Today (November 14, 2014): Travel Tips for getting a hotel room upgrade WITHOUT paying for it.
I previously explained how to get the best deal at a luxury hotel. In addition, there are numerous ways to score a premium room without having to pay for the upgrade. It often requires a mix of skill, emotional intelligence and a considerable amount of luck.
Here are the 10 best travel tricks to get a hotel room upgrade. And keep in mind that I can always arrange for you a confirmed upgrade at the time of booking at the world’s most luxurious resort, Soneva Kiri.
1. Stay during the low season
Being smart about the date you purchase a room can entitle you to an upgrade, without doing any extra work. Book a room during the off-peak season when rooms are likely to be available. Leisure hotels are often fully booked over weekends; especially when there’s a big event or concert in town. On the contrary, hotels that cater to business clients have more availability during the weekend.
2. Arrive late in the afternoon
Arrive late in the afternoon — between 3pm and 5pm is ideal — when reception has a better idea of what rooms are likely to stay empty overnight (and the next days). As a result, you may just be bumped up to a more superior room.
3. Join a hotel loyalty program
Most hotel chains offer benefits for loyal customers. Joining a hotel’s loyalty program, such as Starwood Preferred Guest or Hyatt Gold Passport, may entitle you to a room upgrade, depending on the status you have attained.
4. Advocate your special occasion
Drop a special occasion such as an engagement or a birthday into the conversation. But don’t just blurt it out of nowhere and be honest about it; casually talk about it mid-chat. This way hotel teams will feel you are a genuine customer and be more inclined to go above and beyond to make sure you have a special stay.
5. Be a frequent visitor
Sometimes it’s simply a case of who you know. The more times you stay at a hotel, the more familiar you will become to hotel receptionists. Your details are often stored in the system too — so they can tell when you last visited. To make sure you are acknowledged as a frequent stayer, be friendly and get to know one or two receptionists or better yet the hotel manager, so you are recognised on your return.
6. Review your stay
Leaving a happy guest review on the likes of Trip Advisor, is one of the best ways to ensure you become known to a hotel team and it also spreads positive feedback to other potential guests. You scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours, when you return.
7. Use your manners
Manners accompanied with a smile can go a long way to make someone feel happy to help. Greet hotel team members as soon as you arrive and use your discrete charm to stand out from other guests. Hotel receptionists deal with travellers on a day-to-day basis so being that one person who made their day, with a compliment or witty line, could earn you some brownie points.
8. Try out the new kids on the block
Because so many travelers are brand loyal (cf tip no. 3), it can negatively affect recently opened hotels trying to lure new and repeat guests. When guests book at new properties that want to grow a dedicated fan base, those hotels may be more willing to offer upgrades to get people talking about their property and to get some repeat business in the future.
9. Book through Virtuoso
A Virtuoso travel advisor will not only help you to create unique journeys and explorations in every corner of the globe, but, more importantly, Virtuoso bookings come with special amenities and extra perks, such as complimentary upgrades. This is particularly true for Aman and Four Seasons resorts. All hotels were you can enjoy the Virtuoso extra perks are listed on their website.
10. Use your credit card to get a complimentary room upgrade
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a hotel-branded credit card will probably have some sort of built-in upgrade benefit. But other credit cards do the trick as well. Visa Signature cardmembership gives you access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, a network of 800+ high-end hotels around the world. Whenever you stay at these hotels and book thru Visa Signature you will get an automatic room upgrade at check-in (when available). Same is true for the more expensive American Express credit cards.