Free Flight Upgrades Are Hard To Get

You were able to qualify pretty easily for that elite frequent flier status on your favorite airline.  Well guess what, so were all the other business travelers.

All those airline promotions to earn miles via credit cards, etc. made it easy to qualify.  Maybe too easy.  Why?  Because now free flight upgrades are so hard to get.

There’s more elite status frequent fliers this year (maybe even double last years number).  There’s also fewer flights due to airline capacity cut-downs.  Plus, a lot of those regional type jets the airlines are using don’t even have first-class.  The combination of these items make it harder to get one of the few free flight upgrades available.

That stinks, especially for frequent fliers who earned their status the “old-fashioned” way and actually flew the miles rather than signed-up for the right promotion.

Making sure you get one of those first class seat upgrades can be more art than science.  There doesn’t seem to be a clear policy in place at some airlines, or at least not one they’ll share.

If you know you’re one of the top elite travelers, try calling a few days before your flight and  requesting the free upgrade.  That works sometimes.  And being extra nice to the gate attendant never hurts either if you’re battling for a last-minute upgrade.

“I’m going to get a cup of coffee, would you like a cup too?” has worked for me with gate attendants in the past.  Hey, that’s my trick – don’t steal it.

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