After staying at a Hilton Suites and trying the uber-cool Hilton digital key for the first time, I wanted to share my tips for how to make best use of this great technology.
What Is a Digital Key?
Many national hotel brands, including Hilton, Marriott and Starwood, are using digital keys, which essentially allow you to access your room through your smartphone.
The keys also allow you to access any other area with your smartphone that you would normally access with a plastic key. These include elevators, the gym, the pool, parking garage, etc.
Typically, though, you have to be a loyalty member and often book directly with the hotel brand in order to take advantage, so plan in advance if you want to use a “digital key.”
All About the Hilton Digital Key
Hilton has digital keys in most, but not all, of its properties. Doublecheck “Amenities” on the hotel website or on the Hilton Honors App to see if your hotel offers the service.
Keep in mind, you can always request a “regular” key if you don’t want to use a “digital” key. It’s not required!
Also, there can only be ONE Hilton digital key per room. So that means if there are four of you, only ONE person can have the digital key on their smartphone. Everyone else will have to go “old school.” 🙂
I love the idea of this “smart” key, because I am forever losing my plastic key card or de-activating it by putting it next to a credit card. Ever do that?
It’s also more secure, working via Bluetooth, because unless someone knows the passcode to access your phone, it’s extremely unlikely they’d be able to access your room. The digital key on your phone also doesn’t show your room number.
How to Use the Hilton Digital Key
First, in order to use the digital key, you’ll need to have:
- iPhone 4S or later that is running iOS8 or later (you can also use an iPad) OR
- Android 4.3 or later (Bluetooth Low Energy enabled phones only)
- Latest version of the Hilton Honors app downloaded on your mobile phone or iPad
1. Join Hilton Honors
You need to be a Hilton Honors (formerly HHonors) member, Hilton’s rewards program. It’s completely free and it affords you many benefits like the lowest possible rate when booking direct and free Wi-Fi. Plus, you’ll earn points you can use for future stays. I say join all the loyalty programs. You almost always get benefits you would not have otherwise!
2. Book directly
Book either on the Hilton.com website (Note: This is an affiliate link for which I may earn a commission if you make a purchase after clicking through) or via the Hilton app when logged into your Hilton Honors account.
3. Check in ahead of time via the app
Twenty-four hours ahead, you can check in, tell them when you plan to arrive and make any requests like feather-free pillows or additional towels.
You can also pick your own room, which is so cool! I love this feature, as you can choose from what’s available and pick the floor, close or far from elevators/ice machine, etc.
Before it’s time to check-in, the app will give you access to your digital key. Most, but not all, properties have this feature.
4. Open the app
When you’re ready to open your room’s door with your “digital” key, first you’ll need to open the app on your phone.
5. Tap Digital Key
Next, you’ll need to tap “digital key” on the screen and walk close to your room.
6. Tap Unlock
While standing next to your room, and tapping Unlock, the door magically unlocks! You DO NOT have to hold it up to the door. It even works from inside the room if you need to let in a family member or room service.
Hilton Credit Cards for FREE Hilton Stays
Do you enjoy Hilton hotels? Did you know they offer some GREAT credit cards that allow you to earn a high number of loyalty points after approval and meeting a minimum spend that you can use for FREE hotel stays?
Hilton’s cards include:
- Hilton Honors Ascend Credit Card from American Express – 100,000 points after $2,000 minimum spend, $95 annual fee
- Hilton Honors Card from American Express – 50,000 points after a $1,000 minimum spend, $0 annual fee!
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card – 100,000 points after a $3,000 minimum spend, $95 annual fee
To review and apply for these cards, please consider using the TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS links in my main menu above or the Compare Cards link below. My blog depends on affiliate income, and these links allow me to earn a commission — at no cost to you — to help pay the blogging bills 🙂 so I can continue to bring you great information FREE.
Have you tried the Hilton digital key? Did you find it to be a convenient service?
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