So you’re on the hunt for reward seats but can’t find them… Here are 3 things you can do if you can’t find your ideal reward seats.
Consider booking a lower cabin
If you’re looking for seats in Business Class, but cannot find availability then consider booking Premium Economy instead. Sure, it’s not what you want, but if you are booking far enough in advance, there is a chance of reward seats opening up.
The benefit of most reward tickets is that they’re flexible. You have a lot more options for changing, upgrading or cancelling a reward ticket than you do with a cash ticket. Use that to your advantage!
This strategy also works well when combined with the next tip.
Book an upgradable cash ticket
If you have read this blog before, you’ll know that I love this strategy. It’s efficient, easy and gives you the best of both worlds.
If you want a ticket in Business Class but there is no availability, book the cheapest upgradeable Premium Economy fare. It is very important to check with the airline that the fare you’re buying is upgradeable. If it isn’t, you’ve got problems.
Keep checking in advance of your trip and as soon as you see a reward seat, call the airline and do the upgrade. This is usually done by just paying the difference in taxes & fees plus the points needed for the upgrade.
The benefit of this strategy is that you still get the underlying fare points. So you can offset the cost of the upgrade against the original ticket. If you were to add a points booster (specific to Virgin Atlantic), you may even wipe out the cost of the upgrade entirely.
This strategy is what I used on my recent trip to Austin, TX. Read about that here.
Ask at the airport
I often say that when it comes to upgrades, it’s not game over until you’re sat in your seat. Well, that’s only partly true. Really it’s game over when your boarding pass is scanned at the gate. If it makes the magic beep noise (the beep that basically says – denied), then you’re in luck. If you board normally, then it’s game over.
I have zero shame when asking for upgrades. I’ll ask the check-in staff, lounge staff and gate staff. If you don’t ask, someone else will.
This became such a regular thing for me that when the lounge staff at LAX saw me approaching, they’re pick up the phone and asked the revenue team what seats were available. They did that because they knew I was going to ask them to do it anyway.
It’s not over until it’s over. Booking as far in advance as you can increases your chances greatly. Keep checking for those reward seats. When it comes to upgrades, fortune favours those who never stop looking.