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How and when to ask for late checkout at a hotel

July 11, 2022
8 min read
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Have you ever been woken up on the last day of your trip by reception calling to ask when you plan to check out?

It’s not the best way to end any holiday, especially if you celebrated the end of your vacation with a few piña coladas the night before.

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Hotel checkout times are usually listed, but properties are often flexible about exactly when you need to vacate the room. If your flight isn't until 6 p.m., you probably want to avoid checking out early and twiddling your thumbs in the reception area all afternoon.

Here's how and when to ask for a late checkout on your next hotel stay.

Related: Time is luxury: Why all high-end hotels should follow The Peninsula in eliminating check-in/out times

Checkout basics

(Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

Hotels advertise their specific check-in and checkout times online. You'll see the indicated checkout time when booking, and you'll probably also receive the information in a confirmation email. When you arrive to check in, staff might notify you of checkout time as well. Times differ from one property to the next but usually fall between 10 a.m. and noon.

You are expected to vacate the room before the indicated time with all of your belongings and return your room keys to the front desk. Timing matters because the housekeeping staff needs to clean the room and prepare it for the next guests who may be arriving in just a few hours.

Some hotels offer a guaranteed later checkout time for an extra fee. For example, the hotel might charge $24 per extra hour or a fixed rate to stay until 4 p.m. You could either confirm this when checking in or during your stay. We would not advise waiting to make this request until five minutes before you're supposed to check out, though. Asking too late will create administrative issues for the property's staff.

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Whether (or not) the late checkout fee provides good value is up to you. (Personally, if the room was only $71 per night, I would not pay $71 for a three-hour extension on checkout.)

Related: Do you really have to check out of a hotel?

Guests with elite status in the hotel’s loyalty program (or those who have purchased a special room rate or package) might be eligible for late checkout, subject to availability. In other words, if housekeeping doesn’t need your room back immediately, you can stay until later that day. The latest checkout times might be outlined in the loyalty program benefits or upon booking.

You may not be notified if late checkout is actually available until the night before your departure because hotel staff doesn't always know what time the next guest will arrive. (And next time a hotel asks you to provide an approximate check-in time for your next booking, try to answer accurately — it will help those travelers who are hoping to check out late.) Plus, when you're the one vying for a late checkout, you'll be very thankful if the next incoming guest informed the hotel in advance they wouldn't arrive until, say, midnight.

When to ask for a late checkout

(Photo by Tanner Saunders/The Points Guy)

If you're staying for multiple nights, the hotel staff probably won't know what your likelihood of a late checkout is when you first arrive. The reason? If you aren't checking out for a week, they could receive new room bookings during that time and end up needing your room back at the scheduled hour. Their inventory may look different in a week, and they'll be hesitant to promise you something right away.

It’s even less likely they'll be able to accommodate late checkout requests before you arrive (or upon booking), so it's probably a waste of time to ask about it early.

They may offer to make a note about your request on your booking, but these notes aren’t always monitored on a daily basis.

If asking before you arrive is too early, then asking the morning you are supposed to check out is probably too late. If checkout time is 10 a.m., don’t wait until 9:59 a.m. to call reception — housekeeping is probably already on your floor and they’re likely to say no because it's difficult to move housekeeping staff around.

Related: 9 things you can do to help housekeeping when you checkout

I believe the sweet spot for asking for a late checkout is the afternoon or evening before you are due to vacate the room. At this point, the staff members have a pretty good idea of how many guests they'll be hosting the following night, and they will have started allocating rooms to those new arrivals.

Plus, the housekeeping staff has not yet arrived to start preparing those rooms for the day. If you can ask for a late checkout time during this period, the hotel staff will be far more agreeable.

The less hassle you give the person you are asking, the more likely they will say yes.

How to ask for a late checkout

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

I have a very simple rule when asking for anything in a hotel.

Simple requests can be made over the phone, big requests should be made in person at reception. Missing an iron? Pick up the phone. Want an upgrade to another room type to enjoy an unobstructed sunset ocean view? Head downstairs for a proper discussion.

Related: Marriott’s new CEO sat down with TPG to talk Bonvoy benefits, housekeeping and more

The same applies when asking for a late checkout. If I only want an hour extension, I will phone reception the afternoon or evening before. If my flight is not until the following evening and I’m hoping to stay in the room until 5 p.m., that’s a big favor to ask. I make sure I’m looking presentable, turn on the charm and head downstairs for what is usually a quick, pleasant and painless negotiation.

If you're eligible for a late checkout because of your elite status or the room rate you booked, I recommend you politely say, “Hello, I am hoping for a late checkout at 1 p.m. tomorrow because I am a Diamond member," or because "I have booked a rate with a late checkout.”

They will usually check the next guest's arrival time and the housekeeping schedules before giving you a yes or no. If the checkout time you are asking for is subject to availability and they decline your request, there’s not much you can do. Going full Karen mode is unlikely to change the decision if it’s not logistically possible.

Throughout my travels I’ve found hotels are accommodating about late checkout when they can be — it’s an easy way to leave a great lasting impression with the guest.

Related: Why I checked out minutes after arriving at a top-tier Hyatt resort

The later the time you are requesting, the more polite and detailed you should make your request. If there’s only one flight a day back home and it doesn’t leave until dinnertime, explain this; they make be sympathetic and extend your checkout to late afternoon.

Even if they need the room back, they will usually be happy to let you continue using the hotel’s facilities, such as the pool or fitness center.

Bottom line

(Photo by Andrea Rotondo/The Points Guy)

I have had great success when asking for a late checkout, and about 80% of my requests have been approved without question.

Ask at an appropriate time and always be polite. Also, make sure your request is reasonable — if you want a midnight checkout, just pay for an extra night. If there’s no one coming into your room on the day you are vacating it, the hotel will probably let you sleep in on your last day.

Featured image by Featured image courtesy of The Dixon
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
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  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees