How to Snag That Room Upgrade and More: Top Tips From a Hotel Expert

The holy grail: A free hotel upgrade. A hotel room at almost half off the regular price. Champagne on the house.

People all over the internet love to talk about landing free upgrades and special hotel deals, but sometimes it seems less like a science than witchcraft.

After all, it’s easy to say you’ve got a better chance of getting an upgrade if you’re celebrating a special event like an engagement, but how do you drop that hint? How do you avoid being tacky? Did you know you can actually negotiate for a hotel room price? That most hotels have amazing, unpublished rates?

We got advice straight from the source by talking to Freddie Floyd, who goes by “The Consummate Concierge” on his blog, Can You Get Me In?. Floyd has served as concierge at many high-end hotels in Houston and now works as the concierge at a hotel in Times Square in New York City.

Floyd shared his insider secrets to scoring deals at hotels—from finding secret, unpublished room rates to nabbing a free upgrade and complimentary swag.

Here’s what he told us:

Know the Hotel You’re Dealing With

If you’re planning to stay at a budget hotel like the Days Inn, you’re going to have a harder time getting an upgrade to a sweet room, because there might not be many more tiers to upgrade to. It’s helpful to learn the difference between a “hotel of necessity,” where travelers stay because they need somewhere to stay, and higher-end hotels where people go because they want a great time.

Think of this advice as falling into two buckets:

  1. Getting rooms for less
  2. Getting free perks

Almost anywhere you stay, you can try to get rooms for less. But you’re likelier to succeed at getting fun, free perks at higher-end hotels. If the hotel has a restaurant, bar and room service, it’s generally considered “full service.” If you see a lot of personnel like bell hops and a concierge, consider it a sign that our free perk tips are likely to work.

That said, here are eight tips for scoring the very room you want—and more—for less:

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  • Guy McCoy

    Thanks for the tips LV, I’ll save this article to put Floyd’s suggestions into practice.

  • Cruthunua

    Great ideas. By the way, “tip” is an acronym for “to insure promptness”, so tipping before hand was the original idea.

  • Jan Cullinane

    Be a member of their loyalty club.  We’ve been upgraded at some nice hotels without doing anything special because they know we have been loyal to them in the past.

  • Speliotisphoto

    This is great  nothing better than getting an expert advice from a professional insider
    Thank you


  • This is amazing-why people come to learnvest for advice! Yay!

  • Annie

    After my wedding, I checked in to my hotel in my wedding dress. I thought that would get me an upgrade, but it didn’t work!

  • Catherina G

    I booked a Best Western hotel online for our honeymoon and wrote in the comments when booking “so excited to stay here during our honeymoon” and they upgraded us to an absolutely ridiculous, gigantic suite.  So even the bargain hotels will try!  

  • Definitely needed these tips!

  • the international reviewer

    Although I’m suggesting to complain if it’s not working with asking. I do agree with you that you have to be nice. If you’ll complain and you will not do it politely you’re most likely to get a bad service because the employee might scared from you. You shouldn’t let them feel that you’re “Higher” than them and you should also start your complain by telling them about your good experiences in their hotel. However you should ensure to remind them few times during the conversation that the failure with the room affect on your experience and if you’ll do it right you should get the upgrade. Also don’t afraid or shame to complain. In hotels like Hilton or InterContinental it’s their job to make your stay the best, for this they are charging higher than other brands. If they didn’t provided you the service you’ve paid for (Which is a good stay) they will compensate you.  

    I’ll be happy if you can visit my blog which focusing on vacations and I also provide some tips on how to get an upgrade ;). http://the-international-reviews.blogspot.coml/

  • Mia Hart

    Thanks so much for the information. I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind during our search for Markham hotels. Thanks again!

  • Zara Whitaker


  • Gliter Jone

    The holy grail: A free hotel upgrade. A hotel room at almost half off the regular price. Champagne on the house.

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  • Eileen

    #3 is completely false! I work for a major worldwide hotel chain and my job is actually to maintain the rates available. When almost sold out the rates are high and stay high. They do not drop. The cost for maintaining a room is higher than most people think and I would rather a room go empty than discounted drastically when we are almost full. Also, if we are full, the surrounding hotels are full – I know because we call/email each other every day and share our occupancy levels. I am not going to discount a hotel room when we are the last choice to go to. It’s $300…take it or leave it.

    • Vote NO to City Prop 1

      Wow, BUZZKILL!

  • MBee

    Have to say I agree with Eileen on No.3, having worked on Front Desk and Management for 5 years, we keep our rates high when we only have a few rooms left to sell, as we can pretty much guarantee that someone will come along and pay for it, as we will have called other hotels to ensure they’re in the same position….whereas if we have lots of rooms left, some money is better than no money! Sad for the guy being asked to pay £200 on a tuesday night, but sometimes, the early bird catches the worm for £70!

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  • darcywebb4545

    I really enjoyed what you had to say about making reservations over the phone. This gives you a chance to express your expectations well ahead of time. They are way more likely to correct mistakes that could have been prevented well beforehand.

  • Benjamin

    One thing to note, the very ruin of the “go directly to the hotel to get the best price” has been the online discount sites. These were meant to fill up rooms when there were lots left and the business was needed. They turned into the go-to place to start. This means, if you call and ask for a matching rate, the choice will depend on the amount of business you bring.

    If you are staying a long time or planning to return many times, we will cut you a special deal with our sales department that includes many extras at times. We know you are returning, so matching the online rate saves us from the commission.

    If it’s a one-time stay, you will get this: “I’m sorry, but the only way to get the rates you see online are to book online. We have a contract that prohibits us from under cutting those rates.” We at the hotel will gladly lose the commission to Priceline or Expedia rather than cater to bargain-hunters.

    And don’t make a reservation for the cheapest room online and then expect to be switched to a better room. You will be hit with an upgrade charge that costs the commission plus the price difference, almost completely wiping out your savings.

    And if you do make a reservation through those pre-paid services, remember you can only cancel up to 24 hours before standard check in. After that, there is no refunds for canceling, no refunds for not showing up and no refunds for checking out early. Sometimes you might also get hit with a cancellation fee on top or lack of refund, which covers our commissions.

    And, because these sites are the first place people go to make the reservations, as there are fewer rooms left, the hotel can shut off the inventory, leaving you seeing that great price, but not letting you book it. The websites are slow to send you the confirmation or declination, so don’t try booking the rook 5 minutes, or even 1 hour, before you arrive. You might find you have no room and are stuck with the highest price for the night.