If you’re going on a vacation, the first thing that you have to do is to book your hotel accommodation. Booking a hotel room is essential to your vacation planning because this is where you’ll rest and leave your things. When you check in to your hotel, they hand you the keys immediately.
You will receive a hotel key card which will serve as your key to your hotel room. So don’t expect to receive the traditional metal key since they are already outdated. Hotels rarely use traditional keys nowadays because they opt to have modern ones.
Most people are fascinated by the key card handed out as they make a great souvenir, right? It bears the name of the hotel, so it would be cool to keep them and not return them when you check out. Moreover, other people may think they can use the key card again if they want to visit the same hotel.
It’s important to know that key cards don’t work that way, considering that hotels program them to be used during your stay. Interestingly, there are people out there who have not returned their key cards. But the question here is if there’s a charge or penalty for doing so.
You should first research the hotel you’re booking before deciding if you want to keep your hotel key card after checking out. This will save you time and the embarrassment of getting into trouble elsewhere. (Read Can You Bring Super Glue On A Plane)
Do hotels charge for lost key cards?
Worry not. Most hotels are flexible regarding returning hotel key cards because they are cheap. The front desk won’t bother you much if you keep it since hotel staff values their clients more than that small thing. Furthermore, replacing them would be easy since hotel keys are purchased in bulk.
Besides, the majority of hotel guests return their key cards once they checkout for an easy and quick check of hotel staff in the room. They may also provide some sort of express mode of checkout that would simply be handing back the key. However, some hotels ask their guests to place the key cards in a jar at the front desk and return them, and failing to do so may result in a minimal fee.
On a different story, it’s such a pain in the neck if you lose your key cards during your vacation, as you’re supposed to be worry-free. A simple solution to this problem is to simply ask for a replacement key card at your front desk. You can guarantee that they will gladly address your concerns immediately but may require you to pay a not-exorbitant fee for the lost card.
But remember that most hotels will charge you if you repeatedly misplace your credit card while you are there. So, try to be mindful of your keys.
Does your Hotel Room Key Contain Personal Information?
The hotel room key card looks like a credit card containing the cardholder’s personal information. Its appearance is why people are afraid to lose their key cards as they think that they hold their personal information. If you also think of this, you don’t have to worry because it just contains information about your room.
Upon check-in, the front desk will welcome you and ask for your information. The staff will then type into the computer and pick up a key card that will swipe into the coding machine. This process may look intimidating, but the hotel attendant only transfers your hotel booking information to the magnetic stripe of the card or its chip embedded in it. (Read Can I Bring Frozen Food On A Plane)
The information that plastic key cards hold is your room number, date and time of check-in and checkout, and guest number. With this information, your card is a key inserted into the room’s door lock mechanism. It won’t be able to open other doors, just like a traditional key, since it is specifically programmed for a specific room.
However, some people still think that their personal information will be forever recorded on the card or that the next guest will see it. One thing that every hotel can guarantee is that their plastic hotel keys do not contain your personal information. The magnetic stripe or the chip embedded in the card would not give you a financial risk.
If your card is stolen, bear in mind that it will only contain the hotel’s information. They will not be able to see your personal or financial information, such as your credit card number. Additionally, they will not be able to enter your hotel room once you report it to the front desk and receive a replacement.
The worst-case scenario is for a burglar to gain access to key card-secured areas like the business center. A hotel key card should only include the information necessary to open door locks. For instance, if the key has a time stamp, it won’t function if you use it on Friday, even if you booked it from Monday to Thursday.
Systems may additionally contain a guest number that enables the software to track who enters and exits a room. It’s merely an encoded guest number that corresponds to the software for the lock system, which is definitely not a name. In order to know who entered the room, it provides you with an audit trail.
Why does hotel key card replace metal keys?
You must now know that plastic key cards are much cheaper and more versatile than physical keys because they are programmable. In fact, metal keys pose a financial risk for hotels, especially when guests forget to return them. These keys may be used regardless of the time passed, and hotels will spend more in changing their rooms’ locks.
The room lock is expensive, and the room keys themselves are expensive. While plastic key cards are ordered in bulk, they will only cost around 10 cents and around $1 if a smart chip is embedded.
The key card cannot reveal anything, as mentioned. Traditional keys demand greater awareness because they might include personal information. Physical metal keys had your name, room number, and the hotel’s full location that might be accessed with that key.
If your key card got lost, you need to ask the front desk for a replacement key. It’s a different story for the actual physical key if it falls into the wrong hands. The hotel must replace the locks on the rooms right away to prevent unauthorized access.
Overall, using a real key posed a security hazard. And for that reason, every hotel replaced them with key cards with magnetic strips. Hotels use this as a preventative strategy to ensure the security of their guests and property.
The pros of plastic key cards may outweigh their cons, but remember that they can malfunction. Putting them together with your bank cards or smartphones can sometimes reset their information. Save yourself the trouble and wait until checkout to use your card key near these items. (Learn How Big Is An Airplane Seat Belt)
Will You Still Keep Your Hotel Key Cards?
It depends on whether you want to keep your hotel room key or return it. As we have discussed, these hotel room key cards are cheap, so most hotels wouldn’t make a big deal out of them. Even if you’re in modern hotels that have hotel card with an embedded chip, this will most likely not matter.
The chip in hotel key cards contains RFID, a specific radiofrequency designated to your hotel room. As such, the next guest who checks in the very same room will be given a different RFID. Hence, taking it home will not create any issues for your hotel.
It’s still best to ask many hotels if they will let you keep the key card. Every hotel has a different policy, so while some will allow you to save, others will not. But they all have one thing in common, and they prioritize their guests.
Don’t worry about getting humiliated because we’re sure that they will politely decline your request if they need to. But if you’re really keen on keeping your hotel cards as a souvenir, then it would be best to ask if they will charge you for it. It wouldn’t cost as much as the souvenir shirt you’re eyeing.