9 Secrets to Scoring a Hotel Upgrade

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Scoring a hotel upgrade can be fairly easy. Upgrades do not necessarily have to mean larger rooms; they can also include things like better views, bigger beds, or quieter areas in the hotel. The first step is asking hotel staff if any upgrades are available—many travelers forget to do so. You'll never know what kind of upgrade you can score until you ask! Here are nine more tips to scoring hotel upgrades:

1. Join a hotel loyalty program. Most programs are free and members get upgrades and other cool perks. Hotels often give special treatment to repeat customers, so let staff know at the time of reservation that you're a loyal customer.

2. Travel off-season. Guests have a better chance of scoring an upgrade when hotels aren't at full capacity.


The Weakening of Hotel Loyalty Programs and What It Means For You

(Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts)

Loyalty may still have its privileges, but these days they're fewer and farther between.

After a surge of attention-grabbing enrichments to hotel frequent-guest programs that reached a peak during the depths of the Great Recession, major hospitality companies like Hilton and Marriott—who seized the moment as an opportunity to bring new brand loyalists into the fold, a smart strategy during a brutal downturn—are not-so-gently putting the brakes on the benefit train.

Frequent travelers, it seems, will simply have to come to terms with the fact that while companies appreciate and want to retain their loyalty, they just won't be trying as hard in the future. In addition, inflation is a factor in these programs more than it is in the general economy.

You might also like: Budget hotel chains offer more perks than ever.

And it's not as if there's anywhere to turn, really. Three companies that dominate the field—Starwood, Marriott, and Hilton—are all making sweeping changes to their programs at the same time.


Get Your Hotel to Treat You Like a VIP—For Free

Hotel loyalty programs have certainly evolved since the first Holiday Inn Priority Club in 1983. They were first exclusively offered to the hotel's most-traveled and most-valued guests. Nowadays, it's easier than ever to take advantage of free loyalty programs. Many hotel chains have begun offering these programs in an attempt to seal customer allegiance. Without signing their lives away, guests can now enroll and enjoy special benefits and rewards.