Last week, IHG sent out an email to Spire Elite members advising them of a new benefit of the program: 10am early check-in based on availability. That’s a nice benefit to have if it works out, though it seems that this is going to be up to the hotel’s discretion — which isn’t much of a change in reality.
This new benefit is included in the chart of elite benefits at IHG’s website:
And here is what the website says in those two superscripts (3 and 6):
Subject to availability.
Spire Elite members may check in as early as 10 a.m. Please select early arrival as a stay preference in your reservation confirmation.
Based on those two statements, I’m not sure that this benefit is really anything new at all in the sense that a hotel has always been able to let you check in early if a room was available. I think the biggest benefit will be in getting this confirmed in writing before arrival. If you can receive confirmation from the hotel at least a few days in advance, you can plan accordingly rather than merely hoping you can get checked in early when you arrive.
I think it’s nice to put the policy in writing, though in practice I rarely have trouble with early check-ins with any chain when there is availability and I have booked directly. The only times in recent years when I haven’t been able to check in early were times when I’m fairly certain that the hotel was full and there just wasn’t an available room yet.
That said, I’m sure I’ve been somewhat lucky and there are likely some markets where early check-in just isn’t normally offered. In those instances, having a policy in writing may turn out to be a benefit. Furthermore, it says in the details that you can request the early check-in ahead of time and the property will confirm or deny the request a few days before arrival. Assuming you are notified before the end of the cancellation period, you would at least have the option to contact another hotel and consider changing your reservation.
H/T: Loyalty Traveler via Larry K