Free upgrade coupons. Most airlines offer small business incentive programs. The idea is that, by attaching your small business account to the traveler’s reservation, the travel earns both the normal points for the employee and special bonus points for the business. It costs nothing, and can be rewarding. You can earn free travel, upgrades, lounge memberships, etc. AmericaWest even offers an immediate 5% discount on the price of the ticket as well.
However, this post isn’t meant to be a discourse on the merits of the different small business programs. I’ll save that for another day. This is a post about how to get something for nothing right away — instant gratification without actually having to travel.
When you sign up for AmericaWest’s Corporate AWArds, you’ll get a welcome packet that includes a free space available upgrade certificate. You can use it on any fare to go from coach to first class, and you don’t have to have any status with the airline to use it. It’s fully transferable, too. I just gave mine to my grandfather to fly first class from Phoenix to Newark. (As I mention above, joining Corporate AWArds also gives you a 5% discount on tickets. It also makes you eligible for America West’s elite status match — if you’re elite on another airline, you can get the same status complimentary with America West.)
Signing up for USAirways Corporate Dividends will also get you an upgrade certificate.
(The only hitch is that to sign up for small business programs, you’ll need a tax ID number.)
*** Update March, 2003 –> the America West program may not give out these certificates anymore. The USAirways program still does ***