Can You Check Out of a Hotel Late?

When you travel, hotel checkout times can seem restrictive. Checking out later than the usual 11 a.m. or noon checkout time would give you greater flexibility, but are you allowed to do so?

Most hotels allow you to check out late, provided you ask on time and do not regularly overstay your welcome. Depending on the hotel, your allotted time could be anything from five minutes to a few extra hours. To be sure, asking long before your checkout time is vital.

Late checkout depends on the hotel’s rules, how busy they are, and how you approach the problem. Read on to learn how and when to put in a request for your best opportunity for success. 

Can You Check Out of a Hotel Late?

You can usually arrange to check out of a hotel late. In some cases, you can do this ahead of time. Your chances of getting a late checkout can be significantly better if:

  • You book at a hotel where you have achieved elite status or a similar milestone.
  • You book through a VIP booking service.
  • You have a reward to redeem.

Although it can take a while, achieving elite status is one of the most foolproof ways to ensure you get a late checkout. Elite status is typically part of a hotel’s loyalty program and comes as you book more stays with a specific hotel or hotel group.

Aside from late checkout, elite status also comes with a plethora of other benefits, like complimentary meals, free room upgrades, expedited check-ins, and more. 

However, it’s important to note that these benefits are not uniform for all hotels. In fact, some hotels don’t even have a loyalty program.

Even if you don’t have these options available, you may still be able to get a late checkout. 

The most crucial part of securing your late checkout is asking on time. Most hotels, regardless of rules, will give you at least a few extra minutes to leave your room after checkout.

However, giving the hotel a heads-up by asking for additional time, at least a few hours before checkout, can be a significant deciding factor in how long you’re allowed to stay. It can also be beneficial if you need to extend your stay for a valid reason.

Asking for a late checkout because:

  • Your flight or next leg of travel was delayed,
  • You arrived late and need time to recover,
  • You or a travel companion is ill,

will garner much more goodwill than simply asking because you don’t feel like leaving early.

Above all, remember to be kind. Unless you’ve paid for it beforehand or it’s part of your package, the hotel is under no obligation to provide a late checkout.

Sometimes an extra tip at the front desk can help, but usually, politely asking will give extra motivation for the person with whom you put in your request. 

Whether you’re checking out late or early, a little goodwill to hotel staff can make your hotel experience much more enjoyable. 

Even getting food delivered to your hotel room is much easier when you make a good impression. Not every hotel explicitly allows this, so having someone at the front desk willing to go the extra mile can be a godsend.

Do Hotels Charge Extra for Late Checkout?

Some hotels charge a late checkout fee, but there is no uniform rule for all hotels. Some might charge you a premium fee for being five minutes late, while some will allow you to stay a few extra hours on request. This is entirely at the hotel’s discretion, so you must ask first.

Since late checkout is so variable, asking the clerk once you check in or a few hours to checkout can go a long way. The variability of late checkout also continues beyond availability.

The amount of time extended and the associated cost also varies enormously between hotels. Some hotels might charge you the total cost of an extra day for a late checkout, others might charge you a fraction of the cost, and some might let you stay a little longer for free.

Hotels’ reputations depend strongly on their service. If you put in a request, they often want to find a way to help— particularly if you are a frequent customer. 

Ensuring your comfort often matters more than an extra fee. 

Can You Check Out of a Hotel After Midnight?

You can check out of a hotel after midnight, but only if it’s within your allotted booking time. If you want to check out after midnight of the day following your actual checkout time, then you’ll have to either pay for an extra day or pay the associated late checkout fee.

Still, there is no harm in asking. When you know what your needs are, let the hotel staff know. If bookings are light, you might be lucky enough for them to make a few allowances for you.

While it’s doubtful that the hotel will let you stay in the room for free until midnight, you might be allowed to remain in the lobby or waiting area until you’re ready to leave at midnight.

If you’d really like to secure a midnight checkout, I recommend asking if you can pay for an extra half-day. Most hotels usually make this allowance, so it’s a great option if you need extra time but want to avoid being saddled with the cost of a full day.

What Happens if I Don’t Check Out?

If you don’t check out of a hotel before you leave, most hotels simply sign you out themselves once they realize you’ve left. However, it’s considered courteous to let the hotel staff know when you plan to leave. This gives them a chance to adjust cleaning schedules and bookings accordingly.

If you don’t check out on time and refuse to leave your room, hotel staff will usually politely ask you what your plans are. Do you want to pay for a late checkout, or would you like to extend your stay for an extra day?

If you still haven’t left after a few courtesy calls, the staff will become more forceful and ask you to leave. Hotels pride themselves on hospitality, so they will be as polite as possible, provided you eventually leave within a few minutes or hours.

However, it’s polite to be on time and leave close to checkout time.

Conclusion

Whatever your reason, checking out late can be a good option if you do it correctly. Put in the request before your checkout time to give staff time to adjust schedules around you. If you have a rewards program or elite status at the hotel brand, make sure you mention it.