With hotel rooms the game is pretty simple, the bigger the better. Unfortunately, bigger and better also usually means more expensive. Without spending a kings ransom I have a few very useful and actionable tips to help you live better on the road than you do at home. We’ve covered upgrades in the air, these are the best tips for scoring bigger and better rooms.

DOCUMENTING THE SPECIAL OCCASION…

A large portion of personal travel is done in celebration. Of anything. Hell, even a divorce is a celebration for some people! One of the best ways (and don’t lie) to receive a warm welcome (and upgrade) is by giving advance notice of whatever the special occasion for your visit is. Especially at higher end properties an effort is usually made to offer strawberries, champagne or an upgrade. Maybe all the above. My best tip? Don’t call. People forget and messages forget to get scribbled down. Sending an email or fax to the front desk stating your occasion and ask about any opportunities to spice up the stay. More than likely they’ll do something nice to thank you for celebrating with them.  

TURN BOOKING INTO Baller Status…

Where to book is half the battle for scoring an upgrade and VIP treatment. Some booking methods even guarantee VIP Guest status.  When you find a hotel you are in love with, I highly suggest browsing their direct booking website for any special offers or perks to encourage direct booking. Alternately, Amex, Visa Signature and MasterCard World Elite have programs which offer tremendous benefits including free nights, room upgrades and breakfast. Booking through these programs can save major money while guaranteeing perks. Don’t miss out on freebies and “baller” rooms by booking like a rookie. Comparison shop.

IF You Want A View, Ask For IT!

A cynic would say buy the more expensive room you cheap ****, but I’ll take the other route. Even if you’ve booked a standard room, conveying wishes or excitement about a stay either in advance or particularly at check in can be met with magical effect. Offering specific, but not greedy hopes for your room and experience can be brilliant. If I am checking into a seaside resort and knowingly booked the cheapest, parking lot facing room, mentioning that it’s my first time and I’ve really been looking forward to a view of the ocean definitely cannot hurt… 

OFF PEAK EQUALS A PEEK AT LUXURY…

If you book a hotel room during the Olympics you can all but guarantee the place is going to be packed solid. There are no upgrades when there are no free rooms, especially if you’re not paying for it. The low season is when hotels fight to survive. With less guests coming in, hotels aim to please and offer additional amenities to guests. If you are a polite traveler following the tips found in this post, you’d be unlucky not to have something good happen when checking into a mostly empty hotel. 

BENEFITS ARE A TWO WAY STREET: OFFER POINTS, MONEY OR JOKES….

Sometimes a joke is all you need to bridge the gap between your closet sized room and a palatial suite. If you haven’t been able to lock in an upgrade prior to arrival, there is nothing wrong with walking to the front desk and enquiring about the biggest rooms or suites available. Just say it’s your lucky day and you’re feeling special. They’ll likely chuckle and try to charge you something for the privilege, but many lucky folks have found that their humor or gusto did just the trick. If you lack humor or gusto, consider emailing the hotel in advance and ask about upgrade options using points or cash. If that doesn’t work, enquire again at check in. A reasonable offer can sometime be met with great result…

HOTEL CREDIT CARDS CAN HOLD A LOT OF POWER….

Hotel branded credit cards are just about everywhere these days. Not only can the points you collect from your every day purchases help make free stays a reality, the cards themselves can be the deciding factor between you and the next guy staying in the honeymoon palace. Many hotel credit cards come with complimentary elite status and a hotel is always going to attempt to make an elite customers happy before anyone without a semi precious to precious metal (silver, gold, platinum diamond) next to their name. If you have a chain you regularly stay in, it can’t hurt to see what their card can do for you. 

THE CLASSIC GREASE, A MASTERPIECE…

Though you may need a shower to get all the filth off of you, greasing a front desk agent can be a goldmine. A tip in the $20-$100 range (slipped under your credit card) is a classic move to show your appreciation for the hard job of matching drivers license names to guest names. With all jokes aside, it’s a tough job. Everyone wants something and showing that you are thoughtful and appreciative can set you a nice step above the pack. Club level, going up!

Whether in the air, on the road, at the dinner table or in your hotel room, upgrades are just plain fun. There is a definitive thrill to the mastery of successfully receiving an upgrade and no two experiences are ever the same. Join the party, use these tips and meet us for some free champagne. Make travel better.

As Always, Get in Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com