Hyatt adds iPhone and Apple Watch key card support via Apple Wallet

The hotel chain is enabling tap-to-open NFC key card support in iOS 15 for phone and watch. Here's how Apple's NFC-based keys work.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

Hyatt's rolling out support for NFC keys on the iPhone and Apple Watch.


Apple's support for NFC keys with iOS 15 suggests a world where keys will start living on your iPhone more often, but support for the feature has been gradual. Certain BMW cars already allow iPhones to double as car keys. Now some Hyatt hotels are adding the feature, too, using a slightly different process.

Six Hyatt locations are adding support for NFC card provisioning, which will happen in-app on the phone. The NFC keys will live in the Apple Wallet app, working without launching an app (there are already iOS apps that work as keys, but need to be started up to work).

The Hyatt locations getting support for NFC cards are Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Hyatt Centric Key West Resort & Spa, Hyatt House Chicago/West Loop-Fulton Market, Hyatt House Dallas/Richardson, Hyatt Place Fremont/Silicon Valley and Hyatt Regency Long Beach. The feature seems to require some level of updating of door locks at the properties that incorporate the new feature to allow for NFC, which suggests that rollout at other hotels may yet take some time (tap-to-pay took a while to roll out when it debuted, too).


The keys can be used even when a phone is locked, if "Express Mode" is toggled on in iOS 15's settings. This could let anyone use the phone to open a hotel room door, though. Express Mode hides personal information and even the key itself, but still activates the unlock feature when it's tapped to the door. 

Apple's NFC key card support in the Wallet app also works when the iPhone or Apple Watch's battery life is depleted, for roughly up to five hours in a mode called Power Reserve.

The feature works with iPhones as well as Apple Watches. While iOS 15 hasn't introduced other NFC-based card or key partners yet, home locks and corporate badges are expected to be next on deck at some point.