Home > Everything Else > You want your upgrade that you’re entitled to? That’s £20…

You want your upgrade that you’re entitled to? That’s £20…

As many of you know getting an upgraded room as a Platinum is not easy, even if it is a defined benefit. Generally hotels don’t follow the policy except when pushed and there are far too many platinum members out there. Most folk can easily achieve it within 10 nights depending on the bonuses available! Net result annoyed members of the PC programme. This example below is typical of a hotel not playing ball…

A visitor to this site passed this story on to me, the background… They booked one night in the Crowne Plaza, Manchester, UK. On check-in requested an upgrade, which was turned down “because all rooms were fully booked” and offered a drinks voucher worth £4. The emails follow…

To: CPM Guest Relations <cpm.guest@cpmanchester.com>


I’ve just checked in and as platinum member and was told there were no rooms for upgrade – a quick check of your website reveals otherwise.

Can you explain why?

Kind regards



<Screenshot of booking screen showing free club rooms>


The response follows an hour later..

Dear xxx,

Thank you for e-mail regarding a complimentary room upgrade.

As I am sure you are aware complimentary room upgrades are subject to availability, and as explained in your welcome envelope a complimentary room upgrade is unavailable on this occasion. Please accept my sincere apologies for any disappointment this may cause, unfortunately we are unable to offer all Platinum Guests a room upgrade this is due to the number of complimentary room upgrades available and the number of guests we have arriving on a daily basis and the size of our club lounge. If all platinum guests were given access to the lounge this would result in a health and safety issue of overcrowding. As a gesture of our regret that an upgrade and access to the club lounge is unavailable we do offer a complimentary drinks voucher that can be redeemed in the Glasshouse Bar.

As a hotel we have club rooms available to purchase for new reservations and guests wishing to upgrade at the point of arrival, if you wish to purchase a club room the upgrade fee for this is normally £30 – £40 depending on the room type chosen, on this occasion however and due to your dissatisfaction I am happy to offer this to you for the discounted price of only £20.

If you would like to accept this offer please contact me on this e-mail address and I will gladly arrange this for you.

Kind Regards


Guest Relations Manager

So the bottom line is, if you want to get the upgrade that your status entitles you to then you must pay £20, and be thankful you’re not being charged £40. This looks like a breach of the T&C’s, as I haven’t read anywhere  there is a limit of upgrades (extract from T&C’s below)  – I’ve asked the contributor to go to PC customer service and see what they say.

Hotel Room Upgrades for Platinum Members: Platinum level members will be offered a complimentary upgrade, as determined by the hotel, which might include rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated rooms, or rooms with preferred views. The upgrade will be offered at time of check-in, based on availability, and will only apply to the member’s personal guest room. The hotel is not required to upgrade members to suites or specialty rooms. Upgrade benefit will not apply to rooms booked as a Reward Night reservation. Source

Ultimately if there are more platinum guests than space, then sure you should upgrade the first 15 of them (or what ever the capacity) until full.

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  1. Seamaster
    October 5th, 2012 at 09:28 | #1

    That’s interesting, because I’e had exactly the same experience at the Crowne Plaza in Birmingham (UK) this week. No upgrade (which I have always previously been offered at this hotel, at which I am a regular), instead a book of vouchers (free drink, free movie). Disappointing. Platinum upgrades have always been a lottery, but its got worse in the last year for sure.

  2. PriusKing
    October 5th, 2012 at 10:32 | #2

    I agree it is pretty hit and miss even with the Holiday Inn sites,is there a more competitive programme out there?

  3. Loren
    October 5th, 2012 at 12:44 | #3

    I’ve been very impressed with the amount of upgrades I’ve received here in the U.S., mostly with Holiday Inn’s. If an upgrade room is available they usually have it taken care of even before I check in, without having to even ask for it. Maybe there’s a US/UK different standard here, I’m not sure.

  4. Julie
    October 5th, 2012 at 15:07 | #4

    Must be a UK issue, and due to the watering down of Plat status – anyone can get it now simply by applying for the credit card.

    On a better note, dh checked in today to CP Lake Oswego (OR) and was upgraded to a jacuzzi suite — AND this is on Pointsbreak AND on a marathon weekend when they’ll likely be close to capacity. Definitely not the “miss” this time ;-).

  5. Avi
    October 5th, 2012 at 22:07 | #5

    I’ve always had great luck with my upgrades both in Canada and the US. In fact, I was upgraded to a full suite at the Intercontinental Downtown Toronto during an Indy Car race weekend because the normal upgrade wasn’t available (this ended up being about a 2-3 step upgrade). I was extremely surprised considering the hotel was almost completely booked on every floor as it was the base hotel for the entire Honda Indy race for Toronto. As for other upgrades, I’ve never had any issues unless there truly wasn’t a better room than what we had already purchased in the hotel (not availability but in some hotels there’s only 1 or 2 different types of rooms).

  6. Paul McLaren
    October 5th, 2012 at 22:39 | #6

    It does seem to vary according to the hotel and the rate you are booked on, oh yeah, and availability but I would suggest it is in that order.

    Maybe we could introduce a voting system.

    For the record

    Asia seems to be the best

    Crowne Plaza Changi Airport (Singapore) – Brilliant, to club level everytime, using reward points.
    Crowne Plaza Gatwick (UK) – To club level, with a bit of gentle prodding
    Intercontinental Singapore (Singapore) – Upgrade to Superior (?) room (How can you tell?), club level extra SGD$50 (Ambassador reward voucher
    Crowne Plaza Eilat (Israel) Upgrade to higher level, not worthy of Crowne Plaza title
    Crowne Plaza Amman (Jordan) Upgrade to superior room, on 5000 points redemption so can’t complain
    Crowne Plaza Petra (Jordan) – Not worthy of Crowne Plaza title, upgrade to superior(?) room
    Intercontinental Sydney (Australia) – No upgrade of note, fully booked(?)
    Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise (Australia) – Upgrade to Executive Room (?)
    Crowne Plaza Pelican Waters (Australia) – Upgrade of a sort

    In summary, it is hit and miss and certainly not to be taken as a given. Strike rate fairly good but it leaves a bit of a bad taste when you really have to push for it.

    Also, if you’re not upgraded to the Club Level or a Suite, you’re not upgrade.

  7. omey
    October 6th, 2012 at 03:06 | #7

    the upgrade is guranteed only for Intercont. hotel, other chain hotels suchas Crown Plaza and Holiday Inn usually offered the upgrade to me but if the didnt there is nothing force them to do so because platinum member previllige of upgrade is only for Intercont. Hotel.

  8. Chris Broadbent
    October 6th, 2012 at 04:54 | #8

    As a UK resident and Platinum member that uses Holiday Inn frequently, I rarely seem to get a room upgrade. I have, however, received drinks vouchers, food vouchers, or a little gift such as a packet of biscuits or jelly beans…… I appreciate that room upgrades cannot be quaranteed and, to be honest, I’m not too worried about that. It is always nice to be recognised and appreciated, however, especially at a hotel where you may be a frequent guest, so something like a drink/meal discount voucher would be greatly appreciated (discount vouchers for the restaurant must surely tempt us to spend more anyway!) and I feel this should be the guaranteed reward given to platinum members…..perhaps a voucher could be printed on line at the time of booking, valid for that reservation only?

  9. Keith in Brighton UK
    October 6th, 2012 at 05:36 | #9

    omey :the upgrade is guranteed only for Intercont. hotel, other chain hotels suchas Crown Plaza and Holiday Inn usually offered the upgrade to me but if the didnt there is nothing force them to do so because platinum member previllige of upgrade is only for Intercont. Hotel.

    You are confusing Ambassador with Platinum.

  10. peter kelly
    October 8th, 2012 at 06:56 | #10

    i agree with most if not all of your published comments on platinum card holders.
    in Ireland the attitude of the Holiday Inns/Crown Plazas is the same as in the U K.
    in fact we found that some of the reception staff were quite rude when i enquired about an upgrade.we visited New York last year.the express by Holiday Inn upgrded us to a suite without asking.a nice bonus in busy New York.and that was on point breaks.so clearly major differences in policies between UK/Ireland.

  11. kps
    October 8th, 2012 at 08:52 | #11

    Looks like a new policy..I had the same experience last week@Holiday Inn,Singapore Orchard city centre…it was around 80sgd including taxes..
    All in all traders hotel/Shangrila’s Golden circle looks the best bet…they do what they have promised and if the cannot ..they never promise..:)

  12. Stuart
    October 8th, 2012 at 15:25 | #12

    Well I always get an upgrade at Bristol Filton and the (rather lovely) front desk staff always call me by name. I couldn’t be happier with this particular aspect of PC which seems to be working as advertised.

  13. bob
    October 9th, 2012 at 02:38 | #13

    I must have stayed at 20+ different IHG hotels in the UK as a PC member and have NEVER had a room upgrade, ever. Yes there is the off free drink, Mars bar etc but every single time I’ve asked, I’ve been told there are no superioir rooms free. As the first post suggests, 99% of the time I can look online and the rooms are there.

  14. Adam
    October 9th, 2012 at 14:33 | #14

    I had exactly the same experience at the Crowne Plaza Manchester Airport. I have stayed there numerous times and have never been upgraded as a Platinum member even when they had upgraded rooms available. Not good really when the T&C’s state that if rooms are available you should be upgraded as a Platinum member. As for the nonsence about the size of the executive lounge, its never looked busy and if there are executive rooms availalable then it shouldn’t reach its capacity for health and safety reasons!? Poor show really, I have colleagues who are members of Hilton Hours Diamond and I can tell you their lounges are really good!!!!!!

  15. Dave
    October 10th, 2012 at 05:29 | #15

    I had the same experience at Crowne Plaza once, ie not offered an upgrade, and I asked about that, but was given a standard letter left in my room! I was quite annoyed about it, and was due to stay there a few weeks later, so I emailed IHG and complained, they sent a nice email back, and.. the next time I stayed I was upgraded.

  16. James
    October 10th, 2012 at 10:47 | #16

    Yep agree with everyone else…. I spend around 120 nights a year in IHG hotels, sadly the bulk of these nights is in Expresses where no upgrade is possible. So when I’m in a normal holiday inn it’s nice to get the upgrade…

    Holiday Inn Chester – UK – Used to get upgraded. Last 5 visits nothing, even though still advertising rooms executive rooms.

    Holiday Inn Newport – UK – They’re crafty here…. They give you an upgrade… But it’s to a rather old tatty Executive Room. I know this because in the Winter 2012 Sale I got upgraded to the real deal. Spacious, modern, a delight.

    Crowne Plaza – Ealing – Hit and miss, one time Club Suite, another time nothing. Shame that they won’t offer access to club room as a “half upgrade” thank you….

  17. Rob H
    October 10th, 2012 at 17:33 | #17

    Ditto the previous comments. It is absolutely madening when checking in as a Platinum member and not get a room upgrade, when in fact better rooms are empty or show available on line.

    This has only happened to me in Europe or the UK, never in the US. When asked about Lounge access in lieu of the room upgrade it was also denied, because my reserved room was not on the Club or Lounge floor. Catch 22 for sure, and its the one thing I hate about Priority Club.

  18. Jamie
    October 14th, 2012 at 04:00 | #18

    There’s no point in expecting a room upgrade at most of the UK properties. I have PCR Platinum, also Royal Ambassador and a high points balance. I think on occasion if they’ve printed off your balance to write on a card, and its very high and noticed, that may get you priority but that is not a fair policy and it should be first come first served. Some hotels do operate their own internal system like the Crowne Plaza at Heathrow. If you are a regular guest there, they will rotate the guests they upgrade as they simply cannot upgrade them all, every time.

    But agreeing completely with the posts from the guests who stay in the US a lot, I have always been upgraded in the US, to a room worth having. This has even included getting larger rooms in the Hi-Express in the middle of nowhere, upgrades at a listed famous hotel (Holiday-Inn Semi Branded), and Crowne Plazas throughout the US. It seems the hotels in the US take the scheme more seriously than here in the UK. Also in SE Asia, the scheme and benefits are respected much more often.

    To be honest, with the exception of the odd convenience stay on the road, and visits to London where we stay at the Intercon, I don’t think the UK IHG hotels offer a great deal of value in benefits to PCR members. The only real benefit is the points,and for that reason, paying a bit more to stay at the Sofitel at Heathrow T5, or at the Radisson at Manchester Airport, losing the points and having the ability to walk directly into the terminal is well worth it.

    I’m not sure what the solution to this is for IHG. If the hotels genuinely don’t have capacity then they need to redress their scheme generally to make it realistic and achievable, but if hotels are holding back benefits deliberately then I would consider that against the IHG brand policy and individual hotels should be held to rank on that. If the scheme becomes worthless, it’ll collapse.

  19. Andy Radcliffe
    October 15th, 2012 at 07:39 | #19

    I and a number of co-workers stay at the Indigo Hotel in Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK) and they always try to give us upgrades and little perks, fantastic hotel and is also on this quarter point break list. However just rang Holiday inn at Manchester Airport to ask about breakfast and a room upgrade and the difference was remarkable, I will have to ask when I check in. As my check in will be 23:00 I am not holding out much hope of anything, I should probably count myself lucky if I have a room.

  20. Paul
    October 16th, 2012 at 05:52 | #20

    I have been a platinum member for 2 years now as I travel frequently and have always received a complimentary upgrade when staying with Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza or Indigo. The only ones that don’t upgrade are the HI Express because all the rooms are the same, They do however honour requests for quiet rooms.

    As a rule, whenever I book my room through the priority club website, I always put “Platinum upgrade please” in the requests column. It hasn’t failed yet

  21. MarkX
    October 18th, 2012 at 05:44 | #21

    I think that there should be added benefits anyway for Platinum Holders – free WiFi and Parking would be a start…….A few years back you would get a bottle of wine and sweets – most of the time now,,,,nothing

  22. Simon
    October 23rd, 2012 at 02:03 | #22

    Just stayed at HIExpress Cardiff Sunday night (very quiet) was told by the manager that complimentary room upgrades for Plat memebers didn’t apply to HI Express – only the main Holiday Inn hotels!!!! An email complaint is been sent now! keep up the good work Plat member for over 10 years!!!

  23. Andy Radcliffe
    October 25th, 2012 at 08:33 | #23

    Well as suspected Holiday Inn Manchester no upgrade what so ever, night from hell with Shameless Live going on in the room next to me till 3am, very tired and dreary place.

  24. MarkX
    October 29th, 2012 at 15:03 | #24

    There arent any upgrade rooms in HIX hotels…they are all the same

  25. marqoos_pl
    October 30th, 2012 at 13:38 | #25

    Recently I have stayed in 3 different IHG properties in Asia and… Holiday Inn Express Soho in Hong Kong – rewards night, but I was still upgraded to better room on a higher floor – cool. *** InterContinental in Kuala Lumpur – no upgrade as hotel was “heavily booked”, but I’ve got an Internet access for free – cool as that was quite a lot *** Crowne Plaza in Jakarta – room upgraded and late check-out (until 4 pm) was provided, which I really needed. I’m quite happy with my Platinum status.

  26. marqoos_pl
    October 30th, 2012 at 13:39 | #26

    Aaaaa, I forgot about Holiday Inn Frankfurt Airport – Neu-Isenburg in Germany – room upgraded as well.

  27. MarkX
    November 1st, 2012 at 10:07 | #27

    Free WiFi would be a real good start for Platinum members….£16 is toooo steep

  28. David_RA
    November 8th, 2012 at 08:05 | #28

    I’ve been platinum since 1998 and noticed in the last few years the upgrades have become less frequent in the UK. Manchester Airport in particular never have upgraded rooms available, even though you could book 5 exec rooms on-line while stood at reception. they went through a phase (still?) where they introduced ‘Standard Plus’ rooms, which were a standard room with a bottle of water and mint chocolates – surprise! I was upgraded to one of these rooms – doesn’t give you lounge access, but they have upgraded you.

    As other posters have said, the US have never failed to upgrade me – even on points stays. I’m also Royal Ambassador and receive all the privileges every time. Platinum status is not what it used to be. HH Gold gets you far better consistency on upgrades/free breakfasts.

    Main benefit for me with PC is points never expire – when you’ve lost 200,000 points from another loyalty scheme with no warning, you’ll appreciate IHG more.

  29. Loren
    November 8th, 2012 at 15:02 | #29

    @ MarkX: At least here in the U.S. all Holiday Inn Express rooms are NOT always the same. I was just upgraded to a two room suite from a standard room at a Holiday Inn Express. Also, you have to pay extra for Wi-Fi in the UK????

  30. MarkX
    November 9th, 2012 at 17:24 | #30

    Wow…didnt know that…In the UK Holiday inns wifi is about $20 for 24 hours….IN HIX it is free if you stay in the bar (at most of them BUT they are franchised so who knows) but about $15 if you want to stay in your room. I think this would be a really easy way to reward Platinum card Holders

  31. PaulR
    November 13th, 2012 at 04:48 | #31

    I stay regularly in the CP Manchester City Centre, and I get upgraded most of the time. I accept that there are concerts / football matches that sometimes mean the club rooms get full, but it’s usually OK. To be honest, there’s not a lot of difference in the room quality, as they’re all pretty good anyway, but it’s the lounge access that makes the difference.

    You don’t get wi-fi in the rooms, but the Broadband is free for Platinum members – although the tariff shows as £7.50 per night when you book it, it never gets to the final bill. You also get a letter explaining it’s free when you check in. For wi-fi, I use an Apple AirPort Express to turn my wired room broadband into a wi-fi hotspot and it works a treat.

  32. Dave
    November 25th, 2012 at 21:00 | #32

    Priority Club is by far THE WORST loyalty program if you are in search of upgrading. It seems that even if they have availability, the hotels do not upgrade guests who are Platinum, which is kind of silly because every hotel that I stay at for business that upgrades me once or more, I generally return to when I am in the area because I know there is a chance I will be upgraded. Especially given how shoddy most Holiday Inn properties are, I would expect them to want to upgrade more than they do.

    Like the poster, I have caught the hotel red handed in a lie by going to their website and doing an availability search in their reservations system after being told the hotel is sold out on suites so they can’t upgrade. Low and behold, I’d say 75% of the time, there is a suite available to book. The odd thing is, this is even true when I check in after 10 p.m. Why not give me an upgrade on a 1 night stay with a late check in if you have it available for that night?

    For this reason, I rarely use PC any more. I took the Marriott challenge and its like a whole new world! I made Platinum there and I dont even have to ASK for an upgrade … its already done when I check in. Also, I always get club access when I check in as a Platinum Marriott member and I am usually given free wine or something on top of it. Aside from a little bag with a bottle of water and a bag of pretzels, I think out of every 10 stays at a PC propery, I’ll be LUCKY to be upgraded once. And most times its only to a higher floor or partial view room. Even as a Hilton Gold member, I am usually upgraded with no problems when I ask and given free drink coupons and internet as well.

    The only real bonus to being Platinum Ive found is the Holiday Inn Santa Monica CA comps the $29 parking for Platinum members … something no other hotels do. Its really pretty ridiculous how bad Priority Club’s rewards are for loyalty. The only benefit to PC is that its really easy to get points.

  33. Rob H
    December 2nd, 2012 at 23:18 | #33

    As a platinimum member, I used to typically receive an upgrade at check in about 75% of the time, which was fine

    Over the last year or so, I would say it is more like 30% of the time, which frustrates me, as I generally create additional income as I spend extra money in the restaurants and lounges.

    Also, I have noticed a visibly less enthused front staff when welcoming me. Historically, I reveived a warm welcome, an upgrade, a gift (preferably drink tickets) and a geniuine “Thank you for being a platinimum member? That has really gone down hill.

    I recently stayed at such a hotel, a Crowne Plaze in Dallas, I was told no upgrades were available. Not the end of the world. I woke up the next morning with my body covered by bugs (presucmed to be bed bugs). Which really sucked, I took a quick shower and went to my meeting. During my presntation, I notice the little creepy crawly bugs coming out of my hair and down my neck. Makes for a long hour while presenting to a room full of 20 people.

    The Guest Service manager called me later in the day and was very, very aplogetic. He had quickly dispatched an exterminator to the room, who identified the bugs as fleas, due to the previous occupant having some dogs in the room. I said great, “fleas, not bed bugs”

    He offered me ten thousand HI points. In my opinion, NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. Although he was very kind on the phone.

    I am seriously considering switching my travel to the Hilton/Hampton program. Way too many, and continuous disappointments.

  34. December 6th, 2012 at 23:38 | #34

    Here’s another story even more ridiculous here in the US. I have a PCR Visa Anniversary Free Night certificate and wished to book a smoking room at a hotel that clearly had smoking rooms available. I called several times trying to make the reservations and everytime I called and voiced my displeasure they said “the type of rooms were subject to availablity,” to which I responded “yes, that means double or single room beds,” to which they responded “it also applies to smoking and non-smoking rooms.”
    I emailed PCR Customer Service regarding this matter. The re-confirmed the company-line about subject to availablity.
    This PCR Free Night now becomes even more watered down, and I’m a Platinum member as well. I’m strictly a Platinum member because of my credit card points and haven’t paid for a HI stay in years. I will probably be abandoning my PCR points soon and will be all Hilton Hhonors….

  35. Neil C
    December 11th, 2012 at 13:40 | #35

    3 times I have been turned down for an upgrade in the Crowne Plaza at Gatwick UK this year and twice I have been given (without prompting) an upgrade at the Crowne Plaza Glasgow. I know which hotel I would vote for.

  36. YPTEE
    May 23rd, 2013 at 09:27 | #36

    I recently stayed in Intercontinental Singapore on corporate rate (cheaper than the cheapest rate they have through their website). Did not get an upgrade but they did offer business package which includes free internet, free breakfast for 2 and 2 pieces of free laundry per day. As an Ambassador, I got an additional 50% discount when dining in their buffet restaurant with another friend (which works out to be roughly S$40-50 for two and buffet is good, my friend ate many lobsters!)

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