How to Get an Early Check-in at a Hotel: A Comprehensive Guide

Tired of waiting endlessly for your hotel room to be ready? Early check-in can be a lifesaver, especially after a long journey or an early morning flight. But securing that coveted early entry isn’t always easy.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: To increase your chances of an early check-in, join the hotel’s loyalty program, request it in advance, arrive early, be polite, and consider tipping the front desk staff.

However, there’s much more to the art of early check-in than meets the eye. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the strategies, tips, and tricks that can help you breeze through those hotel doors before the official check-in time.

From understanding hotel policies to mastering the art of negotiation, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding Hotel Check-in Policies

Arriving at your hotel and being able to check in early can be a game-changer for any traveler. It allows you to freshen up, unwind, and start your vacation or business trip without delay. However, navigating the intricacies of hotel check-in policies can be a challenge.

In this section, we’ll dive into the key aspects you need to understand to increase your chances of securing an early check-in.

Standard Check-in Times

Most hotels have a standard check-in time, typically around 3:00 PM or 4:00 PM. This time is set to allow housekeeping staff to thoroughly clean and prepare the rooms after the previous guests have checked out.

While some hotels may be flexible with early check-ins, it’s essential to be aware of their standard policy to manage your expectations accordingly.

Early Check-in Fees and Availability

Many hotels offer the option of early check-in, but it often comes with an additional fee. This fee can vary widely depending on the hotel, location, and demand. Some hotels may charge a percentage of the room rate, while others have a flat fee.

It’s advisable to inquire about early check-in fees and availability when making your reservation or upon arrival. Hotels.com suggests that being polite and friendly with the front desk staff can sometimes lead to waived fees or discounts.

Hotel Occupancy Rates and Room Readiness

Hotel occupancy rates play a significant role in determining the availability of early check-in. When occupancy is high, it becomes more challenging for hotels to accommodate early arrivals as rooms may not be ready.

According to Statista, the average hotel occupancy rate in the United States was around 58.6% in 2021. During peak travel seasons or major events, occupancy rates can soar, making early check-ins less likely.

On the other hand, when occupancy is low, hotels are more likely to have rooms ready earlier in the day. This is when politely requesting an early check-in may yield positive results. It’s worth noting that even with low occupancy, some hotels may prioritize room readiness for guests with guaranteed early check-in reservations or loyalty program members.

By understanding these key aspects of hotel check-in policies, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the process and increase your chances of securing an early check-in. Don’t be afraid to politely inquire about availability and fees, as a friendly attitude can go a long way.

Remember, being flexible and understanding the hotel’s policies can make a world of difference in your overall experience. 😊

Joining Hotel Loyalty Programs

Benefits of Hotel Loyalty Programs

Joining a hotel loyalty program is a smart move for frequent travelers who want to enjoy a hassle-free and enhanced hotel experience. These programs offer a wide range of benefits, including early check-in, late check-out, room upgrades, complimentary Wi-Fi, and exclusive discounts on dining and other amenities.

According to a survey by Hotel News Resource, 78% of travelers consider loyalty programs an important factor when choosing a hotel.

Elite Status and Early Check-in Perks

One of the most coveted perks of hotel loyalty programs is early check-in. By achieving elite status, members can often check into their rooms as early as 9 AM or even earlier, depending on the program and hotel availability.

Elite status is typically earned by accumulating a certain number of stays or nights within a given time period. For example, Marriott Bonvoy members can achieve elite status after staying 10-100 nights per year, unlocking benefits like early check-in, room upgrades, and lounge access. 😍

Early check-in can be a game-changer for travelers arriving on red-eye flights or those who simply want to maximize their time at the destination. According to a study by Statista, over 60% of hotel loyalty program members consider early check-in a valuable benefit.

Earning and Redeeming Points for Early Check-in

Many hotel loyalty programs also allow members to earn and redeem points for various perks, including early check-in. By accumulating enough points, you can potentially request an early check-in or even book a room upgrade that guarantees early access to your room.

For instance, Hilton Honors members can redeem points for “Premium Room Rewards,” which include early check-in and late check-out. Isn’t that awesome? 👏

Additionally, some hotel chains offer exclusive mobile apps or websites where members can bid for early check-in using their points or cash. This provides a convenient way to secure early access when it’s crucial for your travel plans.

For example, the IHG App allows IHG Rewards Club members to bid for early check-in at participating hotels.

Remember, while early check-in is a coveted perk, it’s not always guaranteed, even for elite members. Hotels may have limited availability, so it’s always a good idea to call ahead or check with the hotel directly to increase your chances of securing an early check-in. 😊

Requesting Early Check-in in Advance

One of the most effective ways to increase your chances of getting an early check-in at a hotel is by requesting it in advance. This gives the hotel staff ample time to accommodate your request and make necessary arrangements.

According to a survey by HotelNewsResource.com, over 70% of hotels are more likely to grant an early check-in if the request is made at least 24 hours before arrival.

When and How to Make the Request

Ideally, you should make the early check-in request when you book your stay, whether it’s online or over the phone. This way, the hotel can note your preference and do their best to meet your needs. If you’ve already made a reservation, you can still request an early check-in by contacting the hotel directly, either via email or phone.

Be sure to provide your reservation details and the desired check-in time. 😊

Providing a Valid Reason for Early Arrival

While hotels appreciate advance notice, they may be more inclined to accommodate your request if you provide a valid reason for your early arrival. For instance, if you’re arriving on an early morning flight or have a business meeting scheduled shortly after your anticipated check-in time, let the hotel know.

According to a study by TravelPulse.com, 68% of hotels are more likely to grant early check-in requests when guests provide a legitimate reason. However, even if you don’t have a specific reason, it never hurts to ask politely.

Following Up on Your Request

Once you’ve made your early check-in request, it’s a good idea to follow up with the hotel a day or two before your arrival. This serves as a friendly reminder and allows the hotel staff to confirm if they can accommodate your request or not.

If they cannot grant an early check-in, they may be able to offer alternatives, such as holding your luggage or providing access to amenities like the fitness center or pool area while you wait for your room to become available. 👍

Remember, while hotels strive to meet their guests’ needs, early check-ins are subject to availability and cannot always be guaranteed. However, by following these steps and being polite and understanding, you increase your chances of getting an early check-in and starting your hotel stay on the right foot.

Can’t wait to explore that new city or relax by the pool? An early check-in might just make your travel experience even more amazing! 🎉

Arrival Strategies for Early Check-in

Timing Your Arrival

One of the most effective strategies for securing an early check-in at a hotel is to time your arrival wisely. According to a study by Hotel Management, the peak check-out time for most hotels is typically around 11 AM to 12 PM.

By arriving at the hotel around this time, you increase your chances of finding a room that has already been vacated and cleaned, allowing for an earlier check-in. 😊

However, it’s important to note that this strategy may not always work, especially during high-occupancy periods or on weekends when guests tend to check out later. If you’re traveling during peak seasons or popular events, it’s best to call the hotel in advance and inquire about their expected occupancy levels and the likelihood of an early check-in.


Being Polite and Friendly with Staff

The hotel staff plays a crucial role in facilitating an early check-in, and treating them with kindness and respect can go a long way. As reported by Travel and Leisure, a friendly demeanor and a genuine “please” and “thank you” can often make a difference.

Remember, the front desk staff deals with countless guests daily, and a positive attitude can make your request stand out.

It’s also a good idea to explain your situation politely, whether you’re arriving early from a long flight or need to freshen up before an important meeting. The staff may be more inclined to accommodate your request if they understand the reason behind it.

Don’t be afraid to ask if there are any rooms available for early check-in, but be prepared to wait if the hotel is fully booked or still cleaning rooms.

Offering a Tip for Early Check-in

While it’s not a guarantee, offering a small tip to the front desk staff can sometimes help secure an early check-in. According to a survey by SmarterTravel, 65% of hotel staff admitted that a tip could influence their decision to prioritize a guest’s request for an early check-in or a room upgrade.

However, it’s important to note that not all hotels allow their staff to accept tips, and some may have strict policies against it. If you choose to offer a tip, do so discreetly and respectfully. A simple “I really appreciate your help with getting me checked in early” accompanied by a $5 or $10 bill can go a long way.

But remember, a tip should never be seen as a bribe – it’s simply a gesture of gratitude for exceptional service. 🎉

Ultimately, the key to securing an early check-in is a combination of timing, politeness, and a willingness to be flexible. By following these strategies and understanding the hotel’s policies and limitations, you can increase your chances of starting your stay on the right foot. And who knows?

You might even get a room with a view or a complimentary upgrade! 😍

Negotiation Tactics for Early Check-in

Arriving at your hotel early after a long journey can be frustrating when your room isn’t ready yet. However, with some polite negotiation tactics, you can increase your chances of getting an early check-in. Here are some effective strategies to try:

Politely Explaining Your Situation

The key to successful negotiation is to be courteous and understanding. Approach the front desk staff with a friendly demeanor and explain your circumstances. For example, you could say, “I’ve had a long flight and would really appreciate being able to check in early if possible.”

According to a Forbes article, being polite and respectful can go a long way in getting your request accommodated.

Offering to Pay an Early Check-in Fee

Many hotels charge an early check-in fee, typically ranging from $10 to $50, depending on the property. If you’re willing to pay this fee, let the front desk staff know. It’s a win-win situation: you get your room early, and the hotel earns extra revenue.

According to a SmarterTravel survey, 👍 around 60% of hotels offer early check-in for a fee.

Asking for Room Upgrades or Amenities

If the hotel is fully booked and can’t accommodate an early check-in, you can try negotiating for room upgrades or complimentary amenities. For instance, you could ask for a room with a better view, a higher floor, or a suite upgrade.

Alternatively, you could request free breakfast, late checkout, or access to the hotel’s club lounge. The key is to remain polite and flexible, as hotel staff are more likely to work with you if you’re understanding of their constraints.

Remember, negotiating for an early check-in is all about timing and approach. 😊 If you catch the front desk during a busy period, they may be less inclined to accommodate your request. However, if you arrive early in the morning or during a slower time, your chances of success increase.

Additionally, being a loyal customer or a member of the hotel’s rewards program can also work in your favor.


Securing an early check-in at a hotel can be a game-changer, allowing you to settle in, freshen up, and start your adventure sooner. By understanding hotel policies, joining loyalty programs, requesting in advance, timing your arrival strategically, and employing effective negotiation tactics, you can significantly increase your chances of bypassing the standard check-in time.

Remember, a polite and friendly demeanor, combined with a willingness to be flexible and offer reasonable compensation, can go a long way in persuading hotel staff to accommodate your early check-in request.

With the right approach and a bit of luck, you’ll be kicking back in your hotel room before you know it, ready to make the most of your stay.

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