When to ask for advanced hotel upgrades?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by Maximizer, Nov 6, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    I just re-read gleff's post on scoring the best hotel upgrades, and had a recent success with confirming a suite upgrade by email directly with the property, simply by asking and having mid-tier elite status (while official program rule is space-available basis at check-in).

    However, that time I contacted them 3 days before the stay.

    I have another stay coming up in 4 weeks (at a different property) where a suite upgrade would very useful (traveling with kids). My question is, is it too early to ask for the upgrade? I figure they may be more willing to give advance confirmation closer to the stay, as they have a better idea of occupancy. But, am I somehow hurting my chances by asking now? Or do I have nothing to lose, and if they can't confirm it now I could just ask again closer in? Do you think the record might be noted with "asked for upgrade - denied"? :)

    any thoughts?
     
  2. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    so is this the new norm?

    Instead of relying on the hotel to act in my best interest based on my status I now have to work a manager to secure an upgrade?

    I'm very curious what % of travelers do this.
     
  3. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I do not know about other hotel chains but one can request upgrades at booking using the form shown below, which usually pops up after one completes a reservation. In this case, Conrad Bali, only upgrades that one pays for are available, but often there is an option to request upgrades for $0.0 on the form:
    estandby-upgrades.jpg
    However, room upgrade requests can be confirmed only at check in. Therefore, it really does not matter when one requests, since a hotel is not likely to "reserve" free a room upgrade simply because someone asked well ahead of time (except maybe for the most loyal customers). The only way to "reserve" an upgrade is to put down points or cash...
     
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  4. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Unless I have questions I almost never contact the hotel for anything.

    My success rate has been very close to 100% on the chains where I have gold status or better.
     
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  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Common sense says that if hotels start down that path, they would be asking for major headaches. I suspect that the reason the OP got a "confirmed" room upgrade before is quite likely that there was high availability, meaning that s/he could have waited until check-in and gotten it.

    Sent from my DROID4 GLOBAL using milepoint
     
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  6. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    Don't know if it's the norm, and my personal success rate is 1 of 2. Well, actually in the second case I was offered a _paid_ confirmed suite upgrade by the hotel directly (on a points stay a suite wasn't possible to reserve online). But not a bad option in the case when you need advance confirmation.

    I don't think I'll start doing this every time, abuse of this strategy might lead to bad karma. But in some cases I need a suite, and if they can't confirm one in advance they might lose my business. Why not reach out and ask what the options are? I'm not "working" anyone, not passing a $20 to the check-in agent.
     
  7. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    That's what I suspect too, hence my thinking that this makes no sense to do far out unless I want to pay for a confirmed upgrade.
     
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  8. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I fully agree with if you don't ask..., however I ask at time of check in.
    I believe this as well, I can't even imagine all the calls/emails/time if this does become practice.
    By reaching out prior to your stay and asking, you are working someone at the hotel (no matter how politely you ask). You are working your agenda.

    The hotel should have your status on hand and at time of your checkin they should take care of you per your post:
    by your contacting a mgr in advance, I get the feeling that you don't have faith in the official program rule(s). True?
     
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  9. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    That's part of the reason, and why should I trust them, the process is completely non-transparent and clearly at full discretion of check-in agent. My success rate of meaningful upgrades at check-in is somewhere above 50% but not anywhere near 100%.

    The other part is that I like certainty. I am actually willing to pay for it, too bad advanced upgrades on award stays are not part of any programs as far as I know, at least not at mid-tier, and I never make top tier.
     
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  10. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Our son and his wife are going to Paris and they reserved five nights at the newly reopened Starwood Prince des Galles - 120,000 points. I convinced them to each get the Hyatt Visa and that would give them four nights at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome - and Daddy would treat them to the last night. When the nights posted, he called for the reservation and told me there was a problem - two nights were confirmed in a Queen but the other two they only had a Twin room available.

    I redeemed the fifth night and wrote an email to the hotel, explaining I was a Diamond, I myself was coming in June and I would be very grateful if they could guarantee that all of his nights would be in a Queen - or better. Got an email back within ten hours stating that it would be their pleasure to guarantee the Queen and they will try to upgrade him when they arrive. But that's one of the classiest hotels in the world!
     
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  11. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    neither was mine with SPG despite years as a Plat (but for me personally I really didn't care as I was traveling alone)
    If you really wanted certainty, you'd pay for the suite and not play the upgrade game (which isn't paying for it).

    That said, I've got some hotel stays w/the Mrs coming up (which is really the only time I care about an upgrade) and will try the contact the mgr in advance approach.
     
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  12. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

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    Sure. Or I could play the game with several hotels and see who wins. Or get two rooms (asking in advance if they could connect them). Or go to AirBnb ;) All are legitimate options in my book.

    The problem with actually paying for the suite, of course, is that it is not usually possible on an award stay, except arranging the paid upgrade directly with the hotel. If that's what they reply with, I won't fault them for it and might take them up on the offer. Considering one right now, in fact.
     
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  13. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Your son and his wife also have 2 suite upgrades each for signing up for the Chase CC, which they could use to upgrade the 5th (paid) night to a suite, regardless.**
    **
    Correction: I just remembered that one gets the 2 suite upgrades only if one is a GP Platinum at the time of signing up for the card. Sorry...:(

    Speaking of the Chase Hyatt visa, the 2 free nights and 2 upgrades that come with it and classy hotels, I was wondering where to redeem mine by their February '14 expiration date and have settled on what seems like the perfect place by all accounts: the brand new Park Hyatt Siem Reap in the Kingdom of Cambodia!

    Park Hyatt Siem Reap.jpg

    I will redeem both free nights here, and then redeem one of the suite upgrades by booking two nights in the cheapest room and upgrading. As for the other suite upgrade, I will redeem to upgrade a 4-night stay at Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino in Manila, Philippines, about a week before I get to Siem Reap. Amazingly, there is not a single Hilton property in either city, but I will get my "fix" for HHonors by redeeming points for stays (eligible for suite upgrades) in other cities that will be part of my annual Year-end Asian Escapade(tm) :):

    2013 YE ESCAPADE.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
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  14. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I don't know how you did that but it's easily one of the best itineraries that I've seen, by far, in terms of visualizing flights and stays.

    Makes me want to start poking around with the Google maps api to have something like this for all my travels.
     
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  15. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    It is not high tech at all. I first grabbed the map of N and SE Asia from Google; then I Google-searched the hotel logos as Jpegs; finally I imported all the pieces into MS PowerPoint and put it together "digitally", as in using my digits or fingers. ;):D
     
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  16. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Impressive... yet nasty and horribly time consuming, as I'm sure you know. :)

    It gives me some ideas though... let me see what I can come up with.
     
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  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Actually, once the 'library" of images has been created and if one is proficient with PowerPoint or some other drawing utility, it is quick, quite easy and fun to produce a drawing like that one. However, it would be even better if it could be automated as much as possible, with the provision to touch up manually for a personal touch.
     
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  18. KENNECTED
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    KENNECTED Silver Member

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    I think this sucks and goes against the rules of the program. If you want a certain type of room, book it!
     
  19. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Greek to me! Good work but you are obviously a lot younger than I am!
     
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  20. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I was poking around the Google maps API between putting out fires at work and it seems doable.

    You can plot a map and add markers for the hotels and use geodesic polylines of different colors for the flights.

    Should look good, but it's going to take me being bored to put some serious effort into it. I'll try to do a mockup real quick today to see what it would look like with a similar itinerary.
     
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  21. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Thank you, but I am not sure about "younger" since I will be at exactly the halfway point between my fifth and sixth decade in 8 days...;)
     
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  22. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The algorithm sounds great and glad to have motivated you. If you produce this tool, you can count me as one of the users; I'll also gladly help with beta testing....:)
     
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  23. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Well, 10 years is not a LOT younger but still younger. Kudos.
     
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  24. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Considering our passion for going to and seeing new places, we are all here like a bunch of kids -- well, at least kid at heart. Cheers!
     
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  25. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I've been all over the place with this but mostly busy with work, so I haven't put a lot of effort into it.

    The technology is simple to adapt, and I've even gotten as far as mapping individual locations from a spreadsheet or xml file and even plotting a simple itinerary (overlaying hotel logos or other info should be a piece of cake as well).

    I have to fine-tune the whole thing though because it's a manual process, so it's going to take some time but it might not be that bad.

    I'll keep you posted.
     

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