Early Check-In/Late Check-Out
Flexibility is important when traveling, as itineraries can change due to flight delays, traffic, bad weather, and many more reasons. Missing a flight or a connection, or a train that’s running late can mean you miss the window you’ve scheduled to check-in at a hotel; perhaps you spent the evening enjoying wine or other libations, or you celebrated a friend’s nuptials and got back to your room late – if you want to sleep in, you might not be able to unless you’ve scheduled a late check-out.
Common Hotel Check-In Policies
On average, hotel guests can expect to arrive at their hotel and check-in to the room they’ve booked beginning at 3 or 4 pm. Hotels typically require guests to vacate the room they are in by noon on the day they are scheduled to check out, and each room needs to be cleaned and “turned over” by the hotel staff to ensure the next occupant (you) will be greeted by a room that exceeds the hotel’s standards. When you arrive at your hotel before your scheduled check-in time, you’ll likely want to check in to your room tout de suite so you can drop off your bags and relax a bit. Unless you’ve called ahead, odds are you will not be able to access your room immediately.
Although you can leave your bags with the hotel concierge and explore your destination while you wait for your room to be ready, you’ll need to return at your scheduled time in order to get into your room. This inconvenience can be avoided with proper planning – and by leveraging hotel loyalty programs, along with co-branded credit cards. When you join a hotel rewards program, either via a co-branded credit card or directly, you open the door to a variety of suite, exclusive benefits not available to the average customer – and depending on the program, early check-in (when available) is at the top of that list.
Common Hotel Check-Out Policies
As mentioned above, noon is a standard check-out time with many hotels, although technically guests will notice that unless they request a later check-out time they will be asked to turn in their keys as early as 10 am. A late check-out time is not standard fare for most hotel guests and must be requested at check-in. However, participation in hotel loyalty programs often will grant members automatic late check-out times as a perk not available to guests who are not a member of the rewards program. If you have a co-branded credit card that offers rewards points for spending money, you may also be eligible for a late check-out time, if the hotel whose card you use offers it as part of their loyalty program. Check the fine print for your co-branded credit card for more details.
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