It’s the pinnacle of treats. Finding your hotel, waltzing up to reception to check in to your mini-no-cat-swinging-in-here hotel room, only for the receptionist to discretely hand over the key to a suite! We’ve had quite a few free hotel upgrade happened quite a lot for David and me, so I thought I’d share a few secrets form my time.
How I’ve blagged a free hotel room upgrade
1. Be a receptionist
I spent years and years managing front desks, from iconic buildings in London to family businesses in soho. Seriously, I’ve done my time handing out access passes and catering to every annoying visitor’s need. It’s a crap job. People don’t even know you’re there until something goes wrong and by that time they’re filled with monkey-virus rage.
You have to be nice. Seriously. Act like an entitled loser, and we’ll treat you like a loser. And give you the key card that doesn’t work. And the room overlooking their aircon vents. Next to the lifts. In the basement.
The key to getting the keys to the best tables, rooms, and service is being a decent human being and treating a receptionist like one. If they like you, they’ll treat you like a king.
I cant stress this enough. Be. Nice.
2. Check in late
Once, I arrived at a hotel having just travelled from London to Bangkok, then Bangkok to Phuket. It was late when I checked in, about 8pm. As the rest of the day’s guests had already arrived, I was shown into the best suite I’ve ever seen in my life. It had a massage room. A MASSAGE ROOM. The balcony was the size of my present-day living room.
All the other guests had checked in, and I only needed it for a night anyway. All the cheaper rooms had been allocated. There was one room left… the suite. Which is point three…
3. Stay short
I’ve only ever been upgraded when stays have been under a few days. If you’re staying for more than three days, chances are you’ll have to stay in your pre-booked room. Because the chances of a guest cancelling a week in their penthouse suite with butler service is probably slim. Not impossible, but slim.
4. Loyalty points add up
Loyalty schemes help. If you love staying with Sofitel, for example, they’ll add points at every hotel you visit. They tot up after a while. It’s not instant. However they do work, and after following the steps above, you might find a discreet receptionists upgrades your room even if you don’t have all the points needed.
So these are my four tried and tested ways I’ve been upgraded before, and enjoyed the delights of free minibars, concierge service, and fluffy duvets. Have you got any tricks you’d like to share?