How to get a free room upgrade

If you’ve ever been in line behind someone who has asked a hotel clerk for an upgrade, you may have noticed a couple things:

1) The person didn’t ask in an effective way

2) The person didn’t get the upgrade

It’s not enough to just flat out ask for an upgrade or even to ask for it nicely – you have to give the desk clerk a good reason to say yes. One of the most overused tricks hotel guests use when booking a room is saying they’d appreciate an upgrade because it’s their honeymoon or anniversary. Unless you show the front desk clerk the “Just Married” cans that were attached to your car or present your marriage certificate, he likely won’t believe you.

A better approach is to scale it back a notch. Walk up to the front desk clerk and say something like, “This is a special trip for us, and we’re not sure when we might be able to take such a trip again, so would you consider upgrading us to a better room if it’s available?”

You’ve done two things here. You’ve given the clerk a reason to say yes to a reason that’s totally plausible (and probably true in almost every case). And you’ve used the words “if it’s available,” which brings us to the second tip. It pays to ask while booking your room if you can be placed on a list for a free space-available upgrade. If you have no luck, ask again when you check in; sometimes, if the hotel is on the cusp of overbooking its cheaper rooms or alternately if business is slow, the front desk may upgrade you on the spot for free. Like most things, it’s all in the approach.

Image source: Mattes via Wikimedia Commons

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