Best travels: with free or discounted upgrades. Who doesn’t like to receive some extra treatment or care when traveling? Better room in the hotel, an upgraded flight ticket, another class of rented car or maybe simply a free breakfast or WiFi. Options can be many, and most of them would bring a lot of smiles on the face.
What to do to receive a complimentary upgrade or purchase it at discounted price? Is it all luck related or maybe there are some tools, websites that could be used in advance? What are some of the tips that could help you in your future travels and adventures? Yes, we will all travel again. Stay positive, best travels are still ahead of us!
MY BEST TRAVELS: free or discounted upgrades
For sure free or discounted upgrades do not define if the travel is best or not. However, many of our best travels did involve some of these “lucky situations”! Serendipity? Maybe! For sure, there is some big connection between us and upgrades. Some of our friends even joke asking why it happens only to us. Hmm. Luck? Or maybe sometimes misfortune that results in great customer focus and improving the situation.
If I look back at our travels till date, recently I think that on average every second travel we encounter some situations that result in upgrades.
Some recent countries and some companies:
- Sri Lanka
Do we consider upgrades when planning for travels? No, as we usually plan very little. Do we think or discuss them in advance? Of course not, no one knows when they happen and if they happen at all! We travel spontaneously and live by day by day, moment by moment when on the way. The only element I like to consider in advance is the last element from the suggestions below. It is part of me: little surprises for my beloved ones. Rest happens if it happens. And things happen for a reason… to make us smile!
LUCK, LUCK, LUCK
Number one: be lucky, that moment, that travel! Let the chance make its magic and if needed – help it a bit. Upgrades are situational, if they don’t happen – it is fine, you are enjoying your travel anyway. If, for a change, your trip gets enhanced: just enjoy that moment. Don’t assume that it should happen or needs to happen next time too.
We were lucky many times. Best “lucky upgrade”? Maldives! You can read the full story here! In short, we were upgraded to presidential suite for half of our stay. 270 m2 villa with an infinity pool, a private lagoon and beach! Check the recent post about it and read more what have happened!
Being a frequent traveler can help a lot to obtain some free or discounted upgrades. If you are using selected airlines more often, enroll for the frequent traveler program. It might be really worth it! What are some of the potential benefits? Free or discounted flight class upgrades, free access to the lounges, extra baggage allowance and more!
My two best cases: free upgrade to business class with Emirates (frequent flyer program) during my second flight with this airline (yes, you don’t need to fly super often) and great offer of an upgrade to Premium class with SAS airline, using flights point system, during my travel to Hong Kong.
Similarly to frequent flyers option, I encourage all to join selected hotels membership, especially if you like this specific chain and consider visiting this or another hotel soon! Apart from room upgrades or discounted offer, membership might give you an access to the club rooms of the hotel (with complimentary club lounge), free breakfast or buffet lunch / dinner, unlimited WiFi access and many more!
Whenever I travel I select memberships, especially at the known hotel chains. In many occasions it helped me with free internet connection or breakfast, if not already part of the package. During my stay in NYC, I got two extra vouchers: room with the view on Manhattan plus free WiFi. Worth it!
It is a common knowledge that business travelers might be granted free upgrades more often. If you are traveling for business purposes, double check on any options to receive an extra treatment. Additionally, many companies allow to book private travels using corporate rates. That’s a helpful tip. So you could travel on your personal trip, but booking e.g. flight / hotel by your corporate vendor, of course – using your personal funds. And this already increases your upgrade chances a lot!
My favorite one was a business offering in Tel Aviv in Israel by Crowne Plaza hotel. As part of the business booking there were few vouchers given, including a free day trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. That’s about 100$ trip! Super worth it! And great approach!
How often does it happen to you not to be fully satisfied with the service? Or let’s take it one step further: to have something not working during your travel or stay as it should? Surely, there is a tendency to accept things as they are, just not to disturb. And I do not mean to complain on every small thing. It is only about things that impact your stay, well-being or even sometimes your health. Rise it. Let appropriate person know that there is an issue, I am sure that the person will not only fix it but make sure that your smile is back. And I do not know why but this item keeps on following us during our travels, so many stories! What is important: do not fight, do not request something for free. If my meal is served cold, I just ask for meal to be served warm. If someone will decide to offer you a coffee to bring your smile back – that’s great!
Maybe this is related to the number of travels we do or maybe to being, this time, “unlucky”. During my travel to Oslo in Norway the central heating didn’t work in the family room. And that was middle of the winter. Other rooms were sold out, so we got upgraded to the only suite in the hotel, amazing one. While traveling to Chennai last year a huge 3 meters long painting felt off the wall and hurt My Better Half in his hand. Taj Hotel staff not only checked all the paintings in the entire resort but also upgraded us to a villa. During our stay in Taj Hotel in Sri Lanka by mistake we were served non veg curry while My Better Half is vegetarian and we did not plan to have any non veg that evening… Somehow I feel that our “travel issues” list is unlimited. And so is amazing customer service that always brought us smiles back! That’s what matters!
ASK, SIMPLY ASK
How often do you ask for any available upgrades or offers when traveling? And I do not mean to ask for it in every single spot when you travel. Just consider and remember that you can also simply ask! My Better Half loves to check on more spacious rooms availability in the hotels, it is a standard question during hotel’s check in process for us. Also, some businesses might be offering you fully paid or partially paid (still lower than the market rate) offers: don’t feel bad to refuse them if not competitive according to you.
Once I had to rent a car for a domestic business travel. Car rental representative asked me if I would like to upgrade my offer to another car in paid option. I disagreed as it was business budget. After 1 minute the same representative approached me saying “Since you disagreed I need to give you an upgrade for free, in fact we do not have the car in the class you selected. You will be given a car +2 classes higher.” Surely, it made my day!
SHARE YOUR HAPPY MOMENTS
Surely, small things often means big smiles. Do you mention, when traveling, your important dates? When booking hotel or flight you can always indicate that it is your or your beloved one’s special occasion: birthday, anniversary, marriage etc. Maybe it will not result with a direct room upgrade but I am nearly sure that you will find some nice surprise waiting for you: a bottle of wine, cake or flowers. And most of all, it can be a beautiful surprise and moment!
As we travel very often, our special dates overlap with our journeys. To surprise my family, I like to mention during booking our special occasions. If not option to mention it in the online form, you can always drop a quick email. It really works! We got room upgrades, room decorations, champagne and wine bottles, cakes, flowers… all small things but give so much happiness when done with heart. Give it a try!
There are many websites and tools that can help you, in advance, to obtain some nice discounts and great offers while traveling! You can prepare yourself and opt for any selection. Additionally if any lucky situation happens, your travel might be even more unforgettable!
‘The first mobile app offering live bidding for seat upgrades at the airport. With the SeatBoost app, you can bid on a seat upgrade starting 24 hours before your flight. Choose what type of upgrade you are interested in, and be the top bidder in the auction to secure your upgrade. Sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy the finer things in air travel.’
Want to travel First Class? Simply bid to upgrade your seat, and get exclusive access to the best seats sent straight to your mobile. We’re here to make travel experiences smoother, more comfortable, more memorable. Starting with rail travel. We already make it near-effortless for passengers to upgrade to 80 million First Class seats every year. Across Europe, there are another 400 million to be filled. The SeatFrog app will give every rail passenger the opportunity to upgrade their seat, gain access to lounges and pick up other extras, all on the go, from their mobile phone. With SeatFrog, no-one need settle for ordinary.
‘LateRooms.com was born in Salford, Greater Manchester in 1999, starting life as an ‘on the day for the day’ booking site for unsold hotel rooms. These days on LateRooms.com you can still book late deals on the day of your stay, of course – but also up to a whole year in advance. Helping you plan all those upcoming events, activities and special occasions for which you need a hotel.’
‘Amazing hotel deals for tonight, tomorrow and beyond! Hotels give us discounts on their empty rooms. You get the best rates and deals, whether last minute or in advance. HotelTonight makes it incredibly easy to find and reserve a sweet deal at a great hotel. Three taps, one swipe, you’re booked!’
What are your suggestions to receive a free or discounted upgrade? What was your best experience till date? And finally… can’t you wait to travel again to test some of these?
Moments that matter, no matter the upgrade.