Upgrade Us! 5 Ways to Score First-Class Service on Your Honeymoon

Air, Couples Travel, Featured, Getting There Deals — By on August 30, 2010 at 9:52 am

by Molly Fergus
LG Travel News Editor

Recently tied the knot? Like most newlyweds, you’d probably love to go on a super-lux vacation after tying the knot (Flowing bubbly! Airline upgrades! Cushy suites!) but in the era of carry-on baggage fees, it takes more than a giddy, “We’re on our honeymoon!” to get bumped up to first-class.

Don’t settle for coach level treatment just yet. “If you’re strategic in the months before your getaway, you can definitely take advantage of certain travel perks and receive amenities that you wouldn’t normally get,” says Harlan DeBello, a Valerie Wilson travel agent who specializes in honeymoon and wedding destinations. Follow these tips to squeeze the most out of your next getaway (after all, you earned it!).

1. Become a loyal customer

These days, to nab freebies, you have to belong to one—if not several—loyalty programs. For air travel, where it’s tougher to move up, DeBello suggests signing up for a credit card with a program most likely to provide rewards in your dream destination. “Continental flies to most classic honeymoon destinations, like Hawaii, Europe and the Caribbean,” DeBello says. “It’s a great card to start with for planning your honeymoon.” That way, paying for everything from groceries to the wedding reception adds up to serious points when you head to the airport.

Meanwhile, join loyalty programs whenever you stay at a major hotel chain in the months leading up to the big trip. Even mid-level spenders get put on the shortlist for discounted drinks, first dibs on late checkouts and automatic upgrades when available.

2. Maximize your credit

If you already swipe an airline or hotel card, keep an eye on the offers streaming through your inbox, and don’t overlook all cards with annual fees. With American Express, the Premier Rewards Gold Card accumulates three points per dollar spent on airfare (compared to a third of that on the standard blue Amex) and secures a $10,000 travelers’ insurance policy. The $175 annual fee is waived for the first year.

3. Think outside the flight

Comfort reigns on the honeymoon (all that wedding planning is exhausting!), so to grab the cushiest suite, consider joining a honeymoon registry. Programs like Travelers Joy, which partners with TheKnot.com and Brides.com, let wedding guests purchase everything from airfare to scuba diving trips in lieu of more traditional gifts. After all, will you really miss that Brita pitcher when you’re cruising on a glass-bottom boat in the Caribbean?

4. Go straight to the source

Travel agents have long known the secret to honeymoon booking – they talk. “We contact everyone at the hotel, from the general manager to the sales staff, so that they know the couple is on a honeymoon,” DeBello says. To use this strategy yourself, skip the 800-number, call the sales office or general manager directly, and let them know you’ll be newly hitched. This is when you should mention any specific requests – anything from a room with a view to a late checkout.

5. Be a blabbermouth

You’re in love, so shout it out! Tell everyone you meet – hotel clerks, flight attendants, Cabana boys – that you and your guy just tied the knot. This doesn’t guarantee any perks, but it never hurts to tug on a few heartstrings.

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