Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, upgrades and other perks are always welcome. How do so many people fly like royalty when you have no damn idea who they are? We asked some luxury travel consultants, vice presidents of credit card companies and founders of top airfare sites for their surprising but simple travel hacks so ordinary people like you can, too. If you could just click one button to save yourself a lot of money, would you? Yeah? Click that green arrow!
“When looking at flights, make sure to check through a private or incognito browsing mode. This means that it’ll look like you haven’t visited that website before. If you continuously go back and check prices for flights, oftentimes airlines will track your visits and the price will go up! This way, you can check as many times as you want and they’ll never know you’re a returning visitor.” — Katie Stanwyck, North American PR & marketing manager of TourRadar
“Bring a little gift for the ticketing/gate agent, like a box of chocolates, to thank them for their service before the flight takes off. You'd be surprised how far a little gesture like this goes! The same goes for the flight attendants—with a simple thank you gift, guess who's going to receive exceptional attention on that flight, whether you're in coach or first class? You!” — Lindsey Epperly, luxury travel consultant of Epperly Travel
“Always look to your credit card before booking travel for savings and exclusive benefits. American Express cardholders who book through American Express Travel’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program will receive the best rates and are eligible to receive free room upgrades (when available), late check-out, free Wi-Fi and resort credits you can use towards the spa or food/beverage, which can help you save big time on travel.” – Claire Bennett, EVP of American Express Travel
“If you're late for a flight and think you might miss it, don't call the airline to reschedule. If you do, you'll definitely get hit with a $150 or more change fee for a non-refundable fare by the phone agent. Instead, just show up at the gate and be really nice. Often times, the gate agent will just bump you onto the next flight without charging a fee.” — Scott Wainner, founder of Fareness
“Many hotel suites are built with attached rooms that connect through private entrances. But traditional reservation systems at most hotels are not designed to book these suites and rooms together. Suiteness is a new booking platform dedicated to 4- and 5-star hotel suites. We work directly with hotels and have designed a website that lets users book suites with connecting rooms, so you get the space of a multi-room penthouse at a fraction of the price.” — Divya Mulanjur, marketing manager of Suiteness
“It’s a closely guarded secret that online retailers charge different prices according to your geographic location. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to connect to a remote network and change your IP address (your device’s unique identifier online). This means that you can surf as if you were in another, cheaper location and find great savings on rental cars and flights.” — Karen Mesoznik, inbound marketing manager of SaferVPN