Secrets to Receiving Hotel Upgrades

When checking-in to a hotel, we all want the largest room, the biggest bed, and the most expansive balcony overlooking prime real estate. With so many people visiting daily, how can you improve your chances of a hotel upgrade? There a few strategies in mind, that I think you may find beneficial.

To preface this, I’m going to be ignoring elite status for the purposes of these tips. If you have hotel elite status, you’ll greatly improve your chance at getting upgraded, if not being able to confirm an upgrade in advance.

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Use Points

Want to be guaranteed a suite? The most sure-fire way to do this is to use points on top of your paid cash rate. With Hyatt, for example, you only need 3,000 points per night to upgrade to the Regency Club, or 6,000 points if you want a suite. While I don’t think it’s the best use of points, if you require a larger room, it may prove to be economical compared to upgrading with cash.

Ask For a Larger Room

Often hotels have varying sizes of their basic rooms. For example, there may be a basic King Room, and then a Corner King Room, which is slightly larger, but not justifiable as a suite. Asking at check-in if they’re able to place you in this larger room may prove successful. If they aren’t willing to give it to you for free, you may be able to pay a small upgrade fee.

Have an Occasion

If you contact the hotel prior to arriving with a special occasion, you may be greeted with a nice surprise upon arriving. Sometimes, simply by noting that you’ll be on your honeymoon, it’s your birthday, or another “holiday,” the hotel wants to make your stay as extra special as possible. It’s not guaranteed to work, but it can’t hurt to mention. Oh, by the way, if you want to tell them it’s your birthday, remember that they may have your birthday date on file already. 🙂

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Upgrade in Advance Online

Some hotels offer the option to select an upgrade in advance, as you’re purchasing the reservation. For example, Hyatt will sometimes offer the option to request an upgrade to a suite, larger room, or other special area for a cheaper than retail price. However, there’s a small catch. By requesting it using their online form, you’re obligated to pay the charge if you receive the room. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s worth noting just in case that’s an issue for you. I rarely use these upgrade in advance offers since I’m usually given nice rooms as a Hyatt Diamond when staying with Hyatt, for example, but wanting to leave status out of the discussion, I figured this was worth mentioning.

What are your tips for receiving upgrades at hotels?

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  1. says

    I’ve used contacting the hotel ahead of time several times with sometimes the only “occasion” is a special weekend or asking if they could make our stay special because of how far we had come for a short period of time. Even that little bit of contact has gotten upgrades, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries!

  2. Pat says

    I have no proof for this, but I find that arriving right at check-in time improves your chances. The reason probably is that there is a limited number of nicer rooms available each day, and they give them out on a first-come-first serve basis. Of course, being nice also helps.

    • says

      I agree 100%. That’s happened to me several times. I’d even suggest arriving a bit before check-in time just to make your face known, in hopes there’s something better available.

  3. Alan says

    I work in guest services at a four star property.
    A $10 or a $20 works wonders. I also tip the front desk agent when asking for a room that is away from the elevator and ice machine. Only once can I remember not getting a significant upgrade and I travel for both work and pleasure quite often.

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