How-To: Score a Late Check-Out Time

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Do Not Disturb Sign at the Jade Hotel
Do Not Disturb Sign at the Jade Hotel

We've all been there: cuddled up in high-thread-count sheets, sipping a coffee from the in-room Nespresso machine, and soaking up the last bit of hotel goodness...knowing that check-out time is looming closer and closer. Or worse: stuck with a strict 10 a.m. departure time and a six p.m. flight. This is where a late checkout can be a real godsend. Check-out times vary wildly from hotel to hotel, with the priority on the hotel's end being getting vacated rooms clean and presentable for the next guest to file in. Often, hotels are sold out, so it's impossible to get a few extra hours of room time. But, equipped with these four tips for scoring a later checkout, you may find yourself with time for one more bath, another cup of coffee, or a few extra hours of shuteye. Just don't forget to hang the "do not disturb" sign on the door -- sometimes overzealous housekeepers don't get the message from the front desk that you'll be staying awhile longer.

Ask on a Sunday

Front desk at the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel

Sunday is the best bet for getting a late check-out request granted. Why? Hotels are often at their lowest occupancy at the end of the weekend, as the majority of leisure guests are heading back home and business travelers are not arriving until Monday morning. This means that housekeeping isn’t working on overdrive for a fast turnover. Brands like Novotel and Westin offer automatic late checkouts (when available) on Sundays. Westin calls it their, “Make Monday Better” campaign, and also extends breakfast hours as well. Radisson Blu goes above and beyond by offering a free six p.m. checkout, when available, any day of the week.

Flaunt Your Loyalty

Front desk at the Westin Mission Hills Villas
Front desk at the Westin Mission Hills Villas

Frequent travelers with plenty of loyalty points racked up, or platinum credit card holders, should let the front desk or, better yet, the hotel’s direct reservation agent know that they’d like to stay longer than usual and that they have status at the property. Some front desk agents, like those at Hyatt and Starwood hotels, are empowered to proactively offer the extension, but other hotels wait for guests to prompt for it. Marriott Rewards allows late checkouts (just how late depends on status and availability) to Silver, Gold, and Platinum members. American Express Platinum card holders who book hotels via the Fine Hotels & Resorts program get a guaranteed four p.m. checkout. If you’re not a loyalty member with any brand, sign up! It’s generally free and there are often cross promotions with airlines and car rental agencies, which makes accruing points fast and easy.

Be Polite

Jacob Tomsky

“I have a late flight tomorrow night and I was hoping there was a possibility of extending my check-out time,” is probably going to get you much further than demanding the favor or being aggressive with the front desk agent. After all, it’s the golden rule! Remember, a late checkout is a perk — not an entitlement. If it’s your honeymoon or you’re celebrating a special occasion, it might be worth politely mentioning that, too. Long-time front desk agent and author of the hotel memoir, Heads in Beds, Jacob Tomsky recommends the following, “Here’s how I do it: I walk up, smile without showing teeth, give the agent my CC, drop a twenty on the desk, and say, ‘This is for you. Whatever you can do for me, I’d appreciate it.’ Boom. If I am after something specific, I will include that as well: ‘This is for you. Whatever you can do for me, I’d appreciate a room upgrade, late checkout, wine, whatever.'”

Pay for the Privilege

Villa 9 at The Mirage
Villa 9 at The Mirage

Sure, paying for a late checkout isn’t as ideal as getting the extra time for free but many hotels offer a half-day rate. The Mirage in Las Vegas allows guests to stay until three p.m. for a $30 charge, and many find it’s worth it: The hotel rooms are far more comfortable than the airport gate.

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