Want to get an upgrade next time you check in to a hotel? How about a key to the concierge floor or a fruit basket in your room when you arrive? A seat in first class where you might actually get a blanket?
This type of treatment isn’t just for rockstars and Rockefellers, it can be for you too. Because everyone deserves a VIP travel experience.
I recently spoke at the MomTrends Travel Event in New York City. My slide “How to Get VIP Treatment” was the most popular and has been reprinted in several posts by attendees. It seems everyone wants to know the secret to getting VIP treatment.
How to Get Treated Like a VIP
Dress nice and act nice:
No one is going to upgrade you in your sweats unless you are a Kardashian, and even then maybe not. When you check in to a hotel, look your best and be polite. Even a mogul will not get that suite upgrade if he’s acting like a jerk.
Ask for what you want-and never take the first room offered:
Hoping for an upgrade? Ask. Would you like a room on the concierge floor so you have access to free food for the kids? Ask. Would you like a view, a patio, a room on a higher floor? Ask. I never take the first room I’m offered. I always ask if there’s something with more light, a larger floor plan, further from the elevator, etc. This drives my husband nuts. I don’t care. It always works. I ask very nicely and offer to wait for a better room to be cleaned. This has gotten me from a dark room with crummy furniture at The Ritz Paris, to a lovely suite with a balcony and view of the Eiffel Tower. Now you’re thinking, but they know that you’re Luxury Travel Mom and that’s why you get the upgrade. Not true, I’ve been doing this for years, in every country, in every hotel, I get a better room about 80% of the time. You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
Book with a Virtuoso Travel Agent, American Express Platinum Card Fine Hotels and Resorts, or the hotel directly:
DO NOT BOOK THROUGH AN ONLINE DISCOUNT SITE. If you find a great price online, ask the hotel to match it, they will. Don’t negotiate rates with the General Manager, talk to the Sales Manager. Your Virtuoso Agent and Amex have both already negotiated preferred rates AND VIP services. What you say? VIP treatment? Yes, both will get you an upgrade if available (I have always been upgraded but it’s not guaranteed), a welcome amenity, an amenity specific to that property (I have been given $100 toward room service, a spa treatment, etc.), free breakfast, also most properties will do early check in and a late check out.
Join as many loyalty programs as you can:
Even if you aren’t looking to pile up nights for a free stay, the loyalty programs matter. Most large brands are now offering perks to their members such as free wi-fi, special discounts and free breakfasts. This is without ever having stayed at the property before, you get these perks simply by joining. Omni Hotels even throws in free shoe shining and morning beverage delivery. Picking an airline and sticking with it (they are all equally awful) will get you better treatment. Gone are the days of free upgrades to first class just by sweet talking the gate agent. However they often sell last minute upgrades for as little as $50, ask at the gate. I used to have status on Delta and got free bags and the occasional upgrade. I prefer Jet Blue and have switched my loyalty, they don’t have first class upgrades, but their Mosaic status means even more speed every time I fly and speeding through security beats an upgrade every day.
- Join the loyalty programs, airline, rental car, hotel, all of them.
- Get a good Virtuoso Travel Agent and/or a Platinum Card. My agent is Tim Burke, he’s taken great care of me.
- Put your heels and a smile on. Nothing will get you further than being nice.
- ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT (nicely)