TPG reader question: How can I ensure a room upgrade thanks to my elite hotel status?
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Hotel elite status comes with many perks, ranging from upgrades to bonus points to free breakfast. These perks can make a massive difference, with high-tier elites getting significantly more perks than nonelites in most programs.
Generally speaking, earning elite status with many programs is relatively straightforward: Stay a minimum number of nights to hit each elite tier. Some programs also have a monetary amount tied to their top-tier levels and while others offer other pathways to elite status, including by having the right credit card.
The Amex Platinum offers complimentary status in four different hotel programmes: Gold with Hilton Honors, Gold with Marriott Bonvoy, Gold with Radisson Rewards and Gold with the Melia Rewards programme. With Hilton Gold status, you’re entitled to an 80% points bonus, space-available upgrades, complimentary breakfast, a fifth night free on award bookings, free Wi-Fi and more. And while Gold Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy programme isn’t the most valuable mid-tier status out there (we peg it at around £650), it does get you benefits like priority late checkout, upgrades to enhanced rooms when available, a 25% points bonus and a welcome gift of points.
So, if you are eligible for a room upgrade, how do you make sure you get one?
That brings us to this week’s TPG reader question of the week.
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I am Hilton Gold from my Amex Platinum card. I know you have been upgraded at times with Hilton because of your status but is this guaranteed?
How do I go about enquiring about this — can I ask them for an upgrade, or just hope for the best?Kasey, TPG reader
I’m a loyal Hilton Honors diamond member — I started as gold from my Platinum card and then earned diamond status through numerous stays in 2021. I’ve found the treatment as an elite to be consistently good each and every stay.
When it comes to room upgrades, this is always subject to availability (if the hotel is full then there are no rooms for anyone to upgrade to), but there are some trends you can expect.
You will usually be thanked for being a gold (or diamond) member at check-in and advised if you have been given a room upgrade then and there. As a gold member I’ve usually found this is only a single-category upgrade at best. For example, if I’d booked a partial ocean view this might be upgraded to a full ocean view. I have never received, and don’t expect, to be upgraded from a base room to the Presidential Suite as a gold member. If the check-in agent doesn’t mention any upgrade at check-in, I’d recommend politely asking ‘are there any gold upgrades available for Hilton Honors members today?’ or something similar.
I’ve had a pretty good success rate at good room upgrades, particularly at Hilton and Doubletree properties. My success rate at Curio Collection properties has been much lower. Also remember, basic properties like Hilton Garden Inns may only have one category of rooms, so there may not be a better room to upgrade to.
As a diamond member, you can be a bit more persistent. It’s worth checking before you arrive at the hotel if there are higher categories of rooms available, and then asking about these room types for an upgrade. You are more likely to receive a multi-category upgrade, such as to a suite as a diamond member, than a gold. Again, this is subject to availability. If you’re advised you’ve been upgraded, there’s no harm in clarifying which type of room you have been upgraded to, in order to confirm it’s actually an upgrade and not just the same room category you booked.
I would definitely recommend asking at check-in rather than waiting to get to your room — it is quite awkward to return to check-in after entering your room to complain that you haven’t received an upgrade. You’ll find it easier to have that conversation when you first arrive. I’ve also found if you check in on the Hilton Honors app prior to arrival that you will only be offered a one-category room upgrade at best so if you are hoping for something better, skip the app and have the conversation at check-in.
Featured image by Park Hyatt New York
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