Is guaranteed early check-in impossible?

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While in Berlin this week I learned our train to Prague had been cancelled and we would not be able to arrive in The Czech Republic until the next morning. I had a points reservation for two nights in Prague at a hotel where I have status.  I emailed the hotel immediately upon learning of the cancellation to inform the property that I would not be arriving until the next morning but that I wanted them to keep my reservation so we could use my room whenever I arrived in the morning. The hotel acknowledged the request including my arrival time.

I thought I was asking the hotel to save my room for me for the two nights I paid even though I wouldn’t arrive until early morning of the second day.

Of course I arrived at the hotel in the morning to the message from the front desk that my room would not be ready until later that afternoon. Where do you stand on this issue?  Should I be entitled to the room immediately since I paid for the room the  previous night or should the hotel be able to sell my room that night knowing no one would occupy the room?

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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. I would think that since you paid for the reservation, the room would be saved for you. I’ve had even low level chain hotels in the US hold a room for me when I was arriving late/early morning with no problems. I once booked a room in the UK starting the night before specifically for the purpose of getting a nap after arrival. It was a 5th night free promotion so I took the arrival day as my free night and didn’t feel guilty about paying extra for the privilege.

  2. The hotel most likely violated the terms of your reservation. It varies by property and by chain, but points bookings are typically guaranteed until either early the following morning or until checkout time the next day.

    Here’s a *wood policy as an example:
    For reservations guaranteed with a form of payment at time of booking, rooms are held until hotel check-out time the day following arrival. For reservations not guaranteed with a form of payment at time of booking, rooms are held until set cancellation time per the rules of the reservation. In the event more guests arrive than can be accommodated due to hotel overbooking or an unforeseen circumstance, and hotel is unable to hold rooms consistent with this room hold policy, hotel will attempt to accommodate guests, at its expense, at a comparable hotel in the area for the oversold night(s), and will pay for transportation to that hotel.

  3. It isn’t clear… did they refund you 1 night worth of points back? Or did you forfeit it because it was past the cancellation time?

    Regardless, they acknowledged that you would be checking in early and they said it was no problem. Right there, I would have been upset. Had they said that the room would not be available, then the expectation would be be the usual 3p check-in. But since they said that early check-in would not be an issue, they failed to deliver on their promise.

  4. It should have been saved for you, but with the understanding that you PAID for it. Your changed stay now becomes three nights. It depends upon what you paid at check out: If billed for two nights, no complaint. If billed for three, you’re got grounds to question them. The final bill is not clear to me in your post.

  5. If you indeed paid for the room and arrived early the next day, then that room should have been made available to you immediately upon check-in.

  6. You are absolutely entitled to the room’s being made available to you upon arrival and they should refund the points for that night as well as make up in some way for the inconvenience.

  7. Having spent every summer for the last 20 years in Prague, I can tell you that hotels don’t operate in the way that Westerners are accustomed to, even if the chain or individual hotel has rules to honor your request. Depending on who you talk to at the desk you will usually get a NO to whatever you ask for. This is the usual mode and Americans tend to take it at face value. The trick is to smile and say, but I must have this room now and keep repeating it (in Czech is preferable) until they relent!

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