Apple and Hyatt launch digital room keys in your iPhone's wallet
You'll no longer need to worry about misplacing, or potentially deactivating, your plastic hotel room key thanks to a software enhancement coming to iPhones worldwide.
Apple unveiled details of its partnership with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts on Wednesday, which will become the first chain to tap into the "Room Keys in Apple Wallet" feature that was first unveiled in June at Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
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As part of the partnership, iPhone users staying at select Hyatt hotels can save room keys directly in the Wallet app. Once set up, you'll be able to tap your phone to unlock your room, as well as any other hotel amenities that require key access, whether it's the elevator, gym, spa or business center.
You can even use a paired Apple Watch to unlock your room, which could be useful if you went for an outdoor run without your phone, for instance.
At launch, the new functionality will be limited to six domestic Hyatt properties. Unfortunately, a company spokesperson couldn't provide a timeline for expansion, but promised that "Hyatt hotels will prioritize ... equipping more properties in the portfolio to support this experience."
You'll find the full list of participating hotels below, and note that you'll need to have iOS 15 installed on your iPhone, along with WatchOS 8 on your Apple Watch, to use this new feature.
- Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
- Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa
- Hyatt House Chicago/West Loop-Fulton Market
- Hyatt House Dallas/Richardson
- Hyatt Place Fremont/Silicon Valley
- Hyatt Regency Long Beach
To add a key for an upcoming Hyatt stay to your iPhone wallet, look for the "add your room key to Apple Watch" button on your reservation confirmation in the World of Hyatt mobile app. From there, your key will automatically get activated after you complete the check-in process, regardless of whether you visit the front desk in person or bypass it with mobile check-in.
Apple's implementation of room keys in the Wallet app is more seamless and even more powerful than using the mobile key functionality built into the World of Hyatt mobile application.
For one — and this one is big for families — you'll be able to store keys to multiple rooms under a single pass in the Wallet app. So, families and friends traveling together can access all the rooms in a given reservation without needing to keep track of multiple physical keys.
Additionally, your digital key can be updated remotely, so if you're granted late checkout or you decide to extend your stay, the reception can seamlessly update it without a visit to the front desk. Note that when or where you use your digital room key is never shared with Apple, nor is it stored on the company's servers.
Room keys in Apple Wallet work even if your iPhone is out of battery — with the power reserve function, you can still tap your phone to unlock your room for up to five hours without a charge.
Once you're ready to check out, keys are automatically removed from your device and marked as expired.
Adding hotel room keys to the Wallet app is the latest travel-friendly feature coming to your iPhone's wallet. It joins the recently announced Digital ID feature, which will allow you to convert your physical drivers' license into a digitalized, TSA-approved version.
Plus, as part of the recent iOS 15.1 update, you can now store a digitally verifiable vaccination certificate in the Wallet app. This can be used to streamline your entry to destinations and other entertainment venues that require proof of vaccination.
In fact, you can even connect your digital vaccine card to United's Travel-Reader Center for instant vaccine verification before your trip to the U.S., or to any other country that requires proof of vaccination.