As we know firsthand here at Oyster, not all hotel rooms are created equal. It's been a longstanding part of the industry that hotels and resorts, at their discretion, can offer guests a hotel room upgrade. However, talking your way into a hotel upgrade requires a lot more than an extra dose of charm as you approach the front desk - and, as it turns out, getting an upgrade is more of an art than a science.
While no one is outright entitled to a hotel room upgrade, at the end of the day, "It's in (hotels') interests to give you the upgrade and take the best possible care of you and create a memory," says Alex Miller, CEO of Upgraded Points. But there are definitely right ways and wrong ways to go about nabbing that fancy room - read on for some of the biggest myths about hotel upgrades, plus how to actually score one.
Hotel Room Upgrade Myth: Celebrating a special occasion is a sure-fire way to get an upgrade.
If you're planning a special trip or staycation to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon, it might seem like a good idea to see if you can get a hotel room upgrade. After all, it's a festive celebration, and chances are, the hotel has some empty suites anyway. Right? Maybe.
"The bottom line is that hotels want to take care of people who are celebrating," says Miller. "The nicer (in terms of luxuriousness) the hotel, the more likely they will give a hotel room upgrade." He gives the example of a mid-range hotel, where there's just not much available for guests to upgrade to in terms of fancier room types and plush amenities.
However, as former flight attendant Philip Weiss told Oyster.com, don't expect an upgrade just because you say you're celebrating. Instead, it's likely the hotel might just turn the tables: "The hotel staff will likely try to upsell you on that overpriced 'romantic' suite with full-hotel amenities included."
Should something go very wrong during your stay, though, definitely inquire about bumping your quarters up a bit. "The only real way to get a hotel room upgrade is if something is broken in the room you paid for or you suffered some traumatic experience or personal loss during your stay," Weiss says. "I have heard of this happening to a friend that came back to their hotel room at 2 A.M. to find that it had been double-rented and there were strangers sleeping in their bed. They got a lot more than a room upgrade."
Hotel Room Upgrade Myth: It's easier to get an upgrade if you're only spending one night.
Au contraire. Even though you might think it makes more sense for a hotel to grant an upgrade request if you're staying just one night - given it loses less money on not having a paying guest take the fancy room - those who are staying for multiple nights might actually have a better chance of getting upgrade.
Why? Think about the services a hotel offers in addition to rooms. Is the hotel or resort known for its spa? Bar? Restaurant? Chances are, the longer you stay, the longer you'll be spending money on those amenities, which more than makes up for the comped room upgrade.