travel upgrade

At Value Parking, we know many of you travel on a budget, and we know traveling on a budget can mean relatively mediocre flight seats, hotels, and rental cars. However, once in awhile, budget travelers can get lucky and score a free upgrade. Here are some ways that can help you do so:

On Your Flight…

Dress Nicely

On occasion, airlines will choose passengers to be upgraded to first or business class, and many times, they’ll choose someone who looks to be a business person. So next time you fly, dress nicely (aka, business casual) to give you an upper hand.


You never know until you ask, right? If you arrive on time, politely ask the attendant at the gate if there are any open first class seats and if so, if they would consider upgrading you for free. You’d be surprised at how often this works.

Volunteer Your Seat

If your flights ends up being overbooked, attendants will usually ask for volunteers to give up their seats and take a later flight. Many times, these volunteers are upgraded to first class free of charge.

On Your Hotel…

Be a Rewards Member

If you often stay in the same brand of hotel, become a rewards member. Your loyalty will give you a better chance of scoring a complimentary room upgrade.

Ask When It’s Slow

If you’re traveling during the off-season or at a time when hotel bookings are rather low, you’ll have a good chance of upgrading your room. Simply ask (politely) if the hotel is booked and if it’s not, see if they’re willing to comp you an upgrade.

Check in Late

Checking into your room later in the day can give you an advantage, since by that time, the hotel should know their accommodation situations. If you show up later and there are still upgrades available, they may be willing to give you one.

On Your Rental Car…

Book Cheap

When booking a rental car, opt for the cheapest option. These are the ones that tend to sell out first, and if there are no low-cost options left when you arrive, you’ll be upgraded for free.

Check for Promotions

Don’t forget to check for upgrade promotions through the rental website and through third-party websites. You may also find a special offer if you’re a member of AARP or AAA.

Be a Rewards Member

Just like being a rewards member shows your loyalty to a hotel brand, being a rewards member can also show your loyalty to a car rental brand, and you’ll be more likely to score an upgrade.