Travel News

Five ways to score an upgrade next time you travel

The smart way to do luxury.

By Anna McCooe
Brought to you by Mastercard®.
There's a reason why last week's brides and grooms are wielding all their 'just married' ephemeral at the check-in counter. They are hoping that a starry-eyed travel-industry romantic will bump them up to the next class. Sadly, romance is unlikely to secure an upgrade. Charm, a fifty-dollar handshake and legally changing your first name to Doctor probably won't work either. But there is still hope.
From airline seats to car rentals and hotel rooms, a holiday can be far more thrilling when you get more than what you paid for. Beyond good manners and dressing well, which at least won't take you out of contention, the true secret to hacking your holiday is to get strategic. Let's break it down.

Frequent flyers

Airline upgrades are a hot commodity, especially now that premium tickets are in high demand. These days, airlines might have a cash bidding system for upgrades, a points system, and an upgrade waitlist. Frequent Flyer status is usually the most important factor for deciding who gets the perk. So choose an airline or airline group (Qantas, for instance, is part of the Oneworld Alliance while Virgin Australia has partnered with airlines such as Delta Air, Singapore Airlines and Etihad Airways) and go for Gold. Or better yet, Platinum.

Hotel hacks

Racking up points for hotel stays to use on even more nights is always a fabulous concept. If the thought of locking in all your future escapes to the one brand bores you, there are some spicier options. GHA DISCOVERY, for instance, is a hotel loyalty program with over 40+ brands spanning 800+ hotels. Membership entitles you to deals, perks and, yes, upgrades at a vast variety of stays. Sign up for a GHA DISCOVERY membership with Mastercard® to get fast-tracked to Elite status. Exclusively for Mastercard® World and World Elite™, Platinum and Titanium cards issued in selected Asia Pacific markets.

Invest in your chances

The cheapest saver fare or bargain hotel room are likely to put you at the bottom of the pile in consideration for a bump. Get yourself in a better position by paying for a mid-tier ticket or room from the start. This is a case of a little extra that can go a long way. Luxury awaits.

Ask nicely

Many airlines will offer discounted last-minute upgrades for unsold tickets at the pointy end of the plane. If you are one of the last to check in, politely enquire if there are any upgrade fares to purchase. This could have you 'turning left' on a 'turning right' budget. If that makes you feel awkward, a simple online check before flying can help you determine if there are unsold seats on offer. For car rentals, the same theory applies (and a polite manner is even more appreciated). It can be beneficial to ask if a bigger, fancier ride is available. At very least, you will have a nice interaction.

DIY Luxe

If all else fails, an indulgent sheet mask, a champagne on arrival and a booking at the spa will uplift a trip into lavish territory. Or add a once-in-a-lifetime experience to the itinerary, which can wash a whole holiday with an opulent glow. For inspiration and deals head to
  • undefined: Anna McCooe