10 Strategies for Getting a Hotel Upgrade

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Having thoughts of staying in a hotel suite, but don't want to pay the price?

Travel guru John E. DiScala, founder of JohnnyJet.com, says when you check in at your hotel smile, be friendly and ask the front desk for an upgrade. "It never hurts to ask," he tells AOL Travel News.

But there are also strategies you can use to greatly improve your chances of being bumped up from a standard room to a suite.


Pick a low occupancy time and spot

You're more likely to get upgraded if you travel at a time when a hotel is less busy, such as in the so-called shoulder season. According to Travel +Leisure, lean economic times and low occupancy rates in some destinations - including Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Hawaii and Orlando - have also made hotels more likely to reward guests they have with upgrades.

Stay at a new property
When a hotel opens they want buzz, and just may upgrade you to get you talking positively, hoping you'll mention your suite on Facebook, Twitter and other social websites. "Anytime a new property opens, especially if it's not in a major city, they offer deals on rooms and you can get upgraded. These hotels want to get the word out," DiScala says.

Try going standby
Hyatt and Hilton both now have programs that allow you to pay for a chance at a space-available upgrade, when you make your booking, T+L reports. The fee is as low as $30.

Hype your celebration
If you are celebrating an anniversary, birthday or other occasion let the front desk know when you check in, DiScala says. They just may help you celebrate by putting you in a suite.

Pay off the bellman
DiScala says this strategy has worked for him in Vegas in particular: "It's sneaky, but show the bellman taking you to your room a 20, and ask if he has any pull to get you a better room," DiScala says.

Check in later
Don't show up at your hotel at noon. When you check in to a property later in the day you improve your chance of getting an upgrade since the hotel will know at a certain point what it isn't going to sell that night, DiScala says.

Use your cards
According to T+L, some cards such as American Express' Centurion or Platinum, will get you an upgrade at select properties, so check your program details.

Check other programs
Look at the perks of other programs you might be in for upgrade deals too. If you bank with Merrill Lynch, UBS, or HSBC, you may be able to book an upgraded Ritz-Carlton package though the banks' member benefits programs, T+L says. Business- and first-class passengers on Singapore Airlines flights, as another example, get automatic upgrades at Raffles hotels.

Be loyal to one chain
Many hotel chains upgrade customers who stay often at their properties. That's one reason you should always give your membership number when you book a chain hotel. Charging everyday purchases on a hotel-affiliated card can also earn you upgrades, T+L says.

Use a luxury travel agent
Booking with a luxury travel agent can help too, as they have connections, including through agent groups such as Virtuoso, and may be able to make a call on your behalf. Julie Klein, an agent in Boston, tells AOL Travel News that she spends much of her time letting hotels know she is sending a client and that she expects them "to be taken care of."

Photo of Raffles Hotel, Singapore, Eustaquio Santimano, flickr
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