My Attempt for a Free Upgrade from a Hotel Booking Request Comment Backfired


Whenever I book a hotel room, I don’t leave the additional “requests” section blank. If I’m a Hilton Gold elite member, I would put “HHONORS GOLD VIP GUEST – PLS UPGRADE TO THE BEST SUITE AVAILABLE. THANKS.” I’m sure that it has worked in my favor before, but of course it’s always YMMV.

I started looking at hotels yesterday and found an amazing boutique hotel in Santiago, Chile for $29. I needed a simple day room to possibly nap and store my belongings for one of my upcoming mileage runs. The amazingly low $29 rate was just for a single private room with a shared bathroom. I decided to try my luck at a free upgrade by writing on the comments section, “Please upgrade to a single room with a private bathroom if available. Thanks.”

Later that evening, I received an e-mail from the hotel:


Dear Jamison,

We have received yours reservation to arrival /11/2013 and leave /11/2013. It asked for a single room with shared bathroom that costs US$ 29. A note of “booking” website asking us to upgrade to a single room with private bathroom that costs US$ 50. You should confirm it changing on the page where you created the reservation, and making a new one with the characteristics of the room you request.

Best regards,

In all the history of my hotel bookings, I have never heard this type of response from a hotel. Usually, they would either ignore my request or comply before arrival. Honestly, I felt very embarrassed and ashamed of myself. In the frequent flyer world, we always preach the term, “It never hurts to ask”. Well, today it did hurt because when I read the e-mail, I felt like I was trying to scam the boutique hotel.

I will continue asking for complimentary upgrades, but this one really hit it home on a small boutique hotel trying to make money.


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6 Comments on "My Attempt for a Free Upgrade from a Hotel Booking Request Comment Backfired"

  1. Think you’re being too hard on yourself. It’s really no different than other hotels that, in response to email requests for an upgrade, offers a higher-tier room for additional money.

  2. Asking for a specific free upgrade to a different room type than you paid for, when you have no status, at an independent hotel? That does take balls.
    Understandable that the proprietor of a private hotel, in a nin-English speaking country, thought you were just confused, not greedy.

  3. “I felt like I was trying to scam the boutique hotel.”

    But you were, right? You wanted them to give you something you weren’t intending to pay for.

  4. And of course you need a bigger room to “take a nap and store stuff”?

  5. I think upgrades are totally fine to ask for if you have some kind of status or history at a hotel. It’s like being rewarded for your loyalty, although that’s up to the hotel to decide if or how they want to go through with that. For a boutique hotel (or what sounds more like a hostel in this case with the shared bathroom) in which you have no status or history with or special occasion to celebrate, it seems a bit strange to ask for an upgrade. Maybe this would be a better request to make in-person if you can hit it off with the front desk. 🙂

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