Where is the Value in Upgrades?

It’s holiday time. The tickets and hotel have been paid for, and you’re ready to go. You’ve waited for months for this chance to get away from the daily grind. It’s time to relax and spoil yourself. That upgrade offers to trickle in from your airlines and resorts are very tempting.

But watch out! Paying more for upgrades is a slippery slope because, in some cases, salespeople are just looking to optimise their aeroplane’s or hotel’s capacity and don’t necessarily have your interests at heart. Upgrades can be a lot of expense for very little value.

Are Travel Upgrades always Worth it?

Whether a travel upgrade is worth, the expenditure depends on exactly what’s being offered.

An in-flight upgrade is not always worth it. If you are offered an upgrade to a higher class, you must ascertain whether that upper class actually does provide better service and an improved experience compared to the level you’re already booked into.

Many people nowadays take up such frequent offers but regret doing so later when they realise that their upgraded experience is similar to or even worse than what they would have had without upgrading. Another factor to take into account is whether you will be travelling for more than three hours in the upgraded class.

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If your answer is no, don’t bother to upgrade because you won’t be able to take full advantage of the higher-level experience in that short period. If you do ultimately decide to upgrade, do it using accrued perks like your frequent flyer points. Upgrades on cruises function in a similar way to flight upgrades.

Wi-Fi upgrades on flights or cruises are almost never worth it. Just by selling upgrades companies make far more profit than you may realise. Moreover, you’ll end up paying a lot for a Wi-Fi connection that is too slow to be fully effective.

Therefore, it’s best if you either get a portable Wi-Fi router or go completely wireless for a while. Get a router only if it is necessary, for example for professional reasons like reporting to your boss/client in your job. Even if you think you may need internet connectivity for your personal satisfaction, try to refrain from using it and focus on your travel experience.

Focus on exploring the foreign country and its culture.


Are Hotel Upgrades always Worth it?

Hotel upgrades are almost always worth the added spend. Upgrading to a more spacious room and/or a broader range of services is the cherry on top of your perfect travel experience. Paying extra for an upgrade to club floor access is totally justified when you think of how handy it will be when travelling or exploring a rich country or region.

These extra amenities may allow you to enjoy unlimited food and drinks in the lounge at any time of the day or night for a minimal cost. Plus, you may get the chance to experience a range of sporty leisure activities. If you make it a habit of dining outside your hotel at quality restaurants, your expenses will actually go up.

Attractive tourist leisure activities in high-class countries or regions will also hit you with burgeoning expenses. As such it would be best to stick around your hotel to save money and enjoy your holidays. With club floor access, your dining expenses, participation in leisure activities and attendance at special events within your hotel could be far less costly than leaving the compound to do the very same things.

Perhaps you go out once in a while to explore, but make sure you do some research beforehand so that you wind up at the more affordable places.

Are Rental Upgrades always Worth it?

Rental upgrades are not always worth it. Sometimes you might get an unbelievably good deal on a rental car. The unbelievable deals, however, often have some catch to them. For example, you might get an offer to upgrade your rental car to a newer model.

Upon accepting this offer, it could turn out that you find that the newer model has engine trouble and eats up a lot more petrol. This would definitely make your local travel expenditures balloon. Be sure to check every potential snag beforehand to avoid all the hassles you might otherwise be confronted with later on.

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Are Security Upgrades always Worth it?

Security upgrades are most definitely always worth it. By security upgrade, we mean travel insurance. With travel insurance, you can protect yourself from financial loss precipitated by cancelled flights, bankrupt airline companies, sudden illness and so on.

You can purchase travel insurance through your travel agent. It is your agent’s responsibility to guide you properly so that you may travel without a care. Despite this, do be careful when selecting the insurance that will be right for you. Your agent gets a percentage of commission from sales to clients like you who sign up for the insurance he or she represents.

It’s always good to do some of your own personal research and get acquainted with websites like insuremytrip.com. Just be sure that your insurance covers important benefits like medical.

Are Tourism Upgrades always Worth it?

Yes, tourism upgrades are always worth it. Tourism upgrades may include valuable packages, deals, discounts or coupons from promoted tourist attractions. Sometimes they even offer a tourist guide service. A tourist guide is especially helpful for those who require specialised assistance when travelling overseas and have only a very short amount of time in which to see the foreign country or region.

Guides are also a great asset for anyone who has never travelled so far away from home. Now, you may be wondering how to procure a tourist guide. First off, try your travel agent. He or she might be able to identify some tourist guide options because, once again, a commission percentage may be coming the travel agent’s way for the referral.

Otherwise, you can conduct your internet research to connect with local churches, schools, galleries or museums which may be able to arrange a guide offering the utmost in dedication and local knowledge. You can consult sites like TripAdvisor and Private-Guides.com to compare guides and select the one who seems the most experienced, skilled and accessible to you.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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