As I’m sitting here in an upgraded hotel suite where I received a lovely hotel amenity, I thought today’s post should be how to get free upgrades at hotels. I love having a larger room when I travel with my family. It’s so nice that my son has his own space and my husband and I have ours. I got this one because I stay at this brand frequently and am attending a conference where all the guests are VIPs, but there are other ways to get upgrades.
First, even though you may not travel often, join the hotel’s frequent stay program. It’s free and you can do it online. Sometimes, simply by having that account, a hotel may offer you low-cost upgrades (like getting a suite for as little as $15 more per night based on availability at check in) right after you make your reservation.
Second, book through the hotel directly. From what I’ve heard from other travelers and from hoteliers, you are less likely to be upgraded if you book through a discounter or aggregator. Most hotels these days have a price match system in place anyway so you won’t be losing money. Check prices and then go to the hotel’s website to book.
Third, if it’s a special occasion, let them know. While that doesn’t guarantee an upgrade, people in general may be nicer to you if they know you’re celebrating your honeymoon, a birthday, or an anniversary. Hotel staff are no different.
Fourth, book a slightly upgraded room already. Instead of a standard room, book the deluxe one or one with a view that is slightly more expensive. You’ve paid a little more so you may get a little more. Plus, there is less inventory of those rooms so they are more likely to sell out and the hotel will upgrade you to an even nicer room since they really can’t downgrade you.
Fifth, arrive a little later in the day. Inventory is at its highest after checkout through an hour or two after the check in time. If the type of room you booked is available, you are likely to be put in it. If, however, you arrive a little later and that room type is full, guess what? You get an upgrade.
Sixth, ask nicely. Could it really be that simple? Yes, it can. Hotel front desk staff hear from rude people all the time. They get the complaints and sometimes the blame, valid or not. If you are nice to them, they will be nice back. I can’t guarantee that being nice and asking for an upgrade will get you one, but it has worked for me about 25% of the time. Plus, if it doesn’t work, what did it hurt? It’s always better to be nice anyway.
Good luck and may there be upgrades in your future!