Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Everyone likes getting upgrades on hotel stays, because sometimes you’ll get a better room, free food and drink, lounge access, bonus points, or other perks.
Many folks who collect miles and points get upgrades automatically because of their elite status, either from staying at a chain frequently or from having certain credit cards.
But now there’s an iOS app called HotelUpgrade, which promises upgrades at participating hotels. It’s free to use and you won’t pay anything for the extra perks and benefits you’ll get on paid hotel stays.
Does this sound too good to be true? Let’s see if it is!
How Does HotelUpgrade Work?
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can search for participating hotels. This is a new service, so there aren’t many hotels listed yet. But if you find a hotel you’re interested in, you can see what upgrades they’re offering.
HotelUpgrade says upgrades could include:
- Room type upgrades
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Complimentary gym access
- Food and beverage vouchers
- Additional loyalty bonus points
To get the upgrades, you’ll have to book directly with the hotel website (not discount sites like Hotwire or TravelPony, or online travel agencies like Orbitz or Expedia). HotelUpgrade says the more nights you book, the better the upgrades you’ll get.
After you’ve booked your stay, send your confirmation numbers to HotelUpgrade through the app or via email. They’ll automatically confirm your upgrades and guarantee they’ll be available when you arrive at the hotel, as long as you don’t modify your reservation.
Note: You’ll still get your regular perks if you have hotel elite status. You’ll also get points and stay credits towards hotel elite status.
And if for some reason the hotel is unable to provide the promised upgrades when you arrive, the terms and conditions say they have to reimburse you for the face value of the upgrades, or provide alternate accommodations.
Let’s Try It Out!
The list of cities is still quite small, and limited to the US only. I’m not sure if they plan to expand internationally or not. HotelUpgrade is still very new.
When you click on a city, you’ll get a list of hotels. By selecting the number of nights, you’ll see what upgrades are available for your length of stay. For example, there are 3 participating hotels in Atlanta. You’ll get the following upgrades on 1 to 4 night stays:
If your stay is between 5 and 9 nights, you’ll get more of the good stuff!
And stays of 10 nights or longer get the same upgrades, but with more bonus points.
Note: Upgrades vary by hotel! And I checked every city – in total there are currently 18 participating hotels. This means that your chances of finding a hotel in the city you’re visiting are EXTREMELY low. But hopefully more will be added soon.
If you find a hotel that you’ve already booked (or are going to book), click on the hotel name for more details. You can look at a map, scroll through photos, check out the hotel’s features, and review the upgrades available.
If you haven’t booked yet, click “Book This Hotel” and you’ll be taken directly to the hotel website to make your reservation.
Once you have a reservation number (or if you already have 1), scroll down to the bottom of the screen to submit it. You can click “Add” to enter additional reservation numbers (if you’re traveling with others on a different reservation).
Once you submit the upgrade request, you’ll get a confirmation on your phone.
They’ll also send an email, which you should print out and show to the agent when you check-in.
Is This a Good Deal?
Yes. But you’ll typically only get better upgrades (like suites, free breakfast, free parking, and drink vouchers) on stays of 5 nights or more. Stays of fewer nights generally only offer bonus points (but if they’re free, I’ll take them!).
If you have a paid stay coming up anyway at 1 of their participating hotels, it won’t cost you any more to use HotelUpgrade. A better room, a free drink, or bonus points are all worth the bit of extra time it takes to download the app and send in your confirmation number.
That said, folks who have elite status might already get some of these perks for free. For example, Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve cardholders get automatic Gold elite status, which gets you free internet, breakfast, bonus points on paid stays, and room upgrades if available.
You do have to book your stay through the hotel’s website, so you might end up paying more for your room compared to if you booked through a discount website. But most hotel chains have Best Rate Guarantees these days, so the prices found on their websites are usually competitive.
I’m looking forward to seeing if HotelUpgrade adds more cities and hotels. It will be a lot more useful for folks once they have a better selection.
HotelUpgrade is an iOS (Apple) app that gets you free upgrades on paid stays at a small selection of hotels in the US. But they’re new, and will hopefully add more cities and hotels soon.
You’ll get better upgrades for longer stays, including better rooms, free food and drink, and bonus points. It doesn’t cost anything, but you do have to book your stay directly through the hotel.
If you happen to have paid nights coming up at 1 of their participating hotels anyway, it’s worth downloading the app. Free perks are free perks! But many folks might already get benefits through having elite status already.
Have you used HotelUpgrade? Please share your experiences in the comments.