It’s always nice to get an upgrade. Upgrading flights to Business and First Class is often discussed on our forums. But hotel rooms can also be upgraded – sometimes for little or no cost!

Hilton Hotels offers two different ways to upgrade. These methods can be used to upgrade at Hilton properties including Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and Double Tree Hotels.

The first type of hotel room upgrade is the “custom upgrade”, which is sometimes referred to as “NOR1”. These upgrades are offered ahead of time to Hilton HHonors members. NOR1 upgrades can be confirmed on the spot, however they usually aren’t free.

The “request upgrade” button is for a NOR1 upgrade. This is a paid upgrade to a better room type. Diamond members may see a $0 option to an Executive room but for the most part it will offer you various paid options to upgrade. If granted you pay the extra for your upgrade on top of the room rates. These are processed separately from HHonors upgrades, generally before them. It very much depends on the property and how much you want the upgrade as to whether or not you choose to do that.

Available NOR1 upgrades can usually be found on the hotel’s website or the Hilton smartphone App when checking your booking. Generally you’ll be offered additional services (e.g. breakfast) or a better room for a fixed price.

But there is another way to upgrade. Gold and Diamond Hilton HHonors members receive a complimentary upgrade at Conrad and Waldorf Astoria hotels if space is available. HHonors upgrades are processed at the time of check-in – generally after NOR1 upgrades are processed – but they are free for eligible customers.

As these complimentary upgrades are subject to space being available, one member suggests keeping an eye on the more expensive rooms in the days prior to arrival. If they remain mostly unsold, then it could be worth taking the risk and hoping for a complimentary upgrade.

It’s also worthwhile looking regularly to see if better rooms are available for sale in the days leading up to your stay. If they start disappearing or prices skyrocket, then a NOR1 upgrade may be worth it. If not, try your luck is my advice.

Diamond HHonors members may be able to confirm a free upgrade in advance. Occasionally room upgrades will show as being available for $0 using the NOR1 upgrade system. But it depends on the hotel and this is the exception, rather than the rule.

The key to receiving these free upgrades is therefore holding HHonors status. Generally, HHonors members need to stay a minimum number of nights at Hilton hotels in order to reach the heights of Gold and Diamond. But there are other ways to achieve this. For example, frequent Virgin Australia flyers with Gold or Platinum Velocity status can leverage their Virgin status to automatically receive equivalent status level with HHonors!

Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]