Consumer Alert: Tips and tricks for getting a hotel upgrade

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This consumer alert takes a look at the view from the suite! If you’re traveling this summer, you likely booked a hotel. So I’ve been researching how to get a hotel upgrade. I’ve been reading a travel website called View From The Wing. And the writer, Gary Leff, points out that nearly everyone who books a room at a hotel books at the base rate. That means there are almost always suites available. And if they’re going to upgrade someone, it might as well be you.

Many hotels have something called E-Standby upgrades. After you book the hotel, but before you check in, you can call them and say you’d be willing to pay a few bucks more, but less than the going rate for an upgrade. So if the suite is available when you check in, you’re more likely to get that upgrade for just a little more cash. Also, if you’re using points for a room, most chains will allow you to use more points for a better room. But Leff says the best way to get an upgrade doesn’t cost a dime.

“You can just be nice,” said Leff. “The check-in clerk at the hotel is the most powerful person that you’re going to interact with when you arrive on property. You may arrive after a very long trip. You may see them as somebody just handling paperwork. But they may be deciding what room you get. Now. You may be already allocated to a room, but they can ask permission to move you, or may be able to move you themselves.”

You should also ask the clerk about resort fees. Many hotels charge for use of the pool, spa, exercise facilities, even the Wi-Fi. If you’re not planning to use those amenities, nicely ask the clerk if he or she will consider waiving those fees.

Might you be traveling with the kids? Some hotels offer kid-friendly perks like board games or pool toys. It doesn’t hurt to ask. And sometimes the hotel’s shuttle not only takes folks to the airport, but also to local attractions. Again, you don’t know if you don’t ask.