We’re not saying what you’ve heard isn’t true. Actually… yeah we are.

Upgrades really do happen, and when they do, they’re better than anyone ever imagines. Sometimes its the double beep at the gate to let the agent know your seat has changed, or it’s an email the night before letting you know that all has worked out, but however it happens it’s the best. If you want to be one of those people so happy on the plane, they actually smile in their photos, there are a few flight upgrade tips that actually work, and you should be using them.

Be Smart

Want people to think you’re filthy rich when you travel, without needing to actually innovate or disrupt an industry? Enter: flight deals. Every once in a while, crazy opportunities come along where you can book business class for less than you’d pay for economy. Don’t believe us? In the last two months, you could’ve flown business class from Los Angeles to Asia for $560 round trip; or Qatar Airways business class from Europe to Maldives or Malaysia for Β£700 round trip. That’s just recently! Here’s how to never miss a flight deal, and get in on the action for yourself.

Be First

All those people collecting points are not part of some fringe movement of travel lunatics. Other than paying for it, points are the only sure fire way of getting an upgrade, and booking it long enough in advance that you can get excited for your trip for months. Here’s a list of airlines that let you upgrade international plane tickets, and how many points you’ll need. It’s super important to remember that earning points doesn’t require travel. You can earn points from your daily latte spend, amongst many other things. When it comes to using them…

  1. Look for flights with upgrades using points available before you book.
  2. If no flights are available for upgrade, set alerts to see if they become available.
  3. Lock in said upgrades using points, saving tons of cash and feeling wonderful.

Be Chill

You know, like a cucumber. People get worked up and crazy at the airport and start making all sorts of demands. If rather than make demands, you simply ask to be added to the volunteer list at check in, you’ll put yourself in prime position for a bump which can result in $1000’s in flight vouchers, an upgrade – or both. One traveler got more than $10,000 in vouchers for a single bump, and still made it the same day. This happens when a flight is oversold and someone needs a seat. For best practices: fly solo (or book solo), don’t check a bag and be polite. It’s often first come first serve, so whoever gets #1 on the bump list often gets the bump. They’ll put you on the next flight, with either money, upgrade or both in hand.

Be Competitive

Many airlines allow upgrade auctions, and sometimes they can actually offer some bargain gems which will get you business class for less. Systems like PlusGrade allow you to enter your booking details and bid for an upgrade using cash. It’s important to remember what’s “worth it” and more importantly, what’s not – but sometimes if you get a fantastic economy deal, it can make perfect sense to spend a bit and win an upgrade auction to business class. Flat beds are really nice, after all. Before you book, check if your airline offers upgrade auctions, and take it from there…

Be Elite

Elite airline status isn’t quite as hard to attain as you’ve been made to believe. There are even ways to secure it with as few as three flights. Three! You care about airline elite travel status not because you enjoy the self aggrandizing feeling of walking to the priority boarding lane, but because if there are any free upgrades to give out when check in or boarding starts, it’s usually going to one of these people. In fact, airlines in the U.S. like American, Delta and United give complimentary upgrades on domestic flights to elite flyers, so it happens on almost every flight to someone. Here are a few shortcuts to elite status…

Be Realistic

Other than the above, your best bet is knowing the pilot, crew or airline staff. Did you know more than 60% of travelers enquire about upgrades at check in? With that in mind, your upgrade pitch is likely far from original. Though some travelers have actually managed to receive upgrades for for ludicrous reasons, you’ll do best to avoid headlines like “two words” to get upgraded, and your comfy jeans will not be the reason you don’t. Rather than fight the grain and look for the easy way to upgrade, immersing yourself in these tips will actually get you there…

Have you ever been upgraded?