a room with a large window
Suite at the Conrad Tokyo

Suites are more than just extra space. But hey, no one is complaining about the extra space either. Suites offer the highest floors, the best views and sometimes even complimentary access to lounges where you can eat and drink to your hearts content. There are plenty of tips on scoring any old hotel upgrade – but there’s one clever strategy for scoring upgrades to suites. Nothing is guaranteed, but if you want the best chance – tune in and put all these steps to use.

a city skyline at night
courtesy of Four Seasons Beijing.

Start With…

Book directly with the hotel, or through your favorite credit card’s booking site. Almost all Visa, Mastercard or American Express cards have special privileges like breakfast and a one category room upgrade, if available. Hotels are most likely to upgrade guests who booked directly with the hotel.

Room Category

The first key maneuver is picking the right room category. You want to look for the highest non suite room category. At many hotels the difference will be $20 per day or less. Aiming for the highest non suite room at booking means there’s only one place a hotel could put you, if they want to “upgrade” your stay. No guarantees, but this does work – often. Only do this if you’re comfortable with the difference in price between a standard room and the best non suite room. The higher you can go – the closer to a suite upgrade you’ll be.

a room with a large window
courtesy of Conrad Tokyo.

A Reason

Frequent guests snap up most of the upgrades, but not all. If you’re celebrating something, you should let the hotel know. Especially when dealing with hotels that are not major chains, you’ll find people who are eager to make your stay memorable. A first time visiting a city is a celebration and so is a birthday or any other milestone. Email the hotels reservation desk, or better yet – general manager in the weeks or days before your stay just letting them know how excited you are and what’s special about your stay. Do not specifically ask for an upgrade.

The Tip

It’s always nice to get off on a solid footing when staying at any hotel. Upgrade or not, it can never hurt to tip the person checking you in. If they have ability to upgrade you – and haven’t already, it can be a deciding factor. At the very least – it signals you are a customer who cares about the staff. Like all things: don’t expect anything, but hope for the best.

Have you scored any suite upgrades?


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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  1. How does tipping the check in agent work without looking like a “bribe”? Never done that and am confused how to go about it. Usually a tip is given for some type of service, not sure checking me into my room would qualify as a service needing a tip…

  2. How much do you tip the front desk person who checks you in? What do you say and when do you hand in them the tip? In foreign countries, do you have to tip in their currency?

  3. I have considered tipping front desk staff at first intro as demeaning and crass. Clearly it is just a bribe to do something they would not normally do or to get them to do something they should be doing anyway. Perhaps I am wrong.

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