“Crashing the Club Lounge” – Does an Old Club Level Key Work to Open the Lounge After Checkout?

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hotel key work after checkout
Sheraton Ann Arbor. From their website.

Getting into a Lounge with an Old Key

Yesterday was a great day at the Ann Arbor DO. I will have a full debrief some time this week, but I did want to share a sort of cool thing I stumbled upon yesterday. I’m not sure how useful it is in most cases, but it amused me and this is my blog, so I thought I would share.

After the official DO, most of the attendees enjoyed a great dinner together. Since quite a few of us decided a full day of seminars and dinner wasn’t enough, we decided to meet up in the club lounge at the Sheraton Ann Arbor, the hotel where I had stayed on Friday night, but had checked out. (Several members of our group were still staying in the hotel.)

Arriving at the Hotel

So we left dinner and arrived at the hotel to find that no one else was waiting in the lobby to guest us up to the lounge. What is a good travel hacker to do? Why not run a test? I hypothesized that my Club Level room key from the previous night would still work to get us up to the club floor and into the lounge. Did it work? Definitely. (Our friends did arrive about a minute after us, so it wasn’t that useful.)

I actually wasn’t surprised by this at all since the Club Lounge most likely has a communal code that opens access to both the elevator and the lounge door. While my key was most deactivated to open my room (lets hope I didn’t try), it was still able to access the communal areas for which it was programmed.

Limited Use

Of course how many people go back to a hotel the day after they have checked out in order to “crash” the Club Lounge with a group of travel hackers? This little trick has limited use, but it is an interesting one nonetheless.

Will the key work forever? I don’t believe so. My guess is that hotels periodically change the security code in their system for elevator and lounge access. Who knows how long it will work, but I am tempted to keep the key for a year just so I am forced to return to the awesome Ann Arbor DO next year to see if it still works.

Conclusion

I want to emphasize that we had many members of our group who were staying at the hotel on the night of our visit and who guested us in. I would never have been at the hotel or in the lounge had I not been with people who were staying there. I would never do this outside of those circumstances.

With that said, I think this was pretty cool. Am I a nerd? Am I easily amused? Probably.


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5 COMMENTS

  1. There’s nothing “cool” about this. It’s cheap. It’s tacky. It’s creepy.
    What stopped you from trying to scam your way back into the hotel room after check out? Break into the bar after it closes? It’s really no different.

    JUST BECAUSE A KEY OPENS A DOOR DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD USE IT AND DO AND TAKE WHATEVER YOU WISH. THIS IS NOT YOUR PROPERTY AND YOU AREN’T THERE LEGITIMATELY.

    In a legal sense, make no mistake: This is THEFT and management could indeed seek to prosecute you for defrauding an innkeeper. Don’t believe me? Research it. Ask a lawyer. Better yet, ask any hotel owner.

    WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS NOT CONSIDERED MERE LOITERING, THE LAW CONSIDERS IT CRIMINAL TREAPASSING.

    Being savvy is one thing, but so much of what you pat yourself on the back for reeks of desperation and is cheap, unethical, risky…even illegal.

    This sort of behavior shouldn’t be promoted; even by click bait standards, this is pretty low…

    • I was at the hotel with people who were staying there and was their guest. As has been mentioned, this situation had to do with this hotel and was a one off and is not reproducible. I was merely sharing a story and not suggesting that anyone does this. I was visiting with people who were staying there and arrived one minute before them so I tried to use my key. How is this cheap? How is it tacky? How is it stealing considering the hotel knew I (and others) were there as guests.

      All of the claims you make clearly show you didn’t really read the story, but decided to come directly to the comments to accuse me of something. What a shame. Have a wonderful day.

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