We’ve all been there, checking into that bog standard room at reception whilst Joe Bloggs gets carted off to his penthouse suite. But what if you can harness your green eyed monster to get a free upgrade? Follow our careful tips below and try them out next time you book a hotel!
1. Careful planning is the key to winning your free upgrade. If you book into a hotel in Dublin on St Patricks Day the likelihood of bagging a free upgrade is going to be zilch. In fact, even if you were willing to pay for an upgrade, it’s very unlikely that a spare room will even be available at such a busy time of year. Your best chance of getting a free upgrade is to stay during off peak times when the hotel is unlikely to be fully booked.
2. If you’ve booked the cheapest room in the hotel, this won’t help your cause. The fact that you book the second cheapest room will increase your chances dramatically as the hotel will see you’ve opted for a specific room for the extra features, and are therefore willing to pay for them. Another key part of the booking process is your length of stay. It’s very unlikely a hotel will upgrade a guest for a whole week but if you’re staying just one night what’s the big fuss?
3. It’s all in the approach. Don’t start throwing a hissy fit the moment you walk through reception, you’ve got to play it cool or the staff will know exactly what your game plan is.
You’ve got two options when you get to your room. Firstly you can kindly ask the member of staff for a small change, eg “I don’t suppose there’s another room available with a slightly better view” or “I didn’t realise there wasn’t a bath/fridge with this room”. You’re not explicitly asking for an upgrade but you are asking for small features or amenities associated with better and more expensive rooms. If you can think of a reason why a bath or fridge is so necessary, this will no doubt help your cause. If another room is available, the member of staff will probably let you switch rooms for free.
Your second option is polite disappointment and a tear-jerking enquiry as to how much you’d have to pay should you want to be upgraded. The member of staff will undoubtedly be embarrassed the room is not as you expected, and your offer of payment may well twist their arm into a free switch- or at worse a reduced rate.
4. Be Special! If you’re only going to ask for a free upgrade once in your life, do it on a special occasion. Birthdays and anniversaries are your best bet, as everyone is going to be playing the same card on Valentines Day! Tell the hotel beforehand and if an upgrade isn’t available, the hotel is sure to leave you some welcome treats such as a complimentary drink, discount in the restaurant or late check out.
Regular customers should definitely make themselves known, drop in that you’ve recommended the hotel to friends, or exclaim at how much you enjoy your last stay here- if you can get on first name terms with the staff you’re on the right track! Regular customers equal special customers and that means special treatment! Free upgrade cough.
5. Being polite and courteous goes a long way. Those staying for more than one night have the opportunity to build up a rapport with the staff, tip the nice chap that brought your luggage to your room, compliment the lobby bartender on his expert cocktail shaking skills and tell the manager what a nice lady the receptionist is. If you put a smile on a few faces during your stay, if a better room becomes available the hotel is sure to reward you with a free upgrade.
And if all that fails, you could try booking one of our secret hotel deals – with prices discounted by up to 35% it really will feel like an upgrade.