11 of the best ways to score a hotel upgrade

Hands up if you want to check-in to the superior room.

Something that can really make a holiday is finding yourself at the check-in counter of your hotel being handed a key to a much more luxe abode than you may have originally booked.

What are the secrets to unlocking this perk? While we don’t have a hard and fast answer for you, we do have a couple of pointers that can help increase your chances of securing a hotel upgrade.

Bon voyage!

How to get a hotel upgrade

1. Be part of the program: Some hotel chains offer membership programs that provide you with benefits for frequent stays, including upgrades.

    • Anantara Privilege member: Special members-only rates apply to Privilege members. Upgrade your status to receive complimentary room upgrades.
    • LeClub Accor Hotels member:Get discounts, free nights with points earned and upgrades when you obtain Gold status.
    • Hilton HHonors member: Once you reach Gold Status (20 stays or 40 nights) you can tap into complimentary upgrade options.
    • IHG Rewards club member:Holiday Inn IHG members can earn points that they can then redeem for bonus rewards nights.
    • My Millennium member: The Millennium and Copthorne memberships grant you access to complimentary stays and discounts. Upgrade to Elite status to receive two upgrades per membership year.
    • MyOaks member:While no upgrades are available for MyOaks members, you can still earn points for member deals and discounts.
    • Marriott Rewards member: Stay four consecutive nights and get the fifth free. The more you upgrade in status, the bigger the benefit.
    • Starwood Preferred Guest member: Earn points through stays and shopping that you can then spend on various items including flights. Stay three consecutive nights and get the fourth free. Upgrades come when you obtain Gold Status.
    • TFE Hotels eClub: Sign up to the TFE Hotels eClub for 10% off member stays at hotels like Adina and Vibe. No upgrades available.
    • Hyatt Gold Passport members: Earn points for every dollar you spend and receive nights for free. Upgraded membership status can get you free upgrades.
    • Hotels.com Rewards member:One free night for every 10 nights stayed. No upgrades available.
    • Qantas Frequent Flyer members:Clock up points when you stay at eligible hotels. You can later exchange these for stays.

2. Get the right credit card: Many hotels offer credit cards that automatically make you eligible for an upgrade. Hilton’s Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card automatically grants you gold status, as does the Hyatt Credit Card.

3. Tell the staff that it’s a special occasion: When checking in, sneakily drop in that you’re celebrating something. Could be a birthday, could be an engagement; whatever it is, it should be something worthy of a better room. Even if you don’t score that upgrade, you might get a free bottle of Champers out of it.

4. Ask for it but be nice about it: The worst they can do is say no, and the hotel staff will appreciate that you are being polite about it. Don’t make a fuss if they say no and don’t ask for the upgrade when other guests are around.

On that note, make a request for a specific room and don’t aim too high. Bumping yourself from a standard room to the Presidential Suite is probably not going to happen, but asking for a superior room might be possible.

5. Say something nice about the staff: When you’re at the hotel, be polite and leave good feedback for the staff. Got a bit of social media influence? Use it by sharing your love for the hotel online. The hotel will remember the praise and if you return, they may upgrade you automatically because of it.

6. Book a new hotel: New hotels don’t yet have the reviews to prove that they’re worth their salt, so they may be more likely to yield to an upgrade request to please you, especially if they have rooms to spare.


7. Book through the hotel: It’s true that booking through websites like Booking.com and Hotels.com can have the benefits of a slightly cheaper rate, but booking through these sites means that the hotel has to pay them a commission. The hotel also doesn’t receive your personal details prior to your arrival. By booking direct you’re suggesting loyalty to the brand itself, which can increase your chances of an upgrade.

8. Arrive late rather than early: The afternoon to early evening is a non-peak time at the check-in desk, meaning they won’t be rushed when taking care of you. It also means the staff will have better knowledge of what rooms are available for the evening. It might not align with your flight but it might align with an upgrade.

9. Stay just one night: Shorter stays are more likely to get an upgrade as premium rooms may be filled the following days or have the potential to be filled.

10. Pay the price: Booking the cheapest room or getting a discounted room is probably not going to win you any favours. Be willing to pay an uncancellable full rate to prove that you’re serious about staying at the hotel. Brand loyalty is everything.

11. Make a complaint - but only if it’s justified. If there’s something wrong with your current room, return to the counter and let them know. The hotel staff are there to make your stay a good one, so if a plug isn’t working or the toilet doesn’t flush properly, bring it up. They’d rather address the problem then and there than have you complain later. If it’s something that can’t be fixed, they’ll likely bump you to another room (hopefully an upgraded one).

Hotel memberships and deals that could help you score an upgrade

Latest hotel offers:

Up to 30% off hotels in Japan

Sample stays include Hotel Monterey Kobe from $69 per night, Okayama Koraku Hotel from $85 and more.

Global Hotel Sale: Up to 40% off

Valid on stays between 6 March - 4 June 2017.

Up to 25% off on Hotelopia, Las Vegas, USA

Book now and enjoy up to 25% off at Hotelopia, Las Vegas, USA. Valid for stays between 10 April to 13 April 2017. T&Cs apply.

Singapore accommodation from SGD$208: Easter promo

Valid for stays between 7 April to 16 April 2017. Hotel inclusions are complimentary internet access, complimentary upgrade to executive room, complimentary daily in-room mini bar amenities and complimentary international buffet breakfast up to two persons.

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Up to 15% off Europe and Middle East hotels

Valid on stays booked in at least 14 days in advance until 31 December 2017. Includes free Wi-Fi and extra 15% discount for My Millennium Members.

Up to 20% off advance bookings

Valid on bookings at select hotels until 31 October.

Free airport transfers

Valid with select bookings at Citin Pratunam Hotel Bangkok and Citin Hotel Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur.

Free room upgrades

Valid on stays until 31 December at select Compass Collection hotels including the Admiral Premier Bangkok and The Continent Hotel Bangkok.

Up to 47% off - Tower Club and State Tower at lebua, Bangkok, Thailand

Enjoy the "Early Easter Offer" at Tower Club and State Tower and get up to 47% off on room with Internet or room with breakfast. Valid on stays between 11 March to 30 April 2017. T&Cs apply.

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Save up to 25% on Sydney hotels

Get up to 25% with these Flaming Hot Deals at Wotif. They're constantly updated, so get in quick!

Save up to GBP£200 per person + GBP£150 of reward vouchers

Save up to GBP£200 per person on selected holidays and receive GBP£150 in vouchers per couple for their next holiday/flight at Canadian Affair. T&Cs apply.

$20 off vacation rentals worldwide

Simply use the code to get $20 off vacation rentals worldwide at Roomorama.

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Kids eat free on Oaks Oasis Resort

Book 2 nights or more in an Executive Family room and kids 12 years old and under eat free for all meals. Also included are 2 breakfasts for the adults. Not valid for poolside dining. Conditions apply.

Hotels from $57: Global Wanderlust Sale

Sample rates include Phuket for $57 per room, Bangkok for $65 per room, Kuala Lumpur for $80 per room and more. Other Destinations include Ho Chi Minh City, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Port Douglas, Sydney etc.

30% off booking fee: Last week sale

Simply use the code to get 30% off your booking fees at Roomorama.

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Up to 20% off rooms

Valid on stays until May 2017. Book cheap rooms from US$129, down from US$161, during the Vegas Vacation Sale.

30% off booking fee: Last Week Sale

Simply use the code to get 30% off booking fee at Roomorama. Conditions apply.

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Up to 20% off stays

Valid on advance bookings at participating hotels in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas only and is subject to availability. Most hotels define advanced bookings as one month in advance. Subject to change. See site for details.

10% off London hotels + £10 hotel credit

Valid for stays until 31 December 2017. Hotels included Millennium Hotel London Mayfair, Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington and more.

Up to 25% off stays + free breakfast

Valid on stays until 31 March 2017 at Thistle Trafalgar Square - The Royal Trafalgar and until 28 February 2017 at Thistle Hyde Park and Thistle City Barbican.

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Up to 25% off Paris hotels + 15% loyalty discount: Lowest Rate Offer

Valid for stays until 31 December 2017.

Bangkok rooms from $15

Valid for stays until 31 March 2017. Sample accommodation includes Grand Pinnacle Suvarnabhumi from $18, Nantra Akamai Hotel from $20 and more.

Up to 15% off stays

Valid at select hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and subject to availability. Sample destinations include Dublin, Glasgow, Bristol, London, Helsinki, Stockholm, Vienna, Brussels, Paris, Lyon, Amsterdam, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Doha, Muscat, Kuwait, Beirut.

Madrid hotels from $45

Valid on stays until 31 March 2017. Sample accommodation includes Hostal Jacinto from $34, MC Villa de Pinto from $39 and more.

Cape Town-Garden Route, South Africa hotels from $46

Valid on stays until 31 March 2017. Sample accommodation includes The Russel Hotel from $35, Hotel Portao Diaz from $39 and more.

5% off The Big Sleep Hotel Cardiff

Get 5% off on The Big Sleep Hotel Cardiff at Compass Hospitality, UK. Valid on stays until 31 December 2017. T&Cs apply.

20% off with free dining credit at Dusit Thani Hua Hin

Valid for stays until 31 March 2017. Conditions Apply

Up to 30% off suites at dusitD2 Chiang Mai

Valid for stays until 31 December 2017.Conditions Apply

Melbourne hotels from $63

Valid on select dates. Sample rate available on stays at the 4-star Great Southern hotel for $63. Other rates include the 4-star Best Western Atlantis from $98 per night and Travelodge Docklands for $106 per night.

Save up to 20% at Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket

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5% off vacation rentals worldwide

Enjoy 5% off vacation rentals worldwide when you use the code at checkout.

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Up to 25% off: Al Baleed Resort Salalah

Take advantage of stay longer special and get up to 25% off accommodations at Al Baleed Resort Salalah, Oman. T&Cs apply.

Up to 15% off 5-star London Hotel

Get up to 15% off hotel bookings at The Milestone Hotel. Includes overnight UK accommodation and complimentary full English breakfast for two. Discount applies only to room rate. Excludes any additional charges made. T&Cs apply.

Up to 25% off Anantara hotels

Choose the perfect Anantara destination and plan an amazing getaway in advance and enjoy savings of up to 25% on Anantara Hotels. Conditions apply.

4-night Hamilton Island stays with breakfast from $1480

Valid on stays within 72 hours of booking. Sample stays include Garden View Rooms for $135 per person, per night including return transfers from Airlie Beach, use of equipment at the hotel, Wi-Fi access and island shuttle service.

Last-minute stays from $135

Valid on stays within 72 hours of booking by people living in Port Douglas and Gladstone. Sample stays include Garden View Rooms for $135 per person, per night including return transfers from Airlie Beach, use of equipment at the hotel, Wi-Fi access and island shuttle service.

Hotel rooms from $89: Green Season Sale

Participating hotels include Oaks Cable Beach Sanctuary, Oaks Lagoons and Oaks Elan Darwin. T&Cs apply

10% off + free return airport transfer: Swiss-Belinn Legian, Bali, Indonesia

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10% off flexi rate + free beer bucket: Swiss-Belinn Legian, Bali, Indonesia

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Save up to £20 off your stay

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Save up to 25% on advance bookings

Book a stay at an Ibis property at least 30 days in advance and save up to 25%.

Save up to 30% with Agoda Insider Deals

Sign up as an Agoda member for access to special deals and discounts.

38% off Swiss-Belhotel International, Segara, Indonesia

Enjoy 38% off flexi rate at Swiss-Belhotel Segara, Bali with special benefits. Includes late check out until 6pm - free one way airport transfer (drop off from hotel to airport, daily breakfast and more. Minimum stays 5 nights. Conditions apply.

Book in advance and save 25%

Make a reservation for a Novotel property at least 30 days in advance and save up to 25% on the regular price.

Save 25% off your stay at select NSW hotels

Book a stay at the Mercure Penrith, Mercure Sydney International Airport or Mercure Sydney Parramatta at least 30 days in advance and save.

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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