If you are a regular traveler, you may wish to fly in first class, but what you if cannot afford the cost? Does it mean that your dream of having seats that are more spacious and a quiet ride are tossed out the airplane window? Not necessarily; if you are a regular flyer, you may have accumulated frequent flyer miles. If you have, there is one trick that you can use on some airlines to sneak into first class. The trick is to buy a seat in coach and then use your frequent flyer miles to upgrade to business class or first class.
As an important note, this process is frowned upon by some airlines. In fact, some have taken steps to prevent flyers from what the airlines call to be abusing the system. Before relying on this method to get you into first class, proceed with caution and review the airline’s rules and restrictions.
To get started, buy a ticket in coach. When doing so, make sure the ticket can be upgraded. You want to specifically ask about upgrades, not transfers. You are not transferring the ticket, as you are still the traveler in question. You just want to upgrade to first class. If upgrades are allowed, pay with your credit card or debit card.
When it comes time to upgrade, you have two options. You can request an upgrade a day or two before the flight leaves or right at the airport. Waiting until the airport does improve your chance of an upgrade. The airline has empty seats. They will not lose money by letting you use your miles to pay for the upgrade. Unfortunately, if the flight is full, an upgrade is impossible. What you can do is monitor the flight beforehand. Pretend you are requesting a first-class seat on the plane. The airline’s online website will tell you, right up until the flight, if first-class seats are still available.
If you intend to ask for an upgrade to first class at the airport by using your airline miles, you want to arrive early. This tip is shared on many online websites and travel forums. You may not be the only person who asks for a discounted upgrade with your frequent flyer miles. For that reason, arrive and ask early. Make sure that if anyone gets the upgrade, it is you.
Due to the poor economy and the financial troubles experienced by many airlines, some are changing their business structure. Now, you are likely to find more filled airplanes and fewer flights. If you are unable to get an upgrade but are on an overbooked flight, the attendants will ask if anyone is willing to give up their seat. Unless you are traveling for an important business meeting or a special event, wheel, and deal. See if you can get a first-class upgrade, without wasting your frequent flyer miles for taking the next available flight.
One question that many travelers ask is “why can’t I just use my frequent flyer miles to purchase a first-class seat?” You can. With that said, you use a lot more miles. In fact, it can be more than double the miles used for a coach seat. Moreover, since you paid for a portion of your ticket in real money, airlines are more willing to work with you. They aren’t giving you a free ride in first class.