Hotel front desk clerks tend to know every detail about their place of employment, and they literally hold the keys to the best rooms. Most front desk clerks have the authority to give guests free upgrades or amenities. How can you get one for yourself? No one can guarantee a hotel upgrade, but there are some steps you can take to make it more likely. 


It sounds simple, and it is. Ask politely, using your very best manners, and you might be rewarded with what you want. Don't pretend it's your birthday or your anniversary when it's not, and don't invent problems with your room so you have something to complain about. 

The most important thing is to be nice. No one is going to do you any favors if you are trying to be intimidating. Smile, ask nicely if there are any upgrades available and say thank you no matter what response you get. 

Be Loyal

Hotels are businesses, and they rely on satisfied customers returning again and again. Popular travel site Travelzoo, recommends you join the hotel chain's loyalty program and use their brand credit card if you have it. This is particularly useful if you travel often. Create a relationship by staying at the same chain or the same hotel whenever possible, and it will pay off. 

Have Perfect Timing

Amy Chan of the Huffington Post Travel section suggests you shoot for a late afternoon or early evening check-in. She points out that hotel front desk employees may not know early in the day how many rooms will be available. As people begin to show up for their reservations, the clerk has a better idea of what she can offer. 

Don't Be Cheap

Take the advice of travel blogger, Lola of Where in the World is Lola?, and book a mid-range hotel room. She says that hotels are not as likely to upgrade you more than one level. If you start in the middle, you could end up at the top. 

Try a Tip

"Don't be afraid to give your hotel desk clerk a little extra incentive to do all he can for you", says veteran hotel employee Jacob Tomsky. He says you shouldn't feel funny about tipping and that most hotel employees will be thrilled with the gesture. Tip $20 at a typical hotel and $50 at a fancier place. 

Remember that a good attitude and discretion are your top priorities when you are looking for favors. Ask for an upgrade out of ear shot of other guests, and always keep a smile on your face and gratitude in your words.