BY: ROB HOFFMAN
There’s something oddly alluring about hotels. Maybe it’s all the marble or the thick mahogany pillars that decorate a foyer at Caesar’s palace, or our associating hotels and the type of person that can afford to stay in them (e.g. wealthy/rockstars/aristocrats). Or—and this is most likely it—it’s just good marketing.
Either way, hotels are the crown jewels of the hospitality business, which means they are a regular haven of free stuff. Most hotels will do anything (and if you’re VIP that includes anything) to make your time with them memorable if not downright enchanting. After all, they’ve got franchises all over the world, and a free cocktail or even a bar of soap here or there could mean the difference between your allegiance and a blistering Facebook complaint aired for all your friends and family to see.
Despite their fancy exterior, at the heart of every hotel is a staff who’s already sick of your bull-crap and trained to extract your money by tricking you into believing a clean room in a fancy building is worth $200 a night—an operation not unlike dumping pink glitter on a pile of dog-shit and selling it as artisan home decor. Recently, these staffers took to Reddit to give guests the inside scoop on the easiest ways to get bang for your buck by complaining and/or lying your way to the top. These were their best tips (as paraphrased by me):
1. Submitted by klif01: Bond with your partner or spouse over a good old fake-engagement scam. Simply tell the hotel staff (usually on check-in) that you were recently engaged and wish to make your stay more meaningful or special. Whisper it to the hotel staffer if you have to, as if you’re looking to surprise your new fiancé. In this Reddit user’s experience, three out of four hotels will upgrade your room and might even leave you some complimentary champagne and chocolates.
2. Submitted by Ryan_mike: Complaining will get you everywhere. Especially out of exorbitant parking fees. The first thing you should do upon entering your room is call the front desk and casually explain how your WIFI is not working and you’re expecting a very important business call over Skype, and you would hate to have to move to the hotel across the street. In fact, you’re pretty sure if this isn’t resolved with benefits, you’ll never stay at this hotel chain again.
3. Submitted by Skier_D00d: Make your reservations over the phone so you can politely request the AAA discount or even try asking if they provide manager’s discounts. Even though you’re lying through your teeth, the front desk will likely not ask to see proof or verification upon arrival. If they do, just pretend like you forgot your ID cards or act genuinely confused—after all, you thought you were a member.
4. Submitted by Spunk_man: Seek out the bellman and ask them politely for free shit. Most people don’t know how much free stuff the bellmen are permitted to give out just to make the guest’s stay extra memorable. Water bottles, valet parking, tampons, dry cleaning, upgrades and shuttle rides—all you’ve gotta do is ask.
5. Submitted by BayHarbourButcher: The duvets are not actually meant for anything other than decoration—hence they are never washed. The blankets and sheets underneath are, of course. But if you don’t want to sleep in someone else’s funk, take the duvet off before you go to bed.
6. Submitted by Kanada_kid: Sometimes all it takes is to be polite and ask for an upgrade, especially if it’s due to a “special occasion.” A birthday, bachelor party, wedding—whatever floats your boat. There are no guarantees of course, but if you work the old charm and ask with verve, you’ll be surprised at how easily you can get an upgrade.
7. Submitted by druumer89: Need to cancel your reservation without getting charged, especially in a pinch, and you’ve surpassed the cancelation time? No problem. Simply change your stay to a later day (say, a week from now), call back a few days later, then cancel your hotel room. This way you leave a healthy buffer zone between your cancelation and the mandatory time period that you’re allowed to do so without getting charged.
8. Submitted by Slimpikins23: Choose the right time to haggle, and do it respectfully. Hotel staff have plenty of wiggle-room to give you free upgrades, but they don’t need to. If you’re trying to haggle your way into a freebie in front of a crowd or lineup, forget about it—otherwise everyone behind you is going to ask for the same benefits. Wait until the front desk is barren, be respectful, and, if necessary, persistent.
9. Submitted by ishouldmakeit: The number one complaint for “unsatisfied guests” that hotel staff will have a difficult time verifying (and therefore catching you mid-lie) is the “I don’t feel safe” card. Call down late at night and claim that someone just banged on your door and you heard some weird noises outside. It could just be teenagers engaging in horseplay, but it could be a burglar for all you know—and it ruined your entire stay (unless you’re compensated).
10. Submitted by kylez-world: Most people snag some free shampoo or soap on their way out of the hotel, but if you’re a tea-drinker, you can pretty much get a year’s supply right from the maid’s cart. They usually work mid-day (2:00 to 5:00pm), so take a walk around and if you see a cart hanging around, scour it for some Orange Pekoe, and fill your pockets.