Question Of The Week – How To Get Hotel Upgrades Via Status
Our question of the week this time is about how to get hotel upgrades via status. This is one of the key perks of having elite status with a hotel program, so how do we use it? Is it guaranteed? And is there anything we can do to increase our chances of getting an upgrade on our hotel booking? We’ll examine all of these elements to understand how to get hotel upgrades via elite status.
Our question comes from Jae in our Facebook group:
Hi. Hope it hasn’t been asked already by I had a question regarding Hyatt Globalist status and getting suite upgrades. I know you can’t guarantee getting an upgrade but what’s the best strategy to get suite upgrades when not using the upgrade award? Are you able to call the hotel and ask how many suites are available on the dates you are thinking of going or use the Hyatt concierage to check availability?
Jae’s question specifically addresses Hyatt, but it can apply to every hotel loyalty program. Here are the 2 parts of Jae’s question we will address:
- How can we increase our chances for an upgrade without paying (using suite upgrade certificates, more points, etc.)?
- How can we verify what’s available for an upgrade?
Increasing Our Chances
The first sub-question is about increasing our chances to get hotel upgrades. Other than slipping some money under the counter, what can we do? There are a few things we can do to increase our odds of getting an upgrade during check in.
I mean this in 2 ways. If you’ve earned top status with a hotel program, that’s the first one. They see you as loyal and should reward you with an upgrade, if available. Additionally, loyalty to a specific hotel can help you. If you stay at the same hotel every month for business, and they know your face, this type of loyalty will also help you.
“Do you know who I am?? I’m a Diamond member!!” Congratulations, but being a jerk isn’t likely to make the hotel front desk staff eager to upgrade you. Be friendly at check-in. If you don’t receive an upgrade, politely asking with a smile why you weren’t upgraded is permitted. Different people have different levels of comfort with this, but top-tier hotel elites are entitled to upgrades. This depends on availability obviously, so you will have to ask.
Verifying What’s Available For An Upgrade
If you’re going to ask why you weren’t upgraded, it helps to know if there’s anything available. “We couldn’t upgrade you. There are no rooms available.” If the hotel tells you this, how do you know if it’s true? Search the hotel availability via their app to see what they’re selling for tonight. If they’re showing “deluxe room, mountain view” availability, you should get upgraded. “Junior suite” showing in the app as available for tonight? This question is more direct and more likely to get results. “As a Hyatt Globalist, shouldn’t I receive an upgrade? I see that you have xyz available.” Now you and the hotel are on the same page, and they need to address it. This is much better than a non-specific, general question without knowing the situation. Ask specifically for what’s available. Shawn wrote a good guide on this here.
After all of this, what if you don’t get an upgrade? The hotel, for whatever reason, says you can’t have the room you asked for. Fighting with them probably isn’t going to accomplish much. “Do you know who I am?” Yes, at this point they do know what status you have. Accept that you didn’t get an upgrade and go to your indicated hotel room. If you want, you can reach out to the hotel’s social media (this is one of the best uses of Twitter) to state your case. “I’m (status) and I know that (room) is available. Despite this, they refused to upgrade me at check-in. Can you look into this?” Even still, you might not get an upgrade. At this point, the only thing you can control is how you respond to the situation.
Final Thoughts On How To Get Hotel Upgrades
Getting a room upgrade is probably THE, if not one of, main reason people desire hotel status. Sure, you earn other perks like free breakfast and points earning at higher rates, but a room with a better view, more space, bigger bed & all the fancy stuff is the reason top-tier status is desirable. Every hotel loyalty program lists “room upgrades” as a feature of their top status levels. You should receive it at check-in, if it’s available. Different levels of status have different rules about suites being included or not in their free upgrades, so know how Hilton vs Hyatt etc. treat these, depending on your status.
That being said, it helps to know what’s available. This way, you know what you should be eligible for. If you don’t receive it, ask for it politely. At the end of the day, if you don’t get an upgrade, remain friendly and decide to make the best of it. Freaking out in the lobby likely won’t help. I say that as we enter a year where many more people than normal will have elite status, due to promotions and reduced requirements (see Hyatt info here, Marriott info here, Hilton info here & IHG info here). Suite upgrades might be a little less common for a while, especially during popular times or at popular destinations.