Top 8 Ways to Score Free Hotel Upgrades

- Amy Chan, Director of Marketing at Kiwi Collection, Huffington Post blogger and 24 Hours Newspaper columnist

Sometimes, just being personable and friendly can go a long way in scoring a free hotel upgrade.  But for times when a nice smile and pleasant demeanor is not enough, here are some other tricks to try.

1. Timing – The front desk needs to know the inventory of rooms they have to work with. If you check in later, between 4-6PM, you can increase your chances because they can see the cancellations and no-shows of the day. Also, if your dates are flexible, you’ll want to avoid busy holiday times, as upgrades cannot be given if a hotel is at full occupancy.

2. Book a room in the middle price range – It doesn’t help your odds to get an upgrade if you book the cheapest room category available. Book a room that is in the mid range for better chances.

3. Ask – It doesn’t hurt to ask, and the worst thing that can happen is that you get declined.  If it’s a special occasion, it doesn’t hurt to volunteer that information either.

4. Hotel mistake? Sometimes a hotel’s mistake can work to your advantage. Perhaps your room wasn’t ready upon check-in, or there was heavy construction causing a loss of sleep – you can always address a hotel issue with the management in a nice manner and see if they will do something to compensate for the inconvenience.

5. Where you book matters –  If you’re booking a standard room, a hotel can actually give you a different room just based on the booking source the reservation was made on. Ever experience a really crappy room right by the hotel’s laundry room when booking on Expedia, only to find that your friend who booked elsewhere paid the same price but got a better room? Blame it on sheer bad luck or the booking source.

6. It’s all about relationships, baby –  It’s true, who you knows matter, and even more so if it happens to be the general manager at the hotel you’re staying at. Don’t have a connection? Benefit from the relationships that Kiwi Collection have already established with the hotels. Half the hotels offer free perks and even upgrades when available, and if you book with a premium Visa card at one of the 822 Visa properties, you get an automatic free room upgrade. Frequent Kiwi bookers can earn VIP status, which help get you that special treatment you deserve.

7. Loyalty — You’ll have better chances of a free upgrade if you are loyal to the hotel and provide repeat business. Participate in loyalty programs and start accumulating points, they are usually free to join. It doesn’t hurt at the time of reservation to let them know that you’ve stayed there before either. Hotels know that it costs a lot less to keep a repeat customer happy then it is to acquire a new one, so often they’ll give special treatment to return customers.

8. Title drop — There aren’t any guarantees, but you may find that title dropping can increase your chances of special treatment and upgrades. Hotels may want to impress you more because they know you’re an important businessperson, someone who can refer new business or have blogging or press power.

For more great ways to get a hotel upgrade, check out the full article on Huffington Post here.

  1. Thanks for the info. I’m planning a trip for holidays, and I’d like to spend them in a a Luxury hotel in Mexico.

  2. Andi says:

    Awesome tips!!!

  3. sean says:

    I was in NYC about a month ago. I had a duffel bag with me and didn’t wish to carry it around the city, so a friend suggested that I check it with a hotel that she had stayed at before. It was a very upscale place and were happy to hold on to my bag no questions asked. Later that night, around midnight or 1am, I returned with some friends and asked if I could book a room. We ended up not only getting a room for half off, but they also upgraded us to a higher level suite.

  4. amyfabulous says:


    That’s impressive that the hotel did that. It’s amazing where a little bit of customer service goes. The hotel wouldn’t have sold the room anyway, and because they stored your bag, you ended up booking there. PS – please tell me you tried Cafe Habana while in NYC!

  5. I never heard of “title drop” before but I guess that does make sense since people get intimidated by fancy titles. It will probably pay off to have a box of fake business cards printed – filled with all sorts of imaginary titles for you if you don’t have anything impressive for real.