5 simple tips on getting a hotel room upgrade

The excitement of an upcoming trip starts as soon as we start researching for a place to stay. After finally clicking "book" on what seems like a perfect room our expectations fly high - we envision a cozy quiet room with a nice view. Just like on the photos we have just scrolled through.


The reality is usually different. At the check-in you might hear "Sorry, no more rooms on the 8th floor left, only on the 2d one". Or you get a room right next to a noisy elevator or with windows facing the wall of the neighbouring house instead of the Eiffel tower, or a stinky one if you wish. We have been through it all. 


No reason to get upset. With these 5 simple tips we have been practicing for years you will get a room you've been looking for or an upgarde to an even better one. 

This is one of the easiest ways to get a better room or an upgrade. Many hotels and hotel chains have their own rewards programs. They work by the same principle as airlines miles programs. You register for a bonus card - usually free of charge - and by staying at a hotel you get points. At the end you can exchange those points for benefits like "free upgrade", "free stay" and other stuff. Clubs members usually have check in priority and better rooms saved for them. A couple of times per year members might get emails with discounts or upgrade vouchers.


We have been members of Club Carlson and Hilton Honors for quite some time now and have been upgarded many times simply showing the card at the reception.


Have a look at this blog post to see the top ten hotel loyalty programs.


It makes sense to join a club if you are a frequent traveler.

As simple as it sounds this method works wonders. That's our favorite one actually. 

If at the check-in you realise that the provided room floor is too low for your taste - simply ask for a higher one. If upon entering your room you see that it's too dark, too smelly, too noisy or just doesn' have a nice view simply call reception and ask if they can please switch it for another one. If there is not too much going on the personnel would gladly cater to your needs and mostlikely give you a couple of options to choose out of.


When staying at a hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria we entered our first room and opened the windows - there was a grey wall of a Soviet era house in front of us. After asking for another room we were presented with a room overlooking the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - the main tourist attraction of Sofia.

This one is risky, but it could be a winner too. Life is risky, right?


There are two scenarios on how this might turn out:


Scenario One.  When checking in late a hotel has no more rooms available in your booked category so they will provide you with an upgrade simply because they can't give you anything lower in standard than what you have paid for. This happened to us in Amsterdam. We have booked a twin room and upon check-in the hotel had only doubles left. We insisted on having twin beds so they gave us an upgrade to a family room with two large double beds and lots of space.

Scenario Two. When checking in late the hotel is full and there are only crappy rooms left, because the better ones were given to the other guests. This happened to us in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. We arrived late, were very tired and got the worst room in the whole hotel with a tiny window overlooking the elevator shaft, no space for luggage and a stinky one too.

If you got a room which you are not happy about and the check-in personnel doesn't want to exchange it, than you should find a good reason why you simply can't stay in it. Here are some starting poins:

  • loud aircon
  • uncomfortable mattress
  • loud neighbours
  • leaky bath tap
  • smells like smoke

It is also better to wait until the old check in crew goes home and the new one starts so you can explain them your worries and ask for assistance.

Are you celebrating your birthday? anniversary? engagement? Be sure to tell this at the reception and ask them for the best room they can offer you. Who would say "no" to a just married couple or a birthday kid, right?

This might not be exactly relevant to everybody, but what we also do is writing a letter to a hotel beforehand saying that we are bloggers and will be on our content assignment, which is true to every single bit. In this case if hotel wants to show their best sides they will offer us a good room. 



Safe travels guys and we would be happy to know your best upgrade practices - drop us a message.