Question Of The Week – How To Get Hotel Upgrades Via Status

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Question Of The Week – How To Get Hotel Upgrades Via Status
Photo courtesy of Marriott Hotels

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.

The Question

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:

  1. How can we increase our chances for an upgrade without paying (using suite upgrade certificates, more points, etc.)?
  2. 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.

Be Loyal

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.

Be Friendly

“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.

Question Of The Week – How To Get Hotel Upgrades Via Status - Check Their App

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.

Remain Friendly

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.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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9 COMMENTS

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9 COMMENTS

  1. I too am Lifetime Titanium. If it is just me travelling I don’t really care what they give me. However, if my wife is with me, I want the best they have. She is the one that stayed home with the kids, too kids to practice, and played single parent alot during my career. When Marriott and others devalue a program, they are hurting my wife. When we don’t get what is promised, they are hurting my wife. She is the one that sacrificed so much and she is the one that they should look out after. Both of us are Diamond and about to be Globalist.

  2. Tip #1 GMs are already on to people who are zero profit to the hotel brand yet email them for freebies. Their inbox are not typically flooded with them daily. Reason: bloggers encouraging every, 1 trip per year, soccer mom to email a GM for a handout. For the love of god just stop…. really. You’ve pretty much burned the entire thing down for everyone.

    • This is not at all what we recommend on our site and is unrelated to the article. I also agree it’s bad advice. I think maybe you saw the title and didn’t read the article?

  3. A good friend of mine once told me that the nicest upgrade you will ever receive will correspond with your shortest stay. I once flew to Brussels for a work trip. Arrived at the Hilton GP. Had reserved a non smoking room (yep…remember those days?). Had Diamond with Hilton at the time. It was about 11pm. Went to the room…it was a smoking room. Went back to front desk, politely given another room,,,went to room…it was a smoking room. Went back to front desk. Ask for duty manager. Explained that I was very tired, having arrived from the USA and had to leave the next am by 0630 to catch a train for a meeting. Was only going to be there one night. He said, come with me. We went to a new floor, down a very long corridor where at the end, he opened two double doors to the Presidential suite. Biggest room (s) I have ever been in my life. Hell, the bathroom area was bigger than most hotel suites, let alone the living room area, etc..you get the picture. I was too exhausted to fully appreciate the room. Crashed, alarm arrived at 0530 like a slap in the head and I was out the door by 0600. Nicest, biggest room for about a 6 hour stay…..the point is the shorter the stay and the closer to the weekend, the better the chances for an upgrade,, no matter what the app says!

    • I have also wondered if they don’t mind a 2-night upgrade but are hesitant to give it on 7+ nights, because maybe someone will buy that room 4 nights from now. Good question.

      • Oh yes, I’ve experienced this many times during my stays. I tend to get better upgrades when I’m only staying for 1 or 2 nights. Even if I am staying longer, I always ask the staff if it’s possible to get an upgrade in the last 2 or 3 days of my stay and that I was more than happy to move. I’ve done that several times and enjoyed bigger suites at the end of my vacation.

  4. Many times for business purposes hotel don’t give out upgrades, especially for multi-night stays, since they hope to sell them (or have someone with a reservation elect to pay for the upgrade which is an option with many chains).

    I am lifetime Titanium w Marriott and Diamond w Hilton. Many times when I check in they mention I have been upgraded to a suite. If nothing is said I do ask if any upgrades are available but if they say no I leave it at that and enjoy my stay. You should never assume you are entitled to an upgrade unless it is confirmed in advance.

    • Honest question: the program terms say you are entitled to an upgrade, so why wouldn’t you assume you are entitled to one?

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