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Airline upgrades, when they do happen, tend to be decided by the computer and not the check-in agents. Elite frequent flyers get preference when moving up to a premium cabin. Whether you are super nice, super well dressed or whether you ask for an upgrade will have no impact whatsoever on whether you get upgraded. The “secret tips” that you read across the media are simply not true. Unless you are an elite traveller the chances of getting an unexpected free upgrade are next to none.

But don’t despair. If you are not an elite frequent flyer, you can still travel in First Class on British Airways and here’s how!
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Pick Flights on Planes That Aren’t Full

If you have any level of elite frequent flyer status, the best chance of a free upgrade will come if you fly when there’s the least amount of competition for scarce upgrade seats. Stay away from premium routes with limited capacity and stay away from the other elite frequent flyers. This means that you shouldn’t fly when most business travellers do, eg avoid Monday morning first flight and Thursday and Friday afternoons between 5 and 7:30pm. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are your best bet around the middle of the day and even better, fly during the holidays.

Upgrade With Miles

Jump Ahead of All the Elites By Confirming Your First Class Upgrade With Miles. Several airlines, like United and American, let you upgrade domestically with miles on any paid fare.

American will charge you $75 plus 15,000 miles to upgrade in one direction on a domestic ticket. So the miles from a credit card signup are enough for three one-way upgrades or more.

What If I Am Happy To Pay For My Business Class Flight But Want A Discount?

If you want to book any premium flights or (luxury hotels), drop our Travel Concierge a line for free room upgrades, breakfasts, credit and more. We are almost always cheaper for Premium Economy, Business & First Class flights. Another suggestion is to hang out for sales. I try and cover the most relevant deals on luxury travel diary in our travel news which is worth bookmarking. News channels like Flipboard are yet another great way to keep on top of the best deals.

Now Have My Flight, I Want A Cheap Hotel

We stay at the top hotels in the world, cheaper (I won’t say cheap as they still cost an arm and a leg), by travelling out of season or in the shoulder season. I am currently staying at the fantastic Royal Riviera, bathed in sunshine, for a fraction of the rack rate. In August a room costs around 1000€. In low season prices go as low as 190€!

Book any luxury hotel, ideally not in high season, so that you can take advantage of discounted rates, via our Luxury Travel Concierge and you will also get a free room upgrade, free breakfast and free gift (free massages are the gift at this hotel). We offer similarly great benefits across all luxury hotels including the Four Seasons, Aman, Starwood Luxury Collection and more.

Disclosure: Our property, service and product reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own and are in no way influenced by the sponsor.