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What To Do If You Lost Your Hotel Key Card?

getting key card from hotel's reception

Have you ever lost your hotel key card when staying at a hotel? Do you know what you should do when it happens?


There is a saying that a hotel key card will store guest’s personal data, such as address, credit card number, duration of stay, etc. How was this saying coming from?

In October of 2003, a letter was sent to the police department of Pasadena, CA from a detective, claiming that he found a key card from one of the largest hotel groups that contained some private personal data inside when he’s investigating a scam. And then, this letter was disseminated throughout the whole police office, officers shared with their friends and relatives. As a result, it’s spreading to the whole society very quickly.

When you are trying to search related subjects on the internet, you can easily find lots of suggestions that ask you to keep your hotel key card with yourself after checking out, do not never give them back to the hotel.

“Never return your key card to the hotel. Keep it as a keepsake (there is no fee for this) or use a magnet to destroy information!”

But the fact is, the information that hotel will keep guest’s personal data inside their key card was never certified by any authority institute. What’s more, just give a little think about that, isn’t it illegal that the hotel stored someone’s personal data inside their property without claiming and asking for your permission first?


So, what exactly does the hotel stored in their key card when checking in?

Most hotel key cards in modern hotels contain 4 pieces of information at the most:

  • Which room it can be used to unlock
  • When it should start to unlock this specific room
  • When it should stop working
  • A guest number (not necessary)

What can you do with the hotel key card besides unlock your room’s door?

  • Consuming at the hotel’s restaurants and bars
  • Accessing to the gym, swimming pool, etc.
  • Operating elevator (in some hotels)


What you should do if you lost your hotel key card?

1. Check your wallet, pocket, purse and room carefully

Sometimes you didn’t really “lost” the card, many lost hotel key cards were eventually found in the room. But if you couldn’t find it anywhere, you should act immediately.

2. Report to the hotel

Go to the front desk and report to the receptionist about your lost key card. Before that, do not leave your valuables alone in the room in case someone who stole your card slid into your room and took them away. After reporting to the hotel, the receptionist will deactivate the original key card in the system. With doing this, even if you found your old card, it cannot be used to open the door ever again.

3. Check the using record of the old card

Checking the using record can make sure your room was not entered illegally. If you couldn’t remember your latest accessing time, check the camera recording.

4. Get a new card

The receptionist will give you a new card after deactivating the old card. You can use this new card to open your room door. Some hotel would charge for another key card, it depends on hotel’s related policy.

PS. some hotels might need you to show some proof such as your ordering details to make sure they are doing the job right.


What you should do to keep your hotel card safe?

  • Keep the key card with you all the time;
  • Close the door immediately whenever you entered or left the room;
  • Don’t expose your room number in public;
  • If using a magnetic-stripe key card, don’t put the card near your keys, mobile or anything that has strong magnet field.


If you are staying at a hotel which is using mechanic locks and metal keys, make sure to keep your keys along with you all the time. Because if you lost the keys, the hotel might have to change the whole lock which means the cost would be very high, and you could be charged for this.


In a word, don’t be panic if you lost your key card, you won’t face any financial risk, and none of your personal data would be exposed, either. Just relax and get a new card at the receiption!

Get a quote on our hotel key card now.

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