Why you should always get TWO hotel keys even if it is just YOU in the room!

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This past weekend I was in DC for the semi annual Boarding Area conference i.e. “BACON” we had a chance to hear from some of the top VPs from Marriott and SPG. I am still in shock that the Marriott rep calls you loyal when you stay 100 nights a year with them! I guess someone like me who stays about 30-ish nights a year is just not worth that much to them. But that is not what this post is all about. It is about room keys.

Most times when you check in to a hotel the representative asks you if you want “one or two keys”. Much of the time I am on my own when I travel and I have said “just one is fine, it’s just me”. I am from now always defaulting to two keys and the reasons are many. See if you agree with me.

A miscoded key card. Maybe it is the metal plate in my head (just kidding) but it seems like at least every few stays this year I have to go back down and wait in line again to get my key programmed over as the only one I had did not work. Then, it seems, they give you two just in case. Duh, I should have asked for two to begin with!

Then there are breakfast perks or at least club perks. Depending on your status, or with SPG at Sheraton hotels if you hold the business SPG AMEX card, you can get into the club room just by having that card. If you have a friend on another floor who is joining you (or even outside the hotel and joining you in the club) getting a second key saves you the time of having to meet them at a firm set “minute” in time.

Another reason is one key going into your wallet (or your purse etc.). I always try to grab the key card inside the key wallet (is that what they are called) but have at times walked out and forgot it. Normally I remember just as the door closes. A spare key in your wallet fixes this “ooppssiee”.

What about an extra key for the pool, beach or workout room. When you are going to most of these places it is very simple to drop, misplace (or wash out to sea in your suit) a key card. Having a second one somewhere else just saves you a trip to the front desk for a replacement when you are not looking your best or really ready to get a shower.

Then there are the times a key is required for access to elite floors. If you have someone joining you, even if staying at the same hotel, they may not be able to get access to elite floors that could include things like clubs or a business center for elites only and so on.

Lastly we have keeping a key card as a souvenir. Now I am NOT telling you to start collecting key cards. I don’t do this and always turn them in or leave them in the room. However, at one hotel in Hawaii as I was turning them in and commenting how nice the photo on the key card was I was specifically directed by the staff member to keep it as a memento of the visit. Never thought about that but I do have the card to this day.

What do you think? Smart idea to always get two keys even when it is just you in the room? Any other reasons I missed why a second key is a smart move? You tell me – René



  1. Haha – funny enough, I collected a key card from every hotel I stayed at for a couple of years until the wife shut me down and said no more.

  2. The most obvious reason for me is so you can leave one in the slot by the door and keep he air conditioner running and/or your devices charging while you’re out of the room. I’ve tried using frequent flyer cards but those are way more valuable than room keys so I always get two for this very purpose.

  3. I always get two because inevitably, as you said, one doesn’t work for some odd reason. Also, sometimes if you happen to self-park instead of valet you can’t get out of the garage without the key, so I tend to keep one when I check out for that reason —

  4. I always get two – Just out of habit, but mostly for the miscoded and the others who may want to join me in the club, etc. reasons. Love the keeping the power on when traveling abroad reason, gotta remember that one thanks @eric

  5. Get an extra key just in case. It doesn’t cost you or the hotel anything. I always get an extra key when abroad to keep the a/c and lights on (charging a phone or computer) while I’m out.

    Then there is the reason no one has thought of but which will become obvious some time when you only have one key.

  6. I’m not generally an overly-paranoid person, but if it’s important to be sure the hotel doesn’t advertise your room number to anybody in earshot (“You are in Room Number XXX”), I think you might also feel marginally better saying “No, I need 2 keys thank you” and letting anybody standing around wonder whether or not that means you have someone joining you.

    Just a thought. I wouldn’t say I feel safer (maybe marginally) when I ask for 2 cards, but on the occasions when I’ve loudly (ugh) said “no thanks, just one” I have felt sheepish and looked over my shoulder a bit as I made my way to my room.

  7. And … because sometimes I put my keycard in the wallet or the same pocket with my iPhone and it automagically becomes demagnetized …

    Someone in the keycard business wasn’t paying attention if that happens, but it has just happened at a 5 star resort and also at a high profile hotel in downtown SF.

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