How to Get Upgrades at Hotels: The Ultimate Travel Hacks

How to Get Upgrades at Hotels: The Ultimate Travel Hacks

Imagine stepping into a hotel lobby, weary from your travels, only to be greeted with the delightful surprise of a complimentary upgrade. Suddenly, your standard room transforms into a suite with a stunning view, a plush king-sized bed, and a spa-like bathroom - the quintessence of hospitality luxury. This is the allure of hotel upgrades, a coveted perk that can turn a mundane stay into an extraordinary experience.

Upgrades are sought after not just for the additional space or the premium amenities, but for the enhanced experience they promise. They represent a hotel's gesture of goodwill that can make guests feel valued and special. Whether it's for the thrill of luxury, the comfort of additional amenities, or simply the satisfaction of knowing you've received more for your money, upgrades are a universally desired aspect of hotel stays.

In this blog, we'll unpack the layers of strategy behind securing these coveted hotel perks. From timing your bookings to leveraging loyalty programs, and from articulating special requests to utilizing credit card benefits, we'll cover a variety of tactics that can elevate your stay from the ordinary to the extraordinary. These insights are gleaned from industry insiders, seasoned travellers, and hospitality professionals who understand the nuances of hotel operations.

We'll guide you through the subtle art of requesting upgrades, the benefits of building rapport with hotel staff, and how to leverage technology for better chances at scoring that coveted room with a view. So, if the idea of enjoying the plush comforts of high-tier hotel rooms appeals to you, read on. You're about to discover the travel hacks that can potentially unlock doors to rooms and experiences that most travellers only dream of.

The Art of Timing

Timing is not just a factor; it's an art when it comes to securing hotel upgrades. Knowing when to book and check in can significantly elevate your chances of enjoying additional luxuries at no extra cost.

Best Booking Times

Hotels often have a better sense of occupancy after the standard cancellation period ends, typically 24-48 hours before the check-in date. Booking your stay during this window can increase your odds of an upgrade, as hotels might offer higher-category rooms to ensure they are utilized.

Strategic Check-In

The time of day you check in can also influence your upgrade potential. Late afternoon to early evening is often optimal, as the front desk will have a clear picture of the night's occupancy and might be more generous with unclaimed premium rooms.

Slow Seasons and Weekdays

Visiting during off-peak times can significantly work in your favor. During slow seasons or mid-week days when business travel is low, hotels are more likely to have available rooms to upgrade.


Loyalty Programs

Loyalty, in the hospitality industry, can be a golden ticket to a world of upgrades. Joining a hotel's loyalty program is more than just signing up for marketing emails; it's an investment in a relationship that can yield opulent returns.

Tiers of Loyalty

Most hotel loyalty programs are tiered, with each level offering progressively better perks. Entry-level might include free Wi-Fi, while top-tier could grant access to exclusive lounges, late check-outs, and, crucially, room upgrades.

Earning Your Status

Higher loyalty statuses are usually earned through frequent stays or by spending a certain amount. Each tier could unlock potential upgrades, with many programs offering guaranteed room upgrades to their top-tier members.

Perks That Come With Loyalty

Aside from upgrades, loyalty program members often enjoy complimentary breakfast, priority check-in, bonus points for future stays, and even personalized room preferences. These benefits not only make your stay more enjoyable but also demonstrate the hotel’s commitment to valuing its regular guests.

By understanding the intricacies of timing and leveraging the benefits of loyalty programs, travellers can dramatically enhance their chances of experiencing the luxury of a hotel upgrade. These strategies, when applied thoughtfully, can transform your hotel stays, making each visit a chance to indulge in unexpected comforts.

Building Relationships

The success of securing a hotel upgrade often hinges on the relationships you cultivate the moment you step through the hotel doors. A warm smile and a friendly demeanor at check-in can go a long way. Hotel staff are at the frontline of customer service and are often empowered to make decisions about upgrades. By being personable and polite, you set a positive tone for your interaction, making it more likely for staff to want to enhance your stay.

The Power of Personal Interaction

Engaging in a genuine conversation with the receptionist and showing interest in their role can foster goodwill. Remembering their names, offering compliments about the hotel, or simply inquiring about their day can make you stand out as a guest. This personal touch can sometimes be the deciding factor when they have the discretion to offer an upgrade.

The Impact of Repeat Visits

Loyalty isn’t just about points and membership levels; it’s also about being a familiar face. Hotels appreciate repeat customers, and frequent visits can lead to recognition by the staff. Over time, this familiarity can translate into preferential treatment, including room upgrades, as the hotel values your continued patronage and is more inclined to reward it.


Special Occasions

Special occasions provide the perfect opportunity to request an upgrade. Whether it’s for a birthday, an anniversary, or even a honeymoon, hotels are often willing to go the extra mile to ensure your celebration is memorable.

Celebrating Milestones

When booking your stay or checking in, casually mention that you are celebrating a special occasion. It's best to do this subtly and with tact—rather than demanding an upgrade, let the staff know you're excited to celebrate at their hotel and leave it to them to offer an extra touch of luxury if available.

Providing Advance Notice

If you're celebrating a significant event, inform the hotel in advance. A phone call before your arrival or a note included in your online booking can give the hotel time to arrange something special. Often, they can prepare your room with additional amenities to enhance your celebration, and if possible, they may upgrade your room as part of the festivities.

In essence, building relationships and leveraging special occasions can significantly enhance your chances of receiving a hotel upgrade. These approaches rely on the human element of travel—kindness, celebration, and personal connection—which can often unlock experiences that go beyond the standard offerings.


Book Directly with the Hotel

Booking directly with a hotel can be the golden key to unlocking hidden perks and potential upgrades. When you bypass third-party booking sites and connect with the hotel's own reservation system, you're not just another reservation number—you become a guest with a voice and a presence.

Personal Connection

Direct booking establishes a direct line of communication between you and the hotel. This connection allows you to express your preferences, ask questions, and build a relationship with the hotel staff from the moment you book.

Exclusive Benefits

Hotels often reserve exclusive benefits for guests who book directly. These can include complimentary Wi-Fi, better room locations, and flexibility with reservation changes or cancellations. And when it comes to upgrades, direct bookers are frequently first in line.

Rewarding Loyalty

Hotels appreciate the savings they make when you book directly, as they avoid paying commissions to third-party sites. This saving can translate into the hotel being more inclined to reward you with an upgrade or additional amenities.


The Power of Feedback

Your voice as a guest is powerful, and the feedback you provide can forge a path to exceptional service and potential upgrades. Hotels thrive on their reputation, and your positive reviews contribute significantly to their image.

Positive Reviews

Leaving a positive review on platforms like TripAdvisor or Google can catch the attention of hotel management. Hotels often go out of their way to thank guests who take the time to leave a glowing review and may reciprocate with upgrades on future stays.

Constructive Feedback

Providing constructive feedback directly to the hotel allows them to improve and often prompts them to demonstrate their commitment to service. A guest who offers helpful suggestions is seen as invested in the hotel's success, which could lead to a beneficial relationship—and possibly an upgrade.


Smart Communication

The way you communicate can influence the outcome of your upgrade request. Approaching the topic with tact and consideration increases your chances of success.

The Art of Asking

Be polite and discreet when asking for an upgrade. A request framed as a hopeful inquiry rather than a demand is more likely to be received positively. For example, "Do you happen to have any upgrades available?" is a gentle way of expressing your interest.

Language and Tactics

Using positive language and expressing appreciation for any help the staff can provide sets a cooperative tone. Acknowledge that you understand upgrades are subject to availability and that you would be grateful for any opportunities to enhance your stay.

Incorporating these strategies into your booking process, feedback practices, and communication can significantly enhance your chances of receiving a hotel upgrade. Each step of the way, from booking to post-stay reviews, presents an opportunity to present yourself as a valuable guest deserving of special treatment.

The Role of Flexibility

Flexibility can be a traveller's most valued asset, especially when it comes to obtaining hotel upgrades. The willingness to adapt your preferences could open doors to unexpected luxuries.

Flexible Room Choices

Expressing a willingness to consider different room types or locations within the hotel can work in your favour. Hotels might have a surplus of premium rooms that differ from your booking, and your flexibility means they can offer you an upgrade without disrupting their room management.

Flexibility in Timing

If your travel dates are adjustable, consider staying during less busy periods. Hotels have more inventory to play with during these times, increasing your chances of receiving an upgrade.


Utilizing Credit Card Perks

Credit cards partnered with hotel chains or those offering travel rewards can be a potent tool for securing upgrades.

Credit Card Status

Some credit cards automatically grant you a status within hotel loyalty programs, which can include upgrade benefits. Holders of these cards are often seen as VIP guests and treated to perks reserved for loyal customers.

Using Points for Upgrades

Accumulated points on travel credit cards can sometimes be used to purchase upgrades, allowing you to experience higher-tier rooms at a fraction of the cost.


Technology to Your Advantage

In the digital age, technology provides innovative ways to enhance your travel experience, including how you can score room upgrades.

Hotel Apps

Many hotel chains have developed their own apps, which can be used for seamless check-ins, special requests, and communicating directly with hotel staff. Some apps allow you to state your preference for upgrades, putting you on the hotel's radar before you even arrive.

Online Check-In

Utilizing a hotel's online check-in feature can sometimes offer the option to select room preferences or opt-in for upgrades. Checking in online also shows the hotel that you are tech-savvy and engaged with their services, which could lead to better service and room selection.

By being flexible, taking full advantage of the perks offered by your credit cards, and using the latest in hotel technology, you can significantly increase your chances of receiving a hotel upgrade. Each of these tactics requires a proactive approach to travel planning, but the potential rewards make it well worth the effort.

When Things Go Wrong

Even with the best-laid plans, there may be times when your expectations for a hotel upgrade are not met. Handling such situations with grace and understanding is crucial.

Stay Calm and Courteous

If an upgrade doesn’t materialize, maintain a calm and polite demeanor. Expressing frustration or disappointment aggressively can sour your relationship with the hotel staff. Instead, a composed approach can leave a positive impression, potentially leading to better service during your stay or on future visits.

Seek Alternatives

If an upgrade is not available, you can inquire about other perks that might enhance your stay, such as late check-out, complimentary breakfast, or access to exclusive facilities. Hotels are often willing to offer these alternatives to ensure guest satisfaction.



Securing a hotel upgrade often boils down to a mix of strategic planning, interpersonal skills, and sometimes, a bit of luck. To recap, the key strategies include:

  1. Timing Your Booking and Check-In:Utilize optimal times for booking and checking in to increase your upgrade chances.
  2. Joining Loyalty Programs:Leverage loyalty programs for preferential treatment and potential upgrades.
  3. Building Relationships:Create positive interactions with hotel staff.
  4. Leveraging Special Occasions:Use special occasions as an opportunity for potential upgrades.
  5. Booking Directly:Book directly with the hotel for more personalized service and potential perks.
  6. Providing Feedback:Use positive reviews and constructive feedback as tools for fostering goodwill.
  7. Smart Communication:Communicate your desire for an upgrade tactfully and politely.
  8. Being Flexible:Show flexibility in your room and date preferences.
  9. Utilizing Credit Card Perks:Make the most of credit card benefits and partnerships with hotels.
  10. Using Technology:Take advantage of hotel apps and online features for upgrade requests.

Remember, while everyone loves an upgrade, not every stay will result in one. Approach each hotel experience with etiquette and realistic expectations. Upgrades are a privilege, not a right, and treating them as such can make those moments when you do receive one all the more special. Whether you're upgraded or not, the goal is to enjoy your stay and the unique experiences that each hotel visit can offer.


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