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Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by impinoo, Mar 11, 2011.
Hi, what are the best ways to get a free upgrade on flights please? (also rental cars??) Thank you.
Fly enough to earn status.
I hope my answer didn't sound flippant, but I meant it to be the best answer I had. I will elaborate.
Folks without status are not likely to get upgraded with any degree of predictability. If you are top status on an airline, you will go to the top of the upgrade list. The further down you are in status, the further down your chances drop.
Once in a great while you might get upgraded for operational reasons, but I have flown well over 1,500,000 miles and that has only happened to me once. By the Grace of God, it was under circumstances where I really needed the upgrade, but neither the airline for I had any idea that that would be the case at the time I boarded.
Exceptions are, if you have upgrade certificates or want to use miles to upgrade. Even then, it is by far the best to make sure that the upgrades you desire are available at the time of booking. If not, your chances will be dictated again by your status.
I honestly don't know too much about rental cars. We are Hertz people and don't really care about anything except getting the Neverlost, for which we pay. If I have a serious reason for needing a specific car, like lots of people and lots of luggage, I don't take any chances and just book what I need. Otherwise we just don't care.
FWIW, most of my experience with upgrading is on Alaska and United airlines. When we fly on award tickets, we won't book our flights unless we know for sure we can get upgraded at the time of booking.
You can get lucky if you fly a route that is known to not having many high status fliers.
You might also enjoy looking through this thread noted above - while not totally about upgrades, there are some helpful comments there on upgrades.
I agree with everyone who says to pick a ff program and stick with it. In the past, I would fly with whomever was cheapest, I changed that strategy a few years ago and I am enjoying the occasional upgrade now, which is awesome. My preferred airline is UA, started flying UA because of E+. That makes all the difference to me.
In regards to rental cars, I book with National. Having the Emerald Aisle as an option is great. I remember renting a car with a girlfriend and I was wandering around from car to car deciding which one I wanted. She thought I was nuts and was going to get in trouble, lol. I got a nice SUV that I would have had to pay more for if it wasn't on the EA. If you would like, I can send you a link to get EA access for free, it has the coupon code, or you can google it. I believe that National will try to charge you for this. Well, I remember that happening years ago when I signed up.
The advice from Punki and catgirl is sound. Choosing the airline that works best for you is key. It takes time, but worth it in the long run if you travel enough, use the right credit cards affiliated with your loyalty program, etc. You will find a wealth of knowledge here.
Hawaii routes on United. As a 1P and even before as a 2P, upgraded about 85-90% of the time.
You know, I did get upgraded on my very first UA flight LAX/HNL--it was the original PIP flight where we booked the whole top deck of a 747, almost entirely on upgrades as I recall.
I was able to snag four upgrades one for Hunki, one for our son, Peregrine, one for our niece, DownTown, and one for me. Now, get this: I had just switched to UA and didn't have enough miles in my account at the time to cover the upgrades. They looked at my recent history and the flights I had booked out and let me go into the red 30,000 miles so I could upgrade the flights when the seats were still available. This was in 1999. Oh my, how times have chaged.
Sign up for all the credit card bonuses. You can get tons of essentially free miles from them. Upgrade your paid tickets at about 25,000 miles a pop.
If one signed up for just two cards (Citi AAdvantage) at the 75,000 bonus, that would be two 1st class tickets. Many people got more than that even before their spouse signed up.
Never hurts to ask