The Suite Life: How to Score Travel Upgrades - Travel Addicts

Top Menu

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Pinterest Instagram RSS

The Suite Life: How to Score Travel Upgrades

Travel upgrades can have you have you living the suite life at hotels and on flights.

Travel isn’t what it used to be. Flights are overbooked and frequently delayed. Many hotel amenities and comforts have been eliminated. And that’s not to say anything about long days of business meetings and being away from your family. For frequent business travelers, the one thing that will put the smile on your face is scoring an airline or hotel upgrade.

Getting an airline or hotel update is not like the lottery. It’s not random. There are things you can do to increase your chances of scoring the elusive perk or travel upgrade. Here are our top picks:


The key to scoring an upgrade is to demonstrate loyalty to your preferred airline and hotel companies. They aren’t going to upgrade just anyone. Upgrades are a thank you for your past business, but also an enticement to give them future business. The more you consolidate, the higher your status, and the better your chances for an upgrade. However, if you’re trying to play a points game, you may want to spread your business around. Consolidate, but don’t consolidate too much.

Many hotels and airlines have private lounges for preferred customers

Many hotels and airlines have private lounges for preferred customers


The time of day is a significant factor in upgrades. It’s easier to get flight upgrades on early morning flights. Frequent business travelers either love or loathe the early flight, but one thing is for certain, there are fewer travelers with status, which increases your odds of landing in the prime seats. Conversely, you don’t want to be early if you’re trying to score a hotel upgrade. Hotels need to try and save the choice rooms in case a paying customer makes a last minute booking. If you’re looking to upgrade your hotel room, the later you check in, the better your chances.

Know How the Upgrade Game Works

Every airline and hotel company has rules for upgrades. And rules are made to be broken – or at least bent. However, playing the game can help you. For airlines, the earlier you check in for your flight, the higher your relative placement on the upgrade list compared to other travelers of the same status.

Upgrading to a multi-room suite through a hotel upgrade can make you feel like royalty.

Upgrading to a multi-room suite

Pay for It

Obviously, the easiest way to score an airline or hotel upgrade is to pay for it. Yes, you can just buy an upgrade outright, but that’s not really an upgrade, is it? However, the amount you pay has a huge impact on whether you get an upgrade. Buying discount flights is unlikely to get you bumped up to first class. Booking the cheapest room class probably won’t get you a hotel upgrade (at least book a premium room if you want to be upgraded to a suite). Buying your airline ticket or hotel directly from the company’s website (instead of through a third-party like, Travelocity, Priceline, or will also increase your chances.

For Everything, There is a Season

You can generally forget an upgrade during peak season. Upgrades are subject to the laws of supply and demand. There’s a limited supply and it is tough to get upgraded during peak times of the year. You’ll have more chances during shoulder season or off-peak times. For rooms, you’ll have a better chance at an upgrade if you stay at a business hotel on the weekends.

Nothing beats concierge service from a hotel upgrade.

Nothing beats concierge service

Be Friendly

Airline and hotel workers deal with a lot of jerks. Being nice can increase your changes of a travel upgrade. And while you’re being nice, just ask for the upgrade. The worst they can say is no.

What are your tips for scoring an upgrade? How do you move up to first class and the suite life?

Note: Some links may be affiliate links, which means Travel Addicts may earn a few pennies if you buy something – all at no additional cost to you.

Need Another Hit? Related Posts

Subscribe to our email newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Get exclusive content
  • Receive personal updates
  • Sneak peeks of future trips

What do you think about The Suite Life: How to Score Travel Upgrades?

  1. Stacey August 24, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

    Being on the 5:30 am flight helped me get my first ever upgrade to first class with United Airlines about a week ago. It also helps that I am a frequent flier with status but I think it was more that there just weren’t that many people that paid for those seats, especially as I could see that 16 of the 20 of us were upgraded!

    Haven’t really had the same happen with hotels yet but I’m not loyal to a brand either so that’s a strike against me. Oh well. No worries. It’s nice if it happens so I’ll enjoy them as they come.

  2. Dannielle August 29, 2016 at 6:53 am #

    I thought that upgrades for non-business/first class travellers was non-existent. Maybe on my next trip I’ll try checking in as early as possible. You’re right – travelling is not fun anymore. You need a strategic plan to travel these days.

    • Lance Longwell August 29, 2016 at 11:04 am #

      It’s always subject to the law of supply and demand. However, upgrades are fairly discretionary. Depending on the company, some employees have a great deal of latitude in rewarding upgrades. So, it doesn’t hurt to the play the game.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.