Hotel upgrades and how to get them

Written by Paul
Sep 11, 2014

How to get an upgraded hotel room

Nothing can bring a smile to your face quite like a free upgrade but just like on an airline once you’ve flown in first you don’t want to ever ‘turn right’ again. So how can you ensure that you’re first inline for a nicer room? Based upon experience and speaking to people in the know here is our list of the do’s and don’ts for getting free upgrades.


Ask for a corner room - Not technically an upgrade but corner rooms are generally much larger that standard rooms. Just by asking for one shows the receptionist that you know the score and may lead to something even nicer.

Be subtle - Of course you can ask directly but be subtle (see list of Don’ts). A cursory ‘is there a room with a nice view’ could see your fortunes change.

Call beforehand - Doesn’t hurt to ask in the safe environment of a phone call. If nothing else they may send a note to the front desk telling them to upgrade if possible or offer something else (i.e. free wifi, complimentary breakfast) if they can’t.

Tip - Not suitable for all countries but in the USA this can go along way. Slip the receptionist a crisp $20 and they will be doing everything they can to make sure you’re taken care of.

Mention a special occasion - This doesn’t have the 100% sure fire success rate that some people might lead you to believe and certainly don’t think that you and your wife of 20years can put on the lovers eyes of newly weds at the desk.

Book direct with the hotel - Think you got a sweet deal on Expedia? Well guess what, you’re in the basement, below the kitchen and next to the underground hardcore metal club next door. Hotels pay up to 30% commission to online agents so whoever books these rooms isn’t getting the same attention as the person who books a slightly more expensive room or via the hotel. NB; find the rate online and then phone the hotel direct, 90% of the time they will happily match or even beat that rate given that they could technically make an additional 20-30%.

Get a loyalty card - Just by having one you’re status is elevated far above all the others in the queue clamouring for that free upgrade. They also have many other perks including cheap rooms, deals on flights etc.

Arrive early - The earlier you arrive the greater the chance that you’ll be allocated a better room, arrive late and they may all be gone. Just remember it probably won’t be ready until at least 2pm so don’t be a jerk when you can’t get into the room or you’ll be booted back to the basement. NB; sometimes hotels will keep nice rooms back for any walk-ins so arriving late isn’t the end of the world as you may get one of these providing they aren’t taken.


Be a jerk - Hopefully an obvious one but you’d be surprised at some of the stories.

Ask loudly - If you’re at the front of a queue of guests and blurt out ‘any upgrades going’ guess what you’re not getting? The receptionist does not want to deal with a barrage of requests and continually getting told ‘well he got one’. If she says no to you then she answers the question of all the guests in line at once.

Book for long - The longer the booking the less the chance of the upgrade. A hotel can easily upgrade you for a night but more than 2 and you’re pushing it.

Get your hopes up - As mentioned above the problem with getting an upgrade once is that you want/expect it every time you stay at a hotel. Be realistic or learn to cough up more dough.

Play inspector - Ok few people would be stupid enough to pull this one off but I’ve heard plenty of stories of this happening. Two fundamental flaws here, one is that hotel inspectors/reviewers want to remain as anonymous as possible and two, they want to experience the hotel as the run of the mill guest would, which would be in the most bog standard room possible.

Lie - Firstly chances are you’re not very good at it and secondly the person you’re lying to has probably heard them all. One story that sticks with me is the chap who told the receptionist he was there as a special treat for his wife’s birthday. This worked until the hotel took a copy of her passport.....

Written by Paul Moynihan, Director of If you require a venue anywhere in the UK for an event then submit a free enquiry to venues in that area saving yourself time and money.