How Can You Get a Room Upgrade at a Hotel?

hotel room with balcony
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If you want a room upgrade -- a better quality room for the price of a standard room -- you have to ask. Although there are no guarantees, knowing how and when to ask just may land you that coveted room upgrade. Here are some techniques that may just land you that coveted upgrade.

Rather than booking online, make a call and ask the reservation manager about any specials the hotel is offering and whether you can have a room upgrade. When you book a stay during the hotel's off-season or a slow time of the week, your chances are better. And if you've had the opportunity to join the hotel's frequent visitor program, your request will have more clout.

No Upgrade Yet? Ask Again. And Again.

If the reservation desk can't upgrade you immediately, ask again a few days before your stay when you confirm your reservation. Still no luck? Ask again when you check into the hotel. If you're only staying a day or two and they haven't booked a higher-price room by the time you arrive, the hotel manager may be willing to grant your request.

Make a Connection

It helps if you mention you're celebrating a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. But I don't recommend fibbing. It would be better to honestly tell the person you're dealing with your real story, such as "My wife has been working so hard with the kids, I'd love her to be able to enjoy her much-needed vacation with an upgraded room."

Connecting with hotel staff members you're talking to in a sincere, friendly way always makes a big impact. If you're not good with people you don't know, ask your warm-and-fuzzy significant other or friend to do the talking.

Strength in Numbers

If you organize a stay for a group of visitors -- say for a reunion or business meeting -- the resort will likely be very willing to reward you either with a room upgrade or a free stay.

A Few More Upgrade Strategies

  • Frequent flier miles can be turned in for upgrades, but the exchange is only a good idea if you don't think you'll need the points for building credit for a free flight.
  • If a hotel has seriously disappointed you with a significant service failure, such as not cleaning your room or mishandling your baggage, you can always suggest they can make it up to you with a room upgrade. Use this tactic judiciously, however, or you'll be written off as a conniving whiner.
  • And finally, if you're not already a member of the resort's loyalty program, join it so you will have a better chance for an upgrade the next time you stay.
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