I remember my first upgraded flight with KLM. We were going to Toronto and had reasently been upgraded to becoming a gold-member. I had heard that the chances for an upgrade was close to zero, still I had also heard that people had gotten an upgrade. I crossed my fingers that the flight was fully booked.
Luckily the flight was packed with academics (Mr. No-Backpacker was going for a coneference) who usually use their minds on other things than studying loyaltyprograms. When we passed the boarding-agent the sound from the machine didn’t give the normal “bip”, and the agent said: “Oh Mrs. No-Backpacker, you have gotten a new seat!” At that point I understood we were not sitting in monkey-business, but in the front. I remember I wanted to jump and dance, but told myself to behave and pretend I was used to this. My initial plan was to sleep during the flight, but when I sat in my business-class seat, I understood that I would rather enjoy my first, and maybe only, business-class trip.
I often get this question: “How do you manage to get all those amazing upgrades?” To be honest, I’m not sure if there are anye rules here. However I do have some advices on how to increase your chances for an upgraded airfare or hotelroom. With that said, I wouldn’t call myself an expert although I have been quite lucky with my upgrades.
- Be sure to be a member of the airlines/hotels loyaltyprogram. I would suggest to concentrate around one or two programs.
- BEHAVE at the check-in counter. I have sometimes been upgraded to economy comfort when checking in at the airport (but never to business). To be honest my business-upgrade ratio isn’t that high, but Mr. No-Backpacker has been upgraded to business many times on loghaule-flights. However I have heard about platinum-members who have never gotten an upgrade at all.
- Dress, not to impress, but at least don’t show up in your pyjamas!
- With airfares, it helps if you are alone, as the airline usually never upgrade more people than they have to. The chances for an upgrade is also bigger if you book your flight at days/times when there are fewer business-people and more people on holiday. The latter one are usually not a member of the airlines loyalty program.
- I don’t know if this is true, but I have heard that, for an upgrade at hotels, it also helps to book at the hotels own booking-site and a category over the cheapest room.
I think the best advice is to behave, smile and never demand anything. Usually I don’t ask for an upgrade, but it has happened that I have approached, in a nice tone, if there are any possibilities to get a better room since I’m a xxx-member. Sometimes I get it and sometimes not. However I never expect it, as long as I’m not at an Intercontinental where I have the highest membership-level, Royal Ambassador.
If you get an upgrade, be sure to say thank you!