If you have read our short guide to airline upgrades, and now are interested in what types of hotel upgrades there are, well then you’ve come to the right place. Hotels offer a variety of upgrade options even on the short-term. Hence, being upgraded to a hotel is more likely than on a plane.
Let’s have a look at a few methods in which upgrades can or may occur and how you can influence that.
What type of hotel upgrades are there?
Upgrading through bed occupancy
Many hotels, especially larger chains offer their own bed occupancy program as part of their loyalty program. This does not refer to the number of people in a single bed, however, more to the number of nights slept at the hotel. This is one of the many incentives hotels use to get customers to directly book with them over their website versus a search engine. As a result, similar to frequent flyer programs, customers can accumulate bonus points and status point which can then be spent on free nights all while receiving a “multi-sleeper status” at the hotel.
If higher classrooms are available on the day of arrival, then programs such as the Hilton Honors or the IHG Rewards Club will offer status guests an automatic upgrade. The limit of the upgrade is determined by the status of the guest. These types of upgrades are very common, especially for the larger global chains.
Upgrading through payment and/or points
Early upgrades for a hotel room are also possible, similar to upgrading flights, by utilizing additional payment and/or bonus points of the hotel chain. You can often upgrade your room at the time of booking from your current room category to the next higher class for X amount.
This method of upgrading your room is especially great if you stay at a hotel with no status or you have not yet obtained a status with that specific hotel. Hence, it is the easiest and safest way to upgrade your room category without even being a member of the hotel loyalty program.
Upgrading due to irregularities
Just as in flying, irregularities at hotels also do occur. A hotel may be overbooked for any given reason or the room category you booked may have flaws upon arrival. Should these be noted at the front desk, then often you will be upgraded to a higher category without you even asking and for no additional fee.
Other irregularities include noisy neighbors or situations such as a noisy street and you have a baby. You can always ask at the front desk for a new room, and often good hotel chains will not only offer you a new room but also upgrade you, as they want you to feel comfortable as a customer so that you’ll return, hence they upgrade you to a higher category.
What method of upgrading a hotel room works best?
If you are part of a loyalty program at a hotel and have a status that includes free upgrades, then logically you will always be upgraded at least one category without you asking or even having to do anything about it. If after check-in you find out that nothing has been done in regards to that automatic upgrade that comes with your status, just ask politely. Perhaps the receptionist overlooked something. In other cases, there may no longer be any other free rooms.
Should you not have a status, however, are part of the loyalty program, then one good way of upgrading a room is by using the points you have collected along the way. Another good method is by paying. Often you’ll get a really good price after booking to upgrade to the next hotel room category.
Lastly, upon arrival should you feel or openly see that something is wrong with your room, head back to the front desk and hold a polite conversation with the receptionist noting the actual problems. This does not guarantee an upgrade as, depending on whether or not you are a loyalty program member, you may just receive the equivalent room category across the hall versus the upgrade you sought for.
Hence the safest way is to either have a status or to pay through utilizing points or cash.
Different from flight upgrades, with hotels you’ll often have a better chance of receiving an upgrade, especially if you are a loyalty program member and hold status with that specific hotel chain you may be staying at. It is easier for hotels to offer upgrades, then it is for airlines when it comes to the overall cost versus services factor.
Either way, don’t rely on upgrades to make your trip more comfortable. They happen, but if you really want to ensure a specific form of service then do your homework prior to booking.