What Can I Do to Increase My Odds of Getting a Platinum Suite Upgrade?

Dec 20, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.

While bonus points and lounge access are nice, the most eye-grabbing benefit of top-tier hotel elite status is definitely getting suite upgrades. Depending on when and where you’re traveling, you could enjoy these on a regular basis or find them surprisingly hard to get. TPG reader Yin wants to know if she can do anything to increase her odds …

I’ll be getting Marriott Platinum status after my current stay. For the future, is there anything I can do to increase my odds of an upgrade?


Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott all include complimentary space-available suite upgrades at the time of check-in as a perk for their top-tier elites. Note that this doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a suite upgrade on any trip, as this benefit is subject to availability.

There are certainly a few things you can do to increase your odds, such as trying to travel off-season and staying at hotels that are less likely to be full (so don’t get your hopes up for a New Year’s upgrade in New York, for example). You can also do some digging before you book and figure out how many suites the property has to begin with. At the JW Marriott Shanghai, more than 25% of the rooms in the hotel are suites. While not all of them will be made available for upgrades, I like those odds. The terms of most hotel loyalty programs reference upgrades to “standard” suites, so don’t go in thinking you’re entitled to a two-story presidential penthouse.

A little bit of knowledge can go a long way. The day of check-in, before you arrive at the hotel, do a quick search and see if they’re still selling suites for that night (and for the whole duration of your stay). When I go to check in as a Marriott Platinum Premier elite, I usually wait to see what, if any, upgrade I’ll be offered proactively. If I’m not upgraded to a suite, I’ll put on my nicest smile and ask if the hotel “has any suite upgrades available for a Platinum Premier elite member” which usually does the trick. Remember that being polite and flexible as opposed to demanding will always get you further in the hospitality industry.

If you’re traveling for a very special occasion, a phone call or email to the general manger couldn’t hurt. You might get a suite upgrade, or you might get some other surprise like a free bottle of Champagne or a comped meal. Just remember these managers get dozens of emails like this every day, and if you overuse this option you’ll ruin its value for yourself and others.

Confirm In Advance

Hyatt Globalist and Marriott Platinum (and Platinum Premier) elites have the option to confirm some suite upgrades in advance. Hyatt Globalists get 4 suite upgrade certificates, which can be used on paid or award stays of up to 7 nights. They expire one year from the date of issue, and you must book and complete your travel by that date.

Marriott elites who stay 50 nights in a year get the ability to select a choice benefit, and a second one upon reaching 75 nights. The best choice for most travelers will be the 5 suite night awards (SNAs), or 10 a year if you earn 75-night Platinum Premier status. With these awards, Marriott will begin looking for a suite upgrade for you five days before your arrival. You can select which of the available suite categories you’d like to be upgraded to, and the upgrades will be returned to your account if they don’t clear. These are great for popular properties that might be out of suites by the time you check in, or to lock in a higher category of suite than you’d otherwise be upgraded to. I just used my SNAs for the first time and was able to clear an upgrade into a 1,200-square-foot terrace suite at the Sheraton Grand Sydney, a much better room than I would have expected at check-in.

Bottom Line

Suite upgrades straddle the fine line between entitlement and surprise and delight. Like with an airline ticket, if you need more space you should book it outright and not rely on upgrades to get you there. That being said, a little bit of research, a friendly smile and some well-timed upgrade certificates can literally unlock the door to some of the best rooms a hotel has to offer.

Thanks for the question, Yin, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.