5 Ways To Score A Flight Upgrade

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Economy haters, take note. This is how you score an upgrade.

Fed up with cattle class? You’re not alone. We’ve partnered with American Express to help lift your flight game and ensure you get to your chosen destination fast.

Before you book your next trip, sign up for an American Express Card online, one with all-important lounge access (naturally). And, if you’re already a Card Member, good news: you can take full advantage of the Membership Rewards program which allows you to pay for flights and hotels in points.

1. Dress well. Don’t expect the staff at the check-in desk to fall over themselves at the sight of you in your Sunday best—before presenting your business class ticket on a pillow woven from a baby Angora goat’s hair—but you’ll limit your chances of an upgrade if you turn up in socks and Adidas slides. Dress shoes are always a smarter sartorial choice for the lounge, too. Heads up before you part with your cash on that shiny new pair of brogues: you can shop and pay with your points at David Jones Online. Good to know.

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2. Turn up early (and don’t reserve your seat ahead of time). Upgrades mostly happen at one of two times: before barely any guests are checked in; and when everyone’s checked in and the flight is almost at capacity. Play it safe and go early, politely suggesting you’d be happy to be moved if the flight is looking full, and cross your fingers that not being the asshole who turned up as the gate is about to close has worked in your favour. If you fail, you’ll have plenty of time to work on your technique over a gin at the bar.

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3. Be loyal to the airline. Fly with them (or one of their affiliate airlines) where possible, and invest in their frequent flyer program. Without being That Guy, don’t be afraid to drop mention of a time they’ve inconvenienced you in the past, or play the pity card if you’ve just had a particularly hellish leg. When in doubt, tales of crying babies work wonders.

4. Check your emails. Often if a flight has been overbooked (it’s more common than you’d think), the airline will send out an email to see if anyone would like to upgrade for a relatively small fee. While not exactly a free ride, it’ll be far cheaper than if you paid for the full fare to begin with like a schmuck.

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5. Use your points. If all else fails, handing over your frequent flyer points can help guarantee the seat you want, without the hustle. Or, simply transfer your Membership Rewards points to a choice of up to 10 airline partners. Make the most of your new plastic whilst overseas too – every point you earn can be put towards your next trip. A good deal if ever we saw one.

 Brought to you by American Express Membership Rewards. Terms and conditions apply.