Ever get to a hotel, see someone check in for their SUITE (fancy!), and suddenly regret the very basic room you booked with no view and only the necessary amenities? Wish you could somehow get an upgraded room?
Well, there’s some good news! You CAN get a hotel room upgrade sometimes (keyword: sometimes) depending on the situation. Want to know the secret tips and tricks to get that upgrade no matter what hotel you’re staying in? You’re in the right place!
Today we’re breaking down 11 of the top tricks to getting a hotel room upgrade anywhere you stay!
1 — Ask!
It might sound very basic, but the number 1 way to potentially get a hotel room upgrade is to ASK! We know, it’s truly earth-shattering advice. 😆 But in all seriousness, sometimes all it takes is the act of reaching out to the hotel employees to see what’s available. Worst case scenario: there’s nothing they can do. Best case scenario: the upgraded room of your dreams is all yours!
When you check in, ask to see if there are any upgrades available and what they would cost. It NEVER hurts to ask!
Asking ahead of time can also be good. If you can, try to call the hotel or send a message ahead of your stay to let them know that you’ll be staying there and would like to upgrade your room if possible. This is also a great time to mention if you’ll be celebrating something special (more on that in a second), or why the upgrade could benefit you (like you’re planning on working from the room, etc.).
Marking special requirements or requests when you book your room can also be helpful in potentially getting you an upgrade. Want a room with a good view? Or how about a room with more space? If you note those room specifications when booking your room (within a little “requirements” or notes box of any kind), some hotels might see them and “go the extra mile” to fulfill those requests.
2 — Membership/Loyalty Programs
If you want an upgrade, joining the loyalty program for the hotel you’ll be staying at is a good idea. Joining those programs is often free, though earning points can take a while.
Those who reach a certain status within the loyalty program can sometimes get complimentary room upgrades. For example, Marriott notes that for those who reach the Gold Elite status, they’ll do their best to upgrade those members’ rooms upon their arrival (provided there’s availability). Again, just don’t expect to hit that top status overnight!
Still, if you’ll be staying at hotels from a particular brand and the loyalty program is free to join (as it often is), it doesn’t hurt to get the points and climb your way up to higher levels. You’re spending the money, so you might as well get a reward out of it too!
3 — Credit cards associated with hotel brands
Want to earn even MORE points toward your loyalty status? Consider signing up for a credit card associated with the hotel brand you stay with the most. Sometimes hotels and their rewards systems can be tied to certain credit cards. By utilizing that associated card, you might be able to get to a higher status faster!
For example, if you get the Hilton Honors Aspire Card (through American Express), you’ll get COMPLIMENTARY Hilton Diamond Status. That’s the highest loyalty level for Hilton. And it grants you space-available room upgrades!
Booking through the hotel-associated credit card or other special card can also help. For example, American Express Platinum Cardmembers may be eligible for upgrades (provided there’s availability) at a variety of hotels around the world. You’ll want to look into the credit cards you have (or want to get) to see what perks they can give you.
4 — Check available rooms ahead of check-in
Maybe you want a room upgrade and the employees would love to give you one, but the type of room you’re looking for simply isn’t available. Avoid getting your hopes up by looking ahead to see what rooms are available.
If you look online as if you were making a new reservation for the same nights as your booked stay, you should get a feel for what rooms are available. That can give you a sense of what might be available for an upgrade and what type of room you should ask for.
Just remember that availability can change!
5 — Check in later
If you’re hoping to score an upgrade, checking into the hotel later in the day might work out. If you check in later in the afternoon, the staff will already generally know what rooms will and will not be empty that night. That might make them more inclined to upgrade you.
If you book a room in a standard category and the hotel has essentially overbooked those rooms, checking in later can also help. If everyone else in the standard rooms has already checked in by the time you get there, the hotel may need to put you in a higher room category simply because of the way things worked out.
Some suggest arriving between 5-6PM, but just be sure to check the rules at that hotel and make sure you don’t arrive too late!
Note, however, that there is some disagreement on this point. Certain sources recommend getting there early, particularly if you’re utilizing your loyalty status to get an upgrade. If other members under the same loyalty status arrive early and ask for upgrades, they might take up all of the upgraded rooms. So you’ll have to weigh your options here and see what risk you’re willing to take.
Checking on room availability (as we noted above) could give you a better idea of what might be available, helping to inform your decision.
6 — Consider when you visit
If your hotel visit will take place during a super busy period, all or most of the rooms may already be booked, lowering your chance of getting an upgrade.
If, however, you travel during a slower period, there could be much more hotel room availability generally, giving you a better chance of scoring an upgrade.
7 — Share the details of your stay
Are you going on your honeymoon? Is it your birthday? Are you celebrating a special occasion? Babymoon? Graduation? Is it your first time in the city you’re visiting? Whatever the reason or circumstances surrounding your trip, share them with the hotel staff!
If you tell the staff about your special situation, they may be more inclined to give you an upgrade!
8 — Being loyal in general can help
If you’re a repeat guest at a particular hotel or with a particular brand of hotels, that company and its employees may be more inclined to “reward” your loyalty with an upgrade. So if all things are equal, you might want to keep picking hotels from the same umbrella brand to build up that sense of loyalty (and let them know you’re a repeat customer!).
9 — BE KIND! BE KIND! BE KIND!
We cannot emphasize this enough — BE KIND! If you walk into a hotel and act entitled to a room upgrade (or anything else) or rude, your chances of getting an upgrade will go WAY down.
You may be tired after a long day of travel, exhausted from dealing with delayed flights and long lines, or maybe you’ve had bad experiences with certain staff members. There might be many reasons for your frustration, but it’s SO critical to be kind.
You never know what the employee on the other side has had to deal with today — rude customers, the loss of a family member, or a million other things. Being kind in general is a good thing to do. But when it comes to upgrades, it can also boost your chances of being treated nicely if you’re treating the employees in control of upgrades nicely! As they say, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Also, it’s just nice to be nice without any reason for it whatsoever.
10 — Book through the hotel’s website directly
While booking through third-party channels may be convenient, you might want to consider booking directly through a hotel’s website if it’s an upgrade you’re after. Booking through the hotel’s site can give you direct access to the hotel’s member benefits (like their reward points).
11 — Consider booking at a newer hotel
Another thing to consider is booking at a newer hotel. If the hotel hasn’t been open long, it might be more eager to impress customers by providing bonuses like room upgrades. It might also have more vacant rooms, generally improving your chance of getting an upgrade.
There are a few other things you might want to keep in mind if you’re hoping to score an upgrade. For example, shorter stays can sometimes have a better chance of being upgraded. The hotel might have the space and availability to bump you to that suite for 2 nights, but a 10-night stay can present some availability challenges.
Booking a slightly more expensive room can also sometimes help. Compare someone who already paid a bit more to book the middle-level room versus someone who paid the absolute CHEAPEST price possible. All things being equal, the hotel might be more inclined to upgrade someone to a fancy suite if they’ve already paid for the middle-level room (showing they’re already “dedicated” to this hotel and paying for a good experience), over the person who booked the cheapest room.
What are YOUR tips? What has worked for you when trying to get a room upgrade in the past? Tell us in the comments!
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What are your hotel room upgrade tips? Tell us in the comments.