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Always Ask for a Hotel Room Upgrade (The Best Hotel Credit Cards Can Help You Succeed)

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Always Ask for a Hotel Room Upgrade (The Best Hotel Credit Cards Can Help You Succeed)

Jasmin BaronAlways Ask for a Hotel Room Upgrade (The Best Hotel Credit Cards Can Help You Succeed)Million Mile Secrets Team

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Even if you have low-tier elite status with a hotel chain, it’s always worth asking for a hotel room upgrade.  You won’t get if you don’t ask, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

My family just had this experience after booking a staycation at the Hyatt Regency Rochester to use an expiring hotel credit card anniversary free night from the Chase Hyatt card (now The World Of Hyatt Credit Card).  Even though the card comes with the lowest level of Hyatt elite status (Discoverist), it was enough to get us upgraded to a junior suite – and the kids were thrilled!

Having any kind of elite status from some of the best hotel credit cards won’t hurt – so don’t be afraid to ask for a better room, even if you think an upgrade isn’t likely.  It can turn an ordinary hotel stay into something more special!

Always Ask for a Hotel Room Upgrade – You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get!  This Freshly Renovated Suite Greeted Us on Our Last Staycation

Here’s more about our experience and why you should always ask for a hotel room upgrade.

Hotel Room Upgrades Aren’t Just for Top Elite Travelers

If you’re a frequent traveler with top-tier elite status with any of the major chains, you’ll likely get upgraded to a larger room or suite if one is available, even without asking.

Otherwise, it can be hit-and-miss if you’ve got low or mid-level elite status.  Most chains say if space is available, you’ll get an upgrade to a preferred room – which could just mean, in some cases, a room on a higher floor or with a slightly better view.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking for an upgrade, even if you’ve got the lowest level of elite status (or none at all).  You can add a request at the time of booking, or nicely ask when you check in.  The worst they can say is no.

Our Experience at the Hyatt Regency Rochester

I recently used a soon-to-expire Hyatt hotel category 1 to 4 anniversary free night (which comes with The World Of Hyatt Credit Card) at the Hyatt Regency Rochester, and when I made the booking, I noted that I was traveling with my kids and requested a larger room if available.

The World of Hyatt card comes with automatic Hyatt Discoverist elite status, which gets you an “upgrade to a preferred room based on availability at check-in.”  That’s their lowest tier, and it was a busy weekend with events in Rochester, so I wasn’t holding my breath for anything special.

“Hope You Brought Snacks, Mom” 🙂

We were happily surprised at check-in when the agent let us know off the bat that we’d been upgraded to a junior suite (the award we’d booked was a standard 2 queen).  The kids were even more excited when they saw the huge, newly renovated room – complete with living area, pull-out couch, and kitchenette.

Aspirational?  Nah.  Real life win?  You bet!

I’d booked this as a mini-break for the family – the Hyatt Regency Rochester has a big indoor heated pool and hot tub, which is a nice getaway when you’re slogging through a miserable, cold East Coast winter.  While it’s not a property on many folks’ radar, we’ve always had lovely experiences at this hotel, like having overnight sleepover birthday parties for my girls.  So, although it wasn’t part of the plan, after being upgraded to a suite (with an extra pull-out couch and tons of room), the kids asked if they could have a couple of friends join us at the last minute.  Why not?

Sharing the Love – Getting Upgraded to a Suite Meant My Kids Could Invite a Couple of Pals for Swimming and Sleepover

Hyatt’s always been incredibly good to us, which is why they’re one of our very favorite chains.  At every property we’ve stayed at, they’ve always gone above and beyond to make the kids feel welcome, and this time was no exception – they even booked us a suite adjacent to the pool.  The kids especially like the Hyatt Regency Rochester because the staff treat them like little adults and include them in conversations, which goes a long way with tweens / teens.

We’ve also had wonderful experiences getting upgraded at hotels like the Hyatt Regency Chicago and Hyatt Regency Calgary, despite having booked standard rooms.

Earn Automatic Elite Status With Credit Cards

It’s far more likely you’ll get an upgrade with elite status.  And you don’t need to stay a gazillion nights with a chain to get it – several hotel credit cards offer automatic elite status that’ll increase your chances for an upgrade, including:

This 13-Year-Old Felt Like a Princess in Our Upgraded Junior Suite at the InterContinental Dublin, Thanks to IHG Platinum Status From My Credit Card and Letting the Hotel Know It Was Her Birthday

None of the cards above charge exorbitant annual fees, either – and all come with additional perks that can more than offset the annual fee.

A couple of cards (Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, for instance) come with higher-level elite status that’ll improve your chances of a fancy upgrade much further.  But these come at a luxury price.  🙂

Bottom Line

You don’t have to be a road warrior with a lot of nights under your belt or have crazy elite status to get a hotel room upgrade.  Always ask nicely for a better room when you make your reservation or when you check in – it’s worth a try, especially if you’re celebrating a special event like a birthday or anniversary.

Having elite status helps, but it’s never guaranteed.  You can get a better shot at an upgrade with automatic elite status from some of the best hotel credit cards like:

It doesn’t even have to be at a fancy resort or high-end property.  A little boost to a better room can make an ordinary stay more memorable when you get an upgrade.

What’s the best upgrade you’ve gotten just by asking?

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

  • Earn 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 total within 6 months of account opening.
  • Free nights start at 5,000 points
  • Receive 1 free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel or resort after your Cardmember anniversary
  • Earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel if you spend $15,000 during your cardmember anniversary year
  • Get automatic World of Hyatt Elite status and 5 qualifying night credits every year as long as your account is open
  • Earn 2 qualifying night credits towards tier status everytime you spend $5,000 on your card
  • Earn 9 points total for Hyatt stays - 4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels & 5 Base Points per $1 you can earn as a World of Hyatt member
  • Earn 2 Bonus Points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airlines tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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It’s been a few years, September 2017 actually. We (My husband and two daughters) were visiting Northwestern University for our daughter and arrived at the Hyatt House in Evanston around 9 am on a Wednesday. We were only staying through Saturday. I had read an article that said ALWAYS ask for an upgrade, so I did. We were upgraded from or two queen bed standard room to a fantastic suite with two queen beds, a full kitchen, a sectional with pullouts and an amazing bathroom. It was so cozy that my crew immediately went to sleep when we got to the room. This made the trip so comfortable, especially after long days of walking, exploring, getting lost on the transit and eating way too much food.

Last month we used points to stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo for 5 nights. We have the Hyatt card so discoverist status. All we told them was we were coming for our second stay. When we checked in we were upgraded to a bigger room on a higher floor. Given nightly access to “twilight hour” from 5-8 with open bar and appetizers. Then given access to the spa which I think was like $55 a person. It was an unbelievable experience.

Author

Hi Chris – That’s awesome (especially the spa)! Glad you had a memorable trip, thanks for sharing your experience.

That is a HUGE win, thank you for sharing Chris!

Great article! Good tip to put a little request in the notes when reserving. Your kids are adorable and they are going to think their travel lifestyle is quite normal, which is a great thing! Example: I suggested to my youngest high schooler that we visit Athens – we had just moved to Georgia and UGA was the targeted college and she said, “Great! I love Greece!” Haha! Oh boy. Have fun! I was also thinking that the hotel staff probably treated your kids like little adults because they probably act well-mannered from all their travels. You are a great Mom! Thanks for your wonderful tips.

Author

Hi Tessa – “Great! I love Greece!” – that is too funny!

Thanks for your kind words and for reading. 🙂