How to Get Free Stuff at Hotels

C. Work with a Mystery Shopping Company

There are companies out there that pay for people’s travel expenses, including hotels, apartments and other accommodations.

These are mystery shopping companies.

You might associate mystery shopping with grocery stores, but these opportunities are actually available for most types of companies, from restaurants to, of course, hotels.

Many hotel brands need mystery shoppers to help them to improve their accommodations and services.

The aim of a mystery shopper is to gather data and give feedback on things like customer service. It’s sort of like online surveys but in person.

This isn’t as easy as the methods above for getting free stays in hotels, since you do have to provide feedback, and you aren’t just there for a vacation.

But, having said that, being a mystery shopper is pretty easy and you can get yourself some great complimentary hotel stays out of it.

Below, we’ve listed a couple of companies that offer hotel mystery shopping jobs:

25. BestMark

Be careful when looking for mystery shopping opportunities. Unfortunately, there are a lot of scams out there.

One involves sending you a check for more than you’re owed, and then the company asks you to wire the remainder back to them.

This check will bounce, and the money you sent came from your bank account.

You can read more about this scam on USA Today.

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24. Travel adapters

If you’re traveling internationally and forgot to bring a travel adapter, check with the hotel front desk to see if they have any available. This could save you money from buying a new one at the store.

Use a secret password

Finally, here’s a fun way to possibly get free breakfast or another unexpected amenity when checking into a Kimpton hotel. This upscale brand under the IHG umbrella occasionally posts a “secret password” to its social media channels.

Before your next Kimpton stay, check the brand’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds to see if this promotion is running. If so, make a note of the covert phrase and mention it to the agent at check-in. You’ll get a random surprise perk. There’s no promise that it will be breakfast vouchers, though some guests have reported that to be the case. Other amenities have included complimentary parking, an in-room movie, a bottle of wine, dessert or even a room upgrade.

The Kimpton Seafire in Grand Cayman. (Photo by Sco
The Kimpton Seafire in Grand Cayman. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

16. Blow dryer

Many hotels provide complimentary blow dryers, however they tend to be low quality and not healthy for your hair.

Some luxury and boutique hotels however now provide quality blow dryers for guests to use, which is great if you don’t want to bring your own from home. Check ahead to see what’s available.

Hotels might give you stuff you forgot for free

Packing for a trip can be chaotic, which makes it easy for little things to slip through the cracks. Thankfully, most hotels have the basics covered. Here are just a few things you can get from the front desk:

  • Sewing kits: If a button pops off your nicest shirt, no sweat—just call the front desk and ask for a sewing kit.
  • Laundry bags: Why throw your dirty clothes all over the floor (or drape them on a chair) when you could put them in a free laundry bag?
  • Phone, laptop, and tablet chargers: You won’t be able to keep these, but there’s a good chance you can borrow one during your stay.
  • Voltage adapters: A forgotten adapter can ruin your trip, so don’t be afraid to ask the hotel staff if they have one you can borrow.
  • Pretty much any toiletry: Hotels usually have extra razors, shaving cream, mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and even makeup wipes available for emergencies. They may not be your go-to brand, but who cares?
  • Condoms: In the least shocking twist of all time, most hotels have a stash of rubbers available on request. If you find yourself without, you know what to do.
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What Are the Steps to Getting Free Upgrades With DoNotPay?

If you want to get a hotel upgrade but don’t know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 4 easy steps:

  1. Enter the name of the hotel you’re staying at, including the location.Tell us the dates of your stay, who you're staying
  2. Tell us the dates of your stay, who you’re staying with, whether it’s your first time, and whether you’re a loyalty rewards member at the hotel.Tell us if it's a special occasion (birthday, anni
  3. Tell us if it’s a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, etc.) and any specific upgrades you want to request.Tell us your current room and confirmation number.
  4. Tell us your current room and confirmation number.

Why Do Free Upgrades Exist?

Hotels want you to feel special when you stay at their location, and they want to retain customers and business. However, they’re not going to give away anything for free if they don’t have to. Upgrades may exist at various hotels due to things such as last-minute cancellations or an abundance of a certain type of product that may have to be used or thrown away. Upgrades may also exist if you become a rewards member or choose to stay at a hotel for a certain amount of days in a row. The key is to do your research, understand each and every hotel you ‘re hoping to get upgrades at and stay persistent.

39. And finally…Become an Influencer

I am sure you have heard of people who get tons of freebies because of their social media presence.

To get free hotel stays, you need to build a following whether through a blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Instagram page or any other platforms, where you talk about traveling.

There are many bloggers who not only make money with their travel blogs but also get tons of freebies from hotels, travel sites and other companies in the industry.

Now, becoming an influencer takes time and dedication. So it’s by no means an easy way to nab free hotel stays. So be prepared for a lot of hard work and dedication.

Restaurant and bar recommendations

Service industry workers know all the good spots in town, which make them the ultimate insider for visitors. While you’re enjoying a drink at the hotel bar—and being a nice, respectful patron—you should probably ask the bartender where they recommend getting dinner or drinks.

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This can be a risky move, but as with everything else, the secret to getting good recommendations is to know how to ask. To start, you’ll obviously want to be pleasant, polite, respectful, and a generous tipper; in other words, a good guest. (Good guests get good recommendations—bad, entitled ones get directions to overpriced tourist traps.) It also helps to be specific. Don’t expect them to read your mind: If you’re looking for a quiet dive with cheap drinks or a fancy steakhouse with a serious wine list, just say so.

When staying in a hotel, remember: It can’t hurt to ask. (This is especially true for luxury hotels.) As long as you’re polite and can graciously accept a “no,” it’s easy to upgrade your stay without spending a dime.

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