Upgrading To First Class With Credit Card Miles | CreditShout

Upgrading To First Class With Credit Card Miles


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Flying is a drag these days. You practically have to disrobe as you trudge through security. You never know where your bags are going to end up. Your wallet is abused as you pay exorbitant bag-check fees. And airports today are increasingly noisy, crowded places. Then, when you need to eat, your choices are limited to fast-food pizza and overpriced hot dogs.

But you can make the flying experience less dreadful — and isn’t that all we can expect these days from airlines? — by upgrading your ticket from coach to first class.

We all dream of flying first-class, don’t we? The warm towels for our hands. The soft pillows. The wine and steak. It’s luxury high above the clouds.

But for most of us, paying for first-class tickets is simply too costly of a luxury.

Unless, that is, is you do it with your airline credit card miles.

A Cheaper Bump: The truth is, most airline credit cards allow you to use the free miles you’ve racked up to not only buy tickets, but to upgrade those tickets to first-class status. You’ll have to read the fine print to see how this works, but often if you cash in 20,000 miles for a round-trip couch ticket, you can redeem, say, 10,000 more miles to move that ticket to first-class status.

Of course, you’ll have to determine for yourself if this is worth it. Look at the length of the flight: If you’re hopping from Chicago to St. Louis, you won’t be in the air long enough to make an upgrade worthwhile. If you’re flying from one end of the country to the other, though, a bump to first-class might be just the thing to turn a miserable experience into one in which you are pampered and catered to for 12 hours.

An Easier Upgrade: Upgrading to first-class is often easier when you’re an elite passenger. This means that you own a silver, gold or platinum credit card and you log 25,000 flight miles or more every year.

Airlines will recognize you as a valued customer, and will be more likely to accommodate your upgrade request.

Upgrading Without Spending Miles? And if you’re really lucky, you might be able to upgrade to first class without spending any additional miles at all.

You’ll need the perfect situation for this to happen. Maybe you’ve just been bumped from a flight that the airline overbooked. You’ll know have to travel hours later. The airline, not wanting to alienate a good customer, might offer to upgrade you for free to first class.

Other times you might arrive at the airport only to find that your carrier hasn’t sold all its first-class seats on your flight. Instead of spending 10,000 or more airline miles to upgrade to first class, you might offer to pay a small fee, such as $50, to upgrade from coach to first class. The airline, after all, would probably rather make some money off those first-class seats than none.

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