20 Hacks On How To Get Free Upgrades On Vacation

It can be expensive to travel because you have to fork out money for flights, accommodations, and activities. Due to money constraints, we have to make do with economy class or stay in cheaper hotels. You may think that it's difficult to get an upgrade, but it is possible. All you need to do is learn the tricks. Flying economy isn't the greatest as it's uncomfortable — there's hardly any luxury or space and it's always crowded. Don't despair as there are hacks to get upgraded to first class for your next flight. It sounds impossible, but all you need to do is apply for frequent flyer rewards or buy points.

Layovers aren't that great, especially when you're traveling internationally. Firstly, you're tired, and there's nowhere to sleep. Secondly, the seats are uncomfortable, and it's crowded. The next time you're stuck waiting, gain access to a first-class lounge even though you have an economy ticket.  Airlines make this possible with a priority pass or membership with the company. There are also useful hacks to upgrade to a better room in hotels such as checking in late or sharing information about your special occasion. Next time you travel, try these tips and who knows, you may get upgraded to luxury.

20 Become A Frequent Flyer To Enjoy The Benefits

via Slash Film

Airline companies let their customers become frequent flyers. It's simple as the only thing you need to do is apply for a frequent flyer loyalty program with the airline you usually use. The AAdvantage frequent flyer program with American Airlines is free online, and you can also earn miles flying with their partnered airlines. If you travel a lot, it's easier to obtain miles, but if you don't fly often, you can buy them, which can be expensive. The minimum amount is $29.50 for 1,000 miles, but if you buy over a period of time, it can add up.

19 Travel During Peak Time

via Marie Claire

The best time to travel is during the off-peak season because flights are less crowded, but it won't get you that upgrade since there are many seats available. Peak time is the best time to get upgrades as there's a chance that the economy class is full and people will need to move to business or first class. Still, book your ticket online in case there are no seats available on the day in question. Arrive early though, as you could be one of the first people to get an upgrade at check-in when airlines have no choice but to hand it out.

18 Get Free Access To An Airport Lounge

via The Telegraph

Layovers can be a drag, especially when you have to wait for hours before your next flight. Business and first-class travellers get the luxury of the airport lounges, and the economy class passengers have to make do with the uncomfortable seats and large crowds. They dream of being where the elite is and think that it can never happen. However, there are ways to gain access. Airlines supply independent airport lounge passes such as the Priority Pass. It has three membership choices with an annual fee, but it's worth it since you can get some free airport lounge visits per year.

17 Write A Good Review

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There are even tricks to get an upgrade with a hotel room, and since everything is web-based, hotels rely on reviews. When there's positive feedback, it brings in more customers. Next time you're at check-in and you want a much better room than what you can pay for, let staff know you'll write a good review. Social media is also a selling point because it's one way to get free advertising. Tell the check-in staff that you follow the hotel on Instagram and you'll take pictures and tag them. The team may be so happy that you're willing to advertise that they won't mind giving you a better room.

16  Fly With Budget Airlines

Via JetBlue

It'll be harder to get an upgrade with Emirates or American Airlines because customers prefer flying with them. Some carriers aren't so well known, such as Virgin America or JetBlue. They aren't as luxurious as American Airlines, but they do have a premium class. It's still better than sitting in economy and it does have benefits. The seats have more legroom and you can lean back all the way when you want to sleep. The food menu is tastier than the food in economy so it'll be a treat.

15 Make Use Of Flash Sales

Via POPSUGAR Middle East

We love sales because of the discounts on things that are typically very expensive. Sometimes, airlines have huge discounts on business or first-class tickets and you could pay the same price as an economy ticket. You need to keep looking because they sell quickly. The best thing to do is sign up for airline or travel websites to receive emails about discounts and follow air carriers on social media. There are also apps to set up a price alert. Emirates often sponsor flash sales and it's mainly for business class, but it's still a good deal since you can get a two-for-one deal or round trip for a low price.

14 Gain Reward Points With Social Media

via travel coterie

Hotels are aware of the effect social media has on business as customers tend to share everything about their vacation on different media platforms. Friends of the customers will be informed and may even choose to stay there during their next vacation which hotel managers want. Due to the popularity, hotels like the Marriott and Kimpton Hotels have a reward system. It's called PlusPoints, and basically, you earn points for socially interacting with the brand on social media sites. The benefits include free upgrades or a free night in one of the rooms. It's a perfect opportunity to get freebies and you hardly have to do a thing.

13 Complain About The Room 

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Customers frequently complain about hotel rooms on review sites or Google. If you want a possible upgrade, the best time to protest would be at the check-in counter. Make sure the complaints aren't over petty things as you may not get an upgrade for free. If there's something wrong with the room, like a broken tile, staff will most likely do anything to avoid a bad review. There have been success stories of people getting upgraded to a governor suite for no extra charge. Pick the right moment when to complain and remain calm as the staff will respect that and you'll most likely be bumped up a few floors.

12 Ask Nicely To Receive Benefits

via theglobeandmail.com

The right etiquette can be useful when you're traveling, preferably when you speak to staff members. If you want to inquire about an upgrade, be polite because you may receive benefits. Polls show that some people got an upgrade just for asking nicely, but it must be at the right time. Don't make excuses about why you need the advance as airlines won't accept it since it happens on a regular basis. During check-in at a hotel, you can also ask for an upgrade, but be polite and discreet. Staff members don't want other customers to hear because they might do the same thing.

11 Stay Loyal To The Airline

via Red Eye 1

It'll be harder to travel in style if you fly with a variety of air carriers. An easier option is to stay loyal to one airline as they'll take notice of your loyalty. Businesses will go out of their way to ensure that their regular customers are satisfied. If you ask nicely, you could be successful, but being part of the airline's reward program is a safer bet. You'll get rewards that aren't available for regular customers such as coupons, vouchers, or cheap business class tickets. Even if you don't fly a lot, you can still get benefits because you're on their rewards mailing list.

10 Be More Flexible

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The next time you plan a vacation, don't be set on strict schedules as you could miss a good deal with a better seat. Many airlines have a special on business class seats, but you'll need to research dates, times, and destinations. Make sure to keep an eye out because they can be tricky to find. Be flexible about where you land as some bargains are only for a specific city or airport. Don't be picky with the airline since different companies have really good specials and you can travel as the rich do. Business class tickets aren't cheap, so when there's a discount, grab it, even if it changes your travel plans.

9  Stay At A New Hotel

via nydailynews.com

Book a room at a hotel that has just opened their doors for business because there might be perks. New companies are willing to make sacrifices because they want to become well known and the only way to get new business is to gain new customers. Recent hotels mainly rely on reviews for success which means they'll be more lenient in giving upgrades. If they make their first customers happy, that'll help build their reputation. Give positive feedback because if you return, you could get another upgrade. Don't forget to let the staff know about your raving reviews and remain in their good books.

8 Make A Bid On Better Tickets

Via Time

Placing a bid on expensive plane tickets is popular, so while planning your next trip, think about bidding on a business or first-class ticket. Airlines auction off the pricey fares on a website called PlusGrade. More than 40 companies use the site, so there are options. You'll have to be quick, though, as bidding can begin 72 hours before a flight. Some flights only let you bid on a seat in the next class, so if your ticket is in economy, you can only move to premium. It's competitive and the price ranges from $100 to over $400. Bid the highest amount you can afford to better your chance of success.

7 Check In At The Right Time

via Elite Daily

You would think that it's safer to check in on time, but in fact, the best time to get a deal is to be late. Travellers usually book standard rooms and if you're late, you could get a higher category room as the standard rooms may be booked out. The best time is between 4:45 and 6:00 p.m. as rush hour is between 6 and 8 p.m. It's a different story if you're hoping for a better seat while flying. Being early at check-in pays off because there's a chance to move up due to operational reasons or the flight is overbooked.

6 Have Connections With Travel Agents

via The Ace Black Blog

Nowadays, there are so many websites where you can book yourself a trip and don't need a travel agent. Next time, go to an agency because there are possible advantages. Advisors may have a good connection with hotel management and could put in a good word for you. Travel agencies have access to hotel loyalty programs like the Dorchester Diamond Club. The prestigious Bel-Air in Los Angeles is part of Dorchester, and if customers book with an agency, they'll instantly get an upgrade. Online travel agents are pretty successful as well. SnapTravel usually gets upgrades for their customers, so it's worth a shot.

5 Get A Good Deal With Your Credit Card

via LADbible

Credits cards, especially travel ones, can be useful, but make sure that it has a good point system for good travel deals. Using reward points for an upgrade is a safer bet as you're guaranteed a seat in business or first class. You will need to earn the points, though. There are many travel credit cards, so make sure you get the best deal. You can even get a hotel room upgrade with credit card points. Some hotels even provide credit cards such as the Hilton’s Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card and the Hyatt credit card. With the Hyatt card, you earn points when you spend money in restaurants or at Hyatt hotels and resorts.

4 Paid Upgrades At Check-In

Via Australian Business Traveller

At the check-in desk, ask if you can get a paid upgrade and if there are premium seats available. It won't be free, though, but there'll be a discount. A customer was able to get an advance this way and just had to pay an extra $600 to the fare instead of $5,000. It's not as successful as the other hacks, but one day, it just may work, and it'll also depend on the time and day of your flight. Don't be shy to ask because you could end up flying in luxury at a low price.

3 Tell Staff About Any Special Occasions

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The best time to travel is when there's something to celebrate as you could get rewarded with a better seat on the plane and a swankier hotel room. Tell the check-in staff about the occasion you're celebrating, and you could get upgraded to first class. It's a risk, though, as a lot of people do it, but it's worth a try because if there are seats available, you could get them. You'll probably have better luck asking for an upgrade with a hotel room. Honeymoons or anniversaries are the best bet, so if you're celebrating, share it with the staff and you could be in luck.

2 Give Staff Members A Tip

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Tipping while checking in at hotels can be good if you do it the right way. Staff members at hotels work long hours and if you tip them, it could make their day, therefore, they would want to reward you. Hotel expert Jacob Tomsky says tipping the front desk does work as bellboys and door attendants mainly get tips, but not staff members who work at the counter. If you desire luxury but can't afford it, tipping could be in your favor. Tomsky admits staff members who work at the front desk actually have a lot of power in choosing which room you stay in, so make sure you're also friendly.

1 Travel Solo

via People

It'll be hard to get an upgrade if you're traveling with a group because airlines prefer giving away one ticket instead of more. If you want an advance, go alone, and you may be lucky enough to get the advance. The best time to fly is peak season as the flight could be overbooked, and if you're early enough, you could get first dibs. If you're traveling with a smaller international airline like AirAsia X and Vietnam Airlines, you could be lucky. These airlines sell premium tickets on discount with Optiontown, and you have a better chance to get it if you're travelling alone.

References: Traveller.com.au, Sheknows.com, News.com.au, Wheretraveler.com, Travelandleisure.com, Chase.com, Investopedia.com, Smartertravel.com,

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