Justin Ross Lee is known as a travel expert and
Whether it’s feasting on caviar and champagne in first class or staying at the most luxurious suites in Shanghai, Mumbai or Tokyo, Lee has done it all — and at little to no cost. He’s an expert in cheating the system and will always find a way to get that free upgrade.
Lee, 33, made headlines last year after a video came out where he reveals some of his controversial secrets and loopholes in the travel and hospitality industry. This includes crumbling peanuts on your seat before complaining to the flight attendant about your peanut allergy for an upgrade to printing fake business cards to get corporate discounts at hotels.
“Take this scenario for instance,” Lee told NextShark. “You walk past the housekeeper cart in the hallway of a nice hotel, and you take an extra soap. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what if you take 3 or 5? Everything in life there’s a line between right, wrong, and indifferent — before you cross into criminality. I don’t believe in criminality. I like to follow the law, but I make my own rules.” he said.
Call him a con artist or thief all you want, Lee doesn’t care and it won’t faze him one bit. While he has a large fan-base, he knows it’s the haters that help him stay relevant.
“You always want fifty-one percent of the people to hate you and forty-nine percent of the people to love you.” Lee told NextShark in a 2014 Interview. “The second that balance switches, you have to reinvent yourself and come up with some edgier material. Notoriety is all about people talking about you.”
Now, Lee, also known simply as “JRL”, has brought his JewJetting antics to Asia. In the last year, he and his girlfriend Kate Nardi have visited a number of places including China, India, Japan, Nepal and Thailand.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
“Asian carriers are some of the finest airlines in the world.” Lee said. “The service just puts American carriers to shame. If you want a fat old bitch serving you a beer, go fly United. If you want a fine wine served to you by a beautifully dressed Singaporean girl, fly SIA.”
Lee’s book is filled with crazy stories from the time a Rabbi’s daughter would pay him to fly down to Florida for sex to hospitality hacks that arguably cross the line when he sprinkles shards of glass on the floor before calling the hotel manager to complain and demand an upgrade.
“I’m kind to people, but I’m not kind to faceless corporations. If they don’t like these loop-holes they can change the system,” he said.
“If you close your eyes and think of the most influential people in the world, are any of them waiting in line? Waiting in line is for schmucks, we all know that. It doesn’t mean that you need to cut in line, it means changing your outlook and your philosophy about how you portray yourself and how you are able to get around hurdles in your life.” he added.
When asked what are some of the latest hacks he’s discovered and is open to sharing with us, Lee gave the following exclusively to NextShark:
Secure a hotel upgrade before you arrive.
Call the property three days prior to your arrival, ask to speak to the “Rooms Director”. Introduce yourself as someone staying for the first time as a diamond member at a competing chain. Ask about room categories and see if he/she’d be willing to give you an upgrade in an available open space. Send a follow-up email documenting the call.
Eight times out of 10 you’ll end up in something spectacular. If not, tell the front desk you’ve corresponded with: (insert rooms director’s name) _______ and you’re dissatisfied with the present offerings. Now you’ve established both credibility and leverage.
Never pay for hotel internet.
Call the front desk and ask for the phone number for internet technical support. Tell them you’re having difficulty connecting and they will either give you a code or register your IP address in their system. Charges never end up on your bill.
Lee is currently working on hacking the next big industry, something he says is bigger than the travel industry and will reveal more in the future.