Yup, tons of videos online talking about how to get an upgrade to Business class. Well I’m going to share with you a few genius ways to get an upgrade.
First of all, lets dispel a few myths you tend to her on most blogs.
- Don’t turn up to the airport in a suit and asking for an upgrade.
- Don’t tell the check in staff your honeymoon.
They hear and see these lame attempts daily.
The truth is, doesn’t matter what you wear or if’s your birthday or honeymoon.
My best hacks:
Kamikaze Approach. (works on 2 time out of 10 on average) For this you need to find someone at the check in desk who looks “nice”. I generally avoid old women or other guys. This usually works best with someone who would easily be susceptible to some light flattery or flirting.
I tend to usually skip straight to the business queue and when you get to the desk, “dont ask for an upgrade”. The trick is to look like the cocky guy who’s about to try squeeze for an upgrade.
Instead simply ask if there are any opportunties to upgrade your ticket to business using points today or by cash. Now 99% of the tickets don’t allow you to upgrade using points at the counter, at least in Europe anyway. It tends to only be open to people who buy tickets directly with the airline at a ridiculous price. But this doesn’t matter because your’e bluffing anyway.
Note: Even if you don’t have any points, they are unlikely to be able to see your points statement anyway. In the rare case they can, just play dumb and say they are with another airlines and you thought you could transfer them.
The check in staff are likely to say no, or offer you a paid upgrade for some serious ££££££. This is the point where you look like you’re considering it for a second then back out at the last minute. I usually play the old “let me think about it, that’s quite high” line. Best response is , can I maybe come back after I had a thought about it?.
At this stage , he/she is either likely to offer you a better deal or just basically upgrade you anyway. It’s happened to me on a few occasions. If they offer you a deal, you can haggle! I’ve seen flights drop from 1k to upgrade to £200 USD by haggling a bit.
If that doesn’t happen, it’s worth cheekily asking if you can be on the list if they move anyone around or if exist seats become available.Mention you prefer the Exit seats as you sometimes get a bit claustrophobic. Maybe drop in that you will check again later when they say “sorry we don’t have anything at the moment”.
So the last bit left. Just because you’re about to take off, head over to the gate just by where you will board. That same person at the desk will most likely be at the desk again as you board the flight. Always head over to “check if the situation” has changed.
I typically follow this strategy to the letter, it’s worked a lot of times so have faith. You will eventually get more confident and comfortable doing it the more you try.
Miking Points using Credit Cards
A lot of people do this, I’ve even done it myself until I realised it was kind of “pointless” once you discover the hack i’m about to share below. Point miking basically means you take out a CC that offers you bonus points to sign up with your airline. Use the card, get the bonus points then cancel it. Most companies allow you to have up to two at a time. You can’t sign up as a new customer for another 6 months, so that’s why you goto keep re-cycling your cards. After 6 months, sign up to another card and hey presto! In about 1 year you can generally make enough for 1 decent upgrade. Bit of headache to setup but it’s actually quite a good way for making money for doing very little. I tend to use these points for short haul flights rather than upgrades. I’ve found using points for upgrades is a rip off, you get far more value using the points for short haul last minute flights.
The Genius Way
I need to write an entire blog post on this method, but for now I’ll share the basics very quickly. So the crux of it are..(I’m using London to Cape Town for this example). If you fly from London to Cape town with someone like BA (national carrier), business flights cost a fortune. I then later discovered that flying from other cities in the Europe, the price plummets. So why is this?
1. Airports people rarely fly to have low airport tax so it’s cheaper to fly from there.
2. People tend to prefer flying directly from their origin. In this example, if you fly with BA, it means you goto come back to London on each part of the leg. EG: Outbound: Amsterdam-London-Capetown- Inbound: Capetown- London-Amsterdam. Most national airlines do this, they always stop off at their base on the way back in or out.
So, in order to attract these people, the airlines offer huge discounts on some routes. It’s worth getting out google flights and playing around with random cities and dates, specifically looking for business flights only. Once you have found your golden nugget, get over to Momondo and do the search for the same flight again and you will often find it even cheaper.
If you have tons of time, play around with multi trip, try fly out of one airport and back to another random airport.
This is a bit naughty but it works. If you decide to not get the first leg of your flight, your entire ticket auto cancels. E.g you figured you wouldn’t fly to eg: Geneva and would catch the London part, that wont work. It does however work on the way back. That means you can simply jump off when you get to London and not bother getting the next flight.
*note you do have to tell the check in staff before you check in on the way back, you want to get your luggage off before the next flight (say you goto get stuff out of your bag). I typically fly hand luggage only so this isn’t an issue, business allows you two bags in the hold ;-).
I’ve been doing this years,. It not only gets your airline status high, it saves you a fortune and the points you make by flying business class, pays for tons of free flights throughout the year!