How To Get An Upgraded Hotel Room 100% Of The Time

Over the years I’ve developed a way to get an upgraded room at a hotel every time that I’ve used it. It’s so easy that I’m hesitant to share it with you but as our readers, you deserve it.

To get an upgraded room every time all you have to do is……….. pay for it. 😉

What, were you expecting some magic system? Maybe a code word or secret handshake that only internet bloggers know about? Well yeah, that would be pretty cool. And don’t get me wrong, according to the internet there are a million different ways for you to score an upgraded room. Here’s a list of some of the most commonly shared “secrets”:

Get there early. Get there late. Email the hotel. Call the hotel. Send a message on Twitter. Be extra nice when you arrive. Look the part of a business traveler. Look like you’ve just had a hard travel day. Drop a hint that it’s a special occasion (even it it’s not).  Pass the desk clerk a $20 with your ID (this one is usually reserved for Vegas hotels but can work anywhere). You could always be “that guy” and blatantly say that you want one of their good rooms and not the ones they give to people who don’t know any better.

Know what? I bet that every one of these tricks has worked for someone at some time. I mean, even I’ve occasionally scored an upgraded room for free, usually when I don’t need one. I typically don’t need a better room than what I’ve booked. I’m sure I’ve even sometimes gotten an upgraded room and didn’t know it, like maybe I’ve gotten a larger “executive” room or a room on a higher floor. If they didn’t mention it, I wouldn’t even notice.

One time I remember being told how I was provided an upgraded room, and it was underwhelming to say the least. This was our executive room they made a huge deal out of upgrading us into:

Holiday Inn London Mayfair Room

I know. WOW! How lucky we were. I can’t begin to tell you how excited we were when we opened up the door and thought “Yeah, this is a Holiday Inn room.”

So how can you get an upgraded room?

All kidding aside, the only way to be sure to get an upgraded room is my foolproof method above. If you really need that larger room, you’ll need to book it. Hotels are getting smarter all the time and they don’t just hold those nicer rooms for people who ask politely for them. If they can sell the room to someone, you better believe that’s what they’ll do. However, I’ve found that you may be able to save some money if getting an upgrade is more of a want than a need.

  • Some hotels will send emails out to guests weeks to days before your arrival. They may include an offer to “buy” an upgrade if there is one available. If you accept this offer, you’re agreeing to pay the extra if an room in the higher class is available but the upgrade is not guaranteed. This was how I scored an upgrade at the Park Hyatt in Washington D.C. Wouldn’t you want this bathroom for an extra $30 a night?

Park Hyatt Bathroom

  • You might also receive a direct email from the hotel offering an upgrade for a set price. Accepting this offer is a guarantee of an upgraded room for the agreed price.
  • I’ve had success in getting upgrades by emailing the hotel a few days before arrival. At that time they’re pretty sure of how busy they will be for your dates and may be willing to upgrade you for a small fee.
  • Last chance is when checking in. I used this method to get an upgrade at the Hilton Grand Vacation Club in Las Vegas.  I was hoping to score a free upgrade but I was willing to pay for the upgrade to a one bedroom suite.
    IMG_7102

Now, I have to try to get upgrades without having any status (to speak of) with hotels because I don’t have loyalty to any one chain. If you, unfortunately, have to spend many nights a year in a hotel and have top level status, then you might be higher on the list to get an upgrade than I am. However, you need to remember that hotels would much rather sell someone like me an upgrade for a few dollars than give one to you for free, no matter how many nights a year you stay with them. And that’s even if you’re a Diamond guest and are guaranteed the best available suite (for your giraffe and helicopter). <– Please note, video link is NSFW. If you’re lucky enough to be able to get free suite upgrades that can be confirmed in advance, then do that if you need the bigger room. I might even be in line with you next year if our attempt for Marriott Platinum status works out as planned.

Final Thoughts

I’m sorry to say that I don’t have the secret to getting a free upgraded hotel room. I never promised you that. I just said I had a way to get an upgraded room 100% of the time. Even that’s a lie because there might not be any better rooms available if the hotel is booked up. If you need that suite, then you better make sure it’s confirmed when you make your reservation and don’t depend on the hotel to give it to you for free when you check in.

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