5 Tips for Travel Upgrades

We love to travel.  When you are traveling with four kids that usually means trying to find the best deals.  This Monday the Travelingmoms are going to be talking all about travel Upgrades and I'll be there as one of the panelists.  

This twitter party is sponsored by Sheraton (I am a member of their Starwood Hotels membership program but I was one way before this party).

The first time I ever flew on an airplane was when I was around 8 years old.  My mom took me to J.C. Penny the week before the flight to get a new outfit that I could wear on the plane.  It was a green and white searsucker pantsuit and I rocked it.  (sorry I don't have a picture of that one for you). People would dress up to get on the flight and it was a very civilized event.

Recently, I got on a flight that had no assigned seats and you just got in line and first come first serve on the seats.

Times have changed.

As most everyone knows, flights do not offer meals anymore.  On many flights you can purchase snack boxes but typically you are lucky to get a cup of some carbonated beverage.  My son is the expert at travel upgrades.  Here are his Top 5 Tips for getting VIP treatment:

1. Dress for Travel

Even though there is no dress code for traveling anymore he always dresses in his business attire when traveling.  (He has always done this since he was very young).  

2. Address people by their names

If someone is wearing a name tag then use their name.  It has always been amazing to me how people respond to my son when he talks to them and says "Thanks Joe!" or whatever the name tag says.  

3. Be polite but firm

He is always polite and says thank you to the TSA agents or desk clerk.  At the same time he says things very matter of factly when he wants something as though there is an expectation that of course these service industry employees want to help him out.  That is what they are there to do.  He gets things done but in the nicest way.

4. PreOrder your meal

If you are on a flight or vacation that does ask if you have any dietary requests go ahead and put in your request.  He is a vegetarian and so always requests the veggie meal.

5. Travel with your guitar

People will wonder if you're a rockstar and at the very least will give you a little extra room.

So, if you're wondering, this has been his travel M.O. since he was 11.

On a flight home from the Middle East he wore his formal attire from India and packed his guitar and one small carryon.  My daughter and I had our full carryons and large personal items that were allowed on the flight and we were dressed in our everyday clothes.  It was pretty funny - we looked like we were his valets, his entourage.  He politely worked his way through security and everyone gave him extra VIP service.  Once we were on the plane they brought his dinner to him first because it was a special request.  People looked at this little dude and wondered who this kid was.

As my daughter would sum it up You can't compete with a little dude in a suit.

For our part we have memberships at every hotel chain including Starwood Hotels because the loyalty points can and do add up to fun upgrades.  It is nice when you are checking in to have the desk clerk greet you with that little extra acknowledgement.  Various hotels offer different upgrades but for me I like the little ones that make my stay seem just a little more elegant.  I like the free newspaper (of my choice) delivered to my door every morning or a complimentary coffee.

Even if you are not a regular traveler it's a good idea to become a member because that will get you on the mailing list (this is a good thing) and you will receive email alerts with various travel specials.  I love reading these emails because it is part of my dream building for future travels but also, every now and then, there is really a special that I want to take advantage of.  

What are your favorite upgrades?  Join us on Monday on Twitter while we talk it Up.

Twitter Party: Travel Upgrades
If you're interested in talking more about travel upgrades please join me along with some travel industry experts at this Monday's TravelingMom.com Twitter Party: Travel Upgrades sponsored by Sheraton.  Four participants will win prizes including Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points - enough to give yourself an upgrade on your next stay at a Sheraton!

WHEN: June 17, 2013 9-10 pm EDT (8-9 pm CT; 7-8 pm MT; 6-7 pm PT)

WHO: Panelists @TravelingMoms @KimOrlando @DebMomOf3 @CindyRichards @ramblingstump @techmama@MaryHeston @childmode @techsavvymama @therebelchick @adamsommer @savvymommy 

WHAT: Twitter Party – Travel Upgrades

HOW TO JOIN: Follow the hashtags #TMOM and #SheratonClub

PRIZES: They'll be giving away enough Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points during the party to help you give yourself a guilt-free upgrade the next time you stay at a Sheraton. Four prizes during the party - 12,000 points, 5,000 points, 2,000 points and 1,000 points.  (Note: Winners must currently have a Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) account, or open a free account, to get the points.)

To be eligible, you must: 
1. RSVP by leaving your Twitter handle in the comment section at TravelingMom.com (click here)- and clicking that you did so in the Rafflecopter widget on that page. (If you aren’t on Twitter, it’s easy—and free—to sign up. Go to twitter.com to see how.)

2. Have at least one tweet on the party from 9-10 pm EDT on June 17. 

See you There!
Disclosure: This post and my participation in the Twitter Party: Travel Upgrades was sponsored by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts.  My opinions and recommendations are my own.


  1. I find being nice always gets me somewhere on flights. On a recent trip to Toronto I was upgrade to 1st for free, and opn the way back (on a RJ, so no first) the attendant gave me a free meal (those $8 box meals they sell). A smile, talking to the staff, and being nice go a long way!

  2. Great post! My best upgrades have been flying back from London. First class on Delta and Virgin Atlantic. My mom always taught me to dress nicely for flights. I wear comfy but tailored pants with a comfortable shirt, and usually add a scarf.


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