As you enter the plane, you pass by 180 degree flat bed seats where the ladies and gents are already sipping on champagne before you’ve reached your 48G middle seat.
You don’t want to spend your overtime cash on a flight when you could spend it on food and wine at that new exclusive sushi joint that just opened on the beach. There are other ways to get the upgrade, here’s our travel rules to live by.
Picking an Alliance
Alliances are always changing- whether it be adding new airlines, or branching off. There’s three main alliances to choose from. Star Alliance has 28 airlines, followed by Skyteam with 20, and OneWorld with 13. However, for once, bigger isn’t always better. Deciding on the best alliance may take some consideration of the geographic coverage in the areas you fly. If you live in Atlanta, Georgia, the home hub of Skyteam member Delta, then that would probably be your choice. Lets say you were flying to Germany a bunch, flying Star Alliance with Lufthansa would be your choice. On the other hand, if you visit Singapore, Thailand, or Malaysia often, then OneWorld would be more suitable. Moreso, if you go to Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, you would fly China Airlines which is Skyteam.
Fly and Fly Often
Now that you are set up with an account over at one of the alliances, congrats you’ve committed your loyalty. With that said, try to only fly within your alliance. I live in LA, so Delta takes care of all my domestic needs. Especially LA to NY is a great flight where you can get around 5,000 MQM’s on a 5 hour nonstop flight. Delta’s partner airlines, China Airlines especially helps me to get Taiwan, and is my desired airline all throughout the big cities in Asia: Japan, Korea, and Shanghai.
Do The Research
Know how many MQM’s (medallion qualifying miles) and how many MQD’s (medallion qualifying dollars) you need to hit the targets of your alliance and plan trips around it. Jot down your yearly travels and add up how many approximate miles and spend you will do. You can click “book a trip” in the Delta app and it will tell you exactly how many miles and dollars you’ll get for each itinerary.
Get The Card For an Extra Boost
Start off with getting your primary airline’s credit card to get to extra MQM’s. A neat feature of the Delta card in particular is that once you get the card and if you spend $25,000 you get the MQD amount waived. Once you reach $25,000 you are automatically hit the MQD amount for that year. You also get perks such as free checked bag, boarding zone 1. Once you get the bonus miles and statement credit, I’d cancel the card, and apply for the next in line, platinum card for the new bonus perks. You’ll soon see your miles and MQD’s add up fast.
Fly At Odd Hours
As a silver medallion member, the chances of getting an upgrade is more likely when flying during the weekday in the early mornings.Tuesday and Wednesdays from 6:00-9:00 AM are high chances of being on board without as many diamond, platinum, and gold medallion members. At the end of the day, those are the people who are stealing your upgrades.
Fly on a Holiday
The best chances for an upgrade domestically is to fly on a one day Holiday like, 4th of July, Easter, Halloween. People are likely not to use their one day off traveling, so the airlines and airports will have substantially less traffic. I flew on 4th of July from New York JFK to Los Angeles LAX at 3:30 PM and scored an upgrade to Delta One, as a silver medallion member! Delta One was half full, so it pays to stay loyal, don’t fly during peak times, and always use your primary airlines credit card.
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