How to Get A Free Hilton Upgrade in 2021

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Hilton has introduced advanced upgrades for Hilton Honors elite members. The advance upgrades process will be automated and prioritized by specific criteria such as your Hilton Honors elite status, how you pay for the reservation, how long you stay, and what Hilton brand you stay at, etc. 

I want to target that specific upgrades processing order to score a complimentary room upgrade at a Hilton property in this post. It is vital to understand the order correctly so that you can plan strategically to get a free room upgrade for your next Hilton hotel and resort stay. 
How to Get A Free Hilton Upgrade
Photo: Hotel del Coronado
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    How Does Hilton Honors Elite Upgrade In Advance Work?

    First, it is crucial to understand how the new Hilton’s advanced upgrades feature works for the Hilton Honors elite members.
    • Hilton Honors advance upgrades feature is an automated process. This means that you do not have to send an email to ask the hotel for a free upgrade anymore.  
    • If you are an eligible Hilton Honors Elite member to receive a complimentary upgrade, Hilton will notify you 72 hours before your arrival. 
    • A maximum of 7 nights stay is eligible for this advance upgrades benefit. 
    • The advance upgrade benefit is NOT available at all Hilton Honors brands. 
      • The following Hilton brands are eligible:
        • LXR
        • Waldorf Astoria
        • Conrad
        • Hilton
        • Canopy
        • Curio Collection
        • DoubleTree
        • Signia
        • Tapestry
      • The following Hilton brands are NOT eligible:
        • Embassy Suites
        • Hilton Garden Inn
        • Hampton
        • Homewood Suites
        • Hilton Grand Vacations (Timeshare properties)
    Furthermore, the Hilton advance upgrades feature is processed and prioritized with the following orders:
    • Award stays that are over 100,000 Hilton Honors points redeemed
    • Hilton Honors Lifetime Diamond
    • Hilton Honors Diamond
    • Hilton Honors Gold
    As you go through the above orders, a few things to note:
    • The advance upgrades benefit only applies to Hilton Honors elite members, and in this case, Hilton Honors Gold and Hilton Honors Diamond members. 
    • General members without any status will not receive complimentary advance upgrades whether they redeem over 100,000 Hilton Honors points on stays or not. 
    • The advance upgrades preference will be given to Hilton Honors elite members that redeem over 100,000 Hilton Honors points on award stays over the same elite tier members that pay with cash. 
    After you understand how Hilton’s new elite upgrade in advance works, you will have an idea on how to be strategic to book a Hilton stay and score a free upgrade. 

    Get Hilton Honors Elite Status

    This is the first step to achieving a complimentary upgrade with Hilton. Your first and foremost step is to get a high Hilton Honors elite status, and you have to be a Hilton Honors Gold or Hilton Honors Diamond elite member to score a free Hilton room upgrade. 
    • Hilton Honors Lifetime Diamond will take precedence over Diamond.
    • Diamond will take precedence over Gold. 
    You can earn the top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond through many stays and nights or request a status match. However, the easiest way to get straight to Diamond without completing any stays is simply getting the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card. The card offers you automatic complimentary Diamond elite status and has an annual fee of $450, but don’t let that annual fee scares you from getting this credit card. Other benefits, including the huge sign-up bonus on that card, are so valuable that you can maximize and justify that annual fee quite easily. See the Aspire card’s benefits below:
    You can earn Hilton Honors Gold through stays and nights or request a status match. Similar to the American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card that can give you complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond elite status, you can also receive automatic complimentary Gold elite status from being a particular credit card member as well. 

    Redeem Over 100,000 Points On Award Stays

    Once you become a Hilton Honors elite member, you can use many points to redeem for a stay. Hilton Honors rewards guests that stay on points by redeeming over 100,000 points. Those guests can receive advance upgrade priority over guests who pay cash or redeem less than 100k points with the same elite tier status. 

    Stay Shorter & Less Than Eight (8) Nights

    The Hilton advance upgrade benefit has a maximum of 7 nights stay. In other words, any stay that is more than 7 consecutive nights at the same Hilton property is not eligible for the Hilton advance upgrades.
    Complimentary upgrades are always based upon the hotel inventory and availability, so the shorter you stay, the more likely you will score free upgrades. This is just common sense; the shorter you stay, the easier for the hotel to have an upgraded room. If you stay longer, the harder it is for you to score the upgrade for consecutive nights. This is 100% true, especially if you stay at a popular Hilton hotel and resort. 

    Stay At Eligible Hilton Honors Brands Properties

    Finally, it is essential to know that the advance upgrades benefit only applies to the following Hilton Honors brands properties. 
    • LXR
    • Waldorf Astoria
    • Conrad
    • Hilton
    • Canopy
    • Curio Collection
    • DoubleTree
    • Signia
    • Tapestry
    So if you stay at any other Hilton brands, you may still receive a complimentary room upgrade, but you will not receive the advance upgrades notification 72 hours before your arrival. 

    Conclusion

    Hilton’s new advanced upgrades feature for Hilton Honors elite members is a very positive move. The process is automated, so you don’t need to contact the hotel or resort asking for a complimentary room upgrade based on your Hilton Honors elite status. You will be notified 72 hours before your arrival. 
    The advance upgrades prioritization order can help you plan strategically to score a free upgrade next time you stay with Hilton:
    • First, get Hilton Honors elite status. 
    • Redeem more than 100,000 Hilton Honors points on an award stay. 
    • The shorter consecutive nights you stay, the better luck you will get a room upgrade.
    • Focus on Hilton brands properties that advance upgrades benefit applies:
      • LXR
      • Waldorf Astoria
      • Conrad
      • Hilton
      • Canopy
      • Curio Collection
      • DoubleTree
      • Signia
      • Tapestry
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