Question Of The Week: Can My Spouse Check In For My Hotel Booking?

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Question Of The Week: Can My Spouse Check In For My Hotel Booking?Question Of The Week: Can My Spouse Check In For My Hotel Booking?

Our question this week looks at whether your spouse can check in at the hotel without you or not. Got a hotel booking in your name? What if your spouse shows up first–can they check in? There are a few different reasons why your spouse might show up alone, so we’ll give a brief look at some of those then answer the question. Here’s what you need to know about if/when your spouse can check in alone for a hotel booking in your name.

The Question

Our question comes from Sean in our Facebook group:

My wife and I were supposed to travel to San Diego and booked a hotel at the Indigo Hotel using my IHG points. An emergency came up and I am unable to travel – Does anybody know if my wife can still use my reservation?

When Would I Need This?

Aside from Sean’s situation, which is obvious, there are other times where someone else checking in could be useful.

  • You and your significant other are arriving separately. Perhaps you are already in the city for a work trip.
  • You’re meeting in the middle and the other person’s flight arrives first.
  • The person arriving 2nd has higher status, so you want those perks.
  • If you have free night certificates expiring, perhaps you’re booking a staycation for friends or relatives in their city. In this scenario, you won’t even be at the hotel. That’s a slightly different situation. In this article, we previously covered how to book flights and hotel stays for someone else.
  • You want to earn nights for hotel status, so you book a hotel stay under your account as a “gift” to a friend. This still has some issues, but it’s better than booking a hotel and not even going (a bad idea, which we covered here) to try to get your elite night credits.

Can My Spouse Check In For My Hotel Booking?

In short: yes!

Different hotels have different policies on this, obviously. Some make it easier than others to accomplish. The experience of many people (myself included) is that it can almost always be done.

Here’s what you should do so your spouse or someone else can check into a hotel when the reservation is in your name:

  • Online: IHG and Hilton allow for adding a 2nd guest’s name to your reservation online. This is pretty simple.
  • Call the hotel program: find the reservations number for the hotel program and call them. Say your 2nd guest is arriving first, and you want that person to be able to check in on arrival.
  • Call the hotel directly: you can also contact the hotel itself to leave your spouse’s name with the front desk, so they attach it to the reservation. For domestic properties, this is pretty simple. If it’s an international call, I look for other options.
  • Twitter: this is my first stop whenever I need to add my wife’s name to a reservation or add my name to her reservation. Contact the hotel loyalty program via private message. State the reservation number, guest name, and hotel/check in date. They may ask you some further verification questions. After that, they should be able to add a 2nd guest’s name to the reservation.

Hotel 50 Bowery Review - A Hyatt Joie de Vivre Hotel in NYC

Some Caveats

While this is typically super easy, I would be remiss to not mention that you shouldn’t abuse this. If the reservation is in your name, you’re supposed to stay there. Hotels may or may not notice that you weren’t there. Or what if you book a stay in your name but it’s for a friend? And then your friend brings his wife? Now the hotel thinks 3 people are staying there. This could create extra fees or “maximum occupancy” issues.

I realize this isn’t Sean’s question or his specific situation, but be mindful of not trying to take advantage of 2nd guest bookings. In fact, Frequent Miler wrote about Hyatt contacting people they thought were abusing this policy. (Ex: If I booked a stay in my name to earn stay credits, but someone else is staying there without me) The lesson here is to use this policy when there really is a 2nd guest joining you (or planned, but then you can’t travel due to an emergency). Don’t try to exploit it.

Final Thoughts

Yes, your spouse can check in at a hotel without you. A tweet or phone call should easily set this up. This way, your significant other won’t get hassled at check in. “Hi, I’m checking in. The reservation is in the name of _____ but my name is listed as the 2nd guest.” That should be all it takes when your spouse arrives to check in. Waiting for you in the room is much better than waiting in the lobby for a few hours.

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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14 COMMENTS

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14 COMMENTS

  1. This post is seriously lacking. The issue isn’t your spouse checking into a reservation, but rather your spouse enjoying your elite benefits if you don’t check in. This is especially an issue in certain countries (in particular China) where they are strict about IDs and passports, but even some properties in the US have restricted elite benefits. It would have been much more useful to hear about this in this post.

    • Daniel – those things were specifically mentioned, and the article warned people against abusing “I’m not really going” types of 2nd guest policies. If you look through the article again, you’ll find all of the things you mentioned.

    • Yes, Marriott has told me before that the free night certificates are intended to be used by the person whose name is on them blah blah blah. So they don’t want you to be able to put someone else’s name on them and try to resist. I’ve been able to contact the hotel itself and let them know the 2nd name, but that allows check-in only, not moving the award to the other person’s account or the other person earning credits for stays, etc.

      • Thanks! Yes, at least if the certs can be used for someone else, that’s good to know. Great idea on calling the hotel.

        • I think we are talking about 2 different things. I’m not saying the certs can be used for someone else. I’m saying I could add my name or my wife’s name if one of us is arriving before the other. However, Marriott seems to have a big issue with checking on who is using these, at least in my experience. They always checked our info at some point to see if the person whose name is on the free night cert is actually there/staying on the award.

  2. Even better many hotels have digital keys and online check in. I have stayed at a many Hilton & Marriott where I never talked to anyone in the hotel. 24 hrs before check in I was able to select my room #, check in on the app, received digital key went directly to the roo throughthe hotel side door. My wife also has the app on her phone logs in with my account and we both use the digital key. I also check out through the app. Of course not all properties have this feature if not fall back to plan B 🙂

  3. I’ve never had any problems with the spouse checking in first (and note spouse has a different last name) – when making the reservation online, when there is a text box to put in any “special needs” that I have, I simply leave a note explaining the situation and giving them her name.
    Never a problem

  4. Why I never do mobile chk-in, cause access then only available if I have my phone. Husband then has to go thru the front desk with a lot if hassle. That & doesn’t work 1/2 the time.

    We don’t do this repeatedly at the same property, or at resorts, but for Hyatt Place/Hampton/Courtyard’s a quick call to the front desk is all we’ve ever needed to have done this hundreds of times successfully with no issues from the properties or corporate.

  5. Great post – i have always had this question myself since my wife has elite status and I do not but I sometimes travel without her.

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