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Tips for Landing a Hotel Upgrade

When it comes to a hotel stay or visit to a resort, most people would welcome an upgrade in their accommodations… as long as it comes at no extra cost. There are no hard or fast rules about how to go about getting one, but there are some things you can do that might help. Here are a few…


Be polite, kind and professional. It is always smart to treat other people with respect and kindness. It is probably true that you get further with honey than with vinegar. On the other hand, there are times when the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Try to be personable without being too casual. Remember, this is a business transaction. If possible, greet the front desk agent by name, compliment the service and accommodations, and ask about an upgrade… do not demand one. Make sure to look presentable too. Appearance can matter. Although some people like to travel in comfortable attire, a rumbled unkempt look may not get you far when trying to make an impression.

Check in later in the day. If you arrive at the front desk to begin the check-in process after most of the rooms have been cleaned and are ready for occupancy, the front desk staff has a better picture of which rooms are open, clean, and not spoken for by other guests. At that time of day, the staff is also less busy than they are earlier when the bulk of new guests are usually arriving. They have a better picture of availability and more time to look into the logistics of an upgrade.

Mention a special occasion. If your vacation is in celebration of a special event, like a marriage, birthday, anniversary, graduation, or promotion at work, share the news with hotel staff. Do so before arriving at the hotel or resort so staff has a time to make any special arrangements. You may not get a room upgrade, but there are all kinds of other perks staff may share for special events. You may arrive to find a fruit basket or bottle of wine waiting in your room or be gifted with a free meal or dessert at the restaurant.

Travel off season. If you stay at a hotel or resort during their busiest time of year, the odds you will get an upgrade are pretty low. Staff certainly can’t give you a different room if none are available. If you request an upgrade when occupancy is lower, the odds staff will be able to meet your request goes up… sometimes dramatically.

Make your request in advance. Some people find that asking about an upgrade at the time they make their reservations can be effective, especially when booking a room off season. Some folks like to give it a try a day or two before arrival. They find another reason to call the hotel or resort and then find an opportune moment to fit in a question about upgrading. Of course, if hotel staff may not be in a position to offer an upgrade if they do not have an accurate handle on what to expect for the time period of your visit.