have lost all of my money in Vegas but really need an upgrade.”
“It’s a Sunday. No-one flies on a Sunday, so please can I have an upgrade?”
5. Have a good reason
If you’ve got a more genuine reason than those listed above, such as being exceptionally tall, pregnant, or even celebrating a honeymoon, birthday, or anniversary, it will go in your favour. A Lufthansa spokesman said “it never hurts to ask”, and offering a reason such as these “would certainly improve your chances”.
6. Be nice
It goes without saying that the lucky few who have received an upgrade after requesting one were polite, and probably smartly dressed. They didn’t demand one.
7. Be unlucky
If you’ve got a faulty entertainment system, or a chair that won’t recline, you’ve got good reason to complain, particularly if you’re on a long-haul flight. You may simply be moved to another economy class seat, but if none are free. Equally, if you’ve got a legitimate grievance against another passenger – harassment, for example – you could ask to be relocated.
8. Be a VIP or know someone at the airline
The Virgin spokesman added that: “There is an upgrade list at check in (this could be journalists, travel industry VIPs, etc) and all these upgrades are agreed in advance and signed off at head office.” So if you have a good friend who works for an airline, it can’t hurt to ask, but get in touch as soon as you know the details of your flight.
Anyone have any tips on getting free extras and upgrades when away on honeymoon?
We are leaving for Kenya on the 14th. I was thinking that I expect a large number of holidaymakers there are probably honeymooners and so would we have much chance of getting upgrades? My H2B is planning on asking for upgrades on our flight to first class.
I was told yesterday by a lady who went to Vegas for their honeymoon that they acted really nice, happy and lovey dovey to get an upgrade on their hotel room. They asked how much it was and then said ”oh well that will be okay – we dont care because we’re just so happy to be here” the reception lady then said she would see what she could do and upgarded them for free!
Whats the best way to ask for upgrades?
Good post OP! were off to Kuredu next year – and upgrade would be fab!
lets face it everyone loves something for free!x
Apparently there are only two things that really help with getting flight upgrades:
(1) join the airline’s loyalty scheme – members get preference for upgrades
(2) check in very late when the economy seats may have run out. However then you risk not getting sat together or not getting on at all!
I would imagine that upgrades are less likely in places like the Maldives where so many are on honeymoon. but then on the other hand they rely on honeymooners for their business so maybe it’s worth it to treat them specially.
Honsstly, I think you are going to struggle with the economy the way it is at the moment.
I do a lot of flying on Virgin, and over the last 12 months I have seen the ‘In Flight Beauty Therapist’ get canned, them trying to kick my H2B out of the Uber Gold Card club as he apparently doesn’t fly enough (they tried to argue that an upper class trip to LA every month now isn’t ‘enough’ but he managed to persuade them otherwise). To top it all off, if flights aren’t fully booked, they are just being cancelled at the last minute.
You can even see this in the things they send us through the post, that used to come in lovely thick card envelopes and now are just leaflets really.
Bottom line is that the airline industry and travel in general has taken a serious pasting in the recession. I would not get your hopes up for a free upgrade or anything like that. Everyone’s tightening their belts.
Good advice from Irbpie though, if they are going to upgrade anybody, they will look forst of all to see f you are a loyalty card holder, so well worth signing up before you go – it’s usually free too.
Sorry to be the voice of doom, but I think your chances are slim
[Modified by: SnowQueen100 on June 06, 2009 09:27 PM]
i emailed our hotels and they’ve offered us free upgrades and drinks. my friend who is getting married next yr (im in 62 days!) said where she was looking they wanted proof of her marrigae (ie licence) for them to be upgraded!
i say ask! you never know what will happen!
We told our travel agent when we booked it was our honeymoon. We went to 3 countries and got upgraded rooms each time with gifts on arrival i.e. flowers, wine, fruit etc.
Flight upgrades have got harder to get over the years and they dont hand them out as much now, but it is worth mentioning just in case.
Definitely try to make contact with the hotel/resort before you go. Also consider paying for a few days upgrade in the middle of your honeymoon as they are much more amenable to giving you extras for free afterwards.
We went to the Conrad in the Maldives (then the Hilton) and booked via Virgin to stay in the standard beach villa for 14 nights. We then contacted the resort directly to arrange to upgrade to a water villa for the middle weekend of our trip. I also pre-booked lots of excursions and the special meals as these can get really booked up and we didn’t want to miss out on anything!
Anyway, when we arrived we were given a ‘free’ excursion’ as we’d booked so many. When we upgraded to the standard water villa, they upgraded us for free to the Spa Water Villas (2 grades up) which were amazing!! When we ‘downgraded’ after the 3 nights, the resort actually upgraded us for free again to the Superior Beach Villas (own pool – yay!). We made the mistake of talking to another honeymooning couple one night and I commented on how amzing all the freebies and upgrades were – and they hadn’t had anything. Oooops!! The bride was not a happy bunny (reminded me of Monica on Friends!!)
I think if the resort know you are going to be a good customer during your stay they are much more helpful and willing to give freebies than if you’re just pushing your luck and seeing what you can get!!
All of us love a freebie or a bargain and for travelers, the thrill of getting a free upgrade is always exciting. But how do you go about getting beyond the business class curtain? These are our top tips.
There is no such thing as a guaranteed upgrade unless you have purchased a specific flight ticket that offers one as part of the deal.
1. Always travel in smart clothing, either business wear or smart casual. Pitching up in trainers, sloppy jeans and a t shirt is not going to help you at all. You need to look the part for an upgrade from one cabin to another.
2. Check in early. If a cabin is overbooked they will move people early to avoid operational issues on the day and where possible check in on line as early as you can.
3. If you know someone who works for the airline or the ground handler, let them know you are traveling. They may be able to place notes in the booking that state you are suitable for an upgrade. Then, if the airline needs to move people you may be the lucky one picked out.
4. If you are traveling for a special occasion such as a 40th birthday, honeymoon or going away to get married then ensure that this note is placed into your booking. Either your travel agent, tour operator or airline can do this for you. The staff at the airport check in, boarding gate and on board will see it and they may decide to make the trip more special for you.
5. If you are a regular traveler, join the frequent flyer scheme. The higher the rating you have as a member the higher the chance of you being rewarded with an upgrade. And when flying, try and stick to one airline grouping to such as One World, Star Alliance or Sky Team to maximise your chances.
6. Never ask for an upgrade at check in – it doesn’t work and if you are in a group it will never work. The airlines pick out single travelers or couples in general.
7. Book directly with the airline as opposed to an agent or tour operator – the airline knows more about you and is more likely to reward direct bookers.
8. Don’t pre-book meals or special assistance – it is too much hassle to move people when these items are already planned by the airline – so you will remain where you in the cabin you booked.
9. If travelling on a charter flight, the premium seats are sold and they tend to go very fast, so if you are interested then book your flight early and pay – there is practically no other way you can get these seats without paying, so you will be wasting your time trying to bag a freebie here.
10. And finally whatever you do always be polite, well mannered and cool and calm. Being chatty and friendly disposes staff to helping you after a long and arduous day dealing with passengers. A little charm can go a long way.
Paid for upgrades
Shop, shop, shop around. Check airline websites, travel agents and price comparison sites for discounted premium economy, business and first class tickets. These are often sold at a discount, although with some strings, such as less flexibility. Tour operators also offer upgrades at low rates, especially on packages.
1. Use up the points you have from your frequent flyer cards. Some credit cards such as British Airway’s Amex card allow you to gain points on your general shopping that are converted to BA miles. I have saved up enough on my spending over four years for a First class return to Cape Town and have only made a couple of short haul flights – so points can come from shopping as well as flying.
2. In these difficult economic times, airlines are now pushing discounted upgrades once you have bought your flight ticket. There are lots of seats available and airlines are finding ways of replacing the business travelers who are traveling less.
However, one last word of caution – unless you are traveling on a scheduled carrier there will be no cabin to upgrade to. Some charters only have a premium cabin on long haul services and these value-for-money seats get booked way in advance. And for low cost cheap flights with Easyjet and Ryanair you have nowhere to go, unless you purchase early boarding options in an attempt to bag an emergency exit seat.
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Many airlines, hotels and tour companies offer free upgrades and romantic extras for honeymooners – to give your getaway that little added touch. You only get married once so make the most of it by following our top tips to scoring an upgrade on your honeymoon.
Hotel Room Upgrades
The most common form of upgrade for honeymooners is at the hotel. Most hotels, unless they’re fully booked, are more than happy to provide honeymooners with a free room upgrade.
A lot of the time you don’t even need to ask – many hotels and resorts in popular honeymoon destinations have honeymoon packages available free of charge for loved-up couples. Honeymoon holiday packages can include not only a room upgrade but often a bottle of champagne, breakfast in bed, spa treatments and other romantic extras.
The best way to swing a hotel room upgrade is to ask in advance – either speak to your travel agent to see what they can arrange or give the hotel a quick email or call as far ahead as possible.
Get a Flight Upgrade
Although it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get yourself an upgrade on flights – there is certainly no harm in trying. Particularly on empty flights, airlines have been known to upgrade honeymoon couples to business or first class. So how do you go about getting one?
The first thing you can do is simply to ask. Don’t be afraid to let them know at the check-in desk that you are on your honeymoon – you never know what they may be able to arrange for you.
If you plan ahead you should also call the airline prior to your flights to inform them it’s your honeymoon so they can make a note of it. Many holiday packages will do this for you if you ask your travel agent.
As we said, there is never any harm in asking. Even if you don’t get an upgrade you may score yourself a free bottle of champagne or another treat to make your flight that little extra special.
You may think that your very obvious loved-up attitude is enough to win over the charms of airline and hotel staff, but in many cases they require you to provide evidence that you are actually on your honeymoon. Yes, there are fake honeymooners out there!
Bring with you a copy of your wedding license or anything else that will prove you are the real deal.
Another tip for shy couples is to wear bride and groom hats or t-shirts – so if you don’t feel comfortable asking for upgrades your outfits will do the talking for you. Often when staff notice a recently-married couple are there they will provide you with complimentary champagne.
No one wants to give upgrades to a customer that is rude and pushy. Always be polite and friendly – don’t demand freebies, simply inform them that it is your honeymoon and don’t get annoyed if they can’t help you. Approach the hotel or airline desk with a big smile and you’ll have your best chance of swinging an upgrade.
What’s the best upgrade you’ve ever scored?
FREE flight upgrades are few and far between but one question at the check in desk will significantly boost your chances. Could you be bumped up from economy to first class?
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Quora users have revealed their inside tips on how to get a free flight upgrade
For the vast majority a business or first class flight exists only in daydreams.
When confined to the stuffiness of an economy cabin, air travel can become somewhat of a chore.
But there are a few tricks to snagging a first class ticket for a fraction of the price.
Quora users have revealed their inside tips on how to get a free flight upgrade.
The question was posed: “What are the best ways to get free upgrades on flights?” and one frequent flyer had a deceptively simple solution.
Free flight upgrade: A frequent flyer recommends asking one simple question at check-in
Jon White challenged passengers to ask one unassuming question at check in.
He said: “Ask if there are any upgrades available for purchase.”
Jon went on to explain that there are only four answers to this question.
There could be no upgrades available for purchase or there could be some but they are too expensive to consider.
In both cases the passenger has lost nothing merely by asking.
Airline food: First Class vs Economy
The difference between First Class and Economy meals on airplanes.
Singapore Airlines, First Class
Free flight upgrade: Asking for an upgrade for purchase can sometimes score you a free one
Alternatively there could be upgrades available that are cheap enough to buy.
He said: “You will be surprised how cheap they can be – I have had a domestic US (MCI-SEA) first-class upgrade for $50 (£38) before, and a transatlantic business class upgrade for $300 (£228)! – win.”
The last option is that there will be an upgrade for free.
Jon said: “You have been friendly enough that the person behind the desk will give you a discretionary operational upgrade for free of charge (after all they have a certain number of upgrades they need to allocate on some flights). This has happened to me three times – once US domestic and twice transatlantic – win.”
The traveller said he has experienced about a 30 per cent success rate with his trick.
Free flight upgrade: Other tips include being friendly to check-in desk staff
Other Quora users suggested joining the airline’s frequent flyer program, checking in early and being friendly to staff to increase your chances of an upgrade.
Apparently, requesting a “special meal” – whether it be vegetarian, kosher or gluten-free – means a passenger won’t even be considered.
Nik Loukas, a former flight attendant with Qantas who now runs a travel website, told Business Insider UK: “If there’s a special meal request in your booking, the airline won’t even look at you [for an upgrade].
“Because you’ve got a dietary requirement, they might not be able to cater for you if they upgrade you.”
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Tell them it’s your honeymoon, join a loyalty scheme and NEVER wear your pyjamas on the plane: How to get an upgrade to first class without paying for it
- These are the ways travellers can improve their chances of a free upgrade
- Joining an airline’s frequent flyer programme may offer the best results
- Passengers should also wear smart clothing and be polite to airline staff
Published: 14:57 BST, 28 September 2015 | Updated: 18:28 BST, 28 September 2015
First or business class travel is normally enjoyed by chief executives, A-list actors or rock stars, but it has actually never been more attainable for the average traveller.
While it may be a rare feat, flyers can bag a free upgrade and enjoy perks such as steak or lobster dinners, a seat that converts into a fully flat bed, and pre-flight Champagne.
From joining a rewards scheme to simply asking for one, these are the best ways holidaymakers can improve their chances of securing a first class seat without paying for it.
Travellers may find that the best way to get a free upgrade is to join an airline’s frequent flyer programme
Join a frequent flyer scheme
This is the loyal traveller’s best shot at getting their bottom in one of the best seats on their flight.
Those who regularly fly with the same airline should join its rewards scheme and earn miles on every flight booked or goods or services purchased from the carrier’s partners, including hotels, restaurants and car hire firms.
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Once they accumulate, miles or points can be used towards a first or business class seat, or membership alone can lead to a better seat as airlines tend to upgrade their most loyal customers first when the economy cabin is oversold.
Long-haul flights offer the best perks, and some programmes or credit cards offer incentives for new customers.
Scott Keyes, a 28-year-old writer, recently travelled 20,000 miles on 21 flights – in first class and mostly for free – after racking up more than 135,000 frequent flyer miles on 25 credit cards.
The odds of receiving an upgrade are greater for those who are travelling alone.
Airlines are more likely to upgrade a single traveller than a couple or a family of four.
A recent study by Skyscanner found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of flight attendants are more inclined to offer a free upgrade to a passenger who is flying alone.
Perks in first or business class include lobster or steak dinners, and seats that convert into fully flat beds
Celebrate a milestone
This may be the oldest trick in the book, and it may not offer the best results, but it doesn’t hurt to tell staff at the check-in desk or gate if the trip is in celebration of a special occasion.
A honeymoon seems to be a couple’s best chance at scoring an upgrade, as requests based on birthdays or anniversaries tend to fall on deaf ears.
Skyscanner’s survey of 700 cabin crew members revealed that 58 per cent would consider upgrading newlyweds who are jetting abroad for their honeymoon.
Dress for success
While it may not be the reason for an upgrade, dressing smart can improve one’s chances over passengers who are wearing T-shirts or torn jeans, if flight attendants are looking to move passengers from economy to a higher class.
Experts said travellers should dress ‘smart casual’ for their flight, as airlines want first and business class to look like a league above.
If a flight is oversold, airlines will reward passengers who volunteer to be ‘bumped’ to a different flight.
Incentives can include a free upgrade or vouchers for use towards a future flight.
According to TravelSupermarket, a pre-booked meal or pre-flight request could hinder a traveller’s chances of being upgraded, as it may be considered a hassle to move them.
When the economy cabin is oversold, flight attendants may look to upgrade smartly dressed passengers
Just ask for one
This is a long shot and it may annoy staff at the check-in desk or gate, but some travellers have found success with this approach.
Anyone who asks for an upgrade, however, should be polite and should not demand one.
Sometimes it just pays to be polite, as flight attendants have told tales of offering upgrades to passengers who smiled and were courteous while boarding.
Skyscanner’s survey of passengers revealed that they are willing to say almost anything to get a better seat.
Three quarters told the travel website they would tell a lie if it improved their chances, while 14 per cent said they would pretend to be newlyweds.
Last year, a poll by MoneySavingExpert.com revealed one in five passengers had received a free upgrade in the previous two years.
Of those, only 1.4 per cent said they were successful after asking or attempting to talk staff into it.
Avoid busy times
Holidaymakers may have better odds when regular business travellers aren’t flying.
That means booking flights at mid-day, late at night or at the weekend, or on Bank Holidays, said Skyscanner.
At the very least, travellers will have a better shot at choosing their preferred seat in economy.
Alerting cabin crew to injuries or ailments may lead to a better seat.
A Skyscanner survey of airline staff found that a passenger with a broken limb was more likely to get a free upgrade, given the need for additional legroom.
The study also found that nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of cabin crew have given someone a free upgrade, and it was usually single men who were bagging the premium seats.
Everybody deserves a little VIP treatment. Why should celebrities, sports stars and Fortune 500 executives get all of the free perks? After all, they’re the only ones who can actually afford to pay for them! At the end of a long day of flight delays, cramped coach cabins, airport traffic and bad weather, nothing says “you’re special” like an unexpected upgrade from a drab economy single to the honeymoon suite with the heart-shaped Jacuzzi in the bathroom.
As exhilarating as an unexpected hotel or airline upgrade feels, it doesn’t have to be unexpected to be appreciated. Veteran travelers have learned the tricks and tips to subtly increase the odds of a last-minute bump. Dress sharp, meet the manager, check in early, board late — these are just a few of the time-tested strategies that separate the complimentary peanuts from the complimentary wine.
The greatest piece of overall advice is simple: Be nice. Leave the diva act to the actual divas. They can get away with it because they can leave paths of $100 bills in their wake. To win the favor of desk clerks and ticketing agents, always be polite, friendly and honest. Flight attendants can smell a fake honeymoon couple a mile away, but if you’re a likable person with a specific, reasonable request, doors will be opened for you … and maybe even a curtain.
On the next page we’ll find out how to get on a hotel clerk’s good side — no Abe Lincolns required.
Not all hotel upgrades are created equal. Some people only want the luxury suite, while others just want a bigger bed, a better view, wireless Internet access or the farthest room from the cacophonous ice machine [source: Mueller Shulte]. Simple as it may sound, the best tip for getting exactly the kind of upgrade you want is to ask for it. If you’re friendly, polite and personable, the desk clerk might just play ball.
Of course, there are several things you can do to increase your upgrade odds. For one thing, if you’re swinging for the suite, don’t book the cheapest room in the hotel [source: Mueller Shulte]. The staff is much more likely to bump you up from a second-tier room to a top-level suite than to pull off a miracle upgrade from the $53 Web-only special.
Which brings us to another tip: Don’t book your reservations online. A phone reservation gives you the opportunity to make a personal connection with the hotel staff [source: Klein]. This presents an excellent opportunity to mention any special circumstances that could lead to a courtesy upgrade: first time in the city, anniversary, birthday or romantic vacation. If staff members can match a human being with the name on the reservation, they’ll be more likely to help.
Continue to make personal connections during your stay at the hotel, particularly with the general manager. Ask to see the manager and mention a few things you really like about the hotel. Give the person your business card and tell him or her that you hope to stay at the hotel again. Next time you plan to stay at the hotel, call the general manager directly to make your reservation, and you might end up getting VIP treatment [source: Mueller Shulte].
If you want guaranteed VIP status, you must first prove your loyalty. Sign up for the frequent stay card. Get everyone at your company to patronize the same chain of hotels. Mention your company’s policy when you’re making your reservations and when you check in. Hotels love frequent business travelers (and their expense accounts), so they’ll be much more willing to fulfill any special requests.
If all else fails, try these proven strategies:
- Stay on slow days (usually Sundays and Mondays)
- Check in late in the day
- Make a last-minute reservation at a busy convention hotel (all of the cheaper rooms will already be booked, but they might upgrade you to keep your business) [sources: Detwiler, Klein and Mueller Shulte]
Now let’s look at some tips for nailing that elusive first-class upgrade.
The first tip for scoring a free airline upgrade is to never use the words “free” or “upgrade” in the same sentence. Believe it or not, you’re not the first person who has thought of buttering up the ticketing agent for an undeserved upgrade.
The first step is to become a member of the airline’s frequent flyer program. If the coach section is oversold and the ticket agent is scanning the flight manifest for potential upgrades, he or she is going to give priority to the gold and silver status members who have proven their loyalty [source: Gibson].
The next tip is twofold: Check into the flight early, but board the plane late [source: CheapFlights.com]. By checking in at the airport hours before your flight, you have the advantage of being one of the first people to put in an upgrade request. Don’t ask directly for the upgrade, of course — “more legroom” or “closer to the front of the plane” are the standard euphemisms. By boarding the plane late, there’s more time for coach to oversell. When the crew starts scrambling for new seat assignments, there you are with your carry-on in hand.
Sharply dressed solo travelers have the greatest odds of getting an upgrade at the gate [source: Wysong]. Single travelers are much easier to relocate quickly than a family of four, and if you want to fit in with the business class crowd, you have to look and act the part. Business casual is all right, but leave the sweatpants at home.
Another idea is to forget first class altogether. For many frequent business travelers, especially on domestic flights, the undisputed best seats on the plane are on the emergency exit row or the bulkhead, where legroom abounds [source: Elliot]. Again, the best way to grab those seats is to check in early and make a special — but always friendly — request with the ticketing agent.
Of course, not all upgrades are free — and why should they be? Most airlines allow you to trade in frequent flyer miles for upgrades and some of the best bump-up deals can be found at the last minute by haggling with the ticket agent. If the agent has extra seats, he or she might charge a little more, but still far less than you would’ve paid in advance [source: Gibson].
For lots more travel tips, see the links on the next page.
So, you’ve decided to book a holiday.
Your first thought: YAYYYY
Your second thought: How can I blag free shit?
Yep, from plane upgrades to getting a swankier hotel room, there ARE ways to get some serious perks. If you can ditch your awkward Britishness, that is.
Fear not, as four experts in the travel industry share their top tips that, with any luck, will have you holidaying like a VIP this summer. Always remember a blagger’s golden rule: if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Chris Clarkson, Managing Director at online travel agency Sunshine.co.uk says:
1. Never ask for a flight upgrade at check-in
The answer will be no. You stand the best chance of being bumped up to first class if you check-in early, such as online when the option is first available. If a cabin has been overbooked – which is often the case as airlines sell more seats than they have available to account for cancellations and no-shows – the staff will want to move people around early to fit everyone in. You might be lucky enough to get moved to first class to make room for others.
2. Be flexible with your plans
Why not volunteer to be one of the people that waits for the next flight if yours has been overbooked? Staff will bend over backwards to show you how sorry they are, which can often mean a seat in first class if you’re willing to catch the next flight.
3. Special occasion? Shout about it!
Be sure to make a note of any special occasions that might be linked to your travel when booking, such as if you’re going on honeymoon, have a milestone birthday or similar. Staff may see the note in your booking and chose to upgrade you if it’s an option (as well as if you have a special title like Lady, Dr. or Rev.).
4. Don’t be afraid to complain
Whilst it does pay to be polite, complaining can also work wonders. Now, we’re not suggesting that you conjure up false accusations about how disgusting your meal was or how filthy your room looked when you checked-in, but if you have grounds to make a complaint then you should inform a member of staff. Be polite about it though and certainly don’t start flying off the handle. If you truly have a reason to be unhappy then the staff will want to apologise – which often means a meal/drinks on the house or a room upgrade!
5. Be Newlyweds
We recently conducted a poll which revealed that the average couple on their honeymoon gets £430 worth of freebies or upgrades during their trip, just for being newlyweds. So, if you so happen to have just tied the knot, take your marriage certificate as proof and be prepared to wave it in the face of any staff you encounter at the airport, hotel, restaurants and anywhere that an upgrade or freebie could be on the cards. Even if it’s not technically your honeymoon, but you still got married within the last year, still take your marriage certificate and pretend it is your honeymoon. More and more couples now wait a little while after the wedding before going on honeymoon, so this is totally believable.
6. Pretend to be a Blogger
Bloggers often get freebies to review, whether it’s an overnight stay somewhere, a complimentary meal or similar. So, you can always put your blagging skills to the test, if you’re brave enough, and casually drop in to conversation that you have a blog or write for a magazine that you might do a review for (even if it’s a total lie). They will want the review to be positive and so you might get the 5* treatment!
Lasse Skole Hansen, travel expert at flight search site Momondo.co.uk says:
8. Choose your travel days wisely
Choose weekends to travel, which naturally attract less business travellers, leaving the premium cabins with more free seats.
9. Join the club
If you aren’t a member of a frequent flyer scheme then join one! As points can easily be turned into upgrades.
10. Check your emails
Getting closer to departure, flyers should check their emails, as many airlines may offer heavily reduced upgrade offers prior to boarding.
11. Choose your seats wisely
It often pays to choose the front seats or seats by the emergency exits in the middle of the plane. Here you have the most legroom, and this is generally the case no matter which airline you travel with. Always remember too though, that to sit by the emergency exit, you are required to be healthy and mobile, in order to help open the doors in case of an emergency. Some airlines will charge for the luxury of added legroom, whereas others let you select these seats for free, so check carefully.
12. If you don’t pre-select seats, turn up early
If you have not selected seat in advance, we recommend showing up at the airport to check in early. The seats are often allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and therefore you might be lucky enough to secure a seat with more legroom if you show up early and know what to ask for.
Reigo Eljas, Trading Director at lastminute.com says:
13. Look the part
You may WANT to wear your comfy longhaul-friendly tracksuit, but in order to blag business class, you need to fit in with your new seat-buddies.
14. Karma comes back around
Always be extra friendly to staff on check-in – you’ll have more chance of being singled out for an upgrade if you are lovely to deal with.
15. Go it alone
Be aware that travelling alone can also give you more chance of an upgrade as staff only need to find one vacant seat, not seats for a whole family or group of friends.
16. Phone ahead and speak to the right person
Check-in staff often don’t have authority to offer upgrades, so contact the airline before you travel to enquire if you can be considered for an upgrade.
Martin Kleinman, Director of Hotel Partnerships at lastminute.com says:
17. Don’t rush your booking
Wait until the very last minute to book. Hotels with lots of rooms to sell often reduce their rates the day before or on the day of travel, so this is a great time to bag a bargain
18. Tell them what the occasion is
Contact the hotel in advance to advise the trip is for a special occasion and ask for one of their nicest rooms. You never know, they might get the hint and upgrade you!
19. Or add a ‘special request’
If phoning ahead feels too awkward, use the web instead. If you book online you can often add special requests as part of the booking process – be sure to use that box to explain the reason for your special stay.
20. Be loyal
Remember that hotels are often more willing to give upgrades or discounts to regular, valued customers. If you stay at a hotel frequently, remind them on check in that you come here often and love their hotel. *Hint hint*
21. Always be lovely
If the hotel staff like you, they’ll be much more likely to upgrade you or throw in any extra perks during your stay.
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We all dream of sipping a glass of bubbly and nibbling on chocolate dipped strawberries in the plush honeymoon suite. But with a few tips, you can get the VIP treatment from the time of booking right down to your final day. Here’s how…
When booking your honeymoon, it’s important that everyone knows that you’re newlyweds – from the travel agent right down to the concierge at the hotel when you arrive. It’s simple. If they don’t know, they won’t do. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
:: Ask the hotel (or travel agent, if you’re booking through one) about honeymoon packages available. Most places include a free bottle of champagne on arrival as a standard honeymoon treat, while others offer vouchers, free breakfast, day tours and more.
:: Ask about opportunities for a room upgrade. Some hotels offer a deal where if a better room becomes available and it hasn’t been booked, they’ll transfer you. You want to be on that list!
:: Try and avoid travelling during peak season. You’ll be less likely to get a free upgrade if the hotel is fully booked.
AT THE AIRPORT
First things first. Airline crew are technically not allowed to upgrade you when you’ve already boarded the plane. They must seek authority from a supervisor on ground, so don’t waste your time thinking up excuses like your TV monitor isn’t working or the man next to you is taking up too much room – they’ve heard it all before and can usually see you coming a mile away! Do all your work on the ground before heading to the boarding gates. Some tips to remember:
:: Arrive at the check-in desk early. If there are any available seats in First or Business Class, you don’t want to miss out on them because that other lovely couple got in before you.
:: Dress like you belong in first class. Yes, we mean heels for women and a tie for men. You can always change into your trackies and ugg boots when you’ve taken off.
:: Become a frequent flyer. Airline companies are more inclined to keep loyal clients satisfied before the average traveller. So make sure you sign up when booking your holiday, and flash your card at check-in.
:: Tell the check-in attendant that you’re honeymooners. But be friendly, not pushy.
:: Don’t be afraid to ask for a room upgrade. Kindly ask the reception clerk at check-in if the hotel is at its full capacity and if it isn’t, if there’s any possibility of getting a room upgrade. Always tell them that you enquired about this when booking and they might think they need to follow up a promise.
:: Don’t be afraid to name drop. Strike up a conversation with the concierge (or if you see the hotel manager, even better) and gush about the time you stayed at another five star hotel while travelling. Guaranteed, they’ll want to do one better for you.
:: Make the concierge your best friend during your stay. They’re the ones who will go that extra length to make your stay pleasant.
:: Tip! Each time a staff member of the hotel does something for you, make sure you tip them as a thanks. They’ll want to keep helping you.
:: Don’t be demanding. Sometimes hotel guests feel like the hotel owes them something for their stay, and become demanding and arrogant during their stay. Be nice to the hotel staff and they’ll be nice to you.
Want an upgrade? The key is availability: All upgrades are based on it. They’re also, largely, based on loyalty status. But even if you do belong to your airline’s or hotel’s loyalty program, you’re still competing with countless other travelers for the same upgrade. To rise above the pack, it’ll take smarts, a strategy, and (dare we say it) shamelessness. Here are seven brazen ways to angle for an upgrade from an airline or a hotel.
Give Your Airline Crew a Little Treat
Do: Gift something small and inexpensive to the gate agents or flight crew. Make them like you with inexpensive presents. Globe-trotting charmer Johnny Jet, a master of the art of schmoozing flight attendants, is a major proponent of this strategy. One of his not-so-secret secrets: handing out chocolates. Mr. Jet offers this advice in his Tip of the Day: “I almost always bring two boxes of chocolates—one for the gate agents and one for the flight attendants, because both can make or break your trip. When you hand the chocolates over, do it with a big smile, be genuine, and don’t look for anything in return.”
Don’t: Assume a quid pro quo. As Johnny advises, never directly ask for anything while distributing a gift. Airline crew are prohibited from accepting gifts as bribes. Small tokens like candy or snacks are good; anything more expensive is probably a bad idea.
Speak Their Language
Do: Demonstrate your foreign-language skills when appropriate. We’ve seen a room upgrade go to a fellow traveler in Mexico when she flaunted her fluency in Spanish. Initiate a friendly conversation with a hotel clerk in his or her native tongue, ingratiate yourself with the staff, and you just might receive a complimentary room upgrade. Even if you’re not fluent, learn a word or two. Staff will appreciate a “hello” or “thank you” in the resident language. Make an honest attempt to have a sincere conversation.
Don’t: Loudly and clumsily speak a few words of the local language to staff, expecting a shower of upgrades in return. A powerful voice volume will not demystify your clumsy attempt at a foreign language.
Say It’s Your Birthday
Do: Be obvious about the day you were born. You could, when checking in for your flight or hotel room, happily mention, “It’s my birthday!” Wear a pointed hat and shake some maracas for the full effect. There’s nothing wrong with a little self-celebration. Seriously, though, the elusive birthday upgrade has been known to happen now and again. We’ve heard of passengers (usually with some kind of frequent-flyer status to begin with) receiving birthday upgrades sans any effort to draw attention to the fact. Evidence of your birthday is, of course, printed on your boarding pass. And your ID. And your Keep Calm It’s My Birthday shirt.
Don’t: Lie. The chances your deception will be exposed are high. We’ll say it again: Your birthday is printed on your ID.
Say It’s Your Honeymoon (or Anniversary)
Do: Excitedly tell your booking agent that you’re on your way to your honeymoon vacation. Bring proof if possible: Offer the flight attendant an extra favor from your wedding as evidence and incentive. Wear your “I’m the Bride!” T-shirt. Maybe you won’t get a pair of first-class boarding passes, but at the very least, you might receive some free Champagne.
If a honeymoon upgrade at your hotel or resort is what you’re after, be sure to bring a copy of your marriage license. Many resorts offer complimentary honeymoon upgrades but require proof of marriage.
Don’t: Lie. Airline employees and front-desk clerks aren’t stupid. I’d venture to guess that flight or hotel staff has a good gauge for who’s on a honeymoon and who’s only faking.
Slip the Hotel Staff Some Cash
Do: The cash bribe is a decidedly shameless activity, but there’s a slick way to do it. When paying for your stay, hold twenty bucks (give or take) in your hand with your credit card and smile politely, asking whether any room upgrades or well-located rooms are available. Your front-desk clerk will get the hint. This is more effective in some places than others, of course, so it’s important to proceed with caution. In Las Vegas, for example, kickbacks for cash are more likely to be tolerated, especially if you’re a guest who has a good play history with the hotel. At other properties, your front-desk agent may be risking his or her job by accepting a small bribe. Be careful, be respectful, and read the situation carefully.
Don’t: Bribe an airline worker. Chocolates are one thing—but airline employees who accept cash bribes can lose their jobs. Don’t even try.
Bribe a Fellow Passenger
Do: Offer the guy with a better seat $100 to switch spots. This isn’t illegal. There aren’t any clear airline policies prohibiting flyers from paying other passengers for seat swaps. There’s even an app, believe it or not, called AirrTrade that facilitates seat buying and selling among passengers. You may do this, if you want.
Don’t: Have high expectations or be anything other than extraordinarily polite. Passengers are under no obligation to accept your bribe. Some folks might even be offended by it.
Show Your Loyalty
Do: Flaunt your unofficial status. Signing up for a hotel chain’s loyalty program isn’t exactly shameless. But advertising your unfailing loyalty to a boutique property that doesn’t have a loyalty program is a bit bolder. Returning to a B&B for the third time? Write an email to the owners. Mention that you’ve been there a bunch of times. Tell them how much you love their property. If appropriate, write a good review. Send the link to the owners and congratulate them on a job well done. Show that you appreciate your stay, and your hosts just might show you a little appreciation in return, whether it’s in the form of a room upgrade, coupons, or even just free bottles of water by your bed. Better yet, you can feel good about sharing some positive thoughts with your fellow humans.
Don’t: Threaten to write a bad review if you don’t receive an upgrade; anyone who does this should have their hotel privileges revoked for life.
Read the original story: Seven Shameless Ways to Get an Upgrade by Caroline Costello, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.
IT’S the moment every passenger dreams of. You hand over your ticket at the airport desk, only to be told you’ve been upgraded! So how do you make it happen?
June 11, 2015 1:42pm
More travelers have to pay if they want to upgrade to a first-class seat, but airlines are dropping prices to make those upgrades tempting. WSJ’s Scott McCartney reports. Photo: Getty
More travelers have to pay if they want to upgrade to a first-class seat, but airlines are dropping prices to make those upgrades tempting. WSJ’s Scott McCartney reports. Photo: Getty
See, we’re getting married!
FINALLY, it’s your turn to approach the check-in desk. You hand over your passport and ticket details.
And then comes the news you’ve been dreaming about: You’ve scored an upgrade to business class, or even first class. Champagne all the way!
Here are some ways to improve your chances of getting the ultimate flying freebie.
1. Look the part
Airlines often upgrade people because the cabin is overbooked. And while it’s more likely that the computer will choose someone based on their frequent flyer status, you still might get a look in on some airlines if you dress to impress. So, ditch those scruffy jeans and the T-shirt with last night’s dinner stains down the front. Instead, polish those shoes and wear your best outfit.
2. Travel alone
It’s one thing hoping to get an upgrade if you are a solo traveller and another thing entirely if you have your partner and three kids in tow. Solo passengers have a much better chance of an upgrade than a travelling clan.
3. Volunteer to be bumped
When overbooked, airlines can sometimes ask for volunteers to miss their flight and go on a later one. It might not be convenient, but if you don’t mind too much then you might be able to negotiate for a guaranteed upgrade.
4. Be a frequent flyer
Upgrades are harder to get than they used to be. And who are airlines most likely to upgrade? Well, these days, they almost always choose someone who has achieved a high tier status in their company’s frequent flyer scheme. The more points you get, the better chance you have of working your way up into a higher tier. So, to play your trump card, start collecting!
Now this is the “high life”. Source:News Corp Australia
Check-in staff don’t have the easiest job in the world. They are often working shifts and have to put up with a lot of grumpy passengers. So, make their day and have your best manners on show. Arrive at the desk with your brightest smile and a stock of polite comments. Follow this by simply asking if you can have an upgrade. Flattery could get you everywhere, and in style.
6. Mention an important occasion
Mentioning to the check-in person that you are flying because it’s your birthday, or wedding anniversary, or honeymoon, can occasionally work wonders too. It’s not guaranteed, but playing on their heart strings can result in a fully-flat bed for the night.
See, we’re getting married!
7. Pay extra
Some airlines, such as Qantas, have a new system in place where you can bid on an upgrade using cash and points. It’s designed for those who don’t have enough points yet to ask for an upgrade on points alone. Only some frequent flyer passengers will be offered the chance, a week or so before the flight leaves. Qantas lets you know if you’ve been successful 24 hours before take off.
8. Travel at the right time
School holidays or Christmas? Forget the upgrade. There’s no point in even thinking about one if the flight’s totally full. That said, other busy times of the year can pay dividends, because while cattle class can fill up, there might be some seats left in business class. If the flight’s only half full, there’s not much incentive for the check-in staff to upgrade anyone.
For more travel tips go to Skyscanner.com.au.