My boyfriend and I are frequent travelers. Since we have no kids, no pets, and have pretty flexible jobs, we aim to travel at least once a month. This has lead to a lot of experience in getting bang for our traveling buck.
“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
1. use travelocity’s top secret hotels.
I don’t know about you, but I love staying in nice hotels. However, my bank account doesn’t always agree with my taste in 5 star resorts. One of my favorite hotel hacks is the Travelocity Top Secret Hotels. The best part about using this tool is that the hotel isn’t that top secret. You can set the level of stars, and area of the city you want.
From there, just look around the hotels offered in that area and you can usually pinpoint between 2-3 choices of which hotel the deal is for. We always use this for Vegas trips.
2. call the hotel before check in.
Call the hotel prior to your checkin date to follow up on the reservation. But one of the best times of day to do this is during the graveyard shift at the hotel. The conversation will usually go:
You: “Hi, I just wanted to check my travel dates, can you assist me in confirming my reservation under Mr Smith on Feb 14?”
Night Auditor: “Sure, Mr Smith, I have a party of 2 staying in our standard queen room for two nights.”
You: “Is there anyway to upgrade the room to a king bed on a higher floor? I am planning something special for my partner.. etc etc.”
More often than not, if you are polite, the agent will go ahead and give you the upgrade free of charge just because he or she is bored at that hour and you left a good impression. Even if he/she doesn’t upgrade you, they may leave a note on your account, and you may be presently surprised at check in.
3. social media can be your best buddy.
In case you didn’t know yet, I LOVE to review everything. I am active on tripadvisor, yelp, twitter, facebook & instagram. Little known secret; I don’t use those sites just to keep up with the Jones’, I use them to make my money work for me. There have been plenty of times when I had a negative or even positive experience with a restaurant and have been offered a credit to return for the review. Hotels are no different. Just two months ago I had a negative experience with a hotel in Hollywood, Florida and after posting my review, I was immediately contacted for a refund. That six minutes it took me to review my experience paid me back $200! Just make sure your account is not dedicated to only negative reviews; post good experiences and even mediocre to be taken seriously. Make your opinion count!
4. join all loyalty programs that you are offered.
If the loyalty program is free of charge, there is no harm in signing your name and email on that line for a little upgrade. ESPECIALLY if you are traveling for work, let those long hours away work for you. For instance, when I travel for work, we stay at the Ritz Carlton in Shenzhen for two weeks straight. I signed up for the Marriott Rewards program and compiled enough points at the end of my business stay for a free night at the Marriott in Bangkok, when I am traveling for fun with my boyfriend. I am all about these little perks that take little to no effort. Also, since I stayed at the Ritz for such an extended time, I now have a status with all Marriotts that I can use when asking for that little upgrade bump.
5. be pleasant at check in, and ask for an upgrade!
The MOST important tip that I can leave anyone with is to be pleasant. These people deal with stressed out traveling jerks all day. Make corny little jokes with the clerks, and always slip in a joke about any vacant penthouses. I have stayed in two (you read that right TWO) penthouses for the rate of a regular room in Las Vegas in two separate occasions. I always ask for an upgrade, and make sure to let them know I will leave a good review for good service. I can’t stress enough that sometimes, you just have to ask.