Sometimes you can get free upgrades on hotel rooms… but sometimes you don’t even need an upgrade to get a better room. Everyone has different room preferences that can make or break their stay. A different room for the same price but on the other side of the building, away from the ice machine — or on a different floor — can change everything.

Before the hotel desk agent gives you a key, consider asking about these qualities:

** Is it near an elevator? Maybe you don’t want to haul your bags very far, so it’s important to you that you be close to the elevator. But keep in mind that these can be noisy rooms, too, since the motor in the elevator runs all night. Other noise factors to keep in mind are proximity to an ice machine, street noise, construction on one side of the building, etc.

** Does it have a view? If you keep the curtains closed the whole time, you might prefer the room with the couch instead of the corner-room with great windows and no couch. Ask the hotel desk agent what options he has open and go from there.

** Who are your neighbors? Depending on how full the hotel is, you may be able to request a room on a floor where there aren’t many guests… or a room between two empty rooms. There’s no guarantee, of course, that the rooms next to you won’t be filled. But it’s worth a shot if you need absolute peace and quiet.

Know what you need, and ask for it. If you don’t like the room you’re given, ask politely for a different one.

For more on getting upgrades and great hotel deals, see this article in our archives, Hotel Insider Special: Seven Tips for Booking a Killer Deal.

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]

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