AAA Sets Surface Testing Standards for the Diamond Program

AAA established cleanliness benchmarks for our inspection program by analyzing data collected from 11,000 surface tests in more than 1,000 hotels, with controlled pre-post surface testing, and the collaboration with the scientific expertise of Charm Sciences, Inc.

As a result of this research, a passing threshold for surface testing was established to reflect the expected results if your hotel's cleaning protocols are followed correctly. Your hotel won’t be held to the clinical level of cleanliness required for hospitals but rather a AAA standard that would meet a hotel guest’s reasonable expectations for cleanliness during a hotel stay.

Surface Testing Integrates Seamlessly
Into the Inspection Process


During the unannounced inspection, surface testing will be conducted with near-instant results. Your AAA inspector will swab a surface, add the sample to a vial containing a special testing chemical, and then insert the vial into a portable test machine, about the size of a large cellphone.


AAA inspectors have been independently trained and certified by Charm Sciences Inc. to conduct surface testing so you can trust the results to be accurate.


Inspectors will measure 8 surfaces in randomly selected guest rooms and bathrooms during each inspection.  Each property must achieve AAA’s acceptable surface testing pass rate of 75% or more.      


We know this is a challenging time for your staff and there may be surfaces that fail to meet the standard. If a surface falls short of meeting AAA’s established cleanliness standards, the inspector will perform a re-test of the same surface in another room. There can be up to two re-tests per property during the inspection.


Your inspector and the emailed inspection report will let you know if your hotel passed the surface testing requirement. You’ll also have access to a detailed summary of all surfaces tested.


We expect our Diamond properties to pass the inspection with surface testing.  However, if your property fails an inspection for cleanliness or condition, you will be eligible to apply for re-inspection after one year to allow time for your property to address all issues.  After the waiting period, detail the corrective action taken by emailing and submit an application.

If you disagree with your results, you can appeal through our established process by emailing your concerns to AAA Customer Service at

ATP Surface Testing
Hotel Surfaces To Be Tested


This new step gives you scientific validation that your cleaning protocols are effective with an independent, third-party process consumers trust.

Download PDFSurfaces TestedINFOGRAPHIC

Download translated version here for French and Spanish