5 Tips To Get Your Seat Upgraded The Next Time You Fly

How to cope with jet lag

There is nothing better than a cheeky little upgrade, so I’ve put together five tips to help you get your seat upgraded the next time you fly.

There is no doubt about it, if you are travelling long distances then flying is the best and most convenient way to do it, especially travelling around Australia.

But what can make the experience even better is when you get upgraded to those precious Premium Economy, or better yet, Business Class seats.

Now I’ve spent the last several years flying all over Australia and occasionally internationally with work. So I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that will definitely improve your chances at getting your seat upgraded the next time you fly.

No doubt you will find these tips helpful.

Travel By Yourself

The first tip I have for you is that it’s much easier to get upgraded when you are travelling by yourself.

Simple fact of the matter is, that is much easier for airline staff to shuffle one person around, particularly if they are looking to accommodate a family or a group than it is to move a group or even a couple.

If you want to take a chance at getting one of those ever-elusive free upgrades, be it those precious exit row premium economy seats or better yet business class, then travelling by yourself is your best bet.

Travelling by yourself also allows you to be a little more flexible. Should an airline the need to bump someone on to an earlier or later flight, that person is often upgraded to make up for the inconvenience.

This is especially true when travelling at peak times when flights can be, and often are, overbooked.

Ask Nicely

Do you know what I don’t do? I never check-in online or via my phone the day before my flight. Not ever!

I will always check-in at the airport when I arrive, firstly because I’ve almost always got checked baggage, but it will also give me an opportunity to talk to the check-in staff and see if there is a chance to get either an earlier flight, or better yet an upgraded seat.

Why would an airline do this? Flights during peak times are often overbooked. There also might be weather coming in to either your departure or destination airport that might cause delays later in the day.

Airlines are always looking to maximise revenue so if they can resell the same seat they may consider upgrading you to a seat that might have otherwise gone empty.

Sure if you want the assurance that you’ll definitely have the extra legroom, by all means, pay the extra to guarantee it. But there is always a possibility you could be upgraded. And let’s face it, there is no harm in asking.

Join The Frequent Flyer Program

When it comes to upgrading passengers, airlines will usually (almost always) favour passengers who have shown regular travel and brand loyalty.

It might be the case that you don’t fly all that often, or even enough to earn a lot of frequent flyer points. That said, there are numerous ways to accumulate frequent flyer points these days (credit cards, shopping loyalty programs).

However, if it comes down to moving a passenger to one of the more premium seats, it’s much more likely to fall in your favour if you are already part of the airlines’ frequent flyer program.

Obviously someone who has flown a lot and on one of the higher tiers of the brands frequent flyer program will be rewarded first. But there is always a possibly those customers won’t be on your particular flight, particularly to more touristy destinations.

Social Media

The fact of the matter is that airlines are very active on social media. As all good travel-related businesses should be.

And while nothing is guaranteed, I have noticed that occasionally following a positive social media post that I’ve put out into the world about any given airline, that I have ended up being offered a complimentary upgrade.

To be fair I don’t throw around social media post to get upgrades specifically, who knows maybe I should, but on those occasions that something noteworthy has happened and I’ve made mention of it. I have noticed that the positivity has been reciprocated.

Is it guaranteed? Absolutely not. But just something to keep in mind, particularly if you fly fairly frequently. And what’s the harm in spreading a little more positivity in the world.

Use Frequent Flyer Points

As I made mention of before, there are numerous ways to accumulate frequent flyer points that don’t necessarily involve flying. Particularly with credit cards and other reward programs.

Now you could use those frequent flyer points to book a flight, but where they’ll give you the most value out of them is by using those points to upgrade (even bid to upgrade) to business class.

Let’s say, as an example, instead of using 10,000 points to fly from Sydney to Melbourne (that’s a completely made-up figure by the way). You would be actually much better off using those 10,000 points to upgrade a to business class on a flight from Sydney to Perth instead.

This is something that I do quite a lot, and I’ve done the math on it a few times. Regardless of which airline you choose it always works out to be much better value to use the point to upgrade a seat that you’ve already paid for, than using the points to book a seat in the first place.


I hope you can take full advantage of these five tips to help you get your seat upgraded the next time you fly.

Where should you sit the next time you fly? I’ve got you covered for both short-haul and long-haul flights as well.

For more travel tips, make sure you check out the rest of my blog posts as well.

Also, make sure you check out the travel tools that I use the most to help you save some money when booking your next trip.

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About the author

Rhys Vandersyde

Traveller, Photographer, Content Creator - I've spent the last 20 years actively seeking out new destinations and new adventures. Find out more about me here: vandersyde.com.au

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