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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!
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.
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?
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:
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card – Hyatt Discoverist elite status (upgrade to preferred room if available, bonus points, late check out when available)
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – Hyatt Gold elite status (upgrades when available, free breakfast, bonus points, late check out when available) – read why Hilton Gold status is the best mid-tier elite status
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card – IHG Platinum elite status (upgrades when available, bonus points, late check out when available)
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. 🙂
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:
- The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
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?