Credit cards with late check-out and early check-in benefits

If you’ve ever had to spend the day at a coffee shop with Wi-Fi because your hotel’s official check-in time isn’t until 3 p.m., or had to spend a few extra hours at the airport because you were booted from your room at 11 a.m., you know how valuable early check-in and late check-out can cards for late checkout

Elite status with various hotel chains often includes check-in/out perks. But if you aren’t able to complete the number of stays necessary to earn elite status, you might consider a credit card that gives you it automatically.

As with many benefits, though, there’s plenty of fine print associated with early check-in and late check-out perks. Here are some stipulations to look out for followed by a chart that summarizes which cards can let you check in earlier — and let you sleep in on check-out day.

Check-in benefits are rare

Some hotel-affiliated cards give you access to an expedited check-in line in the lobby. Others go a step further and allow you to check in before the hotel’s standard check-in time. Early check-in is rare, however, and no hotel chain or affiliated card guarantees the ability to use this perk. That makes sense, as there’s no guarantee the previous guest will vacate your room before you arrive – especially if they’re availing themselves of any late check-out perks they have.

Late check-out is more common – but terms are often vague

You’ll notice the terms and conditions for cards and chains providing late check-out are almost always vague — many mentions of “upon request,” and very few concrete mentions of just how late you can stay. In general, you have to notify the front desk of your departure plans and hope for the best. You might request 4 p.m. check-out only to have the property give a counter offer of 1 p.m.

If you want to get into which properties are most likely to grant you late check-out and exactly how much longer they’ll let you occupy the room, comb through the lengthy discussions on FlyerTalk.

Late check-out is rarely guaranteed – and will cost you

Most hotels and cards that advertise late check-out won’t guarantee it. After all, if the hotel is booked solid, the property can’t overburden its housekeeping staff by letting you occupy the room longer.

If guaranteed late check-out is a must for you, the only plastic that will give it to you is the Platinum card (personal and business version) from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner). However, you must also book within AmEx’s Fine Hotels & Resorts portfolio. That means you’re paying $450 per year for the card plus however much it costs to stay at a property in AmEx’s portfolio (which includes some of the most luxurious properties in the world).

It’s not a make-or-break benefit

Check-in/out perks are nice to have, but are far less important than the return on spending the card gives you and perks that have a calculable monetary value (such as free nights). If you frequently fly into your destination late in the evening and depart early in the morning, early check-in and late check-out probably won’t be that important to you anyway. So, rather than factoring them in to your application decision, they’re perks to be aware of so you don’t miss out once you have the card.

Cards that offer early check-in / late check-out benefits
Hotel chainThe card you’ll need for check-in/out benefitsAutomatic status granted with cardCheck-in benefitsLate check-out benefitsLate check-out guaranteed?
IHGIHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card ($49 annual fee)Platinum ElitePriority check-in lane“Extended” check-out. Time depends on property. No, subject to availability. Not available in all regions.
Marriott($85 annual fee)Silver EliteN/A“Priority” late checkout. Notify front desk of your planned departure time, and they’ll try to accommodate you.No, subject to availability.
HiltonHilton HHonors Visa Signature, Hilton HHonors card from American Express (no annual fee)Silver EliteN/ALate check-out. Schedule with front desk.No, subject to availability.
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card ($95 annual fee); Hilton HHonors Surpass card from American Express ($75 annual fee)Gold Elite
American Express Platinum cardGold Elite
Choice HotelsNo card required – check in/out benefits granted to all Choice Privileges membersElite Gold Status (again, not required for check-in/out benefits)Express check-inAs late as 2 p.m. Request with hotel before posted check-out time passes.No, subject to availability
StarwoodAmerican Express Platinum Card and Business PlatinumGold Preferred Guest. You must request enrollment via your Platinum card.N/A4 p.m. late check-outNo, subject to availability
Hotels in American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts portfolioAmerican Express Platinum Card and Business Platinum. Must book with Fine Hotels & Resorts program.N/AEarly noon check-in, when available4 p.m. late check-outYES
Hotels in Visa’s Luxury Hotel CollectionEligible Visa cards (Visa Signature, Signature Preferred, Signature Business). Must book via Visa’s travel program.N/AN/A3 p.m. late check-outNo, subject to availability
Hotels in MasterCard’s Luxury Hotels and Resorts portfolioWorld Elite MasterCard. Must book with MasterCard’s travel service.N/AEarly check-in, when availableLate check-out No, subject to availability.
Chase Luxury Hotel & Resort CollectionMileagePlus Club card ($95 annual fee), MileagePlus Club card ($450 annual fee)N/AEarly check-in, when available, at select propertiesLate check-out at select propertiesNo, subject to availability
Ritz-CarltonRitz-Carlton Rewards credit cardGold EliteN/APriority late check-out. Contact front desk with desired departure time.No, subject to availability
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