Grand Hilton Seoul
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

“Exclusive Access” is Not the Only Absurd Part of This Hotel Elite Key “Deal”

“T he guy really has a talent for writing copy,” FlyerTalk member CMK10 opined pertaining to Marriott Elite Room Key Cards for Sale on Ebay. “I’ll give him or her that.”

He quoted the portion of the description of the pair of grey elite room key cards — complete with three photographs of one of them on which you can “zoom” to see the details, believe it or not — which described them as “a great collectible of the hotel rewards era” and that presenting this key card “at resort spas, pools, etc can also gain you access to exclusive parts of the hotels” to “make your upcoming trip memorable.”

“Exclusive Access” is Not the Only Absurd Part of This Hotel Elite Key “Deal”

The promise of exclusive access was absurd enough — never mind that we live in an era of advanced technology where management of the hotel or resort property can easily identify whether or not you are entitled to the benefits conferred upon you with possession of that grey elite room key card — but this was the part of the description which went over the top for me:

“Comes from a smoke-free home with indoor storage in a window-free and low-humidity room.”

The scenarios started playing in my head: I imagined somebody who actually paid the $1.29 — plus a ridiculous $3.99 for “standard shipping” — to be in possession of those key cards, salivating to enjoy all of the benefits of gorging on free food and libations in the lounge of some hotel after taking a swim in the exclusive swimming pool and spritzing in the spa.

“What is that smell? Is someone smoking a cigarette?”

“I don’t see anyone smoking — but this place really reeks of a smoking lounge.”

“It’s him!!! His grey elite room key card is the source of that odor. He did not purchase it from that seller on eBay who offers the same key cards from a smoke-free environment!”

“Sir, no smoking is permitted in this lounge — and that goes for your key cards as well. I am going to have to ask you to leave. Now.”

I could also see this scenario happening: the poor sap checks in at the front desk, settles into his room and heads straight to the lounge or spa or pool or other areas of the resort property which are exclusive only to those people who have been granted access. He struggles to push the key card into the slot; but it will not fit because it is bloated and warped. “That is the last time I buy room key cards from a seller who  does not keep them in a home with indoor storage in a window-free and low-humidity room.”


Over the years, Phineas Taylor “P. T.” Barnum has been attributed — mistakenly or not — with the quote that “there’s a sucker born every minute.” One look at some of the items sold via eBay — or even through e-mail messages — suggests that not only is this indeed true; but that the number of people per minute could be underestimated…

…but as a reader of The Gate, you would of course not be fooled by such chicanery.

Now if you will excuse me, I must continue shopping for cheap room key cards with expensive shipping options which will give me access to exclusive parts of hotel and resort properties worldwide — while ensuring that they come from a “smoke-free home with indoor storage in a window-free and low-humidity room”…

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!