There are tried and tested, nearly sure fire ways to get an upgrade at hotels all around the world. There are also tried and tested ways to make yourself look like an idiot hoping for one. Assuming you’d prefer a room with a view to standing in a lobby, doing your best face palm impression- give one of these tips a try, for maximum upgrade success. Hey, even some free breakfast can be an upgrade…

Get Smart

Not into the tips above? Sometimes, it’s not where you book- but how you book. Many top hotels offer upgrades or perks for booking direct these days, while programs like American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, Visa and Mastercard Luxury Hotels and others will guarantee complimentary upgrades and other benefits, just for booking with them. Intrigued? Find out more here.

Get In Touch

Don’t you love it when friends get in touch to let you know how excited they are to see you?Emailing or calling a hotel, or better yet- the hotel’s general manager, in advance of your stay to mention your excitement, the things you’ve seen on TripAdvisor and any other useful information- like “first time” in the location starts things off on a great foot. An “anything you can do” to make our stay memorable goes a long way. If you are celebrating something- even a a negative life moment, let them know.

Get Elite

This may sound lofty for lots of travelers, but elite status is easier than ever to achieve. Almost every hotel brand offers elite status just by carrying their credit card. Other programs offer nearly top tier elite status, with room upgrades and free breakfast through special sign up offers. Hotels will always prioritize available upgrades in favor of loyalty members, and since it’s so easy to attain some kind of status, and then match it to others, this is a great jump in the upgrade line.

Get Kind

Kindness and generosity go a long way in life. Hearing people complain about early check in not being available, and the countless other guest issues-grates on a hotel reservationist. Bringing a smile, a small gift, such as chocolates, and in some locations where it feels natural (like Vegas) a $50 along, is sure to help in the eternal quest for a better room. Start with being polite, making eye contact and asking the simple courtesy of “how is your day?’. It matters, a lot.

Get Specific

Happiness in life is often about managing expectations and being direct with your wishes. While it’s certainly a bit forward, getting in touch to mention what specifically you’re hoping for can go a long way. You may occasionally pay something, but you’ll often get a lot more. Emailing a general manager or hotel to say “my partner told me all they wants is a view of Fifth Avenue” or “wouldn’t it be cool to have rose petals on the bed” can ensure satisfaction, whether it’s completely free or not.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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21 Comments

    1. You have a lovely day Jon. And what particularly is misleading about this title? I am oh so very curious 🙄? Thanks as always for making the time to put others down over the internet.

    1. Telling people to save their money or eat vegetables is hardly original. Seems to be working out just fine. I find it highly ironic that you keep showing up if you think everything is so sh*t. I’ll take the money though, so thanks.

  1. Well, let’s see. It is click bait because it isn’t true. You can do all the things above and not get upgraded…most of the time. Saying you’ll get upgraded almost every time by doing a handful of the most obvious things that all frequent travelers already do? Yeah, that’s a bit disingenuous.

    1. As we mention- an upgrade can be many things. A one category room upgrade is an upgrade. A free breakfast is an upgrade, a half bottle of wine is an upgrade. When a hotel is not at capacity you’d be unlucky not to have something happen. And in fact, by following things like the booking methods and preferred agent programs, you’re guaranteed an upgrade or comp of some form in many instances. So boom.

      Also, you’re pretentious. You think because you know something, that it’s assumed everyone else does. If “all” travelers did even 1/5 of these things, staying in hotels would be vastly different. I’d wager that 80% of the traveling public has not considered at least 3 of these items. Would you counter? Just because you know something doesn’t mean others do. That’s the entire viewpoint of this blog. Somehow I never see praise or positive comments when we break stories or points uses that no one else does. I won’t hold my breath. Enjoy your Sunday. I’ll go back to enjoying mine.

  2. Kind of hitting on the final two points of yours: I worked at a hotel for about three years.

    “Please” and “Thank you” go a VERY long way.

    People who rudely demanded upgrades found themselves assigned to something completely the opposite of their smoking preference and near both the ice machine and elevators — a perfect spot for noise! (This was 20 years ago — so pre-social media, TripAdvisor, blogs, etc and we could totally get away with it)

    Folks who kindly requested upgrades usually got *something* — even if it was a better view, slightly larger room, or something we said was one of our personal favorite rooms because it was quieter than others, a celeb stayed there, whatever. It made them feel special — and, honestly, making a guest happy and seeing them excited made our day, too.

    1. Chris, all I can say is thank you. As you may have noticed, kind comments are very appreciated and an insight from an industry pro is wonderful. Cheers man.

  3. Im surprised you you left out #1 simply pay for it. What a total waste on anyones time reading this trash

    If things like this keep getting posted Im simply gonna put BA on my dont even waste my time list

    1. Ah yes, why couldn’t I delve deep into the mind to someone as special as you when crafting this. If only I had just told people to pay for it, and be rich, I could’ve received the approval from you I so deeply crave. Wouldn’t help a single person, but you’d be happy. You probably didn’t even read the paragraphs.

      Don’t, you’re already on my waste of time list- I won’t be remotely offended if I join yours. Thanks and happy Sunday.

  4. gstp please stop replying to nameless faceless internet trolls..It is beneath you lol. Keep doing ur thing, love the blog!

    1. Haha thanks! I just don’t think people should be allowed to piss on your doorstep without getting the broom. All the best and enjoy your Sunday.

  5. gstp when BA started up there were just a few bloggers, and each one usually wasnt simply repeating what the others said or posted stuff that was already well known by most readers. Heck back then Leff wasnt hawking CCs for money

    thats all changed eg IHGs PointBreaks almost every blogger posted about it like I need to see 10000 posts about the exact same item, every blogger now is mainly interested in getting as many folks to use their links to make money rather then post info that may benefit someone = banner lines that end up with posts that are much about NOTHING or simply whats already been posted 9999 times

    Bloggers feel they have to post something even as dumb as it maybe simply to post. I think(I can be wrong) that fewer posts but of substance is more important then simply posting for posting sakes. Thats why BA has fallen a very long way in the past year and has become like NY newpapers TRASH

    1. I would say above anything else- we barely ever are covering the same stuff most other BA blogs are covering. For better and worse. We gear things go be actionable first and despite a fairly large size (over 300k users per month) we don’t have financial obligations to pimp stuff. It’s why I take comments like these offensively. If you look at the site you’ll see a unique style. Even Jovi has to play living on a prayer, whether it’s his favorite or not.

  6. I’ve used all of these tips with very favorable results. Your reminders are appreciated and I believe there are many new to travel who need to learn that there are ways to make it more aspirational or at least much more pleasant. Thanks for all you do

  7. i dont frequent the sites themselves but rather view what is posted on BA. Just look at today theres everyone and their grandma posting something about 1000 Marriott pts. I understand that each blogger probably has their set of followers. My point was maybe BA needs to only post the 1st Blogger who posts about each specific topic, that way there arent 10000 posts on BA about the 1000 Marriott pts, which causes the other posts to head off to BA heaven. So looking at BAs home page there would be say 24 posts each one about something else no duplicates.

    Each Blogger can do with their own blog as they wish but BA need not post the samething over and over simply due to a different blogger posting it on their own blog. IMO it would make BA a more meaningful site as it is its become a Trash bin, unfortuantely and with Catch banners with little or no content except for hoping someone uses their link the site has become a cesspool, which is very unfortunate

  8. Why is GSTP responsible for all of Boarding Area’s content, Isaac?

    Anyway, I do actually find at least 3 of these to be *actionable* in my experience.

    2. Get in touch. Wife does this a lot (I hate doing it, so it’s on her). Multiple upgrades over the years. Almost none of our friends do this, even when we tell them that it sometimes works.

    3. Get elite. Wife is Gold SPG/Marriott. Upgraded nearly every stay this year (missed out once). Ding. We are plain members with Hilton and just got a minor upgrade at a property during a convention, something *any* of the attendees could have swung if they’d bothered to have signed up prior to coming. Their loss, our gain.

    4. Get kind. Pleasantly spoke with a front desk agent earlier this year, asked for upgrade and voila: instantly got a better room.

    So yes, it may seem obvious, but many of our friends never do this kind of stuff. Does having elite status and a pleasant attitude = upgrades almost every time? In my experience in 2017, yes.

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