How to Increase Your Chances of an Early Check-In At a Hotel

When you make a hotel reservation, do you always hate seeing the dreaded description, “Check in time is at 3pm”? You’re well aware that your flight gets in at 6am in the morning and you want to get to the hotel as soon as possible. Perhaps you’re hesitant because of the website text that says 3pm check-in. Out of my entire hotel stays in the past 10 years, roughly 20% of those were probably checked in at the scheduled time or later. I would say 60% of the time I checked in at 12pm which is a relatively safe time. The other 20% is the dreaded 6am arrival time with the 3 or 4pm check-in time. I’ve had an 80% success rate on checking in as early as 8am on some cases. Don’t be shy and think you’ll get rejected at the check-in desk. If you just try, most of the time they’ll give you a. The worse that can happen is that they’ll store your belongings and give you a call when they “rush” your room to be ready. Here are some tips on how to increase your chances of an early check in at a hotel.

Hotel Elite Status – This matters a lot because the hotel values its loyal customers and its own loyalty program. They want to get their best customers into their rooms as fast as possible. If you have an upgraded room and it’s not available at check-in, some hotels will let you stay in a standard room and move you to your suite when it’s available. Sometimes if you have a suite already pre-upgraded and it isn’t ready until much later, you can get a standard room if you’re willing to downgrade. It could be worth accepting the downgraded room since you would be checking in super early, well ahead of other guests.

Send a Tweet – If your hotel brand has a Twitter account, it’s wise to send a tweet asking for an early check-in request. I’ve done this a lot with Starwood where I’ll DM Starwood and let the hotel know that I’ll be checking in early. I usually do this the night before so the front desk clerks can make note of it. Some people do check-out at 5 or 6am and it’s possible that they could secure that room for you.

Send an e-mail – If you really want that early check-in, I would highly advise you to send an e-mail to the General Manager. You can find the GM’s name on the hotel confirmation e-mail and search for his or her e-mail address via Google.

Smile and ask politely – When you’re at the front desk, be polite and smile. When I approach the front desk, I usually say, “Hi, Good Morning. I know it’s a bit early, but is there any way I can check-in at this time? I had an early flight arrival and I’m exhausted.” Most of the time, they’ll ask you for your name and proactively check their availability of rooms.

If you do a combination or all of the above, it will dramatically increase your chances of checking into a hotel as early as 8am.

Have you ever checked into a hotel as early as 8am?


About the Author

Points Summary
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5 Comments on "How to Increase Your Chances of an Early Check-In At a Hotel"

  1. IC Singapore checked in at 8 am w/o status at that time. Park Hyatt Sydney checked in 8:30 am Hyatt Diamond, Highlands Inns checked in 9 am. Hyatt Waikiki, 5th Ave Andaz.
    Usually I email the hotel as if the room is available for early check in.

  2. MGM Vegas at 7am one time

    • Wow 7am!! How did you do it?

      • Nothing special. I expected to check bags with the bell desk but several hotels in Vegas have a program where you can check in, get a key and they text you with the room number when it is ready so i stopped at the desk since there was no line. They said a room was available and just checked me in. My room was a regular king so the odds of availability were decent.

        I try to live by “the answer to any unasked question is no” so i ask but don’t expect a yes. Pleasant surprises happen.

  3. Several years ago my family and I arrived at the Ritz-Carlton in Maui at 9am – having taken an earlier flight from HNL than planned. I had no expectations of checking in that early when I approached the front desk, simply planning to find out where we could change into bathing suits and stash our bags. Instead, I was stunned to have the woman at the front desk begin apologizing profusely that our room (we had a suite reserved on points) wouldn’t be ready until 3pm, and they were terribly sorry for the inconvenience. We could change in the fitness center and bring our bags back to the concierge. And they were terribly sorry. That was fine with me… though I was taken aback that she GENUINELY seemed terribly sorry.

    When we brought our bags back to the lobby the General Manager was there and came over to tell us that he had heard about our “situation” and that, he too, was terribly sorry and that he had arranged for one of the large cabanas by the pool for us to use during the day to help “make the situation right.” The furnished cabana came stocked with fresh fruit, soft drinks, juices, etc. When we sat down a waitress came right over to take our drink order “compliments of the management” and attended to our every need all afternoon. The “kids club” attendant came over with some games and crafts for our two young kids to play with. This was the best day of our 14 day trip to Hawaii… and we didn’t even have a room yet!

    Ultimately, we didn’t get into our room until after 3pm. But I think we got a far better deal than “an early check-in.”

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