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So if you go into a hotel room, and it says “redrum” on the wall. Do I need to tell you what to do? Stephen King’s 1977 classic thriller “The Shining” changed the way we all look at hotels, especially ones far from civilization, and snowed in, and um, occupied by ghosts (or other such things).
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Not so fast: If the front desk says they don’t have any rooms available for an upgrade, there’s a chance that some might simply be rooms that are “out of service” — and you might be able to negotiate an upgrade with them. And no, this doesn’t mean you’ll be dealing with a broken shower, says TravelFreak CEO Jeremy Foster.
Miller says that the decision on a guest’s upgrade is almost always made at the front desk before they check-in, so don’t expect an upgrade day-of — although if the hotel is wide open with rooms, that may be a different story. If the hotel is tight on availability, the decision might have been made a few weeks prior. “The more time and prep they can have, the better chances you’ll have (of getting the upgrade),” says Miller. “(Asking) last-minute, as you check in, will give you the smallest chance possible.”
The best way to ask for a room upgrade is to keep things pretty open-ended — the less flexibility you give the front desk, the less flexibility they have to give you 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.
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.
“This myth links back to receiving an upgrade for celebrating a special occasion: The more you communicate ahead of time, the more likely you are to get that upgrade,” says Miller. However, he says, there are certain times of the day you might be less likely to get an upgrade.