Several years ago, I began a cross-country trip in San Francisco, where I’d booked a night at the Marriott through Priceline for something like $85. But because I’d arrived so late in the evening, the only room left for me wasn’t the windowless heck-hole next to the ice machine I would usually expect, but a deluxe room with a sweeping view of the city. Little did I know I’d inadvertently followed one of Travel + Leisure’s tips for hotel upgrades.
Without further ado, here are some highlights from the list T+L put together for CNN.com:
1. Go where there are empty rooms:
These days, certain destinations with high room counts have had lower occupancy rates: Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Hawaii and Orlando are among the cities T+L suggests. Also, try the resorts in the off- and shoulder seasons.
2. Book the right way:
Try using a travel agent who’s affiliated with a network such as Virtuoso or Ensemble Travel. They can sometimes get you bumped up to the next room category.
3. Go standby:
Hilton and Hyatt are among the hotel chains that allow customers to pay a nominal fee to get on a standby list for space-available upgrades.
4. Be card savvy:
There are many credit cards affiliated with hotels that can earn you upgrades. Additionally, T+L points out that booking with an American Express Centurion or Platinum card can get you a better room — but then again, T+L is owned by American Express, so take that with a grain of salt.
5. Check in later:
The later you check in after noon, the better your chances for securing an upgrade, especially if you’re staying only one night. Plus, it’s more likely that housekeeping has turned over rooms.
6. Be loyal:
If you’re a frequent travel, many chains ofter loyalty programs. So be sure to sign up and use your member number ever time you book to earn your way to an upgrade.
As always with these lists, there are likely to be glaring omissions or items on the list you disagree with. Tell us all about it below!
7 strategies for hotel upgrades [CNN.com]