An aerial view of the 321 meter tall Burj Al-Arab (L) luxury hotel built on an artificial island off Jumeirah in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on May 27, 2012. AFP PHOTO/KARIM SAHIBKARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images
The Burj Al-Arab Hotel in Dubai © AFP

Enjoy the luxury of an executive suite in a first-class hotel, but without the price tag that comes with it.

There are ways to make the most out of your stay. Top tip: join the hotel chain’s loyalty scheme before booking your room.

For example, joining the Hilton HHonors scheme before booking means you get free WiFi access, late afternoon check-outs, an automatic discount on room bookings compared with booking outside of the programme, a digital check-in and points towards your next stay. You do not have to have been a member for long — it is an instant saving.

By using points wisely and saving throughout the year, you can trade them in either for a free upgrade to a better room, or enjoy nights for free.

Just being a member of Starwood’s SPG loyalty scheme — and making polite conversation to the hotel desk clerk — meant that one FTThrift reader was upgraded free to an executive suite on the 12th floor of the Park Tower, Knightsbridge. The advertised cost is from £569 a night, plus £58 for a breakfast for two. The total paid? Just £190, including breakfast.

This leads to another trick: mind your manners. Try emailing the hotel duty manager ahead of your stay. Thank them in advance for their hospitality, express how much you admire their brand, and mention if your stay marks a special occasion.

Such a simple act of courtesy can secure a range of benefits, from complimentary cocktails in a hotel bar, to breakfast on the house, or a free room upgrade from standard to an executive suite. Politeness does pay.

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