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Want a free hotel room upgrade? Here’s how to get it

These secrets to getting a free hotel room upgrade can take your trip from ordinary to extraordinary in a matter of minutes. 

Destination trips and vacations typically put a dent in your bank account, so the sound of the word “free” is no doubt a welcome one when it comes to an upcoming journey. While certain things that come free aren’t always wise to dabble in, a free hotel room upgrade is sweet music to any and every traveler’s ears. Space, luxury, and breathing room are always appreciated in a home away from home; free hotel room upgrades can ease the trip and make it more pleasurable in ways you never expected. So what’s the secret? How exactly do you get a free room upgrade?

Photo: Getty Images

A room upgrade can often include more perks than one can count. From king-size beds to walk-in closets, standalone tubs, separate showers, floor-to-ceiling windows, and butler accommodations— you name it, and the reasons to vie for the upgrade are endless. But as the saying goes, “ask and ye shall receive”—and hotel room upgrades are no different. While this is not a guarantee you’ll score a king-size bed or room with a view, simply asking may be enough to snag you a top-tier room at your hotel. But if push comes to shove and the question isn’t an automatic shoo-in, try the tips and tricks below to potentially grant your wishes of a free hotel room upgrade. 

Ask for a corner room

One of the oldest tricks in the book is asking for a corner room at a hotel—it’s a sure way to receive a spacious room. While this is not technically considered a room upgrade, due to the way hotels are built, corner rooms usually have more square feet than a regular room. That extra space may result in the room having a little something extra, even while not being classified as a fancier suite. 

Join a loyalty/rewards program

One thing is for certain: it is a hotel’s staff’s job to make guests so happy with their stay they become repeat clients and loyal members. That’s where the whole idea of the now-common loyalty reward program started. When signing up for hotel loyalty programs, there are often incentives that may include extra points towards a free upgrade, or an automatic free room upgrade as a reward for the initial sign-up. Look into this option with the staff of your hotel— and be sure to be super kind.

Celebrate a special occasion at the hotel

When a special event such as a wedding, anniversary, or birthday is being held at a hotel, the staff is already committed to assuring you have an absolutely fabulous time. So if you celebrate one of these events at a hotel and prepare well ahead of time, it is very likely your room will be upgraded for free. 

Travel during off-season

When a hotel has a high occupancy rate, there is little they can do about room upgrades that are not properly booked. However, if you opt to travel during the off-season, hotels typically have low occupancy rates during those times, giving them more leeway to offer free room upgrades. Therefore, travel to one of your favorite hotels during an off-season week to get the best stay. 

Ask the hotel manager for a room upgrade

It’s always a good idea to try and establish a relationship with the executive on the floor, which would be the hotel manager. Over the phone or at check-in, ask to speak with the manager and give context as to why you would like a room upgrade. Most of the time, if they have the rooms available, they will have no problem accommodating this request.

Noel Cymone Walker is an NYC-based writer specializing in beauty, fashion, music, travel, and cultural anthropology. She has written and produced visuals for several notable publications such as The Recording Academy/The Grammys, The Fader, Billboard, OkayPlayer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Allure, Essence, Ebony, and more.

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