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10 Ways to a free upgrade to business class

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10 Ways to a free upgrade to business class

The summertime is over but the period of the year for the true jet setters has arrived. If you can pack your bags and travel around the world in first class, you will feel like Frank Abagnale.

Not that long ago, it wasn’t a surprise when during a check-in or at the gate, a flight agent slipped you a new boarding pass with a very low row number. But times have changed. The ‘Catch me if you can’ period is no longer the scene and there are big challenges present to get a free upgrade.

Below you will find some industry insider tricks that you can use to greatly improve your chances of getting a free upgrade to the first cabin.

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1. Get a miles card

Loyalty, a.k.a., spending lots of money and time flying with one airline. Try to always fly with a specific airline and join the frequent flyer club. When flights are oversold, airlines will first turn to their most frequent travelers. Same goes for complimentary upgrades. Even if it’s the lowest level, you still get rewarded first.

2. Know someone in an airline

It doesn’t matter if you’re best friends with the pilot or know the gate agent responsible for check-in. If you know someone who works high enough for the airline, chances are that he or she can get you a free upgrade.

3. Travel when no one else does

If business class is already sold out, it’s practically impossible to receive an upgrade. Travel when there is a low volume of business class passengers, and you greatly increase your chances. Commuters tend to be frequent flyers and receive priority. Try to travel during mid-day, mid-week or weekends rather than early mornings or late afternoons.

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4. Dress well

Dress to impress. No airline wants a chump sitting in business class. Airlines want first and business class people to look a league above, so make sure that you do, too. You don’t need to look like a Wall Street banker or Hollywood actress, but dress well.

5. Be nice

Compliment the flight assistant at check-in with a big smile. Be complimentary, but don’t overdo it. Be patient and make a quick connection. Then, politely ask for a complimentary upgrade.

When making your request, use the word “because”, and then insert a legit reason (such as an early meeting when you land or a recent unfortunate event).

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6. Be late or early

If airlines need to move passengers between cabins they will generally know within several hours before the flight. So, being an early bird will pay off. Likewise, last minute passengers might have the same luck if more passengers show up than expected.

Never show up the same time as everyone else if you want to opt for a free upgrade.

7. Fly solo

Flying on your own will greatly increase your chance of receiving a complimentary upgrade. In fact, I’ve never received an upgrade when flying accompanied – only when traveling alone. It is much easier to upgrade a single person and your mobility can be used for the airline to make room for other passengers.

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8. The honeymoon or anniversary trick

Traveling with your loved one? Mention that you are on your honeymoon trip or traveling to celebrate an anniversary. This works great at hotels and sometimes airlines will also bump you up to the next cabin if it is (or you pretend it is) your special day…

9. The peanuts trick

Take a bag of peanuts and crush them underneath your seat. Press the flight attendant button and let them know you are heavily allergic to peanuts and that you’ve got penaut residue all over your seat. Then, ask for a re-accomodation. Within two seconds you might have a new seat and an apology. (Credit to Justin Ross Lee for this little trick.)

10. Check for breakages

It may not be typical, but if everything else has failed and you’ve got to get out of that uncomfortable economy seat, check for all the possible breakages that can take place. Perhaps the seat, seat belt or the entertainment system is broken. Also, check if your seat can fully recline. If not, log a complaint.

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On packed flights, there might be no where else to put you than in the front cabin.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

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10 Cheap And Amazing Honeymoon Ideas

A honeymoon is important.  The wedding is over.  The months, or even years, of stress and planning are finally over.  It’s time for the two of you to relax, settle in, and start enjoying your time together as you embark on your first journey as a family.

To make the most of this time for the least amount of money, it’s important to focus on what you want out of a honeymoon.  This isn’t your typical list of touristy honeymoon locations everyone goes to.  Rather, it’s a list of cheap honeymoon experiences a couple can enjoy together, regardless of where it’s at.

1. Camping

A week long camping trip is a fantastic way to see how you mesh together as a couple.  You’re put in a low impact “survival” situation where it’s just the 2 of you and nature.  You have a chance to see how your new spouse handles themselves when left with the basics of life.  There are amazing national parks all over the United States where you can camp for a week for $20-30, disconnect from technology, and enjoy some of the natural wonders our nation has to offer.

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2. Staycation

You don’t have to go anywhere for a honeymoon.  In fact, the tradition of taking a honeymoon vacation is a relatively new one.  Prior to the 19th century, a honeymoon involved staying home together for a month to get to know each other physically.  Think of how blissful it could be to take a full month off work, disconnect from the outside world, and focus entirely on projects together.  You may not be wowing your friends and family with pictures of some exotic location, but they’ll be envious of your escape from the rat race nonetheless.

3. Island Getaway

People tend to overspend on their honeymoon vacations to Hawaii, Tahiti, etc.  Going to these places doesn’t have to be expensive.  You don’t need to stay in a 5 star resort when you’re on a Best Western budget.  You’re there to be in the atmosphere of the island, not a hotel room. Book a cheap flight and sleep in a hotel alternative, on the beach or in your car.  It’s the view in paradise that really matters.

4. Fancy Resort

Book an expensive resort, spa, or retreat in the city you live in.  While this may seem counterintuitive as a cheap destination, when you consider your savings on airfare and other travel costs, you can afford to be treated like royalty within your own city limits.  If you book a honeymoon package, you’ll end up with a lot of free amenities and extra attention.  There’s no need to fly halfway across the world to live the good life.

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5. Road Trip

The journey is often more fulfilling than the actual destination.  If you fly out to some exotic locale, you’ll be stuck on a plane for 8-30 hours.  Rent a luxury car, pick a handful of places you each have always wanted to visit, and go on an adventure.  You can keep food costs down by packing your own snacks, but it’s always a good idea to sample the local delicacies wherever you go, even if it’s only a few states over.

6. Charter a Boat

If the ocean is your thing, a week-long cruise can cost you $1500-$3000 per person, depending on the destination.  You also have to factor in travel costs to and from the cruise, alcohol, souvenirs, and on-shore excursions.  You’ll also be surrounded by people.  For the same price (and often much cheaper), you can charter your own boat and enjoy the experience in private.

7. Las Vegas/Atlantic City

If gambling is your thing, these are the places to do it.  Which one you choose depends on your preference, budget, and proximity.  The way to make this vacation cheaper is to gamble smart.  Stay away from low odd tables (i.e craps, roulette) and read up on the MIT blackjack strategies to beat the house.  If you do it right, you can win enough for a free trip (and gain a valuable team skill in the process).

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8. Themed Retreats

There are weeklong retreats all over the world where you can fully immerse yourselves as a couple into a hobby you’re both passionate about.  Go on a yoga/meditation retreat, a ranch, a vineyard/farm, a backpacking adventure, treasure hunt, or whatever you’re into.

9. Working Honeymoon

Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be a vacation.  For a truly memorable experience, dedicate a week to a charity or volunteer organization.  You can drive out to a campground to help restore it in the offseason.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to volunteer to help out your local animal shelter, plant trees, help the homeless, etc.  Use the time to do something together as a couple that will fulfill you spiritually while contributing to the community.  Just because you’re on a honeymoon doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

10. Festivals, Fairs & Special Events

Every city, state, and country has festivals, fairs, and special events.  Find one you’re interested in.  If you time your wedding right, your honeymoon can be a trip to one of these festivals.  Burning Man, SXSW, Bonnaroo, the Renaissance Fair, regional harvest festivals, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve in Times Square, a movie premiere, or whatever you’re into.  If you plan your honeymoon at the right time in the right place, the possibilities are endless.

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Featured photo credit: Josue Michel via unsplash.com

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