We have read it many times – so called seasoned travellers claiming to know every single travel ‘hack’ there is – from the cheapest flight fares to guaranteed hotel upgrades, they know it all. Others then try to figure the ‘golden path’ and spending hours on Google trying to “hack the system’. Before you get overly excited, let us tell you about five hotel hacks that just won’t work:

Myth 1: Tipping upon check-in to get a room upgrade

Haha, seriously? Come on! You think 20 $ or even 100 $ can get an you upgrade? The receptionist will take the money and make sure you have no trouble during the stay, but an upgrade? No, no, no. I know, many articles and travel sites claiming this, but it’s just big BS.

On another site, tipping staff upon check-in, whether it’s the bellboy, butler, valet or receptionist, will make your stay pretty smooth throughout the stay.

Myth 2: Constantly Complaining

Sorry, but times are over where you get everything when you keep complaining. Unless it’s absolutely legit, don’t do it. Your AC doesn’t work properly? You’ll get a technician. If he can’t help you get a new room, probably the one next door.

If you’re marked as ‘Mr. Smith who keeps complaining’, you won’t make any friends with the staff. It also doesn’t help to ask for the Hotel Manager; do you think someone with 10, 20 or 30 years experience in the hotel industry has no idea about people’s intentions? They’ve seen it all. Yes, he/she will take the time talking to listen to you and you may even score a free drink at the bar, but again, if it’s not legit the hotel manager can’t help.

This marks you pretty much as a person no one wants to deal with and the service you’ll get will be at an absolute minimum. Yep, your reputation is pretty much set among the hotel staff. Don’t think no one talks about you.

Myth 3: Writing a review on TripAdvisor/Holiday Check, etc. to get an upgrade or spa treatment, etc.

Geeeez, c’mmooonn!!! Many hotels even ask their guests to leave a review on one of these platforms. But it doesn’t entitle you to get an upgrade or any special perks. And no, also not by promising a “5-Star Review”. Sorry to crush your dreams here.

Myth 4: Booking through a hotel platform to get the lowest rates

Booking through a hotel platform doesn’t guarantee you always the lowest rate. Many times it’s the hotel itself which offers the best rate. Take the time to compare both options and send an email to the hotel asking for their best rate. Hotels prefer direct bookings over 3rd party platforms, simply because they earn more money. In turn, they value those guests more than others reserving their room through a booking site, i.e. more perks, entitled for upgrades, etc. There are lots of fantastic benefits you will receive when booking directly with a hotel.

Myth 5: Asking direct for a room upgrade

Asking for a room upgrade without any legit reason makes you a good joke in the eyes of the staff (yes, even if they smile and say “Let me see what I can do”). No, it doesn’t help either to ask for the manager again. Yes, you may get a better room if there are any problems in your current one, but the definition of a ‘better room’ doesn’t mean an immediate upgrade. This means you get the same room type on a different floor, on the other side of the corridor, etc.

How to score a room upgrade: either you’re a repeat guest, member of the hotel’s loyalty program, high spender, long-stay guest or on a special occasion.


Before becoming a blogger and travel consultant, I (Kian) worked for over 10 years in the hotel industry and ran the Front Office, Guest Relations and Executive Lounges in various hotels and resorts, most notably at the multi-award winning Jumeirah Vittaveli Maldives and Raffles Dubai.

Smart Travels,


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